2012 Acura RL vs. Its Competition

2011 Acura RL 4-door Sedan Advance Pkg Angular Front Exterior View
Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor

Among luxury sport sedans, the 2012 Acura RL lands in an interesting middle ground.

It doesn't quite fit in with the top tier of flagship sedans from BMW and Mercedes-Benz—mainly because it's neither as bold and stylish nor as dynamically satisfying.

But it's definitely sportier than the Lexus ES 350, without adding any significant harshness.

The all-new Saab 9-5 is one of the more direct rivals; although Saab is still ailing at the time of posting, the new 9-5 is an excellent sport sedan with more character and charm than the RL.

The Volvo S80 is roomier and brighter inside, with Scandinavian styling and lighter handling.

The all-new Audi A6 is also way more stylish and charismatic, sharing its interior and powertrain with the uber-stylish A7 fastback.

The Lincoln MKX EcoBoost seems stuck in a similar middle ground, offering reasonably good performance but a somewhat stodgy feel.

For a lot less money, you could have a V-6 Hyundai Genesis, which isn't as loaded with tech features but is up to comparable levels of refinement.

It's definitely worth keeping in mind that for the same money you could have slightly less well-equipped versions of the BMW 5-Series, Jaguar XF, or Mercedes-Benz E-Class—all of which either have more style and luxury cachet—and for most versions, more driving thrills.

2011 Acura RL 4-door Sedan Advance Pkg Angular Front Exterior View2012 Acura RLBrowse Used Listings2012 Audi A6 4-door Sedan FrontTrak 2.0T Premium Plus Side Exterior View2012 Audi A6Browse Used Listings2012 Hyundai Genesis 2012 Hyundai GenesisBrowse Used Listings2012 Lincoln MKS2012 Lincoln MKSBrowse Used Listings2011 Volvo S80 4-door Sedan 3.2L FWD Angular Front Exterior View2012 Volvo S80Browse Used Listings2011 Saab 9-52011 Saab 9-5Browse Used Listings
Quick Specs
7.4
The 2012 Acura RL is loaded with tech features and supremely comfortable for long-haul trips; but it won't get driving enthusiasts all that excited.
8.4
It's the same V-6 blast to drive as the far more sexy A7, which makes the 2012 Audi A6 a little irrelevant for those not fixated on five seats or four cylinders.
8.0
The Genesis' impressive details and execution make it a pragmatic luxury-car choice, especially in the quick, plush V-6 version.
8.8
The 2012 Lincoln MKS writes its own definition of luxury with great straight-line performance, quiet good looks, and a spacious interior.
8.4
With plenty of comfort, style, and safety, the 2012 Volvo S80 hits all the right marks for an image-conscious, affluent family--but lacks the sportier driving personality of the somewhat smaller S60.
8.8
The 2011 9-5 could be Saab's saving grace; it's a classy, comfortable, and well-designed flagship, with a lot more character than most luxury sport sedans.
MSRP From     
$48,200$41,700$34,200$41,500$37,950$38,525
Gas Mileage     
17 MPG City / 24 MPG Hwy19 MPG City / 33 MPG Hwy16 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy16 MPG City / 25 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 29 MPG Hwy17 MPG City / 27 MPG Hwy
Engine     
Gas V6Turbocharged Gas I4Gas V6Gas V6Gas I6Turbocharged Gas I4
EPA Class     
Mid-SizeMidsize CarsLarge carLarge CarsMidsizeMid-Size
Style Name     
4-Door Sedan4-Door Sedan FrontTrak 2.0T Premium4-Door Sedan V6 3.8L4-Door Sedan 3.7L FWD4-Door Sedan 3.2L PZEV4-Door Sedan Turbo4 *Ltd Avail*
Drivetrain     
All Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveRear Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
555555
Passenger Doors     
N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Body Style     
4 Door SedanSedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan
Transmission     
AutomaticContinuously Variable RatioAutomatic w/manual shiftAutomaticAutomatic,Manual