Immediately after landing at Washington's Dulles airport, an Acura representative handed me the keys to a 2014 TSX with fewer than 180 miles on its clock. The four-cylinder engine started and I pointed its signature beak towards a destination in Middleburg, VA. It was a curious move by the Japanese automaker, especially considering that I had flown no less than 2,300 miles to drive the discontinued vehicle's ostensible successor, the all-new 2015 Acura TLX.
Yet spending a solid 40 minutes with a sparkling-new version of the outgoing model that still smelled showroom fresh, allowed me an opportunity to scrutinize the dropped sedan and remind myself why it had never really blown me away – it was good at doing many things, but truly great at doing none.
Time with the TSX also started me thinking about the Acura TL, the second model that the TLX will effectively replace. I have better memories of the slightly larger sedan, especially the SH-AWD 6MT trim – it's a solid driver's car – but it, too, fell short in areas where competitors, including the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Cadillac ATS, Lexus IS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, excelled.
As I pulled up to the hotel a short while later, it became clear that Acura had some work to do. Its task over the next 48 hours would be to persuade me that its clean-sheet TLX was not only a worthy replacement for the TL and TSX, but a competitive player in this fiercely contested segment.
The easiest way to replace two vehicles, especially when each is a different size, is to split the difference. And that is more-or-less what Acura has done with its new TLX. When the wraps were taken off the sedan at the 2014 New York International Auto Show earlier this year, it revealed a vehicle larger than the TSX, yet still a few inches shorter than the TL. More importantly, the excess length was not taken from the passenger cabin or wheelbase – it was cut from the front and rear overhang to leave interior volume and a comfortable ride intact.
Visually, the new silhouette works. Shortened overhangs, and a lower roofline give the sedan a wide and stable appearance, with the Acura's debatable satin aluminum beak cleanly integrated into the design – one of its best applications. The TLX will never be accused of breaking new ground in terms of overall design (I'd call it conservative compared to what some other automakers are offering), but it won't offend, either.
The TLX will never be accused of breaking new ground in terms of overall design, but it won't offend, either.
That's something I kept in mind while dropping into the cabin of the new four-door, noting that the front seat easily accommodated my six-foot, two-inch frame, affording ample torso, leg- and headroom without any hint of being overly confined. I moved the driver's seat (standard 10-way power adjustable with lumbar) and steering wheel (manual tilt and telescope) into my preferred positions and then climbed into the second row, which gave my knees about a half-inch of remaining clearance and left my head a couple inches shy of the headliner (credit a deep bottom cushion in the second row). All told, the cabin will accommodate four adults comfortably, or five in a pinch, even if each have different political views.
The interior, in terms of design and execution, reminds me of the recently released RLX, which is Acura's current flagship. That's actually a very positive association. A three-spoke steering wheel, with excellent button and wheel controls, sits between the driver and an instrument cluster with a tasteful and easy-to-read mix of two round analog gauges on either side of a multifunction color digital display. The center stack has two large full-color displays, but it isn't as clean ergonomically as the workload of replacing buttons and switchgear is split between the pair. There are only two rotary dials on the console – a small one to control the audio level, and a larger one for the navigation screen. Most everything else is controlled via touchscreen or buttons, controls that require more than a bit of familiarization.
Additional upscale RLX influence is found nestled between the two front seats. Instead of a traditional gear lever, models with the V6 arrive with Acura's Electronic Gear Selector, which uses a digital pushbutton array to replace the cable-connected mechanical lever. Acura says the electronic system frees up space in the center console, which it does. Like it or not, lever-less consoles appear here to stay.
The interior reminds me of the RLX, which is Acura's current flagship. That's actually a very positive association.
The six-cylinder engine is shared with the automaker's RLX sedan and MDX crossover, and is familiar to owners of the current TL, but it has been updated for duty in the TLX. The naturally aspirated, direct-injected 3.5-liter now carries a rating of 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque (gains of 10 horsepower and 13 pound-feet when compared to the 3.5-liter offered in the outgoing TL). The V6 is mated to a ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic transmission – a first-time application for Acura – with a traditional torque converter.
