• Feb 9th 2011 at 12:15PM
  • 62
2012 Acura TL – Click above for high-res image

Let's be honest – the Acura TL isn't exactly a pretty car. And while the vast majority of the automotive media and enthusiast forums immediately lashed out at the TL's angular design, we were nothing short of pleased with its luxurious, high-tech interior and solid driving dynamics – especially the six-speed manual-equipped SH-AWD. For the 2012 model year, Acura has softened some of the car's harsh lines, and while the automaker tells us that both the front and rear fascias are "all-new," there's no mistaking this sedan for anything but a TL.

Because this is merely a modest mid-cycle refresh, the TL's powertrain hasn't been completely overhauled. Both the 3.5- and 3.7-liter V6s are still on hand, though a new six-speed automatic transmission helps improve performance and fuel economy. A new set of 19-inch all-season tires are available on SH-AWD models in an effort to improve performance on snow and ice, fitted to an updated set of alloy wheels.

Inside, Acura has made substantial improvements to reduce wind and road noise, and the HDD navigation system has been upgraded to 60 gigabytes for improved music storage. What's more, a new Advance Package nets customers things like a blind spot information system and cooled front seats. Look for the 2012 TL to hit dealerships later this year. Follow the jump for the official press release.

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  • 2012 Acura TL
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  • 2012 Acura TL
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  • 2012 Acura TL 3.7L V6

[Source: Acura]
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Newly Refined 2012 Acura TL Debuts At Chicago Auto Show

Fresh Looks, a New 6-speed Automatic Transmission and Upgraded Technology Highlight 2012 TL Changes

TORRANCE, Calif., Feb. 9, 2011 – Making its debut at the 2011 Chicago Auto show, Acura's newly refined TL delivers fresh looks, improved performance and upgraded technology. Most apparent are the visual changes that incorporate new front and rear styling, but also present is a new Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission for improved performance and fuel economy, a revised interior and a host of technology upgrades.

"The 2012 Acura TL is refined, yet aggressive," said Jeff Conrad, vice president of Acura sales. "Already known for its great performance, the enhanced TL has a sophisticated new look and an all-new 6-speed automatic transmission that will take performance to the next level."

The 2012 TL's refined new look includes a redesigned front bumper with improved aerodynamics, a revised grille, updated headlights and turn signals, a new fog light design and a shorter front overhang. At the rear, a new rear bumper incorporates a significantly repositioned license plate opening and smaller rear reflectors, while updated taillights and a thinner rear trunk edge trim add to a sophisticated new look.

To increase performance, a new Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission is applied on all TL models with automatic transmission. In addition to incorporating engineering enhancements aimed at improving efficiency, a sport-minded double-kick-down feature lets the driver command a double downshift- such as from Fifth to Third gear. The Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system also creates a "blip" of the throttle to help match gear speeds while downshifting.

In addition, the transmission teams with a new multi-clutch torque converter that not only reduces heat build-up during operation, but also allows for lock-up activation during a much wider range of driving conditions- which helps generate improved fuel economy. As a result, city/highway fuel economy is now 20/29 mpg*- an increase of 3 mpg in highway driving over the 2011 TL. To further improve operating efficiency, the TL's standard 3.5L V-6 engine receives a host of friction-reduction technologies while a revised air inlet system provides cooler air for both the 3.5L and 3.7L engines.

For 2012, two distinct versions of Acura's performance luxury sedan remain: a 280 horsepower, front-wheel-drive TL along with a powerful 305 hp TL paired with Acura's exclusive Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™). The performance-minded 6MT model will continue to be offered in the 2012 TL SH-AWD lineup, helping broaden the TL's appeal among luxury performance sedan buyers.

Both the TL and TL SH-AWD™ models offer an available Technology Package which includes the Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting™ and AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™, and an Acura/ELS Surround® 410-watt Premium Audio System. For 2012, the hard disk drive (HDD) based navigation system increases in size to 60 gigabytes, map coverage is more expansive, USB connection speed is faster, and the full VGA monitor is brighter with even richer colors. Also available is a new Advance Package that incorporates all-new ventilated front seats along with a new blind spot information (BSI) system that alerts the driver of other vehicles that are in close proximity.

