2018 Acura RLX: Body and Exterior

11/13/2017 11:58:00 AM

Inspired by the Acura Precision Concept, the dramatically restyled 2018 RLX exterior is defined by new front and rear bodywork, side sills, wheels, lighting and trim. The innovations begin with Acura's signature diamond pentagon grille with chrome surround, which is integrated together with a powerfully sculpted hood, front fascia and bold chrome-trimmed lower air openings. This design DNA incorporates restyled LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL), LED fog lights (RLX Sport Hybrid model) and Jewel-Eye™ LED high- and low-beam headlights. The RLX lighting provides aerodynamically efficient, powerful down-the-road-illumination, with a windswept appearance that extends rearward to the new front fenders with their sculpted, muscular wheel arches.

Precision Crafted Design
Performance design features returning for 2018 include an "aero-fused" cabin silhouette. Wide but also extremely aerodynamic, the cabin design allows both a roomy interior and a quiet ride as air slips smoothly over the flush-mounted acoustic glass and other drag- and turbulence-reducing design details. Close tolerances for the wheel wells and body-panel gaps add a further degree of elegance and aerodynamics. Adding a functional and dynamic flair along the body sides for 2018 are the new bright-trimmed lower sills, which improve aerodynamic airflow. Athletically contoured, the sills flow into the new rear fenders, lower trunk panel and rear bumper with an aerodynamically functional rear diffuser finished in gloss black, chrome edge trim, and chrome dual trapezoidal exhaust finishers.

Beneath the vehicle is a sophisticated series of aerodynamic aids that further smooth airflow. These include an engine undercover, left and right floor covers, left and right mid under covers, and a rear under cover. Aggressive 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels are standard on all RLX models. An available Surround-View Camera System offers six selectable viewing angles, including a highly useful bird's eye view. Numerous other exterior features add luxury and usability to the RLX, including a one-touch power moonroof, power folding outside mirrors, high-performance all-season tires, remote keyless entry, and standard rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Low Mass, High Gloss
The RLX utilizes numerous aluminum components to lower the overall vehicle mass, which helps to improve acceleration, steering and handling response, road-holding, braking performance, fuel efficiency, emissions, and crash safety. Aluminum components include the front and rear bumper beams, front fenders, hood, steering column mounting beam, floor pan, and door skins. Seven different exterior colors, including four metallic and three pearl, are designed to complement the exterior shape and the way light defines it. New exterior badging includes the Acura marque and Acura, RLX, SH-AWD and Hybrid emblems (as dictated by model).

Summary of Body Technologies

RLX P-AWS and Sport Hybrid

  • 55-percent high-strength steel including 1500mps "hot stamped" steel
  • Aluminum hood, front fenders, door skins, bumper beams, floor pan and steering column mounting beam
  • Acoustic-laminated glass (windshield, front and rear side glass)
  • Heated side mirrors with reverse-gear tilt-down
  • Jewel-Eye™ LED low- and high-beam headlights
  • Multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines (RLX P-AWS)
  • Power moonroof with tilt, auto-open/close, auto-reverse and key-off operation
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Frameless windshield wiper blades*^
  • Smart Entry

Additional on RLX Sport Hybrid

  • Auto-dimming side mirrors
  • Power-folding side mirrors
  • Front windshield de-icer
  • LED fog lights
  • Parking sensors (2 front/4 rear)
  • Surround View Camera System

Exterior Dimensions
In overall length, the restyled RLX measures 197.8 inches – 1.7 inches longer than the 2017 model; however, its wheelbase, at 112.2 inches, remains the same, providing an ideal balance of ride quality and interior roominess – particularly for the rear passengers, thanks to an impressive 38.8 inches of rear legroom.

At 74.4 inches wide, the new RLX remains the same width as the previous model, and its revised styling provides a uniquely sporty and athletic visual presence. At 57.7 inches high, the 2018 RLX also mirrors the 2017 model in overall height.


2017 RLX

2018 RLX


Length (in)



+ 1.7

Width (in)



Height (in) (without antenna)



Wheelbase (in)



Track, Front/Rear (in)



Ground clearance (in)




Turning diameter, curb-to-curb (ft.)



Curb weight (lbs.) (RLX/RLX Sport Hybrid)




Cargo volume (cu.-ft.) (RLX/RLX Sport Hybrid)



+ 0.0/+0.4

Competitor Comparison
Among its competitive set, the 2018 RLX is longer and wider, and features a wider front and rear track, than key competitors including the Audi A6, BMW 530i, Infiniti Q70, Lexus GS 350 and Mercedes-Benz E 300. The chart below summarizes the RLX's exterior dimensional advantages.