If a pushbutton gear selector isn't your cup of tea, or you want to save upwards of $4,225, opt for the standard TLX model that arrives with a traditional cable-actuating shift lever. Buried inside its engine bay is a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 206 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. Here's where things get interesting: the engine is mated to a standard eight-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) with a torque converter. Yes, a torque converter. The automaker has combined its DCT with a torque converter – the industry's first such marriage we're aware of – to improve smoothness in stop-and-go situations and enhance off-the-line acceleration, both areas of weakness with many dual-clutch gearboxes.
In the grand scheme of things, Acura will initially offer seven different models, with the front-wheel drive TLX 2.4 starting at $31,890 (all pricing references include an $895 destination fee) and topping out with the TLX 3.5L SH-AWD with Advance Package, which runs $45,595. Customers may opt for front- or all-wheel drive, four- or six-cylinder power and choose to add Technology or Advance Packages to fit their needs.
The V6 is mated to a ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic transmission with a traditional torque converter.
Before jumping behind the wheel and covering hundreds of miles in all three models combined, Acura showed me a fullsize cutaway of its new sedan. The display allowed me to see for myself that the TLX is built on the same basic platform as the Honda Accord, but it is significantly different, having been updated for premium duty with additional high-strength hot stamped steel to improve rigidity and safety, along with aluminum alloy and magnesium componentry to reduce weight. Once satisfied with the platform's enhanced body stiffness and lowered mass, the engineering team shot acoustic foam into the body cavities, adhered acoustic barrier panels within the body panels, used triple door seals around the frames and added electronic active noise control to provide a quiet ride – there was a clear obsession to make the cabin whisper quiet.
But silence wasn't its only objective, as the automaker had safety on its mind, too. Acura expects its so-called Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure will earn the TLX a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a Five-Star Overall Vehicle Score in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's New Car Assessment Program safety ratings. Passengers are offered additional protection from front, side, side-curtain and driver's-side knee airbags, and standard and available driver-assist features include Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Information (BSI), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), Cross Traffic Monitor, Motion Adaptive Electric Power Steering and a Collision Mitigation Braking System – it's reassuring to know that the intimidating list simply means that the sedan has been engineered to help keep its occupants comfortable and safe on the road, while reducing their workload.
To customize vehicle driving dynamics, all models of the TLX arrive with Acura's Integrated Dynamics System (IDS), which gives the operator the ability tune the vehicle's character to their driving style in one of four selectable modes (Econ, Normal, Sport and Sport+) by altering throttle response, power steering effort, transmission shift logic, climate control system operation, active sound management and the control logic for either the P-AWS or SH-AWD systems.
The Acura is remarkably quiet for a vehicle in this segment.
I drove all three models (FWD I4, FWD V6 and AWD V6) over the course of the day and was generally very pleased with what I observed. Naturally, I did emerge with a favorite.
Most importantly, regardless of engine or powertrain, all TLX models are exemplary highway cruisers. Every single one glides down the road with a silence and demeanor more typical of a full-size European luxury vehicle. There is a near absence of wind and tire noise, and not a squeak from within the cabin. The Acura is remarkably quiet for a vehicle in this segment. The chassis and ride is also superb in all models. I sailed over whoop-de-dos on backcountry roads, bounded over railroad tracks and traversed miles of uneven pavement. There was hardly a crash, bang or bump, and never once did the wheel travel reach its limit or did the platform become unsettled or choppy. After a few hours of trying to expose a weakness in the ride, I gave up and simply enjoyed the serenity – the TLX will make its owners look forward to the daily commute, whether three miles or three hours.
Floor the accelerator on the front-drive TLX V6 and its tires will spin unnecessarily (and fruitlessly), even with Acura's unobtrusive traction control engaged – thus making it my least favorite model of the trio. If you require V6 power, my suggestion is to spend the additional $2,200 for the automaker's excellent Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) model. The full-time system, which requires no driver intervention, has been thoroughly reworked for duty in the TLX to be more compact and 25-percent lighter than its predecessor. As an added benefit, the new rear-drive unit is overdriven by 2.7-percent (compared to 1.7 percent on the previous system) to provide more torque vectoring capability and enhanced cornering.
If you require V6 power, my suggestion is to spend the additional $2,200 for the automaker's excellent Super Handling All-Wheel Drive.
