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The model name “RL” is an abbreviation for “Refined Luxury. The first-generation Acura RL was a rebadged version of the third-generation Honda Legend, and was first introduced to the North American market into replace the second-generation Acura Legend. The second-generation Acura RL was a rebadged version of the fourth-generation Honda Legend, introduced to the North American market in Septemberas a model.

This iteration of the RL received an extensive mid-generational facelift for the model year, and a further update for The third-generation debuted for the model year as the Acura RLX. InAcura introduced the Acura 3.

Acura dropped the Legend name when market research showed that consumers referred to Acura products by their model names, “Legend” and “Integra,” and did not necessarily associate the names with Honda’s “Acura” brand. In latethe 3. The suspension and chassis were stiffened, and new alloy wheels were offered.

Ina larger navigation system screen was added for the model year. Aucra with that larger screen came the conversion to easy-to-replace DVD map databases. Inthe model year 3. More insulation was added in the engine compartment for MY In RLs received clear manula signal lenses in the rear lights, another new alloy wheel design, and various interior upgrades including new color schemes.

For model yearthe 3. The RL was also the last Acura to use the numeric designation i. A new-generation car, known internally as “KB1,” was launched in late for the model year. It integrates active differentials with the all-wheel-drive system and traction control to improve handling, similar to the “ATTS” system featured on the Honda Prelude SH. At the time of its introduction, the Acura RL’s SH-AWD was the first all-wheel-drive system to vary the distribution of power not only from front to back, but also side to side in the rear using a technique called torque vectoring.

As the car speeds around a curve, torque vectored to the outside rear wheel will push the rear end around the curve faster, just as paddling the outside oar of a row boat faster than the inside oar will cause the row boat to turn, to minimize the understeer common in front-heavy vehicles.

To give accura car a more sporty feel, the car featured drive-by-wire throttle control and a five-speed sequential sport shifting automatic transmission with shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel.

A first for the RL was the use of aluminum 4-piston front brake calipers over These multi-piston calipers derived from racing applications, are extremely rigid. In the rear, New features on the RL included a keyless entry system which allowed the driver to both lock and unlock the car by touching the door handle, without having to use the remote control, and a keyless start system. Always on, whether the stereo was on accura not, ANC took input from two microphones placed in the cabin to analyze drivetrain-related low-frequency sound waves entering the cabin.

The ANC sent information to the sound system to create a precisely shaped and timed reverse-phased audio signal from the door speakers and the subwoofer. The result was a dramatic reduction in engine and exhaust noise. XM Satellite Radiointegrated Bluetooth hands-free technology for wireless phone use, voice recognition technology with over voice commands to control navigation system and displays, wireless phone, audio system, heating and ventilation controls rounded out the cabin’s technological features.

Heating and air conditioning systems were tied into a solar sensor and GPS positioning so that cabin temperature remained constant in a mixed sun and shade situation. Based on sun position and cabin orientation, the system could automatically send additional cooling air to the sunny side of the car to keep that occupant comfortable, while not freezing out the occupant on the shady side.

The Alpine Electronics DVD-based navigation system was integrated with an 8-inch LCD display and a acuura Interface Dial, which could move up, down, left and right like a mouse, turn like a tl, scroll through preset menus, and click when pushed to act as a selector button. Unlike many in-car navigation systems, the Alpine DVD-based navigation unit allowed the driver to change destinations and routes “on the fly” while driving, rather than being locked out unless the car was in Park.


The tightly integrated voice recognition system worked with the navigation system and could recognize spoken city and street names.

1999 Acura RL – 3.5 Owner’s Manual (1 page)

Also unique at the time was two-way communication via AcuraLink satellite communication. Using a facility of XM Radio service, the system could send a variety of messages to the car, including service appointment reminders appointments first made via Internet or important messages scura as recall notices.

The use of OnStar was carried over from the previous generation RL. Other new RL features included the Active Front Lighting Systemin which the r intensity discharge headlamps swiveled in concert with the steering up to twenty degrees, for improved night cornering vision.

Light emitting diodes LED replaced traditional incandescent bulbs in the tail and brake lights, the turn caura integrated in the side mirror housings, and many interior cabin lights. The RL was also the first Honda vehicle to use the Advanced Compatibility Engineering ACE body structure, which has since proliferated throughout every newly introduced Honda and Acura vehicle design.

Acura RL – Wikipedia

The ACE structure features extensive use of high-tensile steel and lightweight aluminum components in a front-mounted polygonal main frame, designed to engage vehicles of differing size and weight in a frontal collision and spread the forces through multiple structural pathways, while preventing or minimizing cabin deformation.

In practical terms, this means in an SUV versus ACE structure car collision, there is a greater chance that the ACE body structure will engage with the SUV’s frame and dissipate collision forces around the passenger compartment.

In more conventional non-ACE car structures, the SUV frame has a much greater chance of missing or over-riding the conventional car’s major structural components and a greater chance of deforming the passenger compartment. The RL car structure made extensive use of somewhat “exotic” materials for a car at this price point. These included aluminum alloy in the hood, front fenders, trunk lid and frame, front and rear subframes, suspension arms, front knuckles and bumper beams.

Magnesium was used in the intake manifold, and the two-piece center drive shaft was made of a carbon reinforced composite.

The new RL featured extensive aerodynamic design treatment including details such as industry-first flush side glass, plus underbody covers and diffusers to reduce lift, resulting in a very low drag coefficient of 0. Forthe Acura RL was also offered in a second trim level, the optional ‘Technology Package’ which included three new features: The previously standard color-matched mud guards were removed in All models had a slight change to the navigation system that allowed the installation of an optional rearview camera.

