TOKYO: Japanese automaker Honda’s Acura has launched TLX with high-strength steel for almost 60 percent of the new unitized body.
Fortified with new four-cylinder and V-6 engines, two new automatic transmissions, updated editions of Acura’s Super Handling All-wheel Drive (SH-AWD) and Precision All-Wheel Steering (P-AWS), the TLX is poised to deliver what Acura vice president and division general manager Mike Accavitti characterizes as “a thrill like no other.”
Utilizing Honda’s VTEC and iVTEC variable-cam systems, both engines are nourished by direct fuel injection, the 2.4-liter four rated for 206 horsepower, the 3.5-liter V-6 generating 290.
The four is mated to a new dual clutch eight-speed automatic that’s uniquely teamed with a torque converter, while the V-6 is allied with a new nine-speed automatic, developed by Honda. As with the nine-speed ZF-built automatic used in some Chryslers and Jaguars, the TLX has an electronic gear selector, but the Acura uses pushbuttons for gear selection. There is no traditional shift lever.
In addition to improved performance for the TLX compared to the previous TL and TSX models, Acura anticipates improved EPA fuel economy ratings: 24 mpg city/35 highway for the four, 21/34 with the V-6, and 21/32 for the V-6 and SH-AWD.
Whether or not the TLX delivers the dynamic thrills Accavitti anticipates is something for a future report. In the meantime, its visual impact is likely to be a little less sensational.
The lines are clean, the front fascia is consistent with current Acura (beaky!) design language, and its reduced overall length (at 191.2 inches, it’s 3.8 inches shorter than the TL) makes for a tidier appearance thanks to less car protruding beyond the front and rear axles.
LED headlights brighten the front-end appearance, and there are also LED turn-signal repeaters in the mirrors, taillights, and even the license plate surround. Beyond that, though, the TLX is a tidy and conservative styling job that is unlikely to provoke any product-liability suits related to scorched retinas.
Inside, the one-piece upper dashboard surface is soft touch, while the instrument panel, center stack, and door panels are embellished with aluminum and/or genuine wood trim.
Milano leather upholstery and trim is available, and there is the usual extensive menu of connectivity and infotainment options, including the latest generation of the cloud-based AcuraLink system, Acura nav system with real-time traffic info, a 455-watt 10-speaker ELS audio option, and Siri Eyes Free, a must-have feature for owners with iPhones.
Safety technology also gets top billing in the new TLX. Most notable under this heading is the Road Departure Mitigation system, which monitors the car’s road position via a forward-looking monocular camera and can initiate steering correction and braking when the system’s brain perceives an imminent brush with roadside scenery.
The camera and adaptive-cruise-control radar also play a role in the new Collision Mitigation Braking system, which initiates warnings and can apply the brakes when an impact with another car or pedestrian appears imminent.
Other standard and available safety features include blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, an expanded-view driver’s side mirror, lane-keeping assist, a rear-view camera, and a rear cross-traffic monitor.