The SH-AWD is always monitoring grip, lateral Gs and power output to determine how to best put the power to the ground (as in the past, the driver can watch the power application with the digital display on the instrument panel). The system also now takes a look at steering wheel angle to proactively send power to proper wheel to optimize handling. In practice, SH-AWD works very well, and wheel slip stemming from too much power to the contact patch is eliminated. And, for all intents and purposes, the AWD system is efficient enough that it doesn't exact much of a penalty when it sips premium fuel (the EPA's combined fuel economy estimates are identical between FWD and AWD models, but the highway figure drops three miles per gallon).
I'm not a huge fan of the industry's push toward nine-ratio gearboxes – realize that this is the same basic transmission that arrives in the Jeep Cherokee – as they seem to constantly be on a hunt for a proper gear. But Acura's engineers have done a commendable job tuning out most of this automatic's annoyances in both six-cylinder models. TLX V6 models leap off the line with eagerness, the shifts are buttery smooth and both seems perfect content holding gears for more than a few moments, which is the polished performance customers in this segment expect. I don't believe any 9AT model will spend much time in its highest ratio (most of my steady state cruising was too slow), but intelligent mapping, cylinder deactivation and idle-stop – Acura's name for start/stop technology – allow the 3.5-liter TLX models to achieve decent fuel economy (an EPA rating of 21 miles per gallon city/31 highway) for their output.
My preferred engine is the four-cylinder, which is lamentably not available with the SH-AWD but arrives with Acura's excellent all-new eight-speed DCT. The entry-level model is a full 291 pounds lighter than its range-topping V6 sibling, and its lower mass and very eager DCT permit it to drive with a youthful and agile step despite being less powerful and understandably slower (the horsepower deficiency is most obvious at highway speeds, where a turbocharger would really help). And, as an expected benefit, the smaller engine delivers stronger fuel economy (EPA: 24 city and 35 highway).
My preferred engine is the four-cylinder, which is lamentably not available with the SH-AWD but arrives with Acura's excellent all-new eight-speed DCT.
All versions of the Acura ride on a MacPherson front and multi-link rear suspension. The steering rack is electrically assisted, and there are disc brakes at all four corners (single sliding-piston calipers). The architecture is all proper for a mid-size luxury sedan, but the TLX isn't afforded an opportunity to prove itself as a sport sedan. In an effort to reduce cabin noise, improve fuel economy and allow all models to be a true four-season sedans, Acura has fit each with all-season grand touring tires. Unfortunately, they are just 225-mm wide and that leave a lot to be desired (my pictured test car was fitted with Goodyear Eagle LS-2 rubber, but there were Bridgestone Potenza RE97AS tires on another). Push the sedan over six-tenths and the tires' tread blocks immediately protest. Push it further and understeer becomes its predominant handling trait.
But then something interesting happens – the TLX makes it around the corner.
All front-wheel drive models are equipped with Acura's Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) system, which uses its independent left and right rear-wheel toe angle control to turn the rear wheels in the same direction at high speed to improve stability, and in the opposite direction during low speeds to improve turn-in and stability (P-AWS also toes both wheels in during braking, to help settle the back end). The P-AWS system, working in conjunction with Vehicle Stability Assist (stability control) delicately guides the sedan around the radius.
The all-wheel-drive model uses its SH-AWD system, aligning with the stability control system, to expertly distribute power and do similar tricks. From an outside observer's standpoint, the TLX plows and completely lacks finesse. However, the vehicle's operator always feels in complete control – the Acura's handling at the limit is stable, predictable and safe, and I never came close to dropping a wheel off the pavement.
After six-plus hours of effortless seat time in the Acura TLX, the sedan had won me over – but not for the expected reasons.
Acura has engineered a much better sedan than its TSX and TL ever were.
I'm a sport sedan guy, and given that primary motive, I'd likely choose the BMW 328i as this segment's most engaging, sportiest and fun-to-drive model – but option-for-option, it's significantly costlier to purchase and own, especially once BMW's free maintenance program expires. And besides, in the real world, people rarely drive above six-tenths. The reality is that most buyers in the segment are actually seeking an attractive vehicle with an accommodating cabin, comfortable ride, sporty-feeling yet predictable handling, a long equipment list, strong crash test scores, impeccable reliability, fuel economy and a price that doesn't break the bank.