2018 Acura RLX

Audi A6

BMW 530i

2017 Infiniti Q70

GS 350

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 300

Length (in)







Width (in) (without side mirrors)







Height (in)
(without antenna)







Wheelbase (in)







Track, F/R (in)







High-Strength Steel
To maximize stiffness and rigidity in key areas without increasing weight, 55 percent of the RLX body is made from high-strength steel, including the strategic use of ultra-high strength "hot stamped" 1500Mpa steel. Particular areas of focus include high degrees of bending rigidity, torsional rigidity and rear lateral stiffness, which combine to provide more accurate handling, elevated ride comfort, and improved interior quietness and ride comfort.

The percentages of different steel grades used in the RLX body include:

Steel grade


Percentage used in body

1500 Mpa

Hot-stamped high-strength steel


980 Mpa

Hot-stamped high-strength steel


780 Mpa

High-strength steel


590 Mpa

High-strength steel


440 Mpa

High-strength steel


340 Mpa

High-strength steel


270 Mpa

Normal steel


Hot Stamped Steel
Ultra-high strength "hot stamped" 1500 Mpa steel is used in key areas for enhanced safety collision performance, particularly in narrow offset, side impact and roof strength tests. The hot-stamp steel is used in these areas:

  • Side sills
  • Side roof
  • A pillars and roof edge to C pillar
  • B pillars

Aluminum Body Components
Extensive use of aluminum in key areas saves 76.1 pounds compared to traditional all-steel construction, providing high strength with lightweight that directly benefits ride, handling, fuel efficiency, emissions reductions and safety. The biggest weight savings from a single component comes from the use of an aluminum hood, which saves 19.6 pounds compared to a steel hood. Aluminum body components include:

  • Hood
  • Front bumper beam
  • Front fenders
  • Floor tunnel bar
  • Rear bumper beam
  • Steering-column hangar beam
  • Front door skin
  • Rear door skin

Aluminum Hybrid Construction Door
The RLX doors are a hybrid construction utilizing aluminum outer panels for lighter weight and steel inner panels for stiffness and crash safety. Together, they provide for increased stiffness with a weight reduction of 24.3 pounds compared to all-steel doors.

The front doors are constructed of four parts, while the rear doors are constructed of five parts. The steel inner panel uses a special high-corrosion-protection zinc, aluminum and magnesium plating – 11 percent aluminum, 3 percent magnesium and 86 percent zinc – to assure that electrolytic corrosion does not occur between the two metals. This plating gives the steel inner panel 10 times the resistance of traditional zinc galvanized plating.

The outer aluminum skin and steel inside panels are joined with an Acura-first "curl forming" process for high-strength and durability.

Class-Leading Aerodynamics
More than 800 wind-tunnel tests were conducted to fine tune the RLX's aerodynamic values. As a result, the 2018 RLX will have class-leading lower coefficient of lift (CL) and lower coefficient of drag (Cd).

Aerodynamic details include:




Lower front spoiler

Improves aerodynamic down force

Cd and front CL improved, steering capability improved

Front end

Improves engine cooling

Cd and front CL reduced

Front bumper

Side wake reduced

Cd reduced


A-pillar vortex reduced

CL reduced

Aerodynamic 3D cabin

Reduced eddying at A-pillar

Cd improved, wind noise reduced

Under covers

  • Engine undercover
  • Non-woven fabric floor under covers
  • Mid under covers
  • Rear undercover

Smoother underbody airflow

Cd and rear CL improved

Front and rear strakes

Side wake constrained

Cd reduced

Rear bumper

Reduction of air entrapped at rear of vehicle

Cd and CL reduced

Trunk lid

Trunk downwash and vertical eddying reduced

Cd and rear CL reduced, stability increased

Sound Insulation
Engineers paid particular attention to reducing interior noise, an effort that extends to literally every aspect of the vehicle's design and engineering – from aerodynamics and powertrain engineering to insulators and the selection of finishing materials – all play a part in the RLX's improved interior quietness.

To achieve a premium level of interior quietness, the RLX receives an unprecedented amount of acoustic material in key areas. The list includes:

  • Carpet back surface
  • Inside front/rear door lining
  • Inside A-pillars
  • Inside C-pillars
  • Roof area behind moonroof opening
  • Floor sills
  • Inside trunk lid
  • Rear deck
  • Rear bulkhead
  • Rear wheel wells

To mitigate additional sound from the hybrid drive motors, the RLX Sport Hybrid features additional application of sound deadening materials in the rear passenger floor and trunk floor insulators.

