The RLX Sport Hybrid uses a modified version of the 3.5-liter, V-6 engine found in the front wheel-drive RLX. It is also rated at 310 horsepower. Joining the engine in powering the front wheels is a 47-horsepower electric motor located in the transmission housing. There are two additional 36-horsepower motors mounted side by side between the rear wheels. Each rear motor powers a single rear wheel and they operate independently of each other. A lithium-ion battery powers the three motors. When the vehicle is decelerating, the motors charge the battery.
- During hard acceleration, the engine and three motors combine to produce 377 horsepower66.
- The EPA Fuel Economy Ratings38 are 28 / 29 / 28 MPG (city /highway/combined).
- A Power Distribution Unit located under the center console monitors driving inputs, load levels and vehicle status to determine the necessary power requirements from the engine and three electric motors and distribute the power to the front and reach rear wheel.
- Generally, starts from a stop use just the rear motors. Continued acceleration brings in engine power, though low-speed cruising can continue to use electricity only.
- For highway efficiency, high speed and steady cruising generally have the front wheels driven by the engine, which is likely running on just three cylinders due to the Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®) system. Acceleration from a highway speed adds three more cylinders and/or the power from the motors depending on conditions.
- Idle Stop, a start-stop system, can automatically shut the engine down when the vehicle is stopped and then seamlessly restart it when the acceleration pedal is engaged.
- All transitions between engine and motor power use are transparent to the driver and passengers.