Herein lies the broom that will sweep away both the TL and the TSX, and its name is the Acura TLX Prototype. Proposed as a "red carpet athlete," the production midsize TLX will slot in between the ILX and RLX range-topper in the brand's sedan lineup while presenting its take on "luxury refinement and sports-sedan athleticism with exhilarating performance."

Custom five-spoke alloys on low-profile tires support a sedan full of design cues honed on other Acura models, including a chiseled hood and exaggerated fender lines with shorter overhangs (the TLX is 3.8 inches shorter than but has the same wheelbase as the TL), all draped in Athletic Red Pearl paintwork. Acura's Jewel Eye headlights get a supporting act from the side mirrors, where a strip of LEDs light up dynamically when the turn signal is used.

The TLX's upscale powertrain option will be a direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 with cylinder deactivation, paired with a new nine-speed automatic.

When it goes on sale later this year, the TLX's base powertrain choice will be a brand-new, direct-injected 2.4-liter four-cylinder shifted through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Oddly, said gearbox will include a torque converter, but it isn't immediately clear how this traditional slushbox feature is integrated, or why. We've asked Acura for more engineering details and will let you know when we hear more.

The TLX's upscale powertrain option will be a direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 with cylinder deactivation, paired with a new nine-speed automatic. The front-wheel-drive car will get directional help from Acura's Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) system, while the 3.5-liter can be had with a lighter, reprogrammed version of the company's Super-Handling All Wheel Drive.

It looks like both driveline options come equipped with an Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) that has four driving modes (Economy, Normal, Sport and Sport+) that will alter steering and throttle response, transmission shift points, driveline control logic, Active Noise Control and, in Economy mode, even the heating and ventilation settings.

There's a press release below with more details on this most important addition to the Acura lineup, and you can also watch the just-completed reveal on video as well. We'll bring you more details and live images from the Detroit Auto Show floor.
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2015 TLX Prototype – Acura's "Red Carpet Athlete" – Unveiled at
2014 North American International Auto Show

Acura TLX Prototype Sets Design Direction for all-new Acura TLX launching mid-year;
2015 Acura TLX will deliver sports-sedan performance and agility in a more refined, sophisticated and technologically-enhanced package

DETROIT, MI, Jan. 14, 2014 – Acura today unveiled the 2015 Acura TLX Prototype showcasing the design and performance direction for the all-new 2015 TLX performance-luxury sedan launching mid-year at Acura dealerships nationwide. The TLX was developed around the theme"Red Carpet Athlete" to deliver a compelling blend of luxury refinement and sports-sedan athleticism with exhilarating performance enhanced by next-generation Acura powertrain and dynamic handling technologies. The TLX will join the ILX compact luxury sedan and the RLX luxury performance sedan as the third vehicle in Acura's sedan lineup.

"The Acura TLX Prototype is a precursor of some amazing things we have in store for our Acura sedan customers," said Mike Accavitti, senior vice president, American Honda Motor, Co., Inc. "As you would expect from an Acura, this completely new model will offer innovative technologies that break down the barriers between the driver and the machine to deliver a more intuitive, connected and personal driving experience."

The TLX Prototype, bathed in Acura Athletic Red Pearl, presents a lithe exterior form, taut body surfaces and sports-sedan proportions. Its sporting character is further highlighted by its low and wide stance, shortened front and rear overhangs, dynamically sculpted fender arches, and purposeful character lines. Acura's signature Jewel Eye™ LED headlights imbue the TLX Prototype with an advanced and bright-eyed appearance while producing superior down-the-road illumination. The prototype's custom-designed five-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels and 265/35ZR20 low-profile tires accentuate its athletic stance, while the sculpted hood with its sharply creased bilateral ridgelines hints at the performance capabilities of the advanced new Acura powertrain that lies beneath. Another prototype-exclusive feature is the tailor-made side mirrors. Keying off of the Jewel Eye™ LED headlights, each mirror has a row of LED lights fused into its base. Click on the turn indictor, and the LEDs come to life, spreading a moving glow around the bottom of the mirror for a high-tech, 3D appearance.

