The 2008 Acura RL uses a high-revving V-6 and sophisticated all-wheel drive to impress reviewers across the Web, including those at TheCarConnection.com.
One engine is offered in the latest RL: “The sole engine available in the RL is a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 290 hp and 256 pound-feet of torque,” Edmunds reports. “This allows a 0-60 time in the high 6-second range, just above par for six-cylinder large luxury sedans.” ForbesAutos says the V-6 "packs plenty of punch." Kelley Blue Book feels the specs are "impressive...for a normally-aspirated six-cylinder engine, but with those peak figures waiting at the high-end of the rev range the RL can take a few seconds to gain momentum." Cars.com declares, “A shortage of power is never a concern, and the automatic transmission shifts easily and promptly.”
That five-speed automatic transmission sports “paddle-style shifters on the steering wheel," Cars.com says. ConsumerGuide assures drivers the gearbox "shifts smoothly and responds quickly." Power goes to all four wheels through a high-tech all-wheel-drive system that Edmunds explains thusly: “A five-speed automatic transmission with automanual shift paddles sends power to the Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. SH-AWD can send varying degrees of torque to each individual wheel to improve handling and wet-weather traction.” Cars.com adds, “It can apply as much as 100 percent of rear torque to the outer rear wheel in curves in order to enhance cornering and stability attributes and dry- and wet-weather traction. Up to 70 percent of engine torque goes to the rear wheels under full-throttle acceleration.”
The substantial-feeling RL doesn’t exactly sip fuel. J.D. Power reports "a paltry 14.3 mpg average that fell significantly below the EPA's ratings of 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway." ConsumerGuide testers get mixed results that still fall short of EPA estimates; one test Acura RL "averaged 17.0 mpg in mixed city/highway use that included gas-eating performance tests," while "another example averaged 19.3 mpg with more highway driving."
In terms of overall handling, Cars.com calls the 2008 Acura RL an "excellent road car with a solid, heavy feel." While Edmunds reports Acura RL 2008 steering was "a bit numb and slow, but precise," Autoblog notes "the Super Handling-All Wheel Drive system has also been revised with faster responses to changing conditions at each individual wheel to help improve the handling." ConsumerGuide commends the Acura RL's "firm suspension, strong brakes, and traction-enhancing AWD," adding that "the last behaves like other AWD setups in normal driving but feels a touch more stable in aggressive maneuvers." Edmunds concludes, “Driving enthusiasts will likely find that the RL's steering is a bit numb and slow, however, and the cushy ride gets downright mushy as the RL approaches its handling limits.”