The design of the current Acura RL has been around, mostly unchanged, since 2005, and on the outside it's showing its age. Contemporaries like the Mercedes-Benz E Class, Lexus GS 350, or Lincoln MKS all have fresher faces and more fashion-forward exterior details. In fact, the RL now feels flat-out dull for a luxury car. Acura terms the RL's styling 'aggressive,' but we're not seeing it here.
Last year a somewhat blunter (and cheaper-looking) snout included a grille that broke up the fluid look and integrated appearance of the original RL grille. That said, the RL still looks tasteful and sporty, with nice proportions, but the clean-sided, high-shouldered look keeps it far away from the cutting edge.
Inside, the familiar Acura instrument panel has held up well; it's a little restrained, but still feels sporty and cockpit-like. Stylistically it's pleasing and complex, with a middle belt that wraps across the dash and around into the doors, functionally it's one of the simpler designs among large luxury sedans, with center-stack controls nicely arranged with climate control up top, audio below that, and nav/trip controls beneath that. It stands out as unique (or perhaps a little obsolete) in that it doesn't rely on a touchscreen for climate or music controls. The cost, of course, it that there are a few more buttons, and a little more clutter.