2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid vs Infiniti Q70L

Space Age vs Spacious

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Acura hailed the RLX as its most sophisticated product to date when it arrived for the 2014 model year. Sadly, Nobody was listening.

In its first full year on the market, only 3,413 copies of the RLX sold and 2015 is off to a rough start. It’s too early to tell how the rest of the year will go, but RLX sales are down almost 54 percent in the first quarter of 2015 compared to last year.

Meanwhile the aging Infiniti Q70 (formerly the M) is outperforming the RLX despite its lack of an up-to-the-minute powertrain.

Powertrain Re-Cap

To recap, the RLX is available with either front- or all-wheel drive. The less expensive front-wheel drive models get all-wheel steering to improve cornering agility and braking, but the all-wheel drive model is Acura’s real piece de resistance.

It uses a 3.5-liter direct injection V6 mated to an electric motor and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that work in concert to power the front wheels. A pair of electric motors power the rear wheels independently. They can also individually brake to offer something akin to – but not the same as – rear-wheel steering for enhanced handling.

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Infiniti sells the Q70 with either rear- or all-wheel drive layouts with provision for a V6 or V8 with a regular or extended wheelbase as well as a hybrid model. Six-cylinder models use multi-port injection while the V8 takes advantage of direct injection. Regardless of which engine type you choose, the Q70 comes with a seven-speed automatic.

2015-Acura-RLX-vs-Infiniti-Q70L-41Acura’s hybrid technology boosts the V6 powertrain to a total of 377 HP, which isn’t as robust as the V8 Q70 with 416, but it’s still quick from a dead stop. The 5.6-liter V8 will tug the Q70 off the line with purpose, but that power comes with a significant pump tax.

Gulps Per Gallon

In an identical loop, the Q70 – equipped with all-wheel drive, the V8 and the extended wheelbase – averaged an eye watering 13 MPG. The RLX Sport Hybrid got 22.4 MPG. It’s true that the Infiniti is more powerful, but the extra muscle isn’t worth suffering through such poor mileage to enjoy.

Ride Comfort

But the Infiniti Q70 has other advantages that might make it worthwhile even if it is a gas-guzzler. Compared to the RLX, it has a smooth ride better damped to disguise broken pavement. It also offers you a greater breadth of options than Acura can because there are a greater number of variants. For example, the all-wheel drive V8 extended wheelbase model offers an extra three inches of legroom and almost an extra inch of headroom in the second row at a $1,700 premium over the regular wheelbase model. Even with all the extra space, it is still nine pounds lighter than the RLX Sport Hybrid.

A bloated curb weight isn’t the only area Acura’s car takes a hit. It sacrifices trunk space and a folding rear seat to house most of its hybrid components. In the end, it only has 12 cubic feet of trunk space.

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AWD: Tradition Beats Technology

The Infiniti’s traditional all-wheel drive system also transfers power as smoothly as you would expect from such a system. While cornering, the RLX Sport Hybrid’s rear electric motors create a sensation of resistance that isn’t inexcusably jarring, but it’s noticeable and unpleasant. It seems as if Acura’s new hybrid all-wheel drive system needs work before it can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with traditional mechanical systems.

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But that’s really the only part of the powertrain that stands out in a negative way. Acceleration is smooth, quiet and relatively efficient for a sedan that weighs 4,354 lbs.

Steering is lighter in the Acura than the Infiniti, but not to a fault. The RLX cabin is neatly assembled with high quality materials that feel appropriately in context save the touch screen. Its menus are confusing at times and can be more difficult to navigate than what you will find in the Infiniti.

And that isn’t the only place where the Q70L’s interior has an edge because the front seats and armrests are also more ergonomic in the Infiniti.

2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid vs Infiniti Q70L

Compare Specs

2015 Infiniti Q70L
vs
2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid
Vehicle 2015 Infiniti Q70L Advantage 2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid
Engine 5.6-liter V8 3.5-liter V6, 3 electric motors
Transmission seven-speed automatic RLX Sport Hybrid seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Horsepower 416 Q70L 377
Torque 414 lb-ft Q70L 341 lb-ft
Wheelbase 120.1 inches 112.2 inches
Length 202 inches 196.1 inches
Curb weight 4,345 lbs Q70L 4,354 lbs
Front seat headroom 39.1 inches Q70L 37.6 inches
Front seat legroom 44.4 inches Q70L 42.3 inches
Rear seat headroom 37.7 inches Q70L 36.9 inches
Rear seat legroom 41.8 inches 38.8 inches
Cargo capacity 14.9 cubic feet Q70L 12 cubic feet
Starting price (US) $67,995 RLX Sport Hybrid $60,845
As-tested price (US) $67,995 RLX Sport Hybrid $66,845
Observed fuel economy (US) 13 MPG RLX Sport Hybrid 22.4 MPG
Starting price (CDN) $70,395 Q70L $72,119
As-tested price (CDN) $70,395 Q70L $72,119
Observed fuel economy (CDN) 18 l/100 KM RLX Sport Hybrid 10.5 l/100 KM

Value Proposition

Infiniti would have the fight sewn up without breaking a sweat if that were the whole story, but as usual there’s more.

