2005 Acura RL Press Kit


2005 Acura RL Press Kit

2005 Acura RL Introduction


The 2005 Acura RL combines performance, technology and style in an athletic new luxury package that pushes the boundaries of automotive design on multiple fronts. No production car at any price has ever offered more advanced electronic technology or drive-system sophistication. And none has made its driver more connected-with real-time traffic information, personal assistance, phone communication and audio entertainment. True to form for Acura, the many advanced systems of the RL are engineered to function smoothly, efficiently and intuitively. Similarly, the RL upholds another basic Acura tenet: comprehensive standard equipment. In the case of the RL, everything is standard. There are no factory options. The only available RL options are a few select dealer installed upgrades.

In creating this new luxury vehicle, Acura designers completely redefined the RL concept and repositioned it at the leading edge of its category. Its new shape is much more taut and athletic, and its acceleration and cornering performance is dramatically improved to challenge the most capable German sports sedans. Comfort, quietness and ride quality are also substantially improved. The 2005 RL serves clear notice that Acura has upped the ante in its category.

The innovation built into the RL begins with the most powerful engine ever offered in a production Acura. The new 3.5-liter VTEC™ V-6 engine develops 300 horsepower (a remarkable 33-percent increase compared to its predecessor) and torque has risen to 260 lbs.-ft. (a 12-percent increase). In spite of developing much more power from the same displacement, the new RL engine meets much tougher emission standards and delivers comparable fuel economy as compared to its predecessor.

A new 5-speed automatic with Sequential SportShift, paddle shifters and Grade Logic Control sends power to the standard Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™) system, which dramatically elevates cornering capability. This innovative full-time system distributes power precisely front-to-rear and side-to-side in the rear. In addition to providing the expected traction advantages of all-wheel drive, SH-AWD does something no other current AWD system can: It increases the rotation speed of the outside rear wheel during aggressive cornering to help the car turn more effectively under power. This lessens the cornering load on the front tires to reduce understeer and improve handling balance and total cornering grip.

The extremely rigid Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure of the RL features extensive use of high-tensile steel and lightweight aluminum components to take construction beyond conventional safety protocols while keeping weight in check and providing a solid platform. Optimized independent front double-wishbone and independent multi-link rear geometry, larger brakes and aggressive new 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and tires work together to further enhance the reflexes of the RL.

The elegantly styled interior includes perforated leather-trimmed seats, fine wood accents and top-rate materials. These are complimented by the most advanced electronics available, including Acura Satellite-Linked Navigation System with Voice Recognition™, innovative AcuraLink™ satellite communication system with real time traffic, Active Noise Cancellation™ system (ANC), and a spectacular-sounding Acura/Bose® 10-speaker Surround Sound System with 6-disc CD, DVD-Audio and DTS® changer and AM/FM tuner. Safety is also enhanced with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), side curtain airbags, and standard OnStar® service.

These advances-and a lot more-combine in the all-new 2005 Acura RL; the strongest, most powerful, best handling and most luxurious sedan Acura has ever built.


  • Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™)
  • 5-speed automatic with Sequential SportShift, paddle shifters and Grade Logic Control
  • 3.5-liter VTEC™ V-6 engine
  • 300 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
  • 260 lbs.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm
  • VTEC™ (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) valvetrain
  • Drive-by-wire throttle system
  • Variable flow exhaust system
  • 11.0:1 compression ratio
  • High inertia dual-stage intake manifold
  • Direct ignition system and detonation/knock control
  • Computer-controlled Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI)
  • Meets CARB LEV-2 ULEV standard, which cuts NOx by 77% compared to LEV-I LEV of previous 3.5 RL
  • 105,000-mile tune-up interval


  • Unit body with extensive use of high-tensile steel and aluminum
  • Lightweight aluminum front and rear subframes
  • Heated outside mirrors with driver recognition, reverse gear tilt-down and integrated directional signals
  • Independent double-wishbone front suspension
  • Independent multi-link rear suspension
  • Electronically controlled, speed-sensing, power assist rack-and-pinion steering
  • 17 x 8-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
  • P245/50R17 98V high performance, all season tires
  • 4-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and brake assist
  • Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA®) with traction control
  • Xenon High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights with Active Front Lighting System (AFS)
  • LED backlit gauges with progressive illumination
  • Flush junction between side glass and B-pillars
  • Power moonroof with tilt, auto-open/close, auto-reverse and key-off operation


  • Acura/Bose® 10-speaker Surround Sound System with 6-disc CD, DVD-Audio and DTS® changer and AM/FM tuner.
  • Acura Satellite-Linked Navigation System with Voice Recognition™ and real time traffic allows communication between Acura and the vehicle
  • Active Noise Cancellation™ system (ANC)
  • Keyless Access System
  • HandsFreeLink™ wireless telephone interface compatible with Bluetooth mobile phones
  • Multi-information display
  • OnStar® service
  • GPS-linked, solar-sensing, dual-zone, dual-mode automatic climate control system
  • Driver's 8-way power seat with power adjustable lumbar support
  • Front passenger's 4-way power seat with power adjustable lumbar support
  • Electronic tilt and telescoping steering column with driver recognition
  • Power rear sunshade
  • Rear side sunshades
  • Remote retractable rear headrests
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel


  • Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure
  • Side impact door beams
  • Impact-absorbing crumple zones (front/rear)
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with location and pressure indicators
  • Driver's and front passenger's dual-stage, dual-threshold airbag Supplementary Restraint System (SRS)
  • Driver's and front passenger's side airbags with front passenger Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS)
  • Side curtain airbags for front and rear outboard seats
  • 3-point adjustable height seat belts with load limiters and front pretensioners
  • 3-point seat belts at all seating positions
  • Automatic Locking Retractor/Emergency Locking Retractors (ALR/ELR)
  • Front head restraints adjustable for height and tilt
  • Rear adjustable head restraints
  • LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) child-seat mounting system


V-6 powered sedans are the highest volume sellers in the RL segment. Because they represent the core of the market, Acura decided to build the best V-6 powered luxury performance sedan possible. Hence the 300-hp V-6 powered 2005 RL was created. Eschewing a V-8, which counts for only 15% of the vehicles sold in this market segment, meant not only that the RL would be lighter and more nimble, but also powerful and balanced.

Key 6-cylinder competitors in the RL segment include the BMW 530i, Audi A6, Lexus GS 300, and Mercedes-Benz E320. With its SH-AWD system as standard equipment, the RL has a distinct advantage over each of them. Only Audi and Mercedes-Benz offer all-wheel drive systems-but at considerable extra cost.


Powering the RL is a compact new aluminum-alloy 3.5-liter SOHC VTEC™ V-6 that is mounted transversely rather than longitudinally as in the previous 2004 3.5 RL. Significantly lighter, narrower by 1.4 inches and shorter by 2.4 inches, the new engine is also substantially more powerful, producing 300 hp and 260 lbs.-ft. of torque compared to 225 hp and 231 lbs.-ft., respectively, in the previous 3.5 RL.

The new engine is also cleaner, meeting stringent CARB LEV-2 ULEV emissions targets, which are significantly cleaner than the LEV standards of the previous 3.5 RL. Preliminary fuel economy figures are 18 mpg City/26 mpg Highway.

The RL comes standard with a 5-speed automatic with Sequential SportShift, paddle shifters and Grade Logic Control. Gears may also be shifted manually via a new multi-gate shifter located on the front center console.

The defining powertrain feature of the 2005 RL is Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive, or SH-AWD. The system continuously varies the torque split between the front and rear wheels, and left and right rear wheels. To help the RL arc through corners with better chassis balance and more total grip, in a turn SH-AWD also overdrives the outside rear wheel at a faster speed, using engine torque to help the car rotate into the turn.


The RL body fits its role as a mid-luxury sport sedan perfectly. It is taller, wider, and has a wider track than before, but it is also shorter overall. These dimensions, contribute to a more muscular appearance and a much more aggressive dynamic personality.

The new unit body structure is stiffer for improved handling precision, and utilizes a variety of steel grades in different areas where maximum strength is required. In addition, the hood, front fenders, trunk lid, front and rear subframes, bumper beams and major suspension components are manufactured from aluminum to reduce weight. Some of these components are formed using an advanced "blow forming" process that allows intricate shapes to be created without increasing the weight of the part.

Careful attention was paid to smoothing airflow over, under and around the body, across the flush side glass and across the windshield wipers. A cowl garnish was installed at the lower part of windshield to reduce air turbulence, while an advanced exterior-mirror design also contributes to improved quietness inside the car.

Exterior lighting is dramatically upgraded with the Active Front Lighting System (AFS). To help the driver see around corners or intersections, the left or right low beam headlight can swivel automatically up to 20 degrees outboard when certain steering angle and speed conditions are met. Xenon HID low-beam headlights, LED mirror integrated directional signals in the exterior mirror housings and Center High-Mounted Stop Lamp dramatically brighten visibility. Daytime Running Lights are standard for the first time on an Acura in the U.S., as is the Keyless Access System.

The independent front double-wishbone and independent multi-link rear suspension use aluminum arms and mount on aluminum subframes. Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA®) with traction control, large 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS and larger 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and tires set new standards for RL dynamic performance.


The interior of the 2005 Acura RL is more than just luxurious, sporty, and fully equipped with comfort and convenience features. That's because its AcuraLink™ satellite communication system includes the first ever U.S. application of real time traffic information. That means that in 20 U.S. metro areas , the RL driver will be able to see traffic tie-ups on major freeways in a graphic onscreen representation in real time. This allows drivers to re-route themselves to clearer traffic corridors without relying on ambiguous radio traffic reports.

Other features in the RL interior are equally appealing, beginning with its luxurious new styling, perforated leather-trimmed seats, and dramatic LED backlit gauges with progressive illumination. Premium technology defines the interior just as it does the powertrain and chassis. These technologies includes a GPS-linked, solar-sensing, dual-zone, dual-mode automatic climate control system, an Acura/BOSE® 10-speaker surround sound system with DVD-AUDIO 6-disc changer with 500 times the clarity of a typical CD system, MP3 and WMA capability and standard XM® Satellite Radio.

Premium features continue with Active Noise Cancellation™ (ANC), which neutralizes low-frequency booming sounds in the interior, and HandsFreeLink™, a hands-free phone interface that is compatible with many Bluetooth phones for a seamless cellular communication experience-in the car or away from it. Other technologies include a Multi-information display, OnStar® service, a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with location and pressure indicators, and the Maintenance Minder System.


With the RL, Acura embraces active as well as passive safety as essential goals. Active safety features that help a driver avoid an accident include SH-AWD, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA®) with traction control, and 4-wheel disc brakes. ABS and Brake Assist also help contribute to greater driver control. HID Xenon plasma-arc low-beam headlights and Active Front Lighting System (AFS) contribute to superior nighttime visibility.

The 2005 RL is the first Acura to feature the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure. It is designed to help dissipate collision forces, while enhancing crash protection for occupants and passengers in other vehicles. Excellent test results are anticipated for the government New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) collision tests and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests.

The RL features a driver's and front passenger's dual-stage, dual-threshold airbag Supplementary Restraint System (SRS). Side curtain airbags that provide head protection for all outboard seating positions are also standard equipment. The RL also has seat sensors that monitor the weight on the front passenger's seat and the position of the occupant. These automatically turn off the passenger's front airbag if they detect an infant or small child may be in the seat or the side airbag if the occupant is out of position.

