Acura RLX Hybrid launch delayed by technical issue

The hybridized version of Acura\'s flagship sedan has suffered a technical setback.

Acura says that a technical issue has forced it to delay the market launch of the RLX Sport Hybrid luxury sedan.

Though originally slated to arrive in dealerships this past spring, the RLX Sport Hybrid still isn't available for purchase. Mike Accavitti, senior vice president and general manager of Acura in the U.S., indicated that the sedan should go on sale within the next few months, but declined to specify the nature of the problem.

"I can tell you that it just hasn't met with our expectations yet,” Accavitti told WardsAuto.

Positioned as the upscale version of the RLX full-size sedan, the Sport Hybrid packs a relatively complex "Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive” powertrain comprised of a 3.5-liter V6 and an electric motor at the front of the car, and another pair of electric motors situated in back that drive the rear wheels and provide torque vectoring. The setup, which will be used in mid-engine, twin-turbocharged form for the upcoming NSX sports car, produces 377 horsepower in the RLX.

Speculative reports have cited teething problems with the Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive system and lithium-ion battery shortages as potential causes of the setback.

While not expected to be a volume seller, Acura is hoping that the RLX Sport Hybrid will act as a halo vehicle and technology leader for the brand.

The RLX Sport Hybrid isn't the only recent Acura product to suffer a setback. The TLX sedan, which debuted a pair of advanced transmissions and other new technologies, saw its launch pushed back from spring until this summer so that Acura could ensure all elements of the car were ready for production.

Photos by Drew Johnson.

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