2015 Acura TLX Test Drive

?2015 Acura TLX Sedan: Trading two for one?
New TLX Replaces both TL and TSX models

Middleburg, VA – Acura?s TSX is going away and a new mid-size sports sedan ? the 2015 Acura TLX will become the successor to the Acura TL. The Acura TLX is the third vehicle in the re-envisioned luxury performance sedan lineup for Acura. The TLX will be positioned between their ILX entry-luxury sedan and the flagship RLX sedan.


The TLX will keep the same wheelbase as the outgoing TL, but trims 3.8-inches from its overhangs, without sacrificing any interior space. Acura developed the TLX under a theme called ?Red Carpet Athlete?, dedicated to blending athleticism and premium (red carpet) luxuriousness ? all while fulfilling Acura?s ?Synergy between Man and Machine? product focus, characterized by vehicles that perform ?at the will of the driver?.

In pursuit of their objective, Acura enhanced performance while increasing luxury refinement by employing an impressive array of new technologies. Included are: two new, high-output, direct injection i-VTEC engines; two new advanced transmissions, including the world?s first automotive Dual Clutch Transmission with a torque converter; the latest examples of Acura?s precision handling features – Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS), next-generation Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), and Agile Handling Assist (AHA). These attributes, along with an all-new body and chassis design, help in positioning the TLX as the most dynamically advanced Acura produced to date – quick and responsive and stable and planted at higher speeds while delivering a calm and quiet environment when cruising long-distances.

The goal of the TLX is to provide a vehicle that would overcome the shortcomings of both the TL and TSX. The TL had become too large to deliver a pleasing level of performance, and the TSX, while sized appropriately, also lacked a satisfying performance capability according to Mike Accavetti, Acura Division?s senior vice president. The TLX fills the bill for both the size and performance factors.

The 2015 Acura TLX will be offered in three versions: TLX with a 2.4-liter, 206-horsepower i-VTEC inline-4-cylinder engine, with an 8-speed Dual Clutch Transmission with torque converter, and Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS); TLX with a 3.5-liter, 290-horsepower i-VTEC V-6 engine mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission and P-AWS; and a TLX SH-AWD version with Acura?s next-generation Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (available only with the 3.5-liter, 290 horsepower V-6 and 9-speed automatic). The TLX SH-AWD incorporates a model-exclusive idle-stop capability for enhanced fuel economy, with a new 28-volt Active Control engine mount significantly reducing engine vibration during restarts.

Each of the TLX models come with an impressive and lengthy inventory of standard luxury, convenience and safety features and equipment. TLX models with the 2.4-liter engine may be upgraded with the Technology package and models with the 3.5-liter engine are available with either the Technology or the ultimate Advance Package. While the TLX platform is based on the same platform as the Honda Accord, the TLX represents considerably more than simply a gussied up Honda.

Engine data for the two powertrains is as follows: 2.4-liter, DOHC,16-valve i-VTEC inline four-cylinder engine with Direct Injection and Drive-by-wire Throttle System that produces 206 horsepower at 6,800 rpm while developing 182 pound feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. The 2.4-liter four banger connects to an 8-speed DCT transmission with torque converter, Sequential SportShift and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The 3.5-liter, SOHC, 12-valve i-VTEC V-6 engine also features Direct Injection and Drive-by-wire Throttle System, and delivers 290 horses at 6,200 rpm along with 267 pound feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. It mates to the 9-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The latter 3.5-liter V-6 engine adds more power and torque to the outgoing TL?s base V-6. The 9-speed gearbox is 66 pounds lighter and increases highway fuel efficiency by 5 mpg.

Visually, the TLX is much more striking and elegant than the two Acura models that it replaces. Could it be more emotionally stirring? The answer is yes, but it’s more appealing than several members of the competitive set. The chassis, powertrains and precision-handling technologies of the new TLX are packaged in a dynamic new exterior design. Up front are Acura’s signature Jewel Eye? LED headlights, standard on all models, with the LED lighting theme carrying through to the LED-accented side mirrors, LED taillights and LED license plate illumination. Character lines purposefully pull together the taut panel surfaces. The sculpted hood emphasizes the familiar ?winged? grille, and in profile, the TLX more resembles a Coupe than a sedan thanks to the blacked-out ?B? pillar, body color door handles and bright side window surround trim. Wheel wells are pronounced and fit nicely over the wheel and tire package. The overall styling image of the TLX is one of sleek elegance.

Moving to the inside, the five-passenger interior spacious is and is designed and engineered to reflect the ?Red Carpet Athlete? development theme. High-end premium elements include a soft-touch, one-piece instrument panel upper cover, alloy and wood-grain accents, and available Milano leather seat trim. There is an abundance of available luxury features and technologies, including: heated and ventilated front seats; HomeLink?; Bluetooth? HandsFreeLink?; Smart Entry/Push Button Start keyless access system; Acura Navigation System with 3D view; and AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic? with Traffic Rerouting. A 7-inch On Demand Multi-Use Display?) touch screen, located in the center console, controls these along with other features, and, with its contextual menus, displays relevant items.