Available OnStar® service notifies emergency services automatically if the RL is involved in any accident where the airbags deploy.

2005 Acura RL - Powertrain Part 1



The RL powertrain is a complete departure from that of its predecessor, the 3.5 RL. Though both vehicles feature 3.5-liter V-6 engines, the new RL benefits from VTEC, a 5-speed automatic with Sequential SportShift, paddle shifters and Grade Logic Control (in place of a 4 AT in the 3.5 RL) and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive in place of front drive in the 3.5 RL. Plus, there are hundreds of other differences, both minor and major. One of the most significant is that like other Acura vehicles, the crankshaft of the RL is now positioned transversely (side to side) instead of longitudinally (front to rear), as was the case in the 3.5 RL. This change allows the RL to be packaged more tightly for better handling agility, without sacrificing interior comfort.

The 60-degree aluminum-alloy 3.5-liter V-6 of the RL features architecture that's related to that of the powerplant in the 2004 MDX. Few parts are shared between the two engines, however; comprehensive changes give the RL powerplant an entirely different character than that of the MDX. This new engine is very lightweight and compact: Compared to the previous 90-degree V-6 in the 3.5 RL, the overall width (measuring across the "V") is 36 mm less, and the length (measuring along the crankshaft) is 61 mm shorter.

The advanced new VTEC™ engine develops 300 horsepower and 260 lbs.-ft. of torque, significantly more than the previous generation 3.5 RL (225 horsepower and 231 lbs.-ft.). Horsepower has increased by 33 percent and torque has risen by 12 percent. Despite this substantial performance upgrade, fuel economy (18/26estimated City/Highway) is better than that of the previous generation 3.5 RL (18/24 estimated City/Highway). And in terms of emissions performance, the RL meets CARB LEV-2 ULEV requirements, a much tougher standard than the LEV standard met by the 2004 3.5 RL.

While it is as powerful as some competitive V-8 engines, the high output V-6 in the RL is lightweight for better acceleration and more nimble handling. To put the power to the ground with a high level of efficiency, smoothness and driver control, the RL comes standard with a 5-speed automatic with Sequential SportShift with paddle shifters to allow finger-tip manual operation.

To maximize available traction and to provide exceptional handling balance and responsiveness, the RL comes standard with Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™), the first and only all-wheel-drive system that distributes the optimum amount of torque not only between the front and rear wheels but also between the left and right rear wheels. The system's direct yaw control makes the cornering character of the RL exceptionally neutral under power.

Powertrain Comparison

2005 Acura RL
2004 Acura 3.5 RL
2004 Audi A6 Quattro 3.0 with Tiptronic
2004 BMW 530i
2004 Lexus GS 300
3.5-liter SOHC VTEC™ V-6
3.5-liter SOHC V-6

3.0-liter DOHC 30-valve V-6

3.0-liter DOHC I-6
3.0-liter DOHC I-6
Horsepower @ rpm
300 @ 6200
225 @ 5200
220 @ 6300
225 @ 4900
220 @ 5800
Torque @ rpm (lbs.-ft.)
260 @ 5000
231 @ 2800
221 @ 3200
214 @ 3500
220 @ 3800
Standard transmission
5 AT
4 AT
5 AT
6 MT
5 AT
Estimated mileage City/ Highway
Emissions Standard
Drive System




  • 3.5-liter, SOHC, VTEC™ V-6 engine produces 300 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 260 lbs.-ft. of torque at 5000 rpm
  • VTEC™ (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control)
  • 11.0:1 Compression ratio
  • Two-piece, dual-stage intake manifold
  • Direct ignition system and detonation/knock control
  • Variable flow exhaust system
  • Drive-by-wire throttle system
  • Computer-controlled Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI)
  • Maintenance Minder System optimizes service intervals
  • 105,000-mile tune-up interval

Emissions/Fuel Economy

  • High flow close-coupled catalytic converters plus under floor catalytic converter
  • High capacity 32-bit RISC processor engine control unit
  • Meets CARB LEV-2 ULEV standard, which cuts NOx by 77% compared to LEV-I LEV of previous 3.5 RL
  • Estimated mileage of 18/26 mpg City/Highway

Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH)

  • 60-degree V-angle for inherently smooth operation
  • Automatically tensioned, maintenance free serpentine accessory drive
  • 5-speed automatic with Sequential SportShift, paddle shifters and Grade Logic Control
  • Quick-response Sequential SportShift allows semi-manual operation
  • Steering-wheel mounted manual-mode shift control paddles
  • Coordination between drive-by-wire throttle system and transmission makes for quicker, smoother shifts
  • Wide gear ratio spacing for strong acceleration and good fuel economy
  • Advanced shift-hold control limits upshifts during spirited driving
  • Advanced Grade Logic Control System reduces gear "hunting" when driving on steep hills

Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™)

  • Fully automatic, full-time traction and handling enhancing system
  • Distributes torque between the front and rear wheels and between the left and right rear wheels to directly control the yaw moment of the vehicle
  • Understeer is reduced when cornering
  • Maximum cornering grip is achieved by evening the load on each tire


The 3.5-liter VTEC™ V-6 in the RL is the most powerful production engine in Acura's history and incorporates many of the refinements and improvements that have been developed in other Acura powerplants. The RL engine has a smooth-firing 60-degree V-angle and compact overall dimensions. Aluminum alloy construction saves weight and improves cooling, while free-breathing VTEC™ cylinder heads operate four valves per cylinder.

A high inertia intake system, increased compression ratio, new close-coupled catalytic converters and high flow exhaust help make the RL engine the most powerful normally aspirated 6-cylinder engine in its class. Compared to the previous 3.5 RL, the new RL has gained a total of 75 horsepower. Of that total, the new high inertia intake manifold accounts for 15 horsepower. Another 40 horsepower was gained in internal engine efficiencies, and an additional 20 horsepower was netted by the variable flow-rate exhaust system.


The lightweight, heat-treated die-cast aluminum-alloy block has cast-in-place iron cylinder liners. These thin-wall, centrifugal-cast iron liners help reduce the block's overall length and weight. With their rough outer surfaces, these liners bond securely to the surrounding aluminum during the manufacturing process, enhancing liner-to-block rigidity and heat transfer. The block also incorporates a deep-skirt design for rigid crankshaft support and minimized noise and vibration.


The forged crankshaft of the RL is similar to that of the MDX, but with revised counterweights to accommodate the weight of higher compression pistons. With their taller, reinforced crowns, these new pistons raise the compression ratio (relative to the MDX) from 10.0:1 to 11.0:1. The previous generation 3.5 RL had a compression ratio of 9.6:1. The elevated compression ratio is a key element in the horsepower gain compared to the previous generation engine. Part of the reason this elevated compression ratio is possible is an oil jet system that sprays cooling oil on the underside of the piston crowns to keep temperatures in check. New steel connecting rods are forged in one piece and then the crankshaft ends are broken , creating a lighter and stronger rod with a perfectly fitted bearing cap.


Like the MDX and the TL, the RL uses cast alloy single overhead camshaft cylinder heads that incorporate tuned exhaust manifolds as an integral part of the casting. Made of pressure-cast, low-porosity aluminum, these lightweight components improve overall packaging, enhance exhaust flow and allow the optimal positioning of a primary close-coupled catalytic converter on each cylinder bank. To ensure positive sealing, the RL has a three-layer type head gasket like that of the MDX, TL and NSX. A single Aramid-fiber reinforced belt drives the overhead camshafts. The RL cylinder heads have 36mm diameter intake valves and 30mm diameter exhaust valves. As a point of reference, the MDX has 35mm intake and 30mm exhaust valves.


Acura VTEC™ (Variable Timing and Lift Electronic Control) is a new addition to the RL, and is a major contributor to the engine's large gains in horsepower and torque. The system operates the 12 intake valves in two distinct modes, so that the operation of the intake valves changes to optimize both volumetric efficiency and combustion of the fuel-air mixture. At low engine speeds, the intake valves have low lift and are open a comparatively short period of time during cylinder filling. At high engine speeds where breathing is critical, the valves switch to high-lift, long duration mode to deliver the best volumetric efficiency. The VTEC™ changeover point is undetectable to the driver and occurs at 4950 rpm.

The RL uses a 3-rocker VTEC™ system similar to that of the MDX and TL. This configuration allows each of a given cylinder's intake valves to be controlled by its own low-speed cam lobe, allowing for staggered valve opening and lift. (By comparison, with 2-rocker VTEC, a single low-speed cam lobe controls both intake valves for each cylinder).

Better mixing in the cylinders improves both combustion speed and combustion stability. When the engine reaches 4950 rpm, the powertrain control module (PCM) triggers the opening of an electric spool valve that routes pressurized oil to small pistons in the intake valve rocker arms. These pistons slide into position to lock together the three intake rockers in a given cylinder, which then follow a single high-lift, long-duration cam lobe. The intake and exhaust valve timing and duration is unique to the RL.


The 2005 RL uses a new dual-stage intake manifold that is designed to deliver maximum airflow, and accounts for 15 percent of the horsepower (out of 75 horsepower total) gained over the previous-generation 3.5 RL. The 2-piece cast-aluminum manifold is also very light. Compared to the one-piece, dual-stage unit used on the MDX, the RL manifold saves 2.6 lb.

Working in concert with the VTEC™ valve train, the induction system significantly boosts torque across the engine's full operating range. Internal passages and two butterfly valves commanded by the powertrain control module provide two distinct modes of operation.

These valves are closed at lower rpm. In this mode, the three cylinders on each bank draw air from only the nearer half of the manifold's internal chamber, or plenum. The volume of the plenum and the length of inlet passages are tuned to maximize the resonance effect, wherein pressure waves are amplified within each half of the intake manifold at certain rpm ranges. The amplified pressure waves significantly increase cylinder filling and the torque produced by the engine throughout the lower part of its rpm band. Funnel-shaped intake ports-similar to those used on racing engines-are built in at the uppermost end of each intake runner to improve airflow.

As the benefits of the resonance effect lessen with rising engine speed, the butterfly valves open at 4000 rpm to interconnect the two halves of the plenum, increasing its volume. An electric motor, commanded by the powertrain control module, controls the connecting butterfly valves. Now each cylinder draws intake air from the full plenum chamber. The inertia of the mass of air rushing down each intake passage helps draw in more charge than each cylinder would normally ingest. This phenomenon is the same effect produced by a low-pressure supercharger. The inertia effect greatly enhances cylinder filling and the torque produced by the engine at higher rpm.

Acceleration Device

Positioned at the front of the RL rear drive unit, the Acceleration device typically passes torque rearward to the rear axle at very close to a one-to-one ratio. In cornering, however, the Acceleration device's output shaft spins faster than its input shaft.

The Acceleration assembly uses a compact planetary gearset to achieve its speed increase. Hydraulic actuators operate clutch packs that control the planetary gearset. When the input shaft is locked with the planetary gear carrier, there is no ratio change (this is the straight-line mode). During cornering, the carrier is coupled with the case, and the output shaft speed increases up to five percent. A speed sensor at the hypoid gear, downstream of the Acceleration device provides a feedback loop to the SH-AWD Electronic Control Unit to ensure that the system is working properly.

Direct Electromagnetic Clutch Systems

Located on either side of the hypoid gear that drives the rear axle, two identical Direct Electromagnetic Clutch systems control the amount of drive torque that reaches each rear wheel, and provide limited-slip differential function. An electric coil controls the pressure applied to a clutch, which slows the sun gear in a planetary gearset to modulate the torque that is sent to the wheel. The amount of torque transmitted to each rear wheel can vary continuously, between zero and 100 percent, depending on the conditions.