Dimensionally, the TLX Prototype presages the production 2015 TLX sedan and is 3.8 inches shorter in overall length (190.2 inches) than the current TL, yet rides on the same 109.3 inch wheelbase as the TL. The prototype's right-sized dimensions place the new TLX neatly in between the smaller ILX and larger RLX sedans. Despite its more compact exterior footprint, the TLX design targets the most spacious interior in the midsize luxury sedan class – roughly on par with the current TL – with an open and airy greenhouse, commanding sight lines, ample cargo capacity and comfortable seating for five adults.

And like any truly world-class athlete, the TLX will pair power and efficiency with deft agility. With its low and wide stance, rigid yet lightweight body, and nimble and responsive chassis, the TLX is designed to deliver confident, precise and refined ride and handling performance in almost any driving situation. From low-stress urban commutes to relaxed long-distance cruising, or adrenaline-inducing runs down twisting country roads, the TLX is designed to be an intuitive and confidence-inspiring driving partner, a vehicle that epitomizes Acura's dynamic concept of "performance at the will of the driver."

The 2015 TLX Prototype also communicates the diverse range of advanced technologies and performance options that will be available to Acura TLX customers – including two-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations ; two high-performance, highly fuel-efficient new engines; two new advanced transmissions; and the next generation Acura Super-Handling All Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™) and Precision All-Wheel Steer™ (P-AWS) dynamic performance and handling technologies.

In keeping with the "Red Carpet Athlete" design and development concept, the 2015 TLX's advanced new powertrains will deliver highly responsive, refined and efficient power delivery. An all-new 2.4-liter 16-valve inline 4-cylinder engine employs direct-injection and Acura's VTEC™ valvetrain, and is significantly lighter than previous Acura engines of similar configuration and displacement. The new engine is mated to an all-new 8-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) with torque converter. This new 8-speed DCT takes full advantage of the 2.4-liter engine's broad power band, delivering incredibly quick and smooth gear changes, expertly matching engine revs on down shifts, and putting the power down in a responsive and intuitive way.

For even greater power and performance, there is a 3.5-liter SOHC V-6 that also employs direct injection and VTEC variable valve control and cam timing along with fuel-saving Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM™) cylinder deactivation technology. The 3.5-liter V-6 is mated to a new 9-speed automatic transmission with closely spaced gear ratios and a wide overall ratio range to further extend engine performance and fuel efficiency. Both the 2.4-liter and 3.5-liter TLX models will target EPA fuel economy ratings at the top of the midsize luxury sedan class.

Two-wheel-drive models with either the 2.4- or 3.5-liter powerplant will utilize the next generation of Acura Precision All-Wheel Steer™ (P-AWS™) technology with independent left and right rear wheel toe control. As four-wheel steering becomes an increasingly popular technology on high-performance automobiles, Acura continues to evolve and improve the capabilities of its cutting-edge P-AWS system, first launched on the RLX sedan in 2013, to deliver even more responsive handling, precise steering control and high-speed stability.

The TLX SH-AWD™, available exclusively with the 3.5-liter V6 engine and 9-speed transmission, employs a new generation of Acura's signature Super-Handling All Wheel Drive™ technology that is 25 percent lighter and incorporates new torque-vectoring control logic.

Understanding that customization is a key component of luxury, the TLX will feature an Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) to allow for further personalization and a sportier driving experience. The four driving modes – ECON (Economy), Normal, Sport, and a new Sport+ mode – take full advantage of the TLX's high-performance capabilities. Depending on which mode the driver selects, the Integrated Dynamics System will adjust Electric Power Steering (EPS), throttle response, SH-AWD and P-AWS control logic, transmission shift mapping, Active Noise Control settings and HVAC control in accordance with the preferences of the driver.

Also in keeping with its luxury sedan status, the TLX was designed to deliver vault-like quietness in all driving conditions, with major improvements in noise reduction through enhancements to body stiffness, body sealing and sound insulation, and the application of electronic Active Noise Control.

The TLX utilizes Acura's next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure and is expected to achieve the highest available safety ratings – a five-star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The TLX will be available with Acura's most advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies including Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow and Blind Spot Indicator (BSI).

The TLX was designed and developed in the United States by Acura engineers working in the company's Los Angeles design studio and Raymond, Ohio new-vehicle development center. The new TLX will be produced using domestic and globally sourced parts at the company's award-winning Marysville, Ohio auto plant, which presently manufactures the 2014 Acura TL performance-luxury sedan.

