The Type-S gets a 355-horsepower turbocharged 3.5-litre V-6 as well as sporty body trim, 20-inch wheels and Brembo-brand brakes. PHOTO: ACURA

The Type-S gets a 355-horsepower turbocharged 3.5-litre V-6 as well as sporty body trim, 20-inch wheels and Brembo-brand brakes. PHOTO: ACURA

FIRST LOOK: 2021 Acura TLX

It’s bigger and turbocharged … and under $50,000 to start

Expectations are understandably high for the new second-generation Acura TLX sedan.

It represents the brand’s latest attempt at injecting significant style and performance to entice buyers who otherwise shop the lots of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus.

Honda’s upscale division has excelled in creating the highly regarded RDX and MDX utility vehicles, but has lagged in the sedan category. The high-end RLX never caught on with buyers and won’t be returning for 2021, while the TL and TSX were replaced with TLX for 2015. The compact ILX, which was launched for 2012, languishes on a previous-generation Honda Civic platform.

Like we said, all eyes are on the new TLX. The new sport sedan resembles the outgoing model, yes, but a closer look reveals a more aggressive front end. What makes a huge difference is the car’s enlarged dimensions, including a nearly eight-centimetre gain in length, a width increase of just over five centimetres and a not-insignificant 9.4-centimetre stretch in distance between the front and rear wheels. Combined with a slightly lower roofline and upticks in passenger and trunk space, the result is a character-changing design that should grab the attention of Acura super fans and casual observers alike.

The TLX is built off a new platform that Acura claims is considerably more rigid, particularly where lighter-weight suspension components are attached. The braking system is based on what’s used in the megabuck NSX sports car, and active dampers (shocks) constantly adjust according to road and driving conditions. To improve front-to-rear weight balance, the TLX’s battery has been relocated to the trunk from the engine compartment.

The interior has also undergone significant revision. There are better quality coverings for seats and door panels, a smartly redesigned dashboard and new sport-style heated front seats.

A touchpad-operated 25cm info screen is standard as is a sporty flat-bottom steering wheel and buttons to shift the transmission.

The TLX’s powertrain lineup is also new, beginning with the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine (the same one is used in the RDX) that makes 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. That’s a gain of 66 horsepower and 98 pound-feet over the previous base non-turbo 2.4-litre four-cylinder.

Opt for the Type S (a name previously attached to the long-retired TL sedan) and you get a turbo 3.0-litre V-6 with 355 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. It replaces the previous non-turbo 3.5-litre V-6 that produced 290 horses and 267 pound-feet.

The engines are connected to new 10-speed automatic transmissions — with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters — that replace the nine-speed automatics.

Regardless of engine, drivers get Econ, Normal and Sport settings (Sport+ is added to the Type S) that change the transmission, throttle, steering and suspension operations.

Official fuel-consumption numbers haven’t been released, but an estimate based on the RDX’s powertrain would be 9.8 l/100 km in combined city/highway driving.

The latest version of Acura’s Super Handling All-wheel-Drive isstandard with both the turbo 2.0 and the Type S. It can send up to 70 per cent of the engine torque to the rear wheels and direct 100 per cent of that amount to either the left or right tire during turning to increase precision (known as torque vectoring or yaw control).

The TLX is noticeably larger than the previous model with more than nine more centimetres between the front and rear wheels. Say hello to more rear legroom. PHOTO: ACURA

The TLX is noticeably larger than the previous model with more than nine more centimetres between the front and rear wheels. Say hello to more rear legroom. PHOTO: ACURA

TLX pricing starts at $46,500, including destination charges. Included in the price is a variety of dynamic-safety technologies (such as emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and road-departure mitigation).

The optional Technology, A-Spec and Platinum Elite packages increase the content, but the Type S is the only model that comes with sport-appearance body trim, high-performance summer tires mounted to 20-inch wheels, leather- and suede-trimmed seats and Brembo-brand brakes.

With the redesigned/new TLX, Acura seems focused on creating an image-enhancing model that will alter buyer impressions of how a premium sport sedan should look and perform. At least their impressions of an Acura sedan, that is.

Regardless, the new TLX is a huge step in the right direction.

Although the red seats grab your attention first, try feasting your eyes on the artful centre stack that houses the arrangement of buttons that shift the standard 10-speed automatic transmission. PHOTO: ACURA

Although the red seats grab your attention first, try feasting your eyes on the artful centre stack that houses the arrangement of buttons that shift the standard 10-speed automatic transmission. PHOTO: ACURA

What you should know: 2021 Acura TLX

Type: All-wheel-drive midsize sedan

Engines (h.p.): 2.0-litre I-4, turbocharged (272); 3.0-litre V-6, turbocharged (355)

Transmission: 10-speed automatic

Market position: Acura attempts to up the ante with a new TLX that it hopes offers the right stuff in terms of performance and style to entice new buyers.

Points: Roomier cabin has increased passenger comfort. • Design elements remain true to the previous model but for a bigger car that is actually more attractive. • Both base and optional engines deliver greater thrust, which never hurts when catering to upscale buyers. • SH-AWD system is one of the best on the market. • Reasonably priced, regardless of trim level.

Active safety: Blind-spot warning with backup alert (opt.); active cruise control (std.); emergency/pedestrian braking (std.); lane-departure intervention (std.)

driver-awareness monitoring (std.)

L/100 km (city/hwy): 11.0/8.6 (2.0, est.)

Base price: (incl. destination) $46,500

BY COMPARISON

Audi A4

  • Base price: $48,500
  • Well-regarded sedan offers standard AWD. S4 model comes with a 349-h.p. V-6.

Cadillac CT5

  • Base price: $41,900
  • One of only three sedans in GM’s lineup. CT5-V model puts out 355 h.p. AWD opt.

Infiniti Q50

  • Base price: $46,000
  • Attractive AWD premium sedan uses a 300-h.p. V-6. A 400-h.p. V-6 is opt.

-written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram

AutomotivecarsSUVs

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Katie Hamilton is one of three Victoria residents receiving a $10,000 podcast production grant from Telus Storyhive. Her podcast, Her Love of Sport, will take listeners through stories from women in the sports industry. (Courtesy of Katie Hamilton)
Three local podcasts coming to Victoria following Telus Storyhive grants

Victoria podcasts chosen out of 700 applications to receive $10,000

Victoria Gyro Club member George Barr stands beside the club’s Victoria Day parade float in the late 1950s. The trailer carried a sign advertising the Gyros’ popular hole in one fundraiser game, which raised money for the purchase of Gyro Park lands at Cadboro Bay. (Courtesy Victoria Gyro Club)
Victoria Gyro Club celebrates 100 years of friendship, building community

Club planned to mark centennial with an online meeting April 5

April 11 to 17 is Emergency Management BC’s Tsunami Preparedness Week. (Black Press Media file photo)
Tsunami preparation in the forefront across Greater Victoria

Tsunami Preparedness Week runs April 11 to 17

The Capital Regional District Arts Commission approved $118,450 in funding towards 14 local non-profit arts organizations. Grant recipients will offer various events, both in-person and virtually, throughout the year. Some of the events include an experimental musical and performance art festival, the Victoria BC Ska and Reggae Festival, the Sooke Fine Arts Show, and more. (Black Press Media file)
CRD gives $118,000 financial boost to local arts organizations

The upcoming deadline for project grant applications is April 22

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Most Read