Under deceleration (throttle closed) while cornering, torque to the outside rear wheel is varied to change from an inward to an outward yaw moment, helping vehicle stability. A search coil sensor allows the ECU to estimate the clutch plate coefficient of friction (which changes with heat,) and then adjusts voltage sent to the electromagnetic coil that controls the clutch to compensate. To ensure that the amount of torque transmitted remains optimized as miles and wear accumulate, a coil provides a feedback loop that the ECU uses to adjust voltage to the electromagnetic clutches to compensate for potential clutch wear.

2005 Acura RL - Powertrain Part 2


The RL power boost afforded by the new 11.0:1 compression ratio is made possible by a powertrain control module (PCM) that monitors engine functions to determine the best spark timing. An engine block mounted acoustic detonation/knock sensor "listens" to the engine; based on this input, the PCM retards the ignition timing incrementally to prevent potentially damaging detonation. The RL has iridium alloy-tipped sparkplugs, each with a coil unit positioned above it in the access bore.


The Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) system monitors the exact state of the exhaust gas and tracks multiple engine inputs including throttle position, intake air temperature, coolant temperature, intake manifold pressure, etc. Based on these inputs PGM-FI continuously adjusts and optimizes the amount of fuel delivered to each cylinder.


Like the NSX supercar and other Acura models, the RL utilizes a drive-by-wire throttle system that eliminates the need for a conventional throttle cable. The DBW system monitors various parameters like throttle pedal position, throttle valve position, road speed, engine speed and gear position, then adjusts the moment-to-moment relationship between pedal position and throttle opening. By altering the amount of "gain" between the pedal and butterfly valve, significant improvements in drivability and acceleration linearity are possible.

For smooth launches from a standing start the system has relatively little gain, so that engine response is smooth and progressive. At higher speeds, the gain increases to
provide responsive acceleration for passing and hill climbing. The Sequential SportShift automatic transmission and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA®) with traction control are fully integrated with Drive-by-Wire.


The exhaust manifolds of the RL are cast directly into the alloy cylinder heads to reduce weight and to put the engine's two primary catalytic converters as close as possible to the combustion chambers. The 600-cell per-square-inch, high-efficiency converters mount directly to the exhaust port of each cylinder head for extremely rapid converter light off after the engine starts. By eliminating traditional exhaust header pipes, this arrangement results in a significant weight savings.

A hydroformed 2-into-1 collector pipe carries exhaust gases to a single 350 cell-per-inch secondary converter under the passenger cabin. To balance the engine's need for proper exhaust backpressure at low speed and free flow at high speed, the exhaust system incorporates a variable flow rate feature. An exhaust pressure-operated valve in the system has two operating modes. The low speed mode has a flow rate of 130 liters per second; when the engine reaches about 4000 rpm, the exhaust pressure rises enough to open the valve, which increases the flow to 150 liters per second.


Although the new RL powerplant has made large power advances, it has also gotten much cleaner. It now meets the tough CARB LEV-2/ULEV emissions standards, and is certified to this level of emissions performance for 120,000 miles (20,000 more than required by the current LEV standard).

Many advanced technologies contribute to this emissions performance. The cylinder head-mounted close-coupled catalysts light off quickly after engine start up, and a 32-bit RISC microprocessor in the powertrain control module (PCM) boosts computing power to improve the precision of spark and fuel delivery. Particularly right after startup, better fuel atomization is provided by high-efficiency multi-hole fuel injectors; these deliver fuel to each cylinder and direct fuel around the intake valve stems.

Current CARB* Emission Standards (gram/mi.)

Standard NMOG* CO NOx Vehicle
TLEV @ 100k 0.156 4.200 0.600 -
LEV-I LEV @ 100k 0.090 4.200 0.300 '04 3.5 RL
LEV-I ULEV @ 100k 0.055 2.100 0.300 -
LEV-2 LEV @ 120k 0.090 4.200 0.070 -
LEV-2 ULEV @ 120k 0.055 2.100 0.070 '05 RL
LEV-2 SULEV @ 150k 0.010 1.000 0.020 -
ZEV 0.0 0.0 0.0 -

*California Air Resources Board

'04/'05 RL Emissions Comparison (gram/mi.)

Vehicle/Standard NMOG* CO NOx Certification mileage
'04 3.5 RL
0.090 4.200 0.300 100,000
'05 RL
0.055 2.100 0.070 120,000
'05 RL improvement
over '04 3.5 RL
39% 50% 77% 20%

*NMOG = Non Methane Organic Gas


With its 60-degree V-angle and compact, rigid and lightweight die-cast aluminum-alloy block assembly, the new RL powerplant is exceptionally smooth. Other factors that reduce noise and vibration are a rigid forged crankshaft, die-cast accessory mounts, and a stiff, cast aluminum-alloy oil pan.


The RL requires no scheduled maintenance until 105,000 miles, other than periodic inspections and normal fluid and filter replacements. This first tune-up includes water pump inspection, valve adjustment, and replacement of the cam-timing belt and sparkplugs.


To eliminate unnecessary service stops while ensuring that the vehicle is properly maintained, the RL has a Maintenance Minder System that automatically monitors the vehicle's operating condition. When maintenance is required, the driver is alerted via a message on the Multi-information display.

The system monitors operating conditions such as oil and coolant temperature and engine speed to determine the proper service intervals. Depending on the operating conditions, oil change intervals can be extended to a maximum of 10,000 miles, potentially sparing the owner considerable money and inconvenience over the life of the car. The owner-resettable system monitors all normal service parts and systems, including oil and filter, tire rotation, air-cleaner, automatic transmission fluid, spark plugs, timing belt, coolant, brake pads and more. To prevent driver distraction, maintenance alerts are presented when the ignition is first turned on, not while driving.


To maximize acceleration performance, fuel economy and driver control, the RL has a standard 5-speed automatic with Sequential SportShift, paddle shifters and Grade Logic Control. Mechanically related to the extremely compact transmission that made its debut in the 2003 MDX, the 2005 RL unit has upgrades and enhancements to suit the greater engine output and higher engine speeds of the RL.

Designed for low maintenance and a high level of durability, the RL transmission requires no scheduled service until 120,000 miles. To provide strong off-the-line acceleration coupled with a relaxed, fuel-efficient cruising rpm, the unit has the widest ratio spread of any 5-speed automatic transmission in the class.

Automatic Mode

The Sequential SportShift transmission can be operated in conventional fully automatic mode via a front center console-mounted gated shifter. When in automatic mode, the transmission incorporates an advanced Grade Logic Control System and Shift Hold Control, both of which work to reduce gear "hunting" and unnecessary shifting.

Shift Hold Control keeps the transmission in its current (lower) ratio when the throttle is quickly released and the brakes are applied (as might be the case when decelerating to enter a corner). Shift Hold Control leaves the chassis undisturbed by excess shifting, ensuring that abundant power is immediately available without a downshift.

Grade Logic Control alters the 5-speed automatic's shift schedule when traveling uphill or downhill, reducing shift frequency, and improving speed control. Throttle position, vehicle speed and acceleration/deceleration are continuously measured, then compared with a map stored in the transmission computer. The Grade Logic Control System then determines when the car is on a hill; if this is the case, the shift schedule is adjusted to automatically hold the transmission in a lower gear for better climbing power or increased downhill engine braking.

Manual Mode

The Sequential SportShift transmission can be shifted into manual mode by moving the front center console-mounted selector lever laterally to a special gate to the left of the "Drive" position. The RL offers two ways to change gears when in manual mode: either by a push or pull of the shift lever, or via F-1® style paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel. A digital display in the tachometer face indicates which gear the transmission is in. To heighten control and driver involvement, special shift logic in manual mode delivers quicker, firmer shifts than in fully automatic mode.

To help protect the engine and drivetrain from damage, an array of preventative features are active when the transmission is in manual mode. In second, third and fourth, the logic changes, and the transmission ECU cuts off fuel flow to the engine if there is a possibility of over revving.

In the rare situation where the fuel cutoff alone is unable to prevent engine over revving (as could happen on a steep downhill) the transmission will upshift itself to prevent engine damage. And finally, when downshifting, the transmission won't execute a driver-commanded downshift that would send the engine beyond redline in the lower gear. The Sequential SportShift transmission will automatically downshift to first gear as the vehicle comes to a stop, to prevent lugging away from a stop in a high gear.


The new RL benefits from a new 5-position shift gate that simplifies the operation of the transmission. It features a quiet linkage and a speed-controlled reverse lockout solenoid to prevent transmission damage. When operated in automatic mode, the transmission lets the driver choose D (1st through 5th gear) or D3 (1st through 3rd gear). Engine braking can be provided easily by moving from D to the D3 position, downshifting from 5th, 4th or 3rd gear, depending on the vehicle speed.


Both shift speed and smoothness have been improved by cooperation between the new Drive-by-Wire Throttle System and the electronically controlled automatic transmission. Now that the engine can be throttled by the engine management system during upshifts and downshifts, the function of the engine and transmission can be closely choreographed for faster, smoother shifting. As a result, the peak g's (or "shift shock") are reduced significantly during upshifts and downshifts.


Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™) is the first and only all-wheel-drive platform that distributes the optimum amount of torque not only between the front and rear wheels but also between the left and right rear wheels. SH-AWD goes a step beyond conventional all-wheel drive by actively controlling the torque delivered to each rear wheel during corning. The result is neutral, accurate steering when cornering under power that front-drive, rear-drive or conventional all-wheel-drive can't equal.

Torque splits are as follows:

  • During straight-line cruising and moderate cornering below about half throttle, up to 70 percent of the torque is delivered to the front wheels
  • In full-throttle straight line acceleration, up to 40 percent of the power is sent to the rear axle
  • In hard cornering, up to 70 percent of available torque goes to the rear wheels for enhanced chassis balance. Up to 100 percent of this torque can be applied to the outside rear wheel if the situation dictates.

SH-AWD ingeniously varies the amount of torque to the left and right rear wheels. When cornering, a planetary gear set overdrives (or accelerates) the outer rear wheel faster than the average of the front wheels to dramatically enhance the cornering, steering feel, overall handling and stability of the RL. The result is class leading cornering precision as well as enhanced traction.

Direct Yaw Control System Theory

SH-AWD counters understeer under power with the Direct Yaw Control System. Spinning the outside rear wheel faster than the average speed of the two front wheels allows the system to use engine power to yaw the vehicle while turning. By relieving the front tires of some of the work of turning the car, the system reduces understeer and the vehicle stays balanced and controllable. In addition, with the cornering load more evenly distributed between the front and rear tires, the total cornering grip is increased. In conventional cars, cornering is created almost entirely by the steering angle of the front tires; In the RL, cornering is created by steering angle of front tires combined with the extra drive torque supplied by the outside rear tire.

This is a significant advance over conventional drive systems. To deal with high power output, front- or rear-drive systems generally use some type of limited-slip device to maintain traction under power. The linking effect of the inside and outside drive wheels in these systems resists turning, however. This is a factor that works against the front tires as they attempt to turn the car. Conventional AWD systems have a similar linking effect between the inboard and outboard tires and front and rear axles, causing a similar resistance to turning. This is part of the reason why traditional AWD systems typically lack the more nimble feel of the best two-wheel drive systems. By using drive torque to actually help turn the car, the RL can be more responsive, neutral and predictable, while simultaneously offering all of the usual benefits of all-wheel drive.

