2009 Acura RL sedan debuts in Chicago with new 3.7 liter V6 and more high-tech features.

A big update for Acura's flagship sedan gives the RL striking face for perhaps the first time in its career. A big, shield-shaped grille leads the way and leaves no doubt as to its identity, and Acura says that striking look will spread across the lineup to improve the brand's visual impact. A new 3.7 liter V6 is Acura's first engine with VTEC variable valve timing on an SOHC engine, and it makes 300 horsepower. Acura's Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive is along for the ride again, of course, and it's all controlled through a five-speed automatic transmission. The SH-AWD's responsiveness has been improved for 2009.

The hardware hasn't changed all that much, as Acura's concentrated on the amenities and ride. Improved sound deadening in the form of an Active Sound Abatement system mutes the ride, while an interior restyling improves rear-seat room. The new RL's navigation system now includes real-time weather and traffic updates via XM satellite radio. It'll give you restaurant ratings as well. The high-tech continues with adaptive cruise control, active front lighting that turns with the front wheels and Acura's new Collision Mitigating Braking System (CMBS) which works with the adaptive cruise control to reduce impact speed in the event of an unavoidable crash.

The RL goes on sale this spring.

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