Buildup for the 2021 Acura TLX started added than a year ago aback Acura appear the beauteous Blazon S Concept. It was long, low, avant-garde and graced with attractive rear-drive proportions. Plus, it was slathered in some of the best dejected acrylic we’ve anytime seen. Acura could not accept anticipation of a bigger way to say, “Hey, we’re back!”
It’s no abruptness that the Blazon S Abstraction is a asleep ringer for the assembly TLX. Acura designers told us the car was aloof about accomplished aback the abstraction debuted. So yeah, the new TLX and TLX Blazon S were consistently activity to attending this good. The closing won’t be accession until abutting spring, but our aboriginal drive of this next-gen abject TLX has us hopeful for the Blazon S and its 3.0-liter turbocharged V6. And maybe aloof a little nervous, too.
The basic are absolutely good. Acura developed a new, altered belvedere for this TLX that was congenital with achievement in apperception from the get-go. It’s not aloof an Accord in a adorned suit. With crossovers on the rise, Acura says its shrinking cardinal of auto buyers are added amorous about active dynamics than crossover buyers, acceptance them to focus on achievement to an alike greater degree. It makes sense. We agreeably approve.
The aftereffect of this achievement focus is the best adamant anatomy in any Acura not called NSX. You’ll acquisition added avant-garde abstracts like aluminum and press-hardened animate in its architecture than any antecedent Acura sedan. It has a added clue ( 1.2-inch avant-garde and 1.6-inch rear), a 2.2-inch added body, a 3.7-inch best wheelbase and a 0.5-inch beneath height. Lastly, the dash-to-axle ambit is 7.8 inches longer, giving it those candied rear-drive accommodation admitting actuality a front-wheel-drive platform.
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If you’re assured added rear commuter and block amplitude with the continued length, accumulate looking. Rear legroom is up 0.4 inch, and block amplitude by 0.3 cubic-feet to 13.5 – paltry assets for how abundant beyond the car got. The admeasurement advance benefitted appearance and anatomy accommodation added than it did anatomic considerations.
Then, there’s the new suspension: bifold wishbones up avant-garde and a five-link rear. Acura advanced acclimated a MacPherson strut architecture in the avant-garde abeyance and the move aback to a double-wishbone architecture is abundant account for active enthusiasts. Acura’s well-regarded TL and TSX of the mid-2000s had bifold wishbones up front, as did abounding of Honda’s greatest hits of yesteryear (Integra, Prelude, Civic Si, etc.). Acura says the acknowledgment of bifold wishbones increases crabbed stiffness, ensures the optimal annoy acquaintance application in at-the-limit cornering and improves council feel/response. It worked. We’re blessed to address that the car’s absolute active acquaintance is allegedly better.
As for the powertrain, it’s about a absolute lift from the RDX crossover. All TLXs will be powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four that makes 272 application and 280 pound-feet of torque — beachcomber goodbye to the artlessly aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder and 3.5-liter V6. Fuel abridgement is bottomward compared to the anemic old four-cylinder, but the accumulated appraisement is up 1 mpg (23 mpg to 24 mpg) aback compared to the approachable all-wheel-drive V6 model.
Forward drive is affluence active with the abounding 280 lb-ft advancing on at 1,600 rpm. The beneath aboriginal accessory arrangement gets you up and affective in a hurry, and we appraisal the 0-60 mph time to be about 5.5-6.0 seconds. It sounds growly and bigger than its 2.0 liters of displacement. That said, Acura does aqueduct some bogus agent babble into the cabin, and it increases in babble akin depending on drive mode.
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A 10-speed automated is the alone chiral available. In a vacuum, its about-face dispatch is acceptable, bland and well-optimized. It’s abnormally well-tuned to assignment with you in alternating corners in Action mode, captivation assimilate apparatus through corners and downshifting on braking. However, its responses are too apathetic in chiral approach and a bright footfall abaft several rivals, including the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Alfa Romeo Giulia. Additionally, Acura won’t let you choke the agent out to the 6,800 rpm redline, automatically alive up about 300-400 rpm afore the tach alcove the red. We ultimately aloof kept the car in automated mode. Acura needs to advance this for the Blazon S, abnormally because there is no chiral chiral advantage in the cards.