Electronic Controls and Parameters

The logic and control of SH-AWD is integrated with the RL Engine Electronic Control Unit (ECU), and Vehicle Stability Assist ECU. The Engine ECU provides engine rpm, intake manifold pressure, and transmission gear ratio data. The VSA ECU provides data on lateral g, yaw rate, wheel rotation speed and steering angle. The SH-AWD ECU monitors the status of the acceleration device and the right and left Direct Electromagnetic Clutch torque. Traction is calculated based on the information from the engine ECU. Then the acceleration situation, lateral g and steering angle are used to set the torque split between the right and left rear wheels. At the same time, this data is used to set the acceleration device.

SH-AWD System Layout

SH-AWD is a full-time all-wheel drive system that requires no driver interaction for operation. A torque transfer unit is bolted directly to the front-mounted transaxle. Attached to the front wheel differential's ring gear is a helical gear that provides input torque to the transfer unit. A short horizontal shaft and a hypoid gear set within the case turn the propeller shaft ninety degrees and move it to the vehicle center line. A lightweight carbon fiber reinforced composite propeller shaft carries power to the rear drive unit.

The rear drive unit of the RL, unlike the MDX, contains three planetary gear and clutch sets. Torque from the propeller shaft passes through the first clutch/planetary gearset, which is as a unit called the Acceleration device.

Output torque from the Acceleration device is carried a short distance rearward to a hypoid gear that turns the output 90-degrees and drives the rear axle shafts. A matched pair of Direct Electromagnetic Clutch systems, one on each side, send power to each rear wheel. These clutch systems can be controlled as a pair to alter the front/rear torque split; depending on the situation, the rear wheels receive between 30 and 70 percent of the total engine output. The right and left Direct Electromagnetic Clutch systems can also be controlled independently, to allow up to 100 percent of the total rear axle torque to go to only one side of the vehicle.

2005 Acura RL - Chassis



Quick handling response, nimble performance, high dynamic capabilities, outstanding ride comfort and a fun-to-drive character were the design goals for the 2005 Acura RL chassis. The RL features a highly rigid unit body that provides an excellent platform for the four-wheel independent suspension (independent front double-wishbone with independent multi-link rear). Aluminum suspension components front and rear cut unsprung weight to allow for more supple and responsive suspension action and more consistent traction and handling on rough roads. The optimized suspension geometry of the RL works with new electronically controlled power steering, larger wheels and tires and the Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive system to give the RL exceptional handling balance in virtually every driving condition. Ride quality and road noise isolation were also the focus of substantial engineering effort, so even with its elevated sporting performance, the RL remains quiet and composed.


The 2005 RL was designed to compete squarely with the best luxury sedans from Germany and Japan in dynamic performance interior luxury appointments, features and quality.

The new suspension works with the SH-AWD system to provide superb handling precision. The suspension's optimized geometry provides linear cornering feel, outstanding dry and wet weather cornering capabilities, a flat ride, and a high level of controllability at all times. It also results in an increased feeling of precision and security for the driver and passengers alike.

Front Double-Wishbone Suspension

The front suspension is a double-wishbone type with an enlarged subframe mount and compliance bushing as compared to the 2004 3.5 RL. In addition, the dampers now feature rebound springs that reduce chassis attitude changes to ensure a flat ride during acceleration and cornering.

Specific improvement goals for the RL suspension included better response over rough roads, improved steering feel, optimized geometry, and overall component toughness. The steering knuckle (or upright), upper arm, lower arm and subframe are all lightweight aluminum.

Rear Multi-Link Suspension

The rear suspension is a multi-link type with a new enlarged subframe mount and a longer upper arm design. As a result the roll center is optimized for better turning response, cornering stability and control in extreme conditions.

The optimized geometry results in linear toe and camber changes during suspension travel. Improved roll stiffness also makes the RL corner flatter than the previous model. It also has anti-lift characteristics to reduce the pitching motion of the body during braking.

Harshness and road noise are also significantly reduced, and ride comfort is also measurably improved, thanks to these changes and a new compliance bushing.

Lightweight aluminum is used for weight savings in the control arms and subframe. The components are also stiffer to withstand the higher side loads that SH-AWD, larger tires and a stiffer unit body create.

Aluminum Hybrid Subframes

The RL front and rear aluminum subframes are composed with members made by high temperature bulge forming and high vacuum die casting. Both manufacturing techniques result in significantly lighter units than would be possible with either aluminum hydroform or steel hydroform processes.

To bulge-form these components, an aluminum tube is heated and pressurized with air inside a specially shaped die. The ability to shape the component under both heat and pressure means that less material can be used, lowering the overall weight of the finished component.

The aluminum hybrid subframes on the RL save over 17 lb. as compared to those of the Acura TL, and save nearly 40 lb. compared to comparable steel hydroformed subframes like those of the Acura TSX. The exact weight savings are shown below.

2005 Acura RL
2004 Acura TL
2004 Acura TSX
Front subframe
Aluminum hybrid
Aluminum hydroformed
Steel hydroformed
Rear subframe
Aluminum hybrid
Steel hydroformed
Steel hydroformed
Combined front/rear subframe weight savings
-39.6 lbs.
-22.0 lbs.


Buyers of premium sport luxury sedans expect them to deliver superior cornering precision. Since tires directly affect cornering loads, the RL is equipped with the largest tires ever offered on a production Acura sedan. Original equipment is a Michelin P245/50R17 98V high performance, all season tire that delivers outstanding cornering and is M+S (Mud and Snow) rated. This tire is 20mm wider (0.8 in.) wider, and an inch larger in wheel diameter, than the 225/50 R16 tire found on the 2004 model. The tire's capability is further enhanced by the standard SH-AWD system (see Engine & Powertrain section for more information).
An 18-inch accessory wheel and summer tire package will be available as a dealer-installed item. The RL spare tire is a temporary T155/70D17.


The RL wheels are 17 x 8J-inch cast aluminum alloy. They are an inch larger in diameter and one inch wider than the 16 x 7JJ-inch units found on the 2004 3.5 RL. The spare wheel is a 17 x 4T unit.


Precise steering performance is an essential facet of the RL. The goals were to combine a light, but linear steering feel at low speeds with a solid steering feel at high speeds. Together with the neutral handling characteristics of the chassis, the RL is engineered to feel like a smaller car than it actually is to the driver.

Compared to traditional mechanically controlled hydraulic power steering, the speed-sensing steering assist unit in the RL is controlled electronically. As a result, it provides a very linear and direct steering feel regardless of vehicle speed. In particular, the on-center feel is very precise and linear, with no discernible "dead spot."


Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA®) is standard equipment on the RL. It uses electronic traction control and ABS functions, combined with a yaw and longitudinal/lateral acceleration sensors to quickly detect if the vehicle is about to understeer or oversteer. It then reduces engine output and applies one or more individual brakes, to stabilize the vehicle-often before the driver is even aware of the instability.


In keeping with the athletic capabilities of the RL, Acura designers upgraded the 4-wheel disc brakes to create a true high-performance system. They targeted the braking performance of top-level competitors from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz as the benchmark to meet and exceed.

New 12.6-inch cast-iron ventilated front rotors use aluminum 4-piston calipers. These multi-piston calipers are extremely rigid, and are derived from racing applications. In back, 12.2-inch cast-iron ventilated discs attach to their hub with lightweight aluminum collets and are gripped by one-piston aluminum calipers.

The 2005 RL includes Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), which automatically adjusts the front/rear brake pressure to suit conditions, while an anti-lock braking system (ABS) helps the driver retain directional control in hard braking situations. Also included is 4-channel Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA®).

Brake Assist

Brake Assist helps drivers apply full braking pressure in an accident avoidance situation. To do so, a microprocessor continually analyzes and "learns" the driver's normal braking habits-monitoring both the rate of pressure applied and the total pressure that the driver normally applies to the brake system.

If the driver suddenly applies the brakes, Brake Assist brings the system to full ABS activation to help stop the vehicle in the shortest distance possible. It is only activated when the microprocessor detects that certain brake pedal speed and pressure thresholds are reached.

Importantly, Brake Assist assists the driver in obtaining full braking performance in an emergency. The Brake Assist system deactivates when the driver releases pressure on the brake pedal.


The onboard Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with location and pressure indicators warns the driver when the air pressure lowers in any tire. This helps reduce the chance of losing control of the vehicle due to low air pressure. This is important because a slow leak, such as might be caused by a nail embedded through the tread, might not be detectable immediately but would, in time, cause significant air loss, loss of grip and potentially a blowout.

A sensor mounted on each wheel continually monitors tire pressure and sends a coded signal to an initiator located inboard of the tire on the chassis. The information is then sent to an electronic control unit that compares the values of each tire against an acceptable set of values.

When a tire's pressure drops significantly below the proper specification, a "CHECK TIRE PRESSURE" alert appears on the MID alert screen. The system can display the air pressure in all four tires simultaneously via the MID, making it simple to locate a low tire. If there is a fault in the system, a "CHECK TPMS SYSTEM" alert appears.

At the driver's preference the display can continually show the air pressure in all four tires. Regardless of whether the driver chooses to monitor the pressures, a warning will still occur if a tire drops below specification.

2005 Acura RL - Body Part 1



The 2005 Acura RL combines its dynamic new exterior and interior design with advanced body and chassis engineering. The result is distinctive and appealing styling, together with super maneuverability on the road. To ensure that the RL has exceptional dynamic capabilities and driving quality, it is outfitted with a lightweight and highly rigid body structure that makes extensive use of both high-tensile steel and aluminum components, and features 4-wheel independent suspension.


When Acura designers began work on the 2005 RL they wanted to create a taut and athletic shape that conveyed the new performance capabilities of the car without sacrificing the comfort and capability the previous model had achieved.

To create an exhilarating, athletic sedan, the designers targeted much higher dynamic performance, superb maneuverability, distinctively appealing styling, and a high level of active safety. The result is a top-flight luxury performance sedan that is primed to compete with the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E Class and others.

Design Image

Acura designers set out to create the RL with a much more pronounced sporting edge than in the past. To help craft his image, styling cues included the following:

  • Taut, athletic body design with European influence
  • Aerodynamic lines with low drag and high stability
  • Low hood line for increased forward visibility and reduced aerodynamic drag
  • Flush side glass for reduced wind noise
  • Short tail for reduced aerodynamic drag and improved maneuverability

Aero Sculpture

The aerodynamic properties of the new RL complement the styling, safety, dynamic performance, stability, human factors and other considerations. To achieve this high-performance exterior, the RL designers created a strong wedge shape that begins its "momentum" with the hood, continues it with a forward-mounted windshield, and finishes with a short rear overhang. Aerodynamic cabin has flush side glass for reduced drag and wind noise. Along with outstanding aero performance, it is designed to look like it moves fast.


The packaging goal for the 2005 Acura RL was to create a shorter body with reduced overhangs and wider interior dimensions for enhanced comfort and convenience. In comparison to the 2004 3.5 RL, the RL body is three inches shorter with a wheelbase more than four inches shorter. The body is also an inch wider and 2.6 inch taller. The result is enhanced handling capability and maneuverability, and increased passenger volume from 96.2 to 99.1 cu. ft.