Standard on the 2012 TL are new 17x8-inch 7-spoke aluminum wheels with P245/50R17 all-season tires for confident year-round performance. The TL SH-AWD® comes standard with 18x8-inch 5-spoke aluminum wheels with low-profile P245/45R18 tires for more agile handling. Finally, when equipped with the available Advance Package, the TL comes with 18x8-inch 5-spoke wheels while TL SH-AWD™ is fitted with19x8-inch split five-spoke aluminum wheels with new performance minded P245/40R19 all-season tires.

Along with every new Acura, the new 2012 TL is covered by a comprehensive 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty and a 6-year/70,000 miles powertrain limited warranty. Additional benefits of ownership include Acura Total Luxury Care® (TLC®), which provides free 24-hour roadside assistance, concierge service and trip routing.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Holy front overhang. Its better, but now it has a Chrysler 200 thing going on up front....and that's definitely not an association Acura wants.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Big surprise, the ugly beak is still there.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Beak aside, the entire thing is just horribly dull to me. It looks like it's from 2007-2008 not 2011. What happened to the Japanese in the past decade? They used to make neat and fun cars, now they're mainly appliances.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The only change I can see is they went to a horizontal grill instead of chicken-wire underneath the chrome beak, and they changed the foglight housing. Did they soften the rear midline crease, too, or is that just the lighting?

        It's really a shame this car is so incredibly garish. On paper, it's a great car that I would buy in a second: V6, 6-speed manual, torque vectoring AWD, amazing standard tech at a reasonable price. The profile is even pretty nice (except I'm not a fan of the trunk lid to rear fascia angle). The rear bumper of the TSX is far better looking than the TL.

        I honestly think the rear of the TL is worse than the front ... but that's not to say that I think the beak looks anywhere near okay! The rear just has so many freakin angles on it! It's a mishmash! Must be horrible to try to manufacture so many fine angles in a piece of aluminum!
        • 4 Years Ago
        At least, this time around, it hurts my eyes a bit less. But, it still cannot hide its awkward front fender kink and less stellar overall design theme. furthermore, this change actually makes the car look older, at least on this photos.

        Also, who are approving these HORRIBLE press images? Makes the ugly duckling even less desirable.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The revised grill is definitely an improvement. It no longer looks like some sort of cancerous growth. The new crease going across the front bumper also helps a lot. Before, the bumper was a big slab, and the crease breaks up that giant flat surface, making it look less cheap. However, the positioning of the crease seems somewhat arbitrary.

        Rear end is still a mess.
        • 4 Years Ago
        it looks better than before, the car still look bloated, but the grill is at fixed. I don't understand why people keep bashing it the grill on the new TL.

        having said that, the 280 HP TL is rated 20-29 by EPA. very very good IMHO. the next 4 door luxury car that comes with this rating is Infinite G25, which has 218 HP. But of course Auto blog will ignore that.

        • 4 Years Ago
        2012 Acura TL softens skin, sharpens claws in Chicago
        presented by Toyota.

        love the ad placement AB.

        did this thing just get uglier? what is happening at Honda/Acura?
        The previous two generations, before the beak/plenum/monstrosity, were beautiful. and now its reduced to this. For shame.

        • 4 Years Ago

        It's not so much of a group-think, in this case, but rather a commonly shared perception of beauty. Acura is like a very ugly-looking girl - most people with call her hideous, but there will be one who will discover some hidden spiritual beauty in her. Acura looks different not in a good way, but largely because of the "we couldn't make it good, so we made it different" motto of its designers.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm not sure what they did, but it looks a lot better. And at least they're bucking the trend of huge gaping grilles
        • 4 Years Ago
        OK, what did Acura change here? The car still looks the samey beige as before.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @MiniMe: So Acura's a dirty girl who needs a bag over her head?