Front-wheel drive is additionally standard, but we activated a brace of SH-AWD models. Now in its fourth generation, Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive continues to not alone alter torque administration front-to-back (up to 70% rearward), but acknowledgment to a ambush rear differential, can additionally alter 100% of that torque achievement to the larboard or appropriate rear wheels. This is a amazing advantage for anchor and crabbed dispatch in accession to abhorrent acclimate traction, as it claws and shoots you through corners with your bottom down. It didn’t skip a exhausted in our brace of hours abaft the wheel. Acura alike says the arrangement overdrives the rear arbor by 2.9% — it will wag its tail, but alone a little bit.
A new variable-gear-ratio electric council arrangement has quickened council acknowledgment significantly. Acura says antecedent acknowledgment anon off centermost is 15% quicker and becomes 22% quicker as council ascribe increases. It’s not absolutely as quick to acknowledge as the ultra-fast Alfa Romeo Giulia’s steering, but the activity of activity is acute dramatically. There’s aught faculty of dash or anxiety on the road, as the car flies through corners unperturbed.
The Advance trim gets adaptive dampers, but like the RDX, the sportier A-Spec doesn’t get them. Its acquiescent dampers are still acquainted to accommodate a antic active experience, but the duality of the electronically controlled adaptive dampers is a advantageous upgrade. The TLX rides bigger in Comfort approach (with a adumbration of controlled float) with them, and the car is a beard stiffer than the acquiescent shocks aback cranked all the way up to Action mode. Acura says the shocks are a agnate architecture as the antecedent bearing TLX’s, but they’re active a new tune.
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The drive approach ambassador is the aforementioned acutely placed bulge in the centermost ascendancy assemblage as what you’ll acquisition in the RDX, but for the aboriginal time in an Acura, there’s a customizable “Individual” mode. Like those begin in battling action sedans, it can apart acclimatize the powertrain, steering, adaptive dampers, lighting and start/stop system. There’s additionally preset Comfort, Normal and Action modes.
One aspect not controlled by the drive modes is the electro-servo anchor arrangement that finer migrates to the TLX from the NSX. Acknowledgment from this brake-by-wire arrangement is spectacular, with a annealed pedal and abbreviate travel. Engineers told us they begin a average arena amid the NSX’s pedal and the old TLX’s braking system, and we like the accommodation for circadian active and active driving. Although cars like the Corvette and BMW M8 acquiesce you to change anchor pedal feel, Acura told us it considers accomplishing so to be a abeyant assurance issue.
The berth is lightyears advanced of the approachable TLX as it adopts the aforementioned new appearance alien with the RDX. It’s agilely adventurous and abounding of sharp, advancing lines, while the copse and metal trim are the absolute deal. The infotainment arrangement has additionally been upgraded with new software. The accouterments is the aforementioned 10.2-inch awning as begin in the RDX, but the little approach blow aft of the altered touchpad ambassador has been redesigned. There’s a new conveniently-placed, console-mounted aggregate bulge and seek button as well. All are acceptable improvements.
Seat blazon varies by trim level. The A-Spec’s leather/suede aggregate looks best in the accessible red leather, and the suede inserts did a appropriate job of befitting us in place. But, we ambition the bolsters were aloof a beard added aggressive. Acura somewhat solves this with the Advance trim and its adjustable ancillary bolsters, but how appear they aren’t accessible on the sportier trim?
Other autogenous highlights accommodate Acura’s new ambient lights that are abiding into 27 capacity (carrying altered blush combinations) called afterwards acclaimed racetracks, anchorage or locations. The alternative 17-speaker ELS Studio audio arrangement is actuality accustomed as a huge footfall advanced in audio affection for the cast — there are eight speakers in the ceiling, and it uses a new twin-subwoofer architecture in the trunk. Audiophiles may acquisition added to love, but to us, it artlessly sounds like a bright clear, agitation audio arrangement with abundant complete that retains its accuracy all the way up into aerial aggregate levels. It seems like it can angle toe-to-toe with the assorted high-end audio systems offered by added affluence brands.
And really, that’s the case with the absolute 2021 TLX. Both the architecture and administration are top-tier. The autogenous styling, appearance and tech accommodated (or exceed) the Germans at the TLX’s amount point. A abject trim front-wheel-drive archetypal will run you $38,525. Add $2,000 for all-wheel drive or $6,750 for the A-Spec. The A-Spec adds all the tech account in the Technology Package forth with a cogent architecture and administration check for a abundant sportier look. If you appetite every advantage on the books, the SH-AWD Advance trim acme out at $49,325. Unless you appear to be asleep set on a rear-wheel-drive action sedan, the TLX’s active acquaintance is activity to address to you. And now that abounding of its antecedent shortcomings are on bigger footing, there’s no acumen to skip out on giving one a spin.