Unveiled at the New York International Auto Show is the production version of the 2015 Acura TLX. The new sports sedan from Honda’s North American luxury arm – which replaces both the smaller TSX (a rebadged Euro-market Honda Accord) and the larger TL – was previewed by a concept car in Detroit earlier in the year.
It seems that the car revealed in Detroit was a “concept” in name only, the styling of the production car staying faithful down to the distinctive standard-fit “Jewel Eye” LED headlights. Only the wing mirrors, the rear valance design and some of the fancier chrome trim appear not to have made the cut.
The TLX is 97 mm shorter in length than the TL, sitting at 4,831 mm, while maintaining the same wheelbase (2,775 mm) and distance between the front and rear seats.
Those who step inside will be able to treat themselves to optional Milano leather upholstery as well as alloy and wood-grain trim pieces. A push-button gear selector array, as seen on the NSX concept, replaces the traditional gear lever, while an electronic parking brake with Automatic Brake Hold further simplifies the central tunnel.
Kit available on the TLX include a seven-inch touchscreen with AcuraLink (a version of the HondaLink cloud-based infotainment system with Siri Eyes Free voice activation), Bluetooth hands free, USB connectivity, navigation with 3D view and traffic rerouting, powered front seats with heating and ventilation, keyless entry and push-button start, a GPS-linked climate control system and a 455 watt, ten-speaker Acura/ELS Studio Premium Sound System.
Under the bonnet, the TLX comes with two powertrain options. The first is a 2.4 litre DOHC i-VTEC inline-four producing 206 hp and 247 Nm, mated to a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, the world’s first with a torque converter for smoother start-stop driving and “off-the-line torque multiplication” which Acura claims offers superior acceleration over a conventional DCT.
Stepping up to the 3.5 litre SOHC i-VTEC V6 nets you 290 hp and 362 Nm, an increase of 10 hp and 18 Nm over the previous 3.5 litre engine in the TL. The mill features Variable Cylinder Management (VCM), which shuts down a bank of cylinders when not needed in order to save fuel, as well as stop/start. The new nine-speed automatic gearbox, which is significantly lighter than the six-speed unit in the TL, is the sole transmission option for the 3.5.
Both models get Acura’s Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS), but only the 3.5 gets the option of the next generation torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), which is now 25% lighter. Lightweight construction makes the TLX lighter than before – the two-wheel drive 3.5 litre model with the Technology Package, for example, swings just under the 3,600 lbs (1,633 kg) mark, about 145 lbs (66 kg) lighter than the equivalent TL.
Apart from the usual barrage of safety equipment, the TLX is also the first Acura to feature Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), which scans painted lane lines and cat’s eyes to determine if the driver is straying out of their lane, adding corrective steering input and braking force if necessary.