Looking at the facts on the 2012 Acura RL spec sheet, you'd expect it to have promising performance credentials. There's a big, high-revving, 300-horsepower V-6, a new six-speed automatic with paddle-shifters, and a sophisticated SH-AWD all-wheel drive system to put the power to the pavement (and smartly manage it from side to side) even on tight, roughtly surfaced corners. But somehow, something's missing in the translation to the driver's seat. But somehow it doesn't manage to transmit those sensations through the driver's seat.
The RL's (271 pound-foot) engine isn't the torquiest off the line, but it builds to a sonorous and impressive power peak, for as quick of a super-legal two-laner semi pass as we could ever see laid-back drivers wanting. And one longtime problem with all V-6 Honda and Acura cars—lumpy, almost harsh shifts on gentle acceleration—seems to have been completely solved with the six-speed automatic, which with a multi-clutch torque converter adds smoothness while boosting fuel economy.
And there's something in the way the RL is tuned (and how well it's isolated, perhaps) that doesn't invite you to drive it hard, but it has no problem being driven fast. Thanks also to the isolation, you'll likely end up pushing way past the speed limit because. Body motion is kept well under wraps, but you don't give up any comfort, so it's a go-fast touring machine capable of eating up the miles. But, that said, the RL isn't on the same level as some sport sedans, because It's let down by numb, innocuous steering and overall, a dynamically isolated feel that keeps you from pushing it hard.Otherwise, we'd wish for a steadier brake feel as well. While they're strong, they have an initial, almost overboosted bite that can take some getting used to.