2005 Acura RL
2004 Acura 3.5 RL
Length, in.
- 3.0
Width, in.
+ 1.1
Height, in.
+ 2.6
Wheelbase, in.
- 4.4
Track, Front/Rear, in.
+ 1.1/1.8
Curb weight, lb.
+ 91
Weight distribution, %, F/R
- 1/+ 1

Controlling the weight of the RL was important to ensure maximum acceleration, road holding and braking performance. The use of lightweight materials and weight-saving design resulted in a weight gain of only 92 pounds over the previous 3.5 RL, to 3,984 lbs. This modest gain is remarkable, given the dramatically higher vehicle content level, which includes the standard SH-AWD system, side curtain airbags and many other features.

The 2005 Acura RL compares very favorably to its competitors in its class in overall packaging and curb weight. Even though it is equipped with all-wheel drive, its weight is comparable to that of rear-wheel drive competitors and significantly below key competitors with all-wheel drive.

Compared to other vehicles in the RL competitive set, including the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Jaguar S-Type, Lexus GS 300 and Mercedes-Benz E Class, the RL is the only vehicle with a standard AWD system, and the only one to offer SH-AWD. The RL is also longer and wider, with significantly wider front and rear track, than its competitors.

In the chart below, boldface type highlights 2005 Acura RL packaging advantages.

2005 Acura RL
2004 Audi A6 3.0 with AT
2004 BMW 530i with A/T
2005 Jaguar S-Type 3.0-Liter
2004 Lexus GS 300 Sedan
2005 Mercedes-Benz E320
Drive system
AWD system
Length, in.
Width, in.
Height, in.
Wheelbase, in.
Track, Front/Rear, in.
Curb weight, lb.
Weight distribution, %, F/R


Light Weight

Producing a lightweight and rigid unit body was essential to meet engineering goals for the new RL as a premium luxury sport sedan. This is because light weight improves every aspect of dynamic performance and fuel economy, and a rigid structure improves ride and handling.

Specific RL strategies that were employed to reduce body mass include:

  • Aluminum hood, fenders and trunk lid
  • Aluminum front and rear subframes, suspension arms and bumper beams
  • Magnesium cylinder head covers and seat frames
  • Carbon fiber reinforced composite drive shaft Structural Solidity

The 2005 Acura RL was also designed with the goal of creating an automobile body which provides world-class safety. It was engineered to comply with the latest FMVSS 208 occupant crash protection standard and FMVSS301 fuel system integrity standard.

One of the most difficult test modes to achieve is the side collision that models the impact of a RL being struck from the side by an SUV or a pickup.

To meet these important benchmarks, engineers increased the side section of the frame to comply with new collision regulations (see Safety section for more information). They also chose different material specifications to provide the desired level of stiffness and strength for critical areas, without adding unnecessary weight.

  • The use of aluminum for the front and rear bumper beams, hood, trunk lid and front fenders saves 40 lbs. compared to steel
  • Extremely strong Grade 80 high-tension steel is used for the side sills, under-floor spars, and in the impact-absorbing crumple zones at the front of the side frames
  • Strong high tension Grade 45 steel is used on the front shock mounts, areas of the front passenger-compartment bulkhead, areas of the front subframe mounts, and rear structure
  • The rest of the body is constructed with Grade 60 steel

The overall result is that bending and twisting rigidity for the unit body is superior to that of the 2004 3.5 RL. The 2005 RL also has enhanced crashworthiness with no additional weight penalty.

Aluminum Components

The lightweight aluminum hood, front fenders and trunk are formed with an innovative process called blow forming to achieve complex and pleasing shapes with a high level of quality, low cost and light weight. First the raw aluminum panels are placed in a heated mold and warmed to 500 degrees. Then they are forced into the mold with a high-pressure gas. The result is perfectly formed complex shapes that are not possible with traditional stamping methods.

For rigidity, the trunk lid is composed of an inner structural panel and an outer body panel. This 2-piece aluminum structure is crimped together with a self-piercing rivet that makes the lid highly durable.

Door Construction

Safety in side collisions, along with the pursuit of a quality door-closing sound, drove engineers to design all-new door structures. Beams were applied for side-impact safety in both the front and rear doors.

There is no mistaking the quality sound a well-engineered door makes as it is closed. By positioning door's center of gravity (the height at which its weight is centered) at the same height as the latch, audible vibration and thus the closing sound can be improved. For improved entry and exit the rear doors now open 80 degrees.

Trunk opening

The trunk opening is reinforced to retain rigidity while providing a large, low opening for easier loading. Inside, the opening is finished to hide the hinges and to cover the rain gutters (see Interior section for more information).

Windshield Wipers

To decrease wind noise levels and improve appearance, the RL incorporates hidden pivots and wiper arms for its speed-sensing, variable intermittent windshield wipers. The pivots are hidden underneath the trailing edge of the hood line to reduce noise levels and enhance appearance.

The use of a hidden windshield wiper pivot is a world's first. The hidden pivot improves aerodynamic efficiency and reduces visual distraction when the wiper reverses direction. A new cowl garnish below the windshield wipers also reduces wind noise, contributing to a significant reduction in wind noise.

Another advantage of hiding the wiper pivot is enhanced outward visibility. Hiding the pivot increases the passenger's forward visibility.

2005 Acura RL - Body Part 2


The highly efficient aerodynamic drag figure of 0.29 for the 2005 Acura RL pays dividends in the form of lower wind noise, improved fuel economy, increased performance, and enhanced stability on the highway. An air dam reduces front lift force. An engine undercover and floor undercovers further smooth airflow, as do muffler covers and a rear diffuser, which help rear differential's cooling and result in rear lift force reduction.


The RL features the first Active Front Lighting System (AFS) ever on an Acura. It also has Xenon High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights, 55-watt fog lights, and daytime running lights. All are standard equipment.

In the Active Front Lighting System, the left low-beam unit can swivel left, and the right low beam can swivel right, to improve illumination while cornering, or to illuminate around the corner of an intersection. This allows the driver advance warning if a pedestrian, object or animal is in the way. Each light can swivel up to 20 degrees outboard, with the amount determined based on the vehicle speed and steering input.

The system uses the following components:

  • Steering angle sensor
  • Vehicle speed sensor
  • Reverse switch (cancels AFS when car is backing up)
  • Control switch (turns off AFS at driver's discretion)
  • Instrument panel warning light (illuminates when AFS is turned off)
  • Control unit swivels the headlight low beam projector unit via a gearbox and step motor

AFS swivels either the left or right headlight (not both together) when the following conditions are met:

  • Steering angle is over 12 degrees
  • Vehicle speed is 5 mph or higher (left-hand turns only)
  • Right-hand headlight will swivel even if vehicle is stopped
  • Swivel cancels when speed drops to 3 mph (left-hand turns only)


Traditional headlight bulbs illuminate a tungsten filament inside a sealed bulb containing halogen gas. Xenon HID low-beam bulbs, however, use a high voltage current that passes between two electrodes to create a plasma arc. This accounts for their brightness and "daylight-like" illumination.

They are also superior to tungsten-halogen bulbs in lumens, or lighting power. The Xenon HID bulbs on the RL provide a lighting pattern that is both longer and wider than that of the 2004 3.5 RL. In addition, the tungsten-halogen high beams provide a wider illumination spread than before. The low beams on the 2005 RL have a brightness of 825 lumens, compared to 692 lumens for the previous generation RL. For the driver, these advances mean even better illumination for enhanced confidence and safety.

The RL Xenon HID low-beam headlight bulbs have a projected life span of 1,500 hours compared to 1,000 hours for a normal bulb.

LED Lighting

The RL also features advanced Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting systems. These include LED mirror integrated directional signals, each of which features bright LEDs to alert motorists who are alongside when the RL driver is planning to change lanes or make a turn.

Each taillight/brake light assembly has an array of 28 LEDs. The taillights use 14 LEDs, arranged as the perimeter of a circle, and the brake lights use an additional 14 LEDs. When the brakes are applied, all 28 LEDs light up, illuminating the entire area.

The center high-mounted stop lamp (CHMSL) also uses LEDs. The projected service life of the RL LEDs is 2,000 hours.

Daytime Running Lights

The RL features Daytime Running Lights (DRL) for the first time in an Acura in the U.S.


To minimize repair costs in minor, low-speed collisions, the RL has 5-mph bumpers front and rear.


The elimination of undesirable noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) in the 2005 Acura RL was of primary concern to development engineers. Virtually everything that could be the source of these traits was scientifically reviewed and modified during the planning and prototype phases.

Acura wanted to provide RL clients with 300 hp, all-wheel drive and large-diameter high-performance tires for advanced handling characteristics. At the same time, they wanted the car to remain refined and nearly silent for highway cruising and have a stirring high-performance engine sound during acceleration. These attributes, along with low NVH and light overall vehicle weight, were achieved through the application of innovative technology.

The new RL is dramatically quieter than the 2004 3.5 RL in terms of high frequency and middle-frequency noise attenuation. Acura's internal testing also shows that it is also significantly better than the Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E320. Road noise attenuation is also significantly improved over both smooth and rough roads.

As part of the mission to control weight in the new RL, Acura used lightweight materials wherever possible in the sound-absorbing package, including lightweight sound insulators instead of traditional heavier materials. In addition, the RL represents Acura's first use of an Active Noise Cancellation™ system (ANC). See Interior section for more information.

Main RL NVH countermeasures:


  • Engine mounting system including a hydraulic lower transmission mount
  • Variable volume mufflers
  • Hood insulator
  • Engine cover and undercover


  • Acoustic roof lining
  • Acoustic front and rear inner fender insulator with high-frequency damping materials


  • Lightweight floor insulator
  • Floor undercover


  • Floating front and rear subframes with four mounting points


  • ANC system for noise control (see Interior section for more information)
  • Lightweight instrument panel damping materials
  • Thinsulate insulation in selected areas


  • Acoustic design with side, front and lid linings


The side power windows on the RL are made of glass that is 5 mm thick to reduce cabin noise. Each window features an auto-open and auto-close function as well as an anti-pinch safety feature and key-off operation.


The 2005 Acura RL is the first car in the world to have totally flush side glass where it meets the B-pillars. Normally, a gap of about 5 mm exists between side glass and the B-pillar. But on the '05 RL, the window guide is on the glass instead of the window frame, which allowed the gap to be eliminated. This means there is one continuous uninterrupted plane running along the front side window, across the B-pillar and all the way to the trailing edge of the rear side window. The benefit is a further reduction in wind noise and an even cleaner, high quality appearance.


To reduce wind rush and turbulence, exterior mirror housings need to be small and aerodynamic, without unnecessarily reducing the mirror area. On the RL, the power mirror element is precisely sized to fit inside a compact housing that reduces these unwanted characteristics.

The airflow between the mirror housing and the side window glass is likewise crucial for reducing turbulence and noise. Engineers designed this gap as an expanding V-shape, with the gap narrower at the front and wider at the rear. This helps the airflow decelerate as it flows across the glass, instead of accelerating as it would if the V-angle were to decrease. The result is smoother airflow and less mid- and high-frequency noise.


The exterior paint on the 2005 Acura RL uses an environmentally conscious water-based process. The painting procedure begins with an electrodeposition (ED) primer, which is electrically charged in the paint bath. After the ED primer is applied, it is cured at high temperature to improve corrosive durability.

Next comes a primer-surfacer (PS) that is hand sanded to ensure a smooth surface for better appearance. After a waterborne color basecoat (BC) is applied, a pair of clear coats provide depth while helping to protect the base coat from air pollution, acid rain and fog.