By honing in on what people really need and excelling in each of those categories, Acura has engineered a much better sedan than its TSX and TL ever were – and it's finally in a position to offer a much better, more properly focused luxury sedan than most others in the segment. The TLX's biggest hurdle to success, then, is likely to be something a bit nebulous and beyond its control – Acura's image. Will enough buyers look beyond this car's crisp yet evolutionary styling to choose it over offerings from more prestigious brands? The TLX might be up to the challenge, but the real question is whether consumers are willing to give a deserving new Acura a chance.
New Car Test Drive
Best Acura sedan in decades.
Way back in the mid-1980s when Honda's luxury brand was new, Acura's best car was the mid-size Legend. Available as a sedan or sport coupe, the Legend was a very good car for its time wearing a truly great name, unlike today's three-letter labels. We think the 2015 TLX is the closest thing yet to being Legend's long-awaited heir.
The 2015 Acura TLX is an all-new model logically positioned midway between Acura's compact ILX and its flagship RLX. The Acura TLX replaces both the TSX and TL. And, for a split personality as a refined country clubber that can mix it up with the best four-door automotive athletes, Acura loaded it with a unique blend of highly effective technologies.
The 2015 TLX comes in three flavors: The Acura TLX 2.4L comes with a 206-hp 2.4-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder and an innovative new 8-speed dual clutch transmission; the Acura TLX 3.5L features a 290-hp 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 with a new 9-speed automatic; while the TLX 3.5L SH-AWD adds Acura's next-generation Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive.
We have driven all the models and found the new Acura TLX boasts crisp steering and excellent handling along with pleasingly quiet, road-smoothing ride. Some of this is owed to its new Motion-Adaptive Electronic Power Steering, its Amplitude Reactive Dampers.
We found the 2.4-liter engine that comes standard to be surprisingly powerful with good torque. This engine uses direct fuel-injection and iVTEC (Intelligent Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) to deliver 206 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. The Sequential SportShift transmission with paddle shifters delivers ultra-quick shifts among closely spaced ratios with automatic rev-matching downshifts, which gives it an eager sports sedan personality. This is the world's first dual-clutch transmission with a torque converter, whose role is to smooth stop-and-go driving while multiplying torque for better off-line acceleration compared to a typical DCT.
For those wanting still-stronger performance, the direct-injected aluminum V6 offers 290 horses and 267 pound-feet of torque. The V6 uses Variable Cylinder Management, or VCM, which deactivates three of its six cylinders for improved fuel efficiency when lightly loaded. When teamed with SH-AWD, it also has a fuel-saving idle-stop feature.
Two-wheel-drive TLX models with either engine come with Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS), which points their rear wheels slightly in the opposite direction as the fronts to improve maneuverability in low-speed turns and in the same direction in higher-speed maneuvers to enhance stability. A handful of automakers have toyed with optional rear-wheel steer in the past but have found few takers, mostly due to high cost. This one is standard, it works exceedingly well, and it does so completely transparently.
Acura's latest Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) is a new lighter, lower-friction, hydraulically controlled design that provides more torque-vectoring across a broader spectrum of driving conditions to improve cornering capability in low-speed and tight-radius corners. Both of these systems are aided by Agile Handling Assist (AHA), which blends light braking and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) to help pivot the TLX into, then stabilize it through, high-speed and near-limit-handling curves.
Acura's Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) offers selectable ECON, Normal, Sport and Sport+ modes that let you customize the TLX's dynamic responses. Each determines its power-steering effort, throttle response, transmission shift logic, HVAC system operation, and control logic for the P-AWS or SH-AWD systems.
On the safety side, the 2015 TLX is Acura's first vehicle with a new monocular camera and millimeter wave radar that work together to expand both the accuracy and scope of its road-sensing skills. This combination of camera and radar technology improves the capabilities of the Adaptive Cruise Control and available Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) to better prevent or mitigate both car-to-car and car-to-pedestrian mishaps.
The 2015 TLX is the first Acura with a new Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) system. Included with the Advance Package, it uses the monocular camera to recognize lanes and road edges, then warns you and applies corrective steering and even braking if necessary to keep you in your lane if it senses that your projected path is heading out of it.
