1996 Acura 3.5 RL Introduction

The Acura 3.5RL luxury sedan is the new flagship of the Acura lineup. The 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, advanced safety engineering and high levels of performance drivers have come to expect from Acura.

The Acura RL is the product of an intensive research and development project, one in which we examined every nuance of the interface between drivers and their luxury sedans. Dramatic improvements in comfort, ergonomics and noise, vibration and harshness performance make it the quietest, smoothest, most refined Acura ever built. The RL is a true top-rank luxury sedan, rivaling the best from Mercedes, BMW, Lexus and Infiniti. And it delivers this combination of virtues in an efficient, remarkably user-friendly package, with excellent fuel economy and at a remarkably reasonable price.

The RL is powered by the largest engine with the most torque ever produced by any Acura model. The new 3.5-liter RL engine develops its peak torque at an extraordinarily low 2800 rpm, giving the immediate throttle response, authoritative acceleration and highly usable power of a typical big-bore V-8, but with the simplicity, light weight and packaging efficiency of a sophisticated V-6. And it does it all without requiring a tune-up for the first 100,000 miles.

The new RL is designed to be just as rewarding to drive at 130 miles per hour on an autobahn or twisting through a challenging mountain road as it is cruising the freeways of L.A. or exploring the urban canyons of Manhattan. It is the most refined, most sophisticated sedan ever to carry the Acura badge, and a clear statement of the Acura commitment to building some of the finest luxury automobiles in the world.

The introduction of the new 3.5RL flagship luxury sedan is one more important step in the creation of the most comprehensive luxury import model line sold in the United States.

The Acura 3.5RL is intended to compete with the Mercedes E320 and E420, the BMW 530i and 540i, the Lexus OS 300 and LS 400 and the Infiniti Q45.

Concepts and Goals

The 3.5 RL is designed to provide:

  • An unprecedented level of comfort, along with top-rank driver and passenger amenities.
  • The smoothest, most compliant ride of any Acura ever built, balanced with the predictable, surefooted handling expected by Acura drivers.
  • The concept of "human linearity" taken to new heights; the subjective feelings and intuitive responses of drivers and passengers have been given top priority in all major engineering decisions.
  • A torque, highly responsive engine that gives the immediate acceleration, low-rpm power and overall performance typical of a V-8, but with the light weight, proper weight distribution, packaging efficiency and fuel economy of an advanced V-6.
  • A subtle, roomy, "open-feeling" interior design, along with an available state-of-the-art Acura/Bose® Music System and other top-rank amenities.
  • Best-in-class air conditioning and climate control performance, both in cooling efficiency and in quiet operation.
  • The strongest, most rigid sedan unit-body structure in Acura history, using a high percentage of two-sided galvanized steel for excellent durability and corrosion protection.
  • A high level of advanced safety engineering, including dual air bags, front seat belt tensioners, dual front-door anti-intrusion beams, front-door hip and shoulder pads and advances in interior padding and front passenger side-impact head protection
  • Bold, impressive extrior styling, using a prominent grille and high, wide "shoulder lines" for a distinctive Acura look and feel, coupled with excellent aerodynamic performance with an emphasis on low levels of lift, predictable handling in gusty conditions, and low wind noise at speed.
  • Enviornmentally friendly construction, with CFC-free R134a refrigerant, and components designed and labeled for easy recycling.


The Acura RL is available exclusively in a 4-door sedan body style, with a very high level of standard equipment.

Every 3.5RL is equipped with an all-aluminum, 3.5 liter, single-overhead camshaft V-6 engine with four valves per cylinder, producing 210 horsepower @ 5200 rpm and 2241bs-ft of torque @ 2800 rpm. Direct ignition, Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) and a three-stage Variable Induction System enhance drive ability, low-end response and overall performance -- all in an engine that doesn't require a scheduled tune-up for the first 100,000 miles. A balancer shaft is used to eliminate primary couple vibration, resulting in extremely smooth engine operation at any rpm.

A four-speed, electronically controlled automatic transmission is standard. "Grade Logic Control" software is used for improved acceleration and reduced gear "hunting" while driving uphill, and to enhance engine braking on downhills. A gated shifter is used to give the driver a more intuitive sense of shifter position.

The 3.5RL is a front-wheel-drive design, for lighter weight, improved packaging efficiency, even better handling stability and enhanced performance in inclement weather.

Four-wheel independent double-wishbone suspension is used, with special low friction joints and dampers for improved ride compliance. Hydraulic bushings are used in the rear suspension, for reduced road noise. Four-wheel disc brakes, with ventilated front rotors, provide excellent stopping, and an Acura-designed 4-wheel Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) is provided as standard equipment.

The unit-body chassis of the RL has been optimized for excellent rigidity,in both bending and torsion, for improved handling precision, a more solid feel and reduced noise and vibration.

An optional satellite-linked computer navigation system will be offered for major metropolitan centers in California-other major population centers will become available as the hard-disc-based navigation software is developed. The navigation system helps guide drivers to specific addresses, using both visual and audio cues; the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) is mounted in the upper section of the center console.

The RL comes equipped with a very high level of standard features, including leather seating surfaces, wood and wood-grained trim in selected areas, an acoustically tuned 8-speaker AM/FM/cassette music system with optional CD changer, automatic climate control, power driver and front seat passenger seats, power windows, door locks and moonroof, 2-position memory system for steering wheel position, seat and mirror position, auto-on head and taillights, 16X6.5JJ cast-alloy wheels, a remote keyless entry system and anti-theft vehicle immobilizer system.

An optional "Premium Package" is also offered, which includes an Acura/Bose® Music System with a six-disc CD changer, electronic Traction Control System (TCS), heated door mirrors, heated front seats, a boot/ski sleeve in the rear-seat pass-through and additional wood trim on the dashboard.

Back to Top
Honda North America | 1919 Torrance Boulevard | Torrance, CA 90501 | Media Contacts

Related Document