Nine different exterior colors are available, including four metallic colors and five pearl colors. These are selectively available with three different interior colors. The chart below shows the available exterior/interior color combinations (see Interior section for more information).

Premium White Pearl
Opulent Blue Pearl
Redondo Red Pearl
Carbon Gray Pearl
Meteor Silver Metallic
Nighthawk Black Pearl
Lakeshore Silver Metallic
Celestial Silver Metallic
Desert Mist Metallic

2005 Acura RL - Interior Part 1



The RL interior is designed to integrate richly elegant luxury and cleanly efficient design, to create an environment in tune with the car's clearly defined sporting character. At the same time, the interior makes the most advanced technology ever built into an Acura easy to use and intuitive to operate. Careful integration of the many advanced systems ensures that they add to the driver's comfort, control and understanding of the driving situation, and never detract from it. The finest interior materials and exacting attention to detail and finish highlight the quiet interior. Stylish and highly supportive perforated leather-trimmed seats are designed to provide a sporty, yet refined driving experience.

The RL feature list is now even more comprehensive, with a standard Acura/Bose DVD-Audio system that delivers surround sound in all seating positions, and XM® Satellite Radio. The Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition is standard, and features a large 8-inch screen. The all-new AcuraLink™ satellite communication system incorporates the first ever U.S. delivery of real time in-car traffic information.

With the Acura HandsFreeLink™ system that lets the driver dial a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone by voice, OnStar® service, and Satellite-based AcuraLink™ that allows communication between the RL owner and Acura, there's never been a more "connected" vehicle than the RL. The RL is also the first Acura equipped with the Keyless Access System, which allows owners to lock and unlock doors, open the trunk, and start the car without having the keyless remote in the hand.

Interior at a Glance

  • Luxurious cockpit designed for performance driving
  • Perforated leather-trimmed seats
  • Genuine curly maple wood trim
  • LED backlit gauges with progressive illumination
  • Leather-wrapped 4-spoke steering wheel with illuminated fingertip controls and paddle shifters
  • Electronic tilt and telescoping steering column with driver recognition
  • Performance-oriented heated front seats
  • Driver's 8-way power seat with power adjustable lumbar support
  • GPS-linked, solar-sensing, dual-zone, dual-mode automatic climate control system
  • Multi-information display allows access to multiple electronic functions
  • Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™
  • AcuraLink™ satellite communication system with real time traffic allows communication between Acura and the vehicle
  • HandsFreeLink™ wireless telephone interface is compatible with many Bluetooth mobile phones
  • Acura/Bose® 10-speaker Surround Sound System with 6-disc CD, DVD-Audio and DTS® changer and AM/FM tuner.
  • Active Noise Cancellation™ system (ANC)
  • Interface Dial provides quick, intuitive access to navigation, audio, climate control and other features
  • New-generation OnStar® service provides 24-hour assistance
  • Keyless Access System eliminates fumbling for keys or keyless remote
  • Power moonroof with tilt, auto-open/close, auto-reverse and key-off operation


The quality of materials, fit and finish have received close attention to reflect the spirit of the new RL. Genuine curly maple wood trim sweeps across the instrument panel. The large, bright navigation system display is positioned up high, in the center of the instrument panel within easy line of sight of the driver and passenger. Below the navigation system screen, the satin metal finish of the climate, audio and navigation controls has a clean, technical look.


Acura interior design has always made intuitive functionality a priority. All important systems and controls are within easy reach of the driver. The systems used most frequently-audio, cruise control, HandsFreeLink™, Satellite-Linked Navigation System and Multi-information display-have controls positioned on the steering wheel. The main instrumentation is easy-to-read analog, supplemented with digital and graphic displays. Even though the RL gives its driver access to many electronic features and conveniences, the interface is simple and welcoming. Sight lines are clear with important items placed within easy view.

Typical of Acura interior design, the soft-touch switchgear of the RL is engineered to deliver a quality feel and positive action. Helpful features make driving easier, like power rearview mirrors that can be set to automatically tilt-down when reverse is engaged to make parking simpler. There is also a new bottom-hinged throttle pedal with a more linear feel and natural motion. A large dead pedal in the driver's foot well provides extra support for the driver in aggressive driving.


The leather wrapped steering wheel incorporates the most commonly used controls, allowing the driver to keep their hands on the wheel while using them. Audio system controls are on the upper left spoke, while cruise control buttons are on the right upper spoke. The lower left spoke is reserved for navigation system controls, including a push-to-talk button to activate the voice recognition system which provides voice control of the navigation system, as well as many climate control and audio system features.

Also on the left, between the spokes, are controls for HandsFreeLink™, while on the right between the spokes are controls for the Multi-information display. Tucked out of view, but within fingertip reach, is a pair of paddles that upshift and downshift the Sequential SportShift transmission when it is in manual mode.


Most of the commonly used electronic functions have dedicated controls positioned on the instrument panel or on the steering wheel. Voice control of navigation, climate control, audio and communications functions is likewise available, while a Interface Dial positioned just ahead of the front center console-mounted shift lever provides another avenue of control. The Interface Dial is rotated and rocked like a joystick to select among function menus displayed on the navigation screen. A push of the controller selects the highlighted item. Functions controlled by the Interface Dial include:

  • Audio
  • Navigation
  • Climate Control System
  • AcuraLink™ satellite communications system


Given the performance capabilities and luxury mission of the RL, its passenger seating required extensive engineering development. The front seats in particular had to blend long-trip comfort with the secure lateral support needed, given the cornering potential afforded by the advanced SH-AWD system. As a result, the front seats are taller and wider than in the past, which also allows them to accommodate a wide range of body types. The RL seat cushions use a special urethane with high damping coupled with a new wider "S" spring design for better support of the urethane padding. These features work together to reduce the road and engine vibration transmitted to the passenger.

The driver's seat is 8-way power adjustable and includes a power-adjustable lumbar support mechanism. The smooth shape of the articulated lumbar mechanism matches the human spinal curvature to provide solid support for the torso and pelvis. All driver's seat power adjustments except power adjustable lumbar support are included in the Keyless Access System, which stores a pair of user profiles, one for each of the two fobs that come with the RL.

The front passenger seat is 4-way power adjustable with lumbar support. In the rear seat area, the outer seating positions are carefully engineered-complete with side bolsters-to combine luxurious comfort on long trips with solid lateral support.

In front, 4-way headrests are adjustable for height and tilt. In back, all of the three headrests have a remote retractable feature that allows the driver to lower them with a touch of an overhead button for better rearward visibility when there are no rear-seat passengers. When carrying rear passengers, the headrests can be raised manually for use.


A highly functional instrument panel gives the RL driver instant access to critical information. It also provides important vehicle information via an LCD Multi-information display positioned in the lower speedometer face. The Multi-information display shows vehicle mileage and trip mileage. Controls positioned at the 4 o'clock position of the steering wheel hub allow the driver to cycle the display through multiple screens of information.

Trip computer functions include average and instantaneous fuel economy, average speed, fuel range, and elapsed time. The system also can display outside air temperature, engine oil life as a percentage, SH-AWD torque distribution, and tire pressures. The Maintenance Minder System alerts the RL driver of upcoming maintenance needs via the Multi-information display ; should a fault occur with the vehicle, warning information also appears (see Engine section for more information).


The theme of efficient driver control and easy to read components carries on after dark in the RL. The analog instruments are LED backlit, with high-contrast markings and a subdued blue accent hue. The progressive self-illuminating gauge package gives the car a "welcoming" feel. When the door is first opened, the instrument lighting comes to life, and then brightens progressively to 100 percent when the ignition is switched on. The illuminated instrument needles and enunciator lights then come alive, indicating that the car is ready to go. At the end of the drive, the instrument lighting dims progressively.

All the interior switches are illuminated to make them easy to locate at night, including those on all four doors and the steering wheel. In addition to front and rear overhead interior lights and map lights, the RL also has a complement of low-level interior ambient cabin lighting. Blue front and rear low-level ambient lighting in the ceiling illuminates the front center console and the rear flip-down armrest. The front foot wells also have low-level ambient lighting that brightens substantially when the doors are opened.

Front and rear interior door handle areas are also illuminated to make them easy to find, and the front door storage compartments, glove compartment and the front armrest compartment are all internally illuminated. All four doors have courtesy lights that are illuminated when the doors are open. The RL interior lights feature "theater dimming," which can be set by the driver to any of several rates via the Multi-information display. The trunk has interior lighting, plus the trunk lid has lighting that illuminates the bumper and sill area when the lid is opened.


The RL interior offers plenty of storage and convenience features for driver and passengers. The front center armrest has a unique dual lid, which allows the padded armrest to be used on one side, while the lid on the other side is opened. The armrest upper portion can also be swiveled up to allow access to a large lower storage compartment. The front double beverage holder has an adjustable bottom tray that allows it to accommodate a wide range of container sizes.

Inside the glove compartment is a separate document box that allows the RL User Manual and important registration and insurance papers to be stored safely. This arrangement also frees up storage space in the main glove box compartment.

In the rear seating area, the rear folding armrest has a padded top. A pullout dual beverage holder is built into the rear armrest.


The RL has a generously sized 13.1 cubic-foot trunk that is fully finished, with all wiring concealed and the rear parcel shelf speakers and navigation unit fully protected. The acoustic properties of the trunk and the three rear deck speakers were engineered together to create the best possible sound performance out of the Acura/Bose DVD-AUDIO system. To allow room for longer items, a locking trunk pass-through is provided. A standard cargo net and a network of anchor points help keep cargo securely in position. The spare tire is located under a folding cover in the trunk floor.

For a cleaner appearance and to avoid damage to luggage, the aluminum trunk lid is supported by fully concealed hinge mechanisms. The trunk can be opened via a remote release mounted on the driver's door panel, by pulling the exterior release on the lid when carrying the Keyless Access fob, or with a manual release accessible through the locking trunk pass-through. There is also an emergency trunk opener inside, near the latch. For security, the trunk main switch is located in the glove box, which can be locked to prevent access by valets. A valet key is provided that will allow a parking attendant to operate the ignition, but will not to open the glove box, trunk, or locking trunk pass-through.


The RL has a GPS-linked, solar-sensing, dual-zone, dual-mode automatic climate control system that lets the driver and front passenger set temperature modes to their individual liking. A pair of large adjustable vents in the rear of the center console keep the rear seat area comfortable. Large, simple to use system controls are positioned within easy reach, just below the center instrument panel vents. The system can also be controlled by voice, and some seldom-needed custom settings can also be accessed through the Interface Dial. The climate control system's control logic is now designed to provide smoother operation with less pronounced and obvious changes in airflow.

With its position-sensing ability, the navigation system contributes to overall passenger comfort with 3D solar sensing. Based on its continuously updated vehicle position information, the navigation system determines the position of the sun relative to the driver and passenger. Combining this information with input from a solar sensor located on top of the instrument panel, the climate control system automatically adjusts the temperature and airflow from side to side as needed to compensate for asymmetrical solar heating.

System operation can be customized to suit the preferences of the driver and front seat passenger. Using the navigation screen and the Interface Dial, the temperature of the air flowing through the upper vents can be lowered relative to that of the air flowing from the footwell vents.


For greater passenger comfort on sunny days, the RL has a power operated rear-window sunshade, plus manually operated sunshades for each rear side window.

The 2005 RL introduces a new technology to North America, Active Noise Cancellation™ (ANC), which is designed to dramatically reduce low frequency exhaust booming noise in the interior. The system operates whenever the car is running, regardless of whether the Acura/Bose audio system is on or off.