The 2015 Acura TLX comes in three model lines with two available option packages. The Acura TLX 2.4L comes with a 206-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder and 8-speed dual clutch transmission; the Acura TLX 3.5L features a 290-hp 3.5-liter V6 with 9-speed automatic; the TLX 3.5L SH-AWD adds Acura's next-generation Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive.
Acura TLX 2.4L ($30,995) comes with dual-zone automatic climate control with humidity control and air filtration, leatherette-trimmed interior with high-gloss zebra wood and metal accents, power heated front seats, 10-way driver seat, four-way front passenger seat, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seatback, manual tilt and telescopic steering column, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, keyless access (with remote-operated windows and moonroof), pushbutton ignition, driver's ambient cabin lighting, front and rear LED lighting, auto on/off headlamps, power moonroof, capless fuel fill, hill start assist, electric parking brake with automatic brake hold, heated side mirrors with reverse gear tilt-down and a tire sealant and repair kit. Among the many infotainment and connectivity features are an on-demand multi-use display, a multi-information display, premium seven-speaker audio with Sirius/XM satellite radio, text message and email capability, Bluetooth streaming audio and (with compatible iPhones) a Siri eyes-free interface.
TLX 2.4L with Technology Package ($35,025) upgrades with perforated Milano premium leather trim, GPS-Linked climate control, AcuraLink connectivity, Color multi-information display with Turn-by-Turn Guidance, 10-Speaker Acura/ELS Studio Premium Audio with HD Radio and Navigation with 3D View, Real-Time Traffic and Traffic Rerouting.
TLX 3.5L ($35,220) upgrades to the more powerful V6 engine with electronic push-button gear selector and adds an Eight-Way Power Passenger Seat. TLX 3.5L with Technology Package ($39,250) adds the same equipment as above. TLX 3.5L with Advance Package ($42,500) adds Collision Mitigating Braking System (CMBS) with Head-Up Warning, Road Departure Mitigation System, Front Seatbelt e-Pretensioner System, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, front and rear Parking Sensors, Auto-Dimming Side Mirrors, Remote Engine Start with Vehicle Feedback and LED fog and puddle lamps.
TLX 3.5L SH-AWD ($41,450) gets Super Handling All-Wheel Drive with the Technology Package. It's also available with the Advance Package ($44,700).
A comprehensive suite of chassis features comes standard on all TLX models, including Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS), Electric Power-Assisted Rack-and-Pinion Steering (EPS), Amplitude Reactive Dampers, Agile Handling Assist (AHA) and Acura's Integrated Dynamics System (IDS).
Safety features standard on all TLX models include seven airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control, Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Multi-View Rear Camera with Dynamic Guidelines. Safety features that come with the optional Technology Package include Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW) systems, Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) and Blind Spot Information (BSI) system, Rear Cross Traffic Monitor, Collision Mitigating Braking and Road Departure Mitigation systems and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow. Optional AWD can improve handling stability on slippery surfaces.
We have not been fans of recent Acura sedan design. In the past several years, their body shapes have been invisibly bland while their faces have been dominated by big, overly aggressive bird-beak grilles. As compact and midsize sedans have become more stylishly appealing, Acura's luxury sedans have not. The TSX and TL looked much like each other, and the TL seemed not much different in size or appearance from the RLX. And their two- and three-letter names did little to distinguish them. Though with another three-letter name, the new TLX distinguishes itself from the TSX and TL it replaces.
The 2015 TLX is 3.7 inches shorter than the outgoing TL. Also, the new TLX has shorter overhangs than the outgoing TL, on the same 109.3-inch wheelbase, meaning there is less car sticking out in front of and behind the wheels and axles. Less overhang suggests better handling and reduces the chance of scraping in a severe driveway transition. The TLX benefits from an all-new, much-stiffer platform; a stiff structure is the key to sharp handling and a smooth ride. The size of the new midsize TLX allows it to fit neatly between the smaller, compact ILX and larger RLX.
The styling of the TLX is less polarizing than that of the outgoing TL and outgoing TSX. The Acura beak has been toned down a notch. The five-element LED headlamps on the TLX look sharp, and the finned front lower air intakes are nicely integrated into the lower fascia. Along the sides, nicely sculpted fenders and character creases work well with the pleasing proportions of a sports sedan.
