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Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD drives like NSX supercar but holds more golf sticks

Are you in the market for a 377-horsepower hybrid sports sedan? Acura sure hopes so.

The Japanese luxury brand will unveil the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month.

The RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD is just as complicated as its name suggests. First announced when the RLX concept debuted at the 2012 New York Auto Show, it’s supposed to deploy technology to add some performance and green credibility to Acura’s flagship sedan.

The hybrid’s powertrain is expected to have a lot in common with that of the upcoming Acura NSX supercar. It consists of a 3.5-liter V6, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and three electric motors.

SH-AWD stands for Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, the brand name for the torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system Acura uses in its other cars. The Sport Hybrid is a little different, though.

As in the base RLX, the gasoline engine will power the front wheels; the rears will be turned by electricity. It’s basically a reverse of the NSX’s Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, which uses an electric motor to power the front wheels and the V6 to turn the rears.

The result is 377 horsepower and 30 mpg combined, Acura says.

That’s a big improvement over the non-hybrid RLX, which can only muster 310 horsepower and 24 mpg combined (20 mpg city, 31 mpg highway).

Even with its nifty Precision All-Wheel Steer system, which probably won’t be offered on the Sport Hybrid, the RLX is having trouble standing out from the luxury sedan crowd. 

With a hybrid powertrain pulled from a supercar, the Sport Hybrid should have the headlines to get at least a few people’s attention. Hopefully its performance will be able to hold that attention.

The 2014 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD will debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which opens November 20. Check back here for the latest updates.

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