There are two microphones in the headliner, one just behind the front overhead console, and another just ahead of the overhead rear light module. The microphones capture low-end drivetrain frequencies entering the cabin, and send a signal to the Active Noise Cancellation unit. The control unit then creates a precisely timed reverse phase audio signal that is sent to an amplifier, which powers the door speakers and the subwoofer positioned on the rear deck.

Since the system is designed to cancel low-frequency sound, it doesn't use any of the audio system's tweeters. The ANC dramatically reduces the booming sound of the exhaust, front and rear. In the frequency range below 100 hertz, ANC results in an impressive 10 dB reduction in noise level.


The overhead console incorporates a variety of useful features. Controls for the standard OnStar® service system are located here, as is the standard HomeLink® system. Other overhead console features include controls for interior lighting, power sunroof, power rear sunshade and remote retracting rear headrests.


Like the innovative and widely heralded TL audio system, the RL comes standard with a DVD-Audio entertainment system that is engineered to advance the state of the art in production car audio. The ultra-sophisticated system of the RL provides the driver and passengers with a new level of audio enjoyment utilizing the Bose® Cabin Surround® sound system.

Engineered specifically for the RL, the Acura/BOSE 10-speaker Surround Sound System with 6-disc CD, DVD-Audio and DTS changer and AM/FM tuner delivers surround sound to all seating positions and features standard XM® Satellite Radio. XM® Satellite Radio provides more than 100 channels (all 68 music channels are commercial-free) of digital program material with near-CD quality sound. A text display on the navigation screen provides information text on the program material. XM® provides virtually uninterrupted coverage of the 48 contiguous states, and a one-year subscription is included with the RL. Note that XM® Satellite Radio is not installed on RL models sold in Alaska and Hawaii-service for these states does not exist at this time.

The RL has a 6-disc in-dash changer that can play DVD-Audio, CD, MP3 and WMA media. DVD audio is the next step in audio reproduction technology. Many new releases are being issued in this new format, and many older recordings are being re-mastered and reissued to take advantage of the superior sound that DVD audio offers. With over 500 times higher resolution than CD audio, DVD audio delivers smoother, fuller and far more accurate sound. (The system will not play DVD movies, DVD-Video or DVD-R/RW.)

To improve sound quality when playing CDs, the system includes Centerpoint® logic, which creates simulated surround sound from the two channels of CD data. Another feature, Audiopilot®, automatically adjusts the audio signal in response to exterior noises. Audiopilot monitors the sound in the RL cabin using the same microphone used for the Active Noise Cancellation™ system (ANC), then the system adjusts the audio system output to compensate.

Centerpoint, Audiopilot, balance, fader and other functions can be accessed via the Interface Dial. Controls for key audio system functions are positioned within fingertip reach on the RL steering wheel. Select audio system functions can also be accomplished via voice commands.

For precise audio imaging and impressive sound for listeners in the front and rear seats, the 10 speakers are strategically located throughout the RL cabin. Each front door has a 6.5-inch full-range speaker and a separate 1.5-inch tweeter. A 2.5-inch twiddler is centered on the top of the instrument panel. Each rear door has a 6.5-inch full-range speaker; the rear parcel shelf has a 2.5-inch twiddler on each side, with a big 9-inch woofer centrally located beneath the back glass. A total of 260 watts drives the 10-speaker system.

2005 Acura RL - Interior Part 2


The RL has a standard HandsFreeLink™ hands free phone interface that is designed to work with many recently manufactured Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones (sold separately). Bluetooth is a radio frequency-based cable replacement technology that lets portable devices like mobile phones PDAs, laptops and other devices communicate wirelessly. The RL system is compatible with Bluetooth enabled cell phones that have the Hands Free Profile (HFP). Some early Bluetooth-enabled phones do not have this communications protocol, but any newly released phones should have the HFP. After the driver completes a one-time "pairing" process, the RL can communicate wirelessly and securely with the driver's cell phone when it's within about 10 feet of the car. The phone needs to be on, but can be stowed in a pocket, briefcase or purse-or anywhere inside the RL cabin.

HandsFreeLink™ allows the driver to send or answer calls without taking his or her hands from the steering wheel. When a call comes in, the number of the incoming caller is displayed on the Multi-information display located in the speedometer face. The phone ring tone is also played over the audio system. If the driver chooses to answer the call, a press of the steering wheel-mounted "Pick up" button mutes the audio system and the incoming caller is heard over the audio system speakers. An overhead microphone picks up the driver's voice. Algorithms built into the HandsFreeLink system cancel "echo effect" and reduce background noise to improve the transmission quality of the driver's speech.

To send a call hands free, the driver can dial the number by voice, again using fingertip controls mounted on the steering wheel to activate the system. The driver also can store frequently called numbers with voice tags in the system's memory. Up to six different compatible mobile phones can be paired with the HandsFreeLink system at one time.


The 2005 Acura RL introduces AcuraLink™ satellite communication system with real time traffic. AcuraLink™ allows for two-way communication between Acura and the vehicle, providing customers with the latest information specific to their vehicle. In cases where communication to and from the Acura Telematics server is needed, the owner's Bluetooth cell phone is used (once the owner has enabled its data-transmission function).

AcuraLink™ messages consist of a limited amount of text plus expanded details via Text-To-Speech. Each message is prioritized by importance. High priority messages are displayed immediately upon receipt. Other messages trigger an icon on the RL navigation display. Some low priority messages show up only on vehicle start-up to avoid distraction. In all cases, the RL owner can choose to read or listen to the message immediately, or archive it to be retrieved later.

A wide variety of messages can be sent to the RL, including Maintenance Minder (detailed information regarding your next required maintenance), Quick Tips (information to help you maximize the benefit and enjoyment of RL features), Feature Guide (supplements to the Owner's Manual), Diagnostic Info (detailed information and instruction should an onboard system issue arise), information regarding a service or repair required, and Service Appointment Reminders. The RL owner has complete control over the types of messages they receive. All AcuraLink™ preferences can be set via the Owner Link web site or on-board the RL.

Since the system allows two-way data communication between the RL and the Acura Telematics Server, AcuraLink™ can provide the owner with vital information that previously has been unavailable. For example, if a warning light should appear on the RL instrument panel, AcuraLink™ can be configured to automatically send a trouble code along with the sensor data associated with the fault to the Acura Telematics Server, which analyzes the code, then sends a message back to the RL, such as "A software issue has been detected. It is OK to continue driving. The repair is currently being developed, so you do not need to visit your dealer at this time. You will receive another AcuraLink™ message when it is time to visit your dealer to have the system repaired." This way, the owner knows if a particular fault is serious enough to cancel a trip, if it can be dealt with later or if it requires special driving techniques.

The 2005 Acura RL introduces AcuraLinkTM satellite communication system with real time traffic. AcuraLinkTM allows for two-way communication between Acura and the vehicle, providing customers with the latest information specific to their vehicle. In cases where communication to the Acura Telematics server is needed, the owner's Bluetooth cell phone is used (once the owner has enabled its data-transmission function).

An icon on the RL navigation display screen indicates an incoming message. Some low priority messages show up only on vehicle start-up to avoid distractions.

A wide variety of messages can be sent to the RL, including Maintenance Minder, Quick Tips, Feature Guide and Diagnostic Info. The RL owner can set their preferences for the types of messages they receive in their RL via a personal computer or the Owner Link web site.

Since the system allows two-way data communication between the RL and the Acura Telematics Server, AcuraLink™ can provide the owner with vital information that previously has been unavailable. For example, if an ABS/BRAKE warning light should appear on the RL instrument panel, AcuraLink™ will automatically send a trouble code to the Acura Telematics Server, which interprets the code, then sends a message back to the RL, such as "ABS and EBD shut down! Drive slowly. Avoid sudden hard braking." This way, the owner knows if a particular fault is serious enough to cancel a trip, if it can be dealt with later or if it requires special driving techniques. The data connection is enabled even if the monthly XM® service package is not in effect.

Real-Time Traffic Information

The navigation screen can display up-to-the-minute traffic information including flow (traffic speed where available), accidents, incident, construction and weather on freeways in 20 major metro areas. The information is aggregated by NAVTEQ™ from multiple sources including police and highway patrol accident reports and transportation departments and then transmitted by XM® satellites to the RL where it is graphically displayed on the navigation system from _ to 5 mile scale.

The RL owner can click on an icon on the map to see incident details. Traffic information is continuously updated, allowing drivers to avoid congestion en route and choose the fastest path to their destination.

With the average rush-hour commuter spending over 50 hours a year sitting in traffic, the system gives RL owners a useful timesaving tool on freeways. Unlike radio or television traffic reports, the real-time traffic system provides a constant flow of relevant information reflecting conditions along a driver's chosen route. Real-time traffic data services will be offered on a subscription basis for a nominal fee following a free trial period. Exact pricing information will be announced in fall 2004.

Cities with available real-time in-car traffic information
Los Angeles
Minneapolis/St. Paul
New York
San Diego
San Francisco/Oakland
San Jose
St Louis*
Washington D.C.


The RL is equipped with a new generation Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™ that has more memory, and a faster processor. The RL navigation system also has extensive improvements to its performance, information content and ease of use.

Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition features summary:

  • 8-inch screen for convenient viewing
  • Interface Dial simplifies control of the system and is accessible to driver and front seat passenger
  • Faster system start-up time
  • Faster route calculation and search speed
  • Expanded voice recognition function with over 560 navigation commands minimizes the need for manual character entry
  • Voice recognition system recognizes city and street names as spoken words
  • Seven million points of interest are stored on an updatable DVD
  • Business and recreation directory of virtually the entire continental United States complete with phone numbers
  • Audio system automatically mutes for turn-by-turn voice guidance in either male or female voice (which can be turned off at any time)
  • Destination memory recalls current trip addresses, previous destinations and user address books
  • Directory categories include restaurants (searchable by type of cuisine), lodging, shopping, airports, hospitals, recreation areas and much more
  • Zagat Survey™ restaurant guide provides detailed information and reviews on restaurants in database, which can be read on-screen or spoken over the audio system by a synthesized voice
  • Split-screen mode features a simultaneous "map view" and selective "3-D" route visualization
  • Voice Recognition operates key audio and climate control functions
  • Make calls to on-screen points of interest with HandsFreeLink
  • User selectable Day/Night screen or display off modes
  • Trip routing can include up to five user-chosen way points
  • Trip routing can avoid user-selected areas
  • Exit list shows what businesses are available at a given highway exit
  • On-screen picture of highway interchanges indicates which lane to use to stay on route
  • Larger on-screen fonts and buttons for better visibility
  • Greater map contrast and simplified visual presentation

System Operation

Based on positioning data from up to 12 orbiting Global Positioning Satellites (GPS), the Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition tracks the vehicle's position. If the GPS antenna is blocked by a tunnel, tall building or parking garage, an internal gyroscopic system and a speed sensor track the location of the vehicle to keep the mapping information current and reliable until satellite reception is restored. A DVD is located in the trunk in the system's ECU. Updated DVD data discs are available on an annual basis on-line or by calling a toll-free number.

The system can be controlled by voice, or by the Interface Dial. For voice operation, the driver simply presses the "Talk" button on the steering wheel and says any of a number of preset command phrases. The system responds to over 560 command phrases, as well as to spoken city and street names.