We borrowed an RLX Sport Hybrid loaded with the “Advance Package” that includes adaptive cruise control, a lane keeping assistance system, heated front and rear seats, cooled front seats and a 14-speaker premium audio system to name a few. That package brings the price to $66,845 including delivery. The Infiniti Q70L comes with most of those upgrades except for the safety systems like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance provided you buy the V8. So equipped, it runs $67,955. The same safety technology is still available, but it calls for the $7,200 “Deluxe Technology Package” which slingshots the price to $75,155.

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Suddenly, the RLX doesn’t seem so bad after all. Sure the ride is rougher, but in exchange you get fuel efficiency akin to a much smaller and less powerful vehicle. The Infiniti’s interior design is more grandiose, but you’ll wind up spending roughly $8,000 more on it to enjoy the same convenience features as you would in the RLX.

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The Verdict:

Even if the RLX doesn’t have the same premium feeling as the Q70, we would recommend it based on fuel economy and value for the money. After all, that’s what buying a luxury sedan from Honda or Nissan is all about. Isn’t it?

2015 Infiniti Q70L AWD

2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid

  • ZX-10R

    Really…The Infiniti wins this comparo hands over fist over the Acura…When paying over 65K for a car gas price means nothing and a 2k difference according your numbers is negligible. Go to your editor an tell him how you fanboyed this review in a horrific way. It’s like Mayweather winning 10 rounds and saying the other boxer won because he showed heart. Get it straight buddies…You may want to get away from a computer and go play some competitive sports so you know what a win is and what a loss is…The Acura is the loser and so is this review.

  • db

    Acura’s outsell Infiniti as well as retain value over Infiniti. You must drive an Infiniti.

  • Robert

    But seriously! Is that all the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid gets in fuel economy? God, that’s horrible. Wasn’t it supposed to average 28 or 29? You might as well get it’s little brother, the Honda Accord Hybrid.

  • F Brooks

    Say’s the Acura fanboy. Acura sells a lot of MDX’s but that’s about it. Their cars are boring, have no power and look dated. The TLX looks like a Civic with jewel headlights. From behind it’s hard to tell them apart.

  • ZX-10R

    I drive a loaded 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4×4 Limited…If I were in this price range even I know the infiniti is a better car than the Acura…The Acura is ugly and just old hat…The infiniti at this point is more luxurious and has more cache than the Honda – yeah this Acura is as boring as a Honda. Obviously the writer of this article had his Acura fanboy tights on when he wrote this shameful article…People who know about cars would not have called the Acura the winner…Not in a heart beat. I hope this guy never writes an article as BS as this again.

  • SSXT

    Isn’t that the same V8 used in the Infinit/Nissan models for the last….decade? I see it’s updated w/DI, and those are commendable #’s, but the economy isn’t just bad, it’s abysmal! Ok..you’re spending nearly $70K for one of these, MPG isn’t going to be @ the top of the list.

  • 78 $

    ssxt < w­­ww.­­­­JobsHoney­­.­­Co­­m

  • ZX-10R

    Spot on and I agree and said…When you are paying over $60K for a car…Gas is not a consideration. The writer of this article just made Autoguide lose a little credibility with this biased and ridiculous review.

  • Ted

    Disclaimer: I own/drive a 2008 M35-predecessor to Q70. Love it. Lusting after Q70L but waiting for low mileage used one to appear.
    Choosing V8 to compare was a mistake. if they had compared the 3.7 V6 mileage would have been comparable and price with all goodies comparable. Let’s have apples to apples, not apples to oranges. Also, I’m not into AWD, rear drive, front steer is my choice. Of course, I’m in Mississippi so not worried about snow and these vehicles are not for off road so sand and dirt are not a concern! The L adds a relatively small amount to the price, the V8 is huge. Redo this comparison w/V6 2WD and you will have something.

  • BrunoT

    Because you can about saving $300 in fuel each year when you pay $60,000 for a car.

  • disqus_FYINAKV4CU

    I test drove an RLX Hybrid and got 45mpg until I test its speed out.

  • Robert

    Was that highway driveway? What mph were you doing?

  • disqus_FYINAKV4CU

    Mostly city under 50. The highway did shut off on the highway over 50 though. The engine was off often when I took it easy on the gas. I test drove a Q50 and the engine wasn’t off nearly as much as the RLX and when it was off it was off for less time. Much lower fuel economy…like 27mpg vs Acura 45mpg. The Acura was way more advanced than the Infiniti.

  • disqus_FYINAKV4CU

    Meant to say the car did shut off at highway speeds when not using the gas much.

  • disqus_FYINAKV4CU

    I’d say the resale value is about the same which is terrible especially from new! There is an exception though. The RLX hybrid has a very unusually high resale value. The secret is out about the technology is uses which is similar to the NSX and they didn’t produce many at all.