Thanks to multiple sound isolation and absorption measures, the Acura TLX cabin is as quiet as it is nicely trimmed, and there's ample room and comfort for four or five adults. The seats in both the TLX 2.4L and TLX 3.5L gave fatigue-free comfort and support. The premium-look soft-touch instrument panel and door panels are complimented by tasteful, authentic-looking woodgrain and aluminum accents, while handsome leatherette trim is standard and Milano leather available. The manual steering column tilts and telescopes, which is good, but we were disappointed that it did not do so electrically with the press of a button.
Among the many standard and available features are heated and ventilated front seats, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, keyless access with Push Button Start, 3D Navigation and AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting, GPS-linked automatic climate control, a color Multi-Information Display (MID) with turn-by-turn guidance, LED accent lighting, HD Radio, Pandora and Aha integration, and HDMI and USB connectivity and next-generation AcuraLink cloud-based connected car system, which enables a broad range of cloud-based and embedded convenience, connectivity and security features. Only one USB outlet, though.
A seven-inch touch-screen displays and controls these and other features, and, unlike in some recent Acura models, nearly all of them are easy to see and use. The available Multi-Information Display sits above the touch screen in a hooded recess. We found the big upper navigation screen and the touch-screen's controls below it intuitive and easy to use even while on the move. There are hard buttons for key climate and entertainment system functions and a much-appreciated volume knob, but unhappily not one for tuning. One of our favorite features on the TLX is the brilliant Acura/ELS 10-speaker Studio Premium Audio system (part of the Advance Package).
The rear seat is easy to access and a generally pleasant place to be. Cargo capacity, access and flexibility are much improved over previous models thanks to a larger, wider trunk opening, a flat cargo floor and new 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks.
All TLX models have an Electronic Parking Brake with Automatic Brake Hold, which can retain brake pressure when stopped in heavy traffic or on hills. TLX 3.5L models debut a handy push-button Electronic Gear Selector (instead of a gear lever) that frees up center-console space.
Our day-long test drive started in a TLX 3.5L SH-AWD with Advance Package then transitioned to a TLX 2.4L with Technology Package. The most noticeable difference seemed to be the additional performance from the V6 in the TLX 3.5L, which served up 84 more horses and 85 more pound-feet of torque over the four-cylinder engine of the TLX 2.4L.
The 2.4-liter four-cylinder in the TLX 2.4L delivered surprisingly strong mid-range torque and wound to its 7000-rpm redline with joy (and a bit more noise) and was nearly as enjoyable as the 3.5L to drive aggressively on the variety of challenging, twisty, often rough-surfaced Northern Michigan two-lanes we encountered on our prescribed test route.
Both the V6's SH-AWD and the front-wheel-drive four's P-AWS provided deliciously crisp and athletic handling, while the electric power steering served up feel and response nearly as satisfying as that of a typical mechanical/hydraulic system.
Both the four-cylinder's 8-speed torque-converter DCT and the V6's 9-speed automatic snapped off quick shifts on their own or when prompted by the steering wheel paddles. The four-mode Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) offered noticeable dynamic differences: ECO was lazy, Normal was agile yet smooth-riding, Sport was crisper but stiffer and Sport+ was rough but race-track-ready in terms of throttle, steering, shifting, ride and handling responses.
We did not encounter stop-and-go traffic so we cannot report on the adaptive cruise, lane keeping or other driver assistance and safety systems that have become near ubiquitous on well-equipped vehicles these days, but we can tell you that the brakes were powerful and fade-free all day, no matter how hard we used them.
The all-new 2015 TLX is the best and most competitive Acura mid-range sedan in many years and a fitting heir to the long-lamented 1980s Acura Legend. The TLX looks better, drives better and fits into the model lineup better than did the TL/TSX duo it replaces.
Gary Witzenburg filed this report to NewCarTestDrive.com after his test drive of TLX 2.4L and TLX 3.5L models near Middleburg, Virginia.
Acura TLX 2.4L ($30,995); TLX 3.5L ($35,220); TLX 3.5L SH-AWD ($41,450).
Options As Tested
Acura TLX 2.4L with Technology Package ($35,025).
*The data and content on this web site is subject to change without notice. Neither AOL nor any of its data or content providers shall be liable for errors in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.