Acoustic Door Glass
The 2018 RLX uses laminated, sound-insulating acoustic glass for all door glass, providing an extra measure of wind and road noise attenuation. The glass is 4.7mm thick and includes an acoustic membrane that helps attenuate frequencies above 1,600 Hz, resulting in a particularly quiet interior.

Jewel-Eye™ LED Headlights
The 2018 RLX features a dramatic new array of high-intensity LED lamps to deliver outstanding light distribution, and class-leading distant irradiation performance and light characteristics with a wavelength close to the human eye's luminosity curve. With five lights per headlight, the LED lights provide improved down the road visibility compared to HID and halogen headlights.

On each side of the RLX, the low beams consist of four LED lights, with the eight individual lenses clearly and dramatically visible even in bright sunlight. The innermost high beams utilize a single larger LED, while the redesigned daytime running lights (DRL) adopt a new surrounding, wing shaped design. Altogether, they create a dramatic and distinctive appearance with superior lighting capability.

Each low beam lens illuminates a different area of the road:

Lens (from inside to out)

Illumination area

Degrees of illumination

1 (high beam)







Distant and wide









Light Distribution
Both the low- and separate high-beam Acura Jewel-Eye LED headlights offer outstanding performance in all nighttime driving conditions, including highway, winding roads, intersections, and in inclement weather conditions. The result is that the driver can see further with uniformity, making high-speed nighttime driving easier and less fatiguing.

A summary of LED benefits includes:

  • Outstanding light distribution that surpasses competitors
  • Excellent distant illumination performance
  • Clear illumination of the road surface and white lines
  • High visibility of the entire visible color spectrum (white, red, green, blue and yellow) compared to HID and halogen headlights
  • Response time when switching between low and high beam is shortened
  • Light congruity is improved between low and high beams

When the lights are off, sunlight enters through the top of the lens, reflects off the rear reflector and then forward and through the lens again. As a result, when the lighting is off, the array still appears to be shining.

LED Fog Lights
On the RLX Sport Hybrid, LED fog lights to enhance visibility and safety in inclement weather. Four individual LED elements make up each fog light.

LED Taillights
The restyled RLX taillights use a combination of bold periphery LED illumination and five horizontal rows of thinner LED lights to create a highly visible, dramatic and unique presence. Semi-circular amber LED light paths mark the rear corners of the RLX, simultaneously serving as both the taillights and the side marker lights. Inset are the slender red LED elements, which add substance and a dynamic, wing-like appearance at night. All of the LED shapes compliment the RLX body design, and integrate with the bright chrome strip that extends across the rear of the vehicle. Backup lights are located above the taillights, integrated into the chrome trim.

Power-Folding Side Mirrors
At the driver's preference, the RLX Sport Hybrid's door mirrors can be configured to automatically retract when the doors are locked, and then automatically extend when the doors are unlocked. This automatic mirror retract/extend function helps safeguard the mirrors when the RLX Sport Hybrid is parked, while also creating a higher-quality experience for the driver by eliminating the need to remember to manually retract or extend the mirrors.

The mirrors automatically retract or extend in two ways: 1) simply press the lock/unlock button on the remote key fob; or 2) press the lock button on the door handle.

Alternatively, the mirrors can be retracted and extended by using the mirror switch on the driver's door panel. These functions can be customized through the MID on the instrument panel.

Auto-Dimming Side Mirrors
The RLX Sport Hybrid features electro-chromatic side mirrors that can automatically dim during nighttime driving to reduce glare from the headlights of following vehicles.

Rain-Sensing Wipers
Both 2018 RLX models include rain-sensing wipers that automatically activate if water is detected on the windshield. Designed to cover the maximum possible windshield area, the left (driver) and right (front passenger) windshield wipers are 26 and 20 inches long, respectively.

Intelligent Wipers
Laws in some states require drivers to turn on the headlights when the wipers are operating in the rain. The RLX helps its driver comply with these laws by automatically illuminating the headlights when the wipers are activated in rainy conditions (with headlight switch in Auto). Operation is shown via an indicator on the instrument panel. If rain is intermittent, the lights stay on for a predetermined interval before automatically turning off again.

Wiper operation is equally advanced for maximum wiping area, better wiping quality, reduced weight, improved appearance and longer blade life. Details include:

  • Wiper coverage is maximized by controlling the wiper position, including to the outer corners of the windshield.
  • Wiper performance is maximized by adjusting the wiper speed according to road speed and wind pressure.
  • The wiper motor uses a built-in ECU, reducing overall complexity of the system.
  • For better appearance, the wipers are hidden under the hood when not in operation.
  • For extended life of the wiper blades’ rubber, the operating system periodically raises the wiper blades from underneath the hood (when not in use) to prevent blade deformation.