For More Information
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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 11 Months Ago
      Funny how people berate the grill. This grill is actually good looking to me. The original "shield" that appeared on the TL was way overdone and cheap looking. When the grill was toned down it finally looked good. Personally I think the new Acura grill is a nice corporate grill and works really well on this car. Best part about this car to me are the proportions. And second are the clean lines. Mercedes has lost their mind on a lot of their recent cars with incredibly over-done bodywork that rivals Hyundai. Infiniti all look just like a Nissan now. And the new Lexus grill just doesn't work. Right now, this is my favorite car in this class.
      • 11 Months Ago
      The way that the chrome window trim makes it's way onto the side-view mirror is pretty awesome.
        • 11 Months Ago
        you know thats one of the first things to go when they start making a production model
      • 11 Months Ago
      Much better looking than the RLX (and everything else they make). Finally got one right.
      • 11 Months Ago
      I like it! I had a 3rd Generation 2004 and thought the 4th Generation was just a mess. I can definitely see this in my driveway. Good to see Acura finally stepping up to the plate with a 9 speed AT and 4 wheel steering to distinguish itself. The new shape is pleasing with good proportions. This might just sell well if they price it right.
      Avinash Machado
      • 11 Months Ago
      Looks better than any of the current Acura's.
      • 11 Months Ago
      My family has been Honda/Acura since I was five. I've owned a '97 Integra and most recently a '12 TSX after I crashed my TSX. As someone who does have such an affinity with the brand, the last few years have been really hard as both companies (though far more with Acura) have left enthusiasts behind both in regard to vehicles, performance and design. My love for them was much more from memory than current line-up. Needless to say this looks like a return to form and probably the best design they have had in a decade. Hopefully the performance of these 2 new engines can match this new look.
      • 11 Months Ago
      This is the first Acura in a very long time that doesn't make me want to scratch out my eyeballs. I dare say it's even attractive. Nice work Acura. Perhaps now you can start to extract yourself from the styling ditch you've been digging for the last 10 or so years.
      • 11 Months Ago
      A bit on the mild side, but vastly more attractive than either the TL or the TSX. At last, a step in the right direction for Acura. The 3.5L + 9-speed also sounds like a strong performer.
      • 11 Months Ago
      "Oddly, said gearbox will include a torque converter, but it isn't immediately clear how this traditional slushbox feature is integrated, or why. We've asked Acura for more engineering details and will let you know when we hear more." How could Autoblog not know why the torque converter is for in the dual-clutch transmission? profiled the transmission way back in November: "Also displayed was a new 8-speed DCT transmission with a torque converter. The torque converter is included to solve DCT's inherent driveability issues at lower speeds. Robot clutches just aren't very good at smoothly modulating engagement, so torque converters are used for those situations. The dual clutch mechanism permits the nearly instantaneous and seamless upshifts at speed. This transmission does not have sufficient capacity to be coupled to the new 2.0L Turbo engine, but it should work with the 1.5L Turbo and normally aspirated 4-cylinder engines. "
        • 11 Months Ago
        More importantly, it works... In the real world, the prototype delivered on its promises. Leaving a stop was no different than any traditional torque converter automatic, with smooth acceleration and no hint of chatter or balkiness from the transmission. Once under way, the transmission changed gears lightening quick and so smoothly that we almost couldn’t feel them happen. Response to the paddle shifters was nearly instantaneous as well. This prototype struggled, though, with some downshifts. While some were smooth, others were harsh and abrupt. Engineers grimaced and admitted the software needed more work to eliminate those instances. Absent that problem, this transmission seems almost ready for prime time and could offer a compelling alternative to balky DCTs and slow-shifting automatics. Read more: Of course, it's a prototype and still needs work, but it solves the issue of low speed driveability.
        • 11 Months Ago
      • 11 Months Ago
      Definitely the most athletic-looking Acura sedan ever. I like it, but it's all gonna hinge on the interior for me. It needs to be more like the new RLX and not the old TL. All that gray plastic was a huge turn off for me. Hopefully, those wheels will make it through to production. That paint is really nice, too.
      • 11 Months Ago
      Clean design will age well, I like the bulging rear fenders.
      • 11 Months Ago
      Just visited the Audi A3 build page. Looks like typical Audi hardware, nothing new or exciting, and typical Audi overpriced by a wide margin. If Acura holds the line on prices with the new TLX, this could be a big hit sales wise.
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