By LARRY CORNWELL

Special to The Post and Courier

The all-new 2014 RLX is a very important model to Acura. It has to showcase the best of what the brand has to offer.

This all-new flagship model has to feature luxury, performance and technology all wrapped in a pretty package. Unlike the outgoing RL, the RLX has to represent itself as a true luxury flagship.

Although a very competent model, the RL fell short in this one, but very important aspect. It did not pronounce itself in the way top-of-the-line luxury models do. This is the same problem that Volvo has had with its S80 model.

The dimensions of the Acura RL were nearly identical to the Honda Accord, the platform upon which it was built. When a buyer is paying $45,000, no save that, if I were paying $45,000 or more, that model not only has to possess a multitude of features, but it also has to feel and look the part. The RL was very nice, but fell short on presence.

Refreshingly, the all-new RLX is more than four inches longer, has a longer wheelbase, and is wider and taller. This clearly separates it from the both the Honda Accord and the outgoing Acura RL, the model it replaces. Simply put, it has presence.

Although Acura is the oldest and is the first Japanese luxury brand, it has some of the youngest buyers both in age and in active lifestyle. Acura models typically have a tasty mix of fresh luxury and new technology that these buyers love. Features like all-wheel steering and its array of 16 beautiful Jewel Eye LED headlights appeal to them unlike Acura’s Japanese counterparts.

The 2014 Acura RLX proved to be a very comfortable and technology-packed flagship. I was impressed with this all-new sedan in how it pampered and performed.

I would like to personally thank the Pisgah Forest Riding Stable, Mountain View BBQ & Deli and Overmountain Vineyards for hosting us. We all had a great time riding horses, “smashing” some tasty BBQ and sampling some excellent wines. If you are looking to go on a road trip of your own, check out these fine establishments yourself.

For more impressions on the all-new 2014 Acura RLX, take a look at my video review. Go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNpp0Cy0MqU

For more information, visit www.youtube.com/larrycornwell.

VEHICLE TYPE: Full size luxury sedan

PRICE RANGE: $49,000-$56,000

ENGINE: 3.5 liter V-6 producing 310 horsepower and 272 pounds-feet of torque.

DRIVETRAIN: Six speed automatic

FUEL ECONOMY: 20 mpg city/31 mpg highway

COMPETITOR MODELS: Cadillac XTS, Audi A6, Lincoln MKS

PRODUCTION LOCATION: Sayama, Japan

Larry Cornwell is an automotive journalist based in the Charlotte area.