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

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported an additional 456 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Five new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, two in Red Deer

Province reports 456 new cases of COVID-19

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Alberta RCMP urge rural residents to use online crime reporting

‘Crimes reported online will be taken just as seriously as crime reported in any other way’

county
County of Paintearth highlights from Jan. 12th

County graders have been out blading ice at intersections where ice buildup has been bad

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19.  (File photo)
750 new COVID-19 cases identified in Alberta Sunday

Central zone currently has 1,182 active cases of the virus

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

In this March 28, 2017, file photo, a dump truck hauls coal at Contura Energy’s Eagle Butte Mine near Gillette, Wyo. Public opposition to the Alberta government’s plans to expand coal mining in the Rocky Mountains appears to be growing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mead Gruver, File
Alberta cancels coal leases, pauses future sales, as opposition increases

New Democrat environment critic Marlin Schmidt welcomed the suspension

File photo
Wetaskiwin Crime Reduction Unit recovers valuable stolen property

Property valued at over $50,000 recovered by Wetaskiwin Crime Reduction Unit.

In this March 28, 2017, file photo, a dump truck hauls coal at Contura Energy’s Eagle Butte Mine near Gillette, Wyo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mead Gruver, File)
First Nations seek to intervene in court challenge of coal policy removal

Bearspaw, Ermineskin and Whitefish First Nations are among those looking to intervene

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Canada’s pitch to the Biden team has framed Keystone XL as a more environmentally friendly project than original

Central Alberta’s Catherine Hayreceived a letter from the Government of Canada recently stating she had to repay the government. Photo submitted
Central Albertan asked to repay CERB amount

Catherine Hay says she received a letter in November saying she had to completely repay the benefit

Most Read