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.
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.