Acura may finally be getting serious about entering the large-car luxury game with a new version of its range-topping sedan, the RL. The latest spy shots of what is likely the 2011 RL appear to corroborate recent rumors suggesting that Honda will ditch the long-running front-wheel-drive layout in a bid to compete with its peer class, which includes the BMW 5 series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Though much is hidden by the stretched-out TSX bodywork, a close look at the profile shows a longer hood with the front wheels moved farther forward, which not only improves the vehicle's looks with less front overhang but also indicates that the engine may be longitudinally mounted.

Considering the fact that a rear-wheel-drive architecture seems increasingly likely for the next RL, we can also hold out hope that the rumored V8 engine may be underhood. Previous reports peg its output at 420 horsepower, which should be matched with cylinder deactivation in an effort to keep fuel economy respectable. With gas prices as they are, we also wouldn't be surprised to see Acura stick with a V6 engine as standard, leaving the eight-cylinder as an option. Would it be too much to request leaving off the massive metal triangle on the grille that has infected the rest of Acura's recent cars? Click the source below for more pics.

[Source: Temple of VTEC]