TLX also features the next generation of AcuraLink?, Acura?s cloud-based connected car system, providing Acura owners with a broad range of cloud-based and embedded convenience, connectivity and available security features. All TLX models are equipped with Siri Eyes Free technology that when paired with a compatible iPhone, allows the driver to use the features of Siri using familiar voice commands. Other standard and available luxury features include: one-touch turn-signals and power windows; power driver and front passenger seats; GPS-linked automatic climate control; color Multi-Information Display with turn-by-turn guidance; LED accent lighting; HD Radio?; Pandora? and Aha? integration, and HDMI and USB connectivity. TLX in Technology and Advance trim level models come equipped with a 455-watt, 10-speaker Acura/ELS Studio? Premium Audio System, engineered specifically for the TLX by noted recording engineer Elliot Scheiner.

A new 60/40-split folding rear seatback allows for increased cargo-carrying flexibility and the new trunk design features a wider and deeper opening, a lower lift-over height, a fully flat cargo floor, and two new optional underfloor storage compartments for additional functionality and versatility.
During the national press introduction, my driving partner and I covered nearly 300 miles of Virginia?s backroads and freeways in: both a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with the 8-speed DCT gearbox with a base price of $30,995. and an as tested price that came to $31,890; and a 3.5-liter V6 Advance model with SH-AWD and the 9-speed automatic with a base sticker of $44,700 and a final tag of $45,495. There are seven exterior colors available ? we drove a Fathom Blue and a Basque Red Pearl II respectively.

SUMMARY: the 2015 Acura TLX?s overall objective was to appeal to a broader, more youthful buyer by simplifying the model selection process while delivering a more proper proportion, enhanced prestige and a heightened performance capability. Mission accomplished. Connectivity and entertainment are state-of-the-art in the TLX providing an ideal environment.

TLX models featuring the new 3.5-liter V-6 engine come with an advanced new Electronic Gear Selector that uses an intuitive push-button array in place of a traditional gear lever. All TLX models incorporate an Electronic Parking Brake with Automatic Brake Hold, that, when activated, retains brake pressure when the vehicle is stopped, simplifying driving in heavy traffic or on steep hills.

Both TLX transmissions may be operated in two different, fully automatic modes that are controlled by an Integrated Dynamics System switch positioned on the center console. In Econ, Normal and Sport IDS modes, the transmission combines fuel efficiency with smooth operation and responsive power when needed. In Sport+ mode, the transmission switches to more aggressive mapping putting the emphasis on performance-oriented driving, with higher engine rpm for greater acceleration and response. Both transmissions also incorporate an advanced Grade Logic Control System, Shift Hold Control and Cornering G Shift Control ? all reducing unwanted shifting and gear hunting.

A cool feature is the double-kick-down, which allows for a double downshift with a throttle blip to match gear speeds when downshifting. The system automatically inhibits potentially damaging shifts due to driver error.

Acceleration is obviously more spirited with the 3.5- liter V-6. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder performs adequately but turbcharging would certainly prove to be a benefit.

The TLX rides comfortably and handles superbly ? especially with P-AWS and SH-AWD. Corners become more fun and less challenging. Agile Handling Assist acts as a welcome extension of the P-AWS function.
Acura?s AcuraWatch? contains a suite of driver assistance and sensing technologies, with: Blind Spot Information & Cross Traffic Monitor, Forward Collision Warning system, Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation Braking system, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist system, Road Departure Mitigation, and a Multi-view Rear Camera with Dynamic Guidelines.

In the final take on this new Acura TLX, it is a highly desirable sport luxury sedan that is attractive, that?s competitively priced, and that?s a joy to drive.

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?[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 ACURA TLX Sedan [/wptabtitle]
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Base Price: $30,995. TLX 2.4L 8DCT / $44,700 TLX 3.5 SH-AWD Advance
Price as Tested: $31.890. 2.4L / 3.5L – $45,495.
Engine Type and Size: 2.4-liter, DOHC,16-valve i-VTEC inline four-cylinder with Direct Injection and Drive-by-wire Throttle System. / 3.5-liter, SOHC, 12-valve i-VTEC V6 with Direct Injection and Drive-by-wire Throttle System. 3.5-liter, SOHC, 12-valve i-VTEC V6 with Direct Injection and Drive-by-wire Throttle System.
Horsepower (bhp): 2.4-206 @ 6,800 rpm / 3.5-290 @ 6,200 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 2.4-182 @ 4,500 rpm / 3.5-267 @ 4,500 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed DCT with torque converter and Sequential SportShift steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-Wheel Drive with Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) System – 2.4-liter and 3.5 FWD.
Suspension: Front – MacPherson strut with 26.0mm stabilizer bar and Amplitude Reactive Dampers .
Rear – Multi-link with 24.7mm stabilizer bar.

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes (vented front) with ABS, EBD and BA.
Tires: Goodyear Eagle LS 225/55 R17 (2.4 FWD) / Bridgestone Potenza 225/50 R18 HI-perf All-season (3.5 SH-AWD). Mounted on 10-spoke (alt large/small) or 5-“V” spoke alloy wheels
Wheelbase: 109.3 inches
Length Overall: 190.3 inches
Width: 73.0 inches
Height: 57.0 inches
Curb Weight: 3,492 lbs.- 2.4L / 3,596 lbs. 3.5 FWD / 3585 lbs. 3.5 SH-AWD/ 3,492 -2.4L Tech / 3,620 lbs. 3.5L Tech / 3,774 lbs 3.5L Advance.
Fuel Capacity: 17.2 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 24 mpg city / 35 mpg highway-2.4L / 21-34 V6 FWD / 21-31 V6 SH-AWD.
Drag Coefficient: Not listed.
Seat Height: Not tested.

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Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.

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