        Nothing wrong with the car that a full body kit can't fix, eh?
        • 4 Years Ago
        it looks better than before but Acura should take note from here...

        • 4 Years Ago
        @Monoposto: The beak and the lines have been toned down so much now that I don't even see a problem with it anymore. It's just popular on here to bash Acura regardless...

        @Daniel: What happened to Japanese design? They sent it to America unfortunately. A lot of new Hondas, Acuras, and Toyotas coming out are designed in the US. They should just fire the whole lot and bring it back to Japan.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Looks a lot better.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm obviously in the minority, but I LOVED the 2009-10 TL. I thought the grill was striking and beautiful, at least on some colors (especially silver).

      I thought the new TSX looked terrible compared to the old one, however.

      This is a step down, IMO.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have more of an issue with the front fenders. That just stops any kind of flow to the car.
      The grill is definitely an improvement.

      Havent seen the rear but the concave trunk lid wasnt working either.

      Acura after all these years is still looking for a design identity.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not bad, but it could've been better. Maybe it's just me, but in my eyes, it suffers from the "tiny face" syndrome that the new Chrysler 300 has.
      • 4 Years Ago
      now it looks like a pansy and ugly instead of just ugly.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Can't say I'm disappointed. It's exactly what I expected Acura to do. The car is not horrid anymore. I really don't have any issues with the rest of the car. The interior, audio, tech and performance on the SH-AWD is great.

        • 4 Years Ago

        for a second there, it bored me to death.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh god, another scre-up. It now looks like granny that's smiling... with no teeth! Why in heaven's name aren't they listening to the people? Pride?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ugh I just don't get it. I think the 3rd gen TL (especially the Type-S) is still one of the best looking cars on the road. How on earth did it turn into this?
      • 4 Years Ago
      People bitch endlessly about blandness, how this car looks like that one, and that one looks like this one. But when something different comes along, they set on it like an angry mob.

      Case in point: The Acura TL. The response to this car shows what the car companies already knew: What the public wants is the same old thing, over and over, with just enough novelty to distinguish old from new.

      "Oh, but the grille doesn't line up with the headlights!! How awful!!" One would think that some cardinal rule had been violated. I mean, how dare they! Don't they know that things like that are simply not done?

      And since when did a prominent grille become such a styling no-no? Big grilles are absolutely everywhere. The number one cliche when it comes to designing a luxury car is to slap on a big ol' grille. The Hyundai Genesis (among others) took this route. But the Acura 'power plenum' didn't look the way that grilles are supposed to look. The problem wasn't that it was too big. The problem was that it was there at all, because people found its unconventionality offensive.

      I'll admit, the 'plenum' grille confused me at first, because they simply slapped it onto the RL. But the TL and ZDX changed my mind, being better embodiments of the new design language, which showed a surprising riskiness--especially coming from Honda.

      Why are people so disappointingly conservative? When Chris Bangle shook up decades of convention at BMW, people excoriated him like he was the devil. And on a lesser level, when Mazda gave its cars a new down-the-road graphic, people hate on that too.

      Despite the criticism, I was hoping that Acura's new design direction would be allowed to develop. But it seems that the public has successfully beaten it down, at least in part. It's so sad that people can call this change to the TL 'progress', because it's actually a retreat. Yes, it looks more conventional now. But it's suffered a loss of identity. That serves us consumers how, exactly?

      Oh well. When the next Acuras appear once again looking like everything else, you'll have nobody to blame but yourselves.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Pretty sure everyone lashed out at the BEAK, not the angular design. Therefore, they softened the thing that did not need fixing, that nobody was complaining about, and left the beak that everybody hates.

      Yet another Honda FAIL.

      PS: Love my 89 Prelude 4ws Si and 91 civic beater. Both fantastic cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't agree. The minimizing of the shield works well IMO. The front end looks much more cohesive, and yet the shield remains a not-ugly-with-good-proportioning unique brand mark, which is what Acura wanted anyway. I approve Acura. Solid car workings-wise, and now interesting rather than awkward looks wise.
        • 4 Years Ago
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