January 22, 2014
2015 Acura TLX. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Mark Stevenson
During the Japanese boom in the ’90s, Acura had an impressive stable of exciting product ready to take money from boy racers who’d grown up. Honda may have wanted their new brand to be the luxury alternative, but in North America it was the excitement alternative (not that Honda didn’t have great product of their own), with Type R badges and pumped up DOHC four-cylinders ready to deafen you with VTEC.
The Integra was iconic. The Legend was… legendary. And the Vigor was the big Japanese luxo-boat to beat them all.
In present day, the lineup adopts a “same sausage, different length” philosophy. The compact ILX isn’t really setting the sales charts on fire, and same goes for the brand’s “flagship” sedan RLX, which uses the same 3.5L V6 as some other products, criticized as not being premium enough.
Acura’s newest mid-size luxury sport sedan comes on the scene trying to fill two sets of tires. The TSX and TL will be history soon and the ILX takes care of the entry-level buyers looking for a tweener vehicle between a compact and mid-size. The new TLX is bigger than the TSX but smaller than the TL.
Even though it was shown in Detroit as a prototype, the TLX is as close to production as it can get. The new model will get Acura’s super-duper awesome fun-time Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) like its (larger) predecessor. Additionally, the new mid-size will get Precision All Wheel Steering (P-AWS).
Sending power to those wheels will be one familiar engine, one new engine, and two new transmissions.
The base engine offered will be a brand new 2.4L i-VTEC four-cylinder with direct injection mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic with torque convertor. Yes kids, clutches and a torque convertor. Expect this new motor to make slightly more power than the 2.4L mill in the Acura ILX.
If you prefer a little wasabi with your sausage, you can opt for the same 3.5L SOHC V6 doing duty in the RLX. This engine will be paired with a new nine-speed automatic transmission. Expect output to be exactly the same as the larger RLX.
Acura’s SH-AWD has also been updated to be 25 percent lighter while also being updated with new torque vectoring control. The four driving modes – ECON (Economy), Normal, Sport, and a new Sport+ mode – will also be available to give you some buttons to play with.
The TLX’s front fascia wears an almost identical face to the Acura MDX CUV, featuring the revised “shield of power” grille and hard-angled headlight treatment. It’s exactly how you imagine the TLX to look without actually seeing it.
Moving to the side, the new sedan seems rather sophisticated, sporting only some mild creases in the sheet metal along the length of the car. Overall proportions are more reminiscent of the outgoing TSX than TL, which is a good thing.
At the rear, LED taillights and an aggressively shaped lower air outlet bring the package together to become Acura’s “red carpet athlete”.
2015 Acura TLX. Click image to enlarge
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
Acura knows their relevance is waning. Their heyday is over. It’s time to inject some excitement back into the brand.
It’s time to go racing.
Revealed immediately after the prototype, the Acura TLX racer, to be piloted by Peter Cunningham of RealTime Racing, will be campaigned in the Pirelli World Challenge GT class. The new car will compete against the likes of the Audi R8 LMS, Mercedes SLS, and Nissan GT-R, just to name a few. It will feature a similar SH-AWD system and be powered by a direct-injected, twin turbocharged V6 engine built by HPD.
Non-racing versions of the TLX will start hitting dealer lots this summer. Though no pricing information has been announced, expect to shell out about the same as you do for a current TL.
Pricing: 2015 Acura TLX
Base Price: TBA