Windshield De-Icer
On the RLX Sport Hybrid, a new de-icer feature is designed to clear the windshield of ice in cold and wintery conditions. Inside the laminated acoustic windshield is an invisible conductive film that quickly heats the glass when an electrical current is applied. While driving, the windshield de-icer is designed to activate automatically when the outside temperature drops below 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit, and then to deactivate when the temperature rises to 42.8 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Self-Opening Trunk
The RLX trunk has a self-opening feature that fully opens the trunk lid. There are three ways to open the trunk: 1) by pressing the trunk opener switch located on the driver side door panel, 2) with the key fob and 3) with the trunk opener switch located in the middle of the trunk, underneath the trunk lid garnish. This makes it easier for the RLX driver to carry items and open the trunk lid at the same time. The trunk lid closes manually.

Trunk Storage
The RLX offers 14.9 cu. ft. of cargo volume, while the RLX Sport Hybrid has 12.0 cu. ft. of cargo volume (all measurements include the tool kit and the temporary spare tire and wheel). The trunk features a flat floor design that extends from the bumper to the rear seatback for improved usability. Below the floor panel is a pair of useful covered storage wells. (See the Interior section for more information.)

Multi-Angle Rearview Camera
The RLX’s standard multi-angle rearview camera features three viewing angles – Wide view, Normal view and Top Down view. Drivers may select the preferred view according to driving conditions.

Dynamic guidelines display the vehicle’s backward trajectory according to steering-wheel position. When the steering wheel is straight, a broad 180-degree rearward view can be seen in Wide View, and Normal and Top Down views are also available. When the steering wheel is turned 90 degrees, only Wide and Normal views are available, and dynamic guidelines curve onscreen to show the predicted path of the vehicle.

Surround-View Camera System
In the RLX Sport Hybrid, four exterior cameras provide a 360-degree view on the navigation display of the space immediately around the vehicle. A “Camera” button among the navigation display controls – or else a conveniently located button on the end of the turn signal lever – changes camera views.

When Drive is selected:

  • Pressing either "Camera" button shows a 360-degree view combined with a front view that is ideal for positioning the vehicle in a garage.
  • Pressing either "Camera" button again provides a front wide-angle view that is useful for helping spot an approaching vehicle or person when nosing out of a tight spot with a blocked side view.
  • Additional views include looking ahead from both sides, and a passenger side view only.
  • Dynamic guidelines appear in each front view, corresponding to the angle of the front wheels and the vehicle's predicted forward path.

When Reverse is selected:

  • The rear camera view appears onscreen along with an overhead 360-degree view.
  • Pressing either “Camera” button shows a rear view only, and another press shows a wide-angle rear view only.
  • Dynamic guidelines appear in each rear view, corresponding to the angle of the front wheels and the vehicle's predicted rearward path.

Exterior Colors
The 2018 RLX is available in seven exterior colors (six new), including four metallic and three pearl colors. All colors have a strong character, offering expressive contrasts that complement the RLX’s reinvigorated body-panel curves and angles, while also exhibiting a smart luxury appearance. Available for the first time is Fathom Blue Pearl and two premium colors—Brilliant Red Metallic and Majestic Black Pearl. For all exterior colors, the acid-resistant epoxy clear-coat paint is superior to typical clear-coat paints for increased resistance to urban pollutants.

Acura RLX Exterior Colors

  • NEW Brilliant Red Metallic
  • NEW Majestic Black Pearl
  • NEW Fathom Blue Pearl
  • NEW Lunar Silver Metallic
  • NEW Modern Steel Metallic
  • NEW Crystal White Pearl
  • Gilded Pewter Metallic 

Acura RLX Interior Colors

  • Ebony
  • Espresso
  • Graystone
  • Seacoast

Exterior Features


2018 RLX P-AWS

2018 RLX Sport Hybrid

Integrated Glass Antenna

Acoustic windshield, front and side windows

Front windshield de-icer


One-Touch Power Moonroof with Tilt Feature

Smart Entry

Push Button Start/Stop

LED daytime running lights (DRL)

Jewel-Eye™ LED headlights with Auto-off

Auto High Beam

LED center high mount stop light

LED stop and tail lights

LED side turn lights (front)

LED fog lights


One-touch turn signals

Rain sensing wipers

Wipers on/headlights on

Body-colored and heated power side mirrors with memory and integrated LED turn indicators

Power folding side mirrors

Auto dimming side mirrors


Flush-mounted parking sensors

Surround View Camera


Chrome door handles

Capless fueling system