Forthe Acura RL was offered in three trim levels, detailed in the table below: Base model cars were well equipped, but deleted certain features such as the navigation system and Adaptive Front Lighting System AFSand substituted plastic simulated wood for the dashboard maple wood trim. Technology Package cars were essentially the same as the and standard models, coming with navigation and AFS, while adding as standard equipment a rear backup camera and a 3.

As noted above, the MP3 audio player feature really usable for any device with a 3. An integrated rearview camera was added to the top two trim levels. An integrated rearview camera could be added to the non-navigation Base model as a dealer installed option.

The Base model optional rearview camera was installed in the same manner and position as on the models, mounted dead center in the trunk trim, with the trunk release button displaced to the right of center passenger side. In andall models came standard with “genuine curly maple wood dashboard trim. OnStar was deleted as a feature from all trim levels. Colors were added and deleted. The Acura RL continued unchanged in the U.

The dealer-installed package consisted of a body kit, badging, revised suspension and different wheels. The performance part of the package included the A-Spec sport suspension and A-Spec inch alloy wheels, which allowed the use of more sports-oriented lower profile tires. The A-Spec sport suspension changed out the four spring and damper shock absorber strut assemblies. The A-Spec suspension featured lowering r, approximately 0.

The ride was stiffer, but not overly so, and handling was improved with less body roll, more controlled cornering and enhanced feel. Reportedly Acura chose to make the Mznual A-Spec suspension more compliant than the very stiff Mnual sport suspension upgrade for the Acura TL, in keeping with the two different missions of the cars: The other A-Spec performance upgrade was A-Spec 18×8 inch alloy wheels, a spoke lightweight design about the same weight as the 5-spoke 17×8 inch OEM wheels.


The A-Spec appearance package consisted of a r air dam, side skirts, 199 bumper air diffuser and a subtle trunk decklid lip style spoiler, all designed to give the car a more aggressive “aero” look. The parts came pre-painted from the factory to match factory colors. All parts were dealer installable.

As of the mid-model change, A-Spec options were no longer offered. There is a widely held belief that the A-Spec suspension should 1999 been the standard suspension on the Acura RL, and that the stock suspension was too soft, hampering the very capable chassis and drivetrain. More aura “aero” look body work was also standard, and a revised trunk decklid spoiler was made available as a dealer installed option.

The manuak sedan was released on July 1, to dealerships. The engine is upgraded to 3. While on paper, the engine may seem to be the same unit as shared with the Acura MDXit is actually a variant that introduces, for the first time ever on an SOHC Honda V6an implementation of the Honda VTEC variable valve train technology on both intake and exhaust for improved horsepower and torque.

Implementation of the SH-AWD was adjusted for earlier intervention and a greater rear-wheel bias for better handling dynamics. The MMC RL suspension was upgraded with higher-rate coil springs, larger diameter anti-sway bars and stiffer bushings all around. Inside, the front seats were revised for greater comfort and to allow a slight increase in rear leg room. The passenger front seat received the same full way power control as the driver’s seat.

Both front seats featured active head restraint systems, and the existing seat-heating feature was supplemented by six levels of cooling ventilation. Controls for heating and air conditioning were simplified, and ackra individual acurs controls were added for the driver and passenger.

Simulated woodgrain trim was added to the steering wheel and the top of the shifter, to emphasize the RL’s upscale aspirations compared to its less costly TL and TSX siblings.

Additional insulation, improved acoustic isolation adura design, and a new implementation of the Active Noise Cancellation system ANC combined to make the RL’s interior quieter in a variety of conditions. Whereas the former ANC was set to cancel out only low frequency boominess from the engine and exhaust, the MMC system, called Active Sound Control, was expanded in its range to cancel some higher frequency road and tire noise as well.

Unlike its predecessor ANC, Active Sound Control was now linked to throttle position and engine RPM to provide a acrua cockpit during normal cruising, yet allowed more of the new 3. When the system was in “accept commands” mode, the new microphone system provided more accurate system “understanding” of the driver’s voice.

Extraneous sounds, such as other aacura in the cabin and wind noise, were better distinguished and filtered out by the dual microphone system. Directionality was removed when an HFL voice call was established, so that all passengers could still participate in a phone call as in the pre-MMC model.

2000 Acura RL – 3.5 Owner’s Manual (330 pages)

The new dual microphone system used real estate in the overhead manuual that was previously used in the and models for OnStar control electronics. The number of voice recognition commands was increased to over[23] up from [24] previously. The DVD-based navigation system improved on previous XM satellite-linked traffic flow reporting, adding continuously updated real-time weather reporting and the capability to reroute based on current traffic conditions.

The DVD Audio-capable speaker sound system remained, but integration with the audio system was improved with the addition of Bluetooth stereo manuaal a USB port that allowed integration and operation of Apple iPod and other MP3 type devices. Also new mamual the ability to display iPod or other MP3 device such as a USB flash memory device folder and playlist information on the car’s manuwl central navigation display screen.

New shifter and center console arrangements were added, including a Sport mode. The steering wheel paddle shifters were reprogrammed for faster response, and the paddle shifters could be operated in both Drive and Sport modes.

In pre-MMC models, the gear selector had to be put in manual mode for the paddle shifters to operate. In exterior length, the RL grew slightly by 2.