1996 Acura 3.5 RL Assumes Role As Acura's Flagship Luxury Sedan

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Joining the fold as the new flagship of its lineup, the all-new four-door 1996 3.5RL takes Acura to an unprecedented level of comfort, refinement and human engineering, while at the same time delivering the confident handling, immediate response, extensive safety engineering and optimum levels of performance drivers expect from Acura.

"This is unquestionably the most refined, most sophisticated sedan ever to carry the Acura badge and reflects the Acura commitment to build a comprehensive lineup of the finest luxury automobiles in the world," said Rich Thomas, Acura's executive vice president and general manager. "One of the RL's most exciting attributes is its price"'- some $10,000 less than comparably equipped import luxury cars, such as the V-8 powered Lexus LS400 with which it will compete head-tohead."

The RL is powered by the largest engine (3.5-liter V-6) with the most torque (224lbs-ft) ever produced by an Acura model, and it does not require a scheduled tune-up for the first 100,000 miles.

Its all-aluminum single-overhead-camshaft V-6 produces 210 horsepower at 5200 rpm and peak torque at an unusually low 2800 rpm. The RL features immediate throttle response, excellent acceleration and low-rpm power typical of a V-8, but with the light weight, packaging efficiency and fuel economy of an advanced V-6.

Exterior styling on the 3.5RL features a prominent grille and high, wide shoulder lines for a distinctive Acura look and feel, coupled with high levels of aerodynamic performance, predictable handling in gusty conditions, and low wind noise at speed.

The RL offers the strongest, most rigid sedan unit-body structure in Acura history, using a high percentage of two-sided galvanized steel to heighten durability and corrosion protection.

Inside, the RL features a subtle, roomy "open-feeling" design, with amenities such as an available state-of-the-art Acura/Bose Music System, and best-in-class air conditioning and climate control performance - both in cooling efficiency and quiet operation.

Advanced safety features include dual air bags, front seat belt tensioners, dual front-door anti-intrusion beams, front-door hip and shoulder pads, and advances in side impact head protection.

"This great new car is designed to be just as rewarding to drive on an autobahn as it is twisting through mountain roads, cruising the freeway or making your way through crowded city streets," Thomas said. ''We're extremely delighted that its time has finally come."

Manufacturer's suggested retail price is $41,000 for the 1996 Acura 3.5RL, and $44,000 for the 3.5RL with Premium Package. The all-new satellite-linked Acura Navigation System will be a $2,000 option on the RL with Premium Package and will be available beginning in California in late spring. The Navigation System will be available in other regions of the country as digitized mapping becomes available.

The 1996 Acura 3.5RL goes on sale in mid-February at the nearly 300 Acura dealerships nationwide.

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