When the "Talk" button is pressed, the audio system is automatically muted, and an overhead microphone receives the command from the driver. Commands can be given in plain English, like "Display gas stations, "Find nearest hospital" or "Find nearest Chinese restaurant." You can choose to display points of interest on the map (like restaurants, or grocery stores, for example), or have the system provide turn-by-turn navigation-all by voice. The extensive point-of-interest database includes phone numbers, which can be dialed easily by using the HandsFreeLink™ system and the driver's cell phone.

The Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognitionc can also be controlled via the Interface Dial by choosing menu options or spelling out a word (e.g., an address, business name or place) using the Interface Dial much like a computer mouse to select characters from an on-screen keypad. Compared to the previous generation Acura navigation system, the RL system start-up time has been reduced and search speed increased significantly.

The onboard database has now been expanded to include a Zagat Survey Restaurant Guide, and the accuracy of all road data has been increased. The Interface Dial makes it easy to operate the system, and to find and select destinations. Expanded voice control saves time and simplifies operation of the system. Sophisticated voice recognition technology allows the RL owner to simply speak city and street names aloud, and the system responds by displaying matches available in the database.


One of the advanced new features of the RL is its Keyless Access System with driver recognition for driver's seat, steering wheel, outside mirrors, climate control, audio system settings and presets, and select navigation system settings. This feature allows the RL owner to gain access to the car without ever having to unlock it with the remote transmitter or key. The keyless remote has an electronic unique digital identity. The car can be unlocked when the driver grasps the front door with the keyless remote in his/her possession.
Once the driver has opened the door and been seated, the Keyless Access System allows him or her to start the RL by pushing and rotating the ignition switch, without inserting a key into the ignition.

To unlock the door, the driver must have the keyless remote in their possession. The remote can remain in a pocket or briefcase; it isn't necessary to have it in hand. The driver simply approaches the car and presses a raised dimple on either of the front door handles to unlock the door; grasping the door handle opens the door.

To lock the doors upon leaving the car, simply touch the raised dimple on outside of the door handle. Alternatively, you can press the Lock button on the keyless remote. All doors will lock simultaneously.

Approaching the driver's side allows the opening of the driver's door only; when approaching the passenger's side, all four doors can be opened. Via the Multi-information display's selectable unlocking feature, the RL owner can preset a preference to have all four doors unlock when the driver's door is approached.

To open the trunk, simply approach with the remote and pull the lever, and it will automatically unlock so you can open the lid. Note that the system will not allow the recognized transmitter to be locked in the trunk.


The Acura RL comes with two keyless remotes. Each keyless remote can be set with a unique preference, for instance to accommodate the preferences of a husband and wife. The preferences include driver's seat, steering wheel and mirror positions, and select HVAC. Other preferences include turning entry lights on or off, and choosing a confirming beep when locking the doors. In the event both owners plan to use the car at the same time, the RL will recognize the keyless remote that approaches first.

Built-in Key

A built-in mechanical key is provided as a back up in the event that the keyless remote battery should fail. In this case the RL can be started with the built-in key. For security purposes when using a valet parking service, you can push a trunk lockout switch inside the glove box, and then lock the glove box and the trunk pass-through with the key. Take the built-in key from the keyless remote and keep it, then give the keyless remote to the attendant. The Valet will be unable to unlock the glove compartment or trunk using the keyless remote only.


The new RL has standard OnStar service in-vehicle communications and assistance service. The new generation of OnStar service can offer emergency assistance, accident notification, air bag deployment notification, stolen vehicle tracking, door unlock command and vehicle tracking, plus other features that provide an extra level of security and convenience.

Pressing an activation button located in the overhead console provides quick access to a live OnStar service advisor 24 hours a day. Using input from orbiting GPS satellites, the OnStar service advisor can easily pinpoint the location of the owner's vehicle to help provide assistance.

In the event of vehicle theft, subscribers need only contact the OnStar Center (after filing a police report) and provide a personal identification number. An OnStar service advisor can then pinpoint the car and direct authorities to its location.

The OnStar service system is integrated into the car's suite of electronic conveniences. This allows the system to dial phone numbers displayed on the navigation system by automatic voice command.

This version of OnStar service is equipped with a Digital/Analog Tri-mode phone. This means that in addition to Analog communication, the phone operates on both CDMA bands (Cellular and PCS) used by all CDMA digital networks in the US.

OnStar Personal Calling offers a hands-free, voice-activated, wireless phone that is built into the system in case the driver's hand-held cell phone is lost, forgotten or has a low battery. Personal Calling can be activated at the same time the OnStar service account is activated online, or by pressing the blue OnStar service button at anytime and talking to the Advisor. Pre-purchased minutes can be billed to a credit card. There is no activation fee or additional long distance or roaming charges.

In the RL, dialing numbers through OnStar Personal Calling has been greatly enhanced. Now customers can speak the phone digits they wish to dial in a steady stream, with no pauses (e.g., "2485551212"), rather than pausing between digits.

The RL comes with a free 1-year subscription to the Safe and Sound Plan (a $199 value). In addition, RL owners can choose to upgrade to the Directions and Connections Plan ($399 per year) which adds route support, convenience services and ride assist.

Finally, a Personal Calling Package, which includes wireless phone and "Virtual Advisor" Internet services, is available as part of both plans for an additional charge.


A variety of high-quality genuine Acura accessories is available for the 2005 RL. Designed specifically for the vehicle, they add to luxury and improve the car's usefulness. The accessories include:

  • Ashtray (center console mounted)
  • Wood-Trim Steering Wheel (available in three colors to match interior colors)
  • Cargo Net
  • All-Season Floor Mats (choice of Black and Ivory)
  • Engine Block Heater
  • Trunk Tray
  • Wood Gear Selector Knob

2005 Acura RL - Safety



The RL is equipped with a comprehensive array of the latest technologies to enhance active safety (accident avoidance) and passive safety (crash safety performance). Features like Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA®) with traction control, heightened handling agility, SH-AWD and ABS enhance accident avoidance capability in the RL. Should a collision prove unavoidable, the Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure of the RL is designed to provide a protective cocoon for passengers in the event of a collision with a different sized vehicle (a truck or SUV, for example). Inside, side, side curtain and dual-stage front air bag systems work together with sophisticated restraint systems to minimize injury to passengers in sufficient impacts.

Following are the key passive safety features on the new RL.

Passenger Seating

  • 3-point adjustable height front seat belts with load limiters and pretensioners
  • Front seat belt load limiters
  • Front 4-way adjustable head restraints
  • Driver's seat position sensor
  • Driver's and front passenger's side airbags with front passenger Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS)
  • Rear center three-point seat belt

Child Seating

  • Automatic Locking Retractors/Emergency Locking Retractors (ALR/ELR)
  • Tether anchors (all rear positions)
  • LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) child-seat mounting system (rear outboard seats)


  • Driver's and front passenger's dual-stage, dual-threshold airbag Supplementary Restraint System (SRS)
  • Seamless airbag lid for the passenger airbag
  • Driver's and front passenger's side airbags with front passenger Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS)
  • Side curtain airbag system


The Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure on the 2005 Acura RL is designed to take vehicle front frame construction beyond conventional safety protocols such as the NHTSA NCAP 35 mph frontal barrier test or the IIHS 40 mph offset frontal crash. Its goal is to deliver significantly enhanced occupant protection in a variety of real-world crash conditions. These may include a frontal collision between vehicles of differing heights, weights and frame construction.

The ACE structure uses the engine compartment to efficiently absorb and disperse collision energy during a vehicle-to-vehicle collision. It features a new frame structure composed of a highly efficient energy-absorbing main frame, a bulkhead (upper frame) which absorbs the upper part of the collision energy, and a lower member that helps prevent misalignment of the frames of the vehicles involved. This design disperses collision forces over a larger frontal area, which enhances energy absorption of the engine compartment, reduces the chance of deformation of the passenger compartment and results in enhanced occupant protection. At the same time, by reducing the chance of vertical or lateral misalignment between the RL and other vehicle's safety structures, ACE reduces the vehicle's aggressivity toward other vehicles during a frontal collision.

During a frontal collision, a conventional body structure generally concentrates the loads from the impact through two pathways running longitudinally through the lower portion of the frame. The ACE structure's front-mounted polygonal main frame is designed to prevent cabin deformation by distributing forces through multiple major load bearing pathways-and away from the passenger compartment.


Projected impact test results for the RL are excellent in four separate tests from the federal government and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

  • In the IIHS 40 mph frontal offset test, the RL is projected to return a GOOD rating
  • In the 35 mph New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) full frontal barrier test, the RL is projected to earn Five Stars, the highest rating for both driver and front passenger
  • In the 38 mph US NCAP side test, the RL is projected to earn Five Stars, the highest rating for both front and rear outboard passenger
  • In the IIHS 50km/h (31 mph) SUV side collision test, RL is projected to return a GOOD rating


Dual-stage airbags for the driver and front passenger are designed to provide maximum protection for the head and chest during a moderate to severe front collision, while simultaneously helping to reduce injuries and cost. They do both through the use of a dual-stage, dual-threshold airbag technology. Each airbag inflator has two stages. During a severe collision both stages fire at the same time to provide immediate inflation of the airbag. But during a moderate collision the igniters fire in sequence, slowing the deployment rate of the airbags.

Besides the severity of the collision, the modules interpret a signal from the seat belt buckle switch that indicates whether the occupants are wearing their seat belts.

  • If the front passengers are not wearing their seat belts, the inflators will activate simultaneously to make the airbag deploy more quickly.
  • If the front passengers are wearing their seat belts, the airbags will inflate at a slightly higher threshold.

In the RL, the system also assesses the weight of the front passenger through a seat weight sensor. If the weight is less than a certain amount, the front passenger airbag is shut off. The front passenger's airbag also features a seamless instrument panel cover over the airbag for a cleaner, more elegant look.


New larger size side airbags are mounted in the outboard area of each front seatback. They are designed to provide upper torso protection in the event of a sufficient side impact. The front passenger's seat is equipped with Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), an innovative system designed to deactivate the side air bag if a small child (or small-stature adult) leans into the side air bag deployment path. When the passenger returns to an upright seating position, the side air bag reactivates so it can deploy and help protect the occupant in a side impact. The system utilizes sensors in the passenger seatback to determine the height and position of the occupant, and determine if it is safe to deploy the side air bag.


In a sufficient side impact, the side curtain airbags in the new RL deploy from roof modules, providing head protection for front-seat as well as rear-seat occupants. Side curtain airbags effectively cover the window area from the A-pillar back to the C-pillar. Tests show that the g forces acting upon an occupant's head are far lower with a side curtain airbag.


The 2005 RL includes a LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) child-seat mounting system for the outboard rear seats. LATCH features built-in lower anchors and ready-to-use tether attachment points that allow compatible child safety seats to be installed without using the vehicle's seat belt system. The LATCH system simplifies child seat installation when an owner installs a LATCH-compatible child seat. The center rear seat has a tether point, but no lower anchors.


Acura's safety interests extend beyond care for vehicle occupants. The RL hood area was designed to deform if contact is made with either an adult or a child pedestrian. Underneath the hood are energy-absorbing supports and fender mounts, and the windshield wiper pivots are also deformable in the event that a pedestrian contacts these areas. Research shows that features such as these dramatically improve a pedestrian's chance of survival if struck by a moving vehicle.


In the IIHS low speed crash evaluation tests, the RL is projected to receive top rating in the large-luxury class.