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First Drive: 2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD

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Full report

The RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD is an unquestionable technological tour de force, but how does it all translate to a real-world driving experience?

Very well, actually. Driven around Collingwood, Ontario, the RLX hybrid is smooth, quiet and refined, just as it should be in this class of luxury cars. Despite being a very large car, it does not embarrass itself when the roads begin to curve.

Although our drive was relatively brief – only a few hours – I would rather press the RLX Sport Hybrid on roads more familiar to me to really assess the effectiveness of the torque vectoring. Most buyers in this category will surely feel the RLX Sport Hybrid delivers performance on par or superior to the competitors without ever really needing to push the car anywhere near its limits.

Passing power and responsiveness is formidable and even the regenerative braking is far less grabby and artificial-feeling than in most other hybrids. The seven-speed DCT transmission will give fun throttle blips before downshifting when Sport mode is engaged. While reasonably rapid, the shifts called upon by the steering wheel mounted paddles were not as lighting-fast or crisp as the shifts executed by some of the competitors’ gearboxes – especially those using the excellent ZF eight-speed transmission.