2021 Aucra TLX A-Spec Review

The 2021 Acura TLX takes a dramatic step forward as the most performance-focused sedan Acura has ever offered, built on an all-new platform, developed exclusively for TLX.

To make things more interesting, this new generation of TLX also marks the return of Acura’s celebrated Type S performance line after more than a decade-long hiatus. The new TLX Type S will supplant previous models as the most potent Type S model ever, deriving power from an all-new 3.0-liter DOHC turbocharged V-6 engine developed exclusively for Acura and Type S.

The test model you see here is the A-Spec trim which is a mid-level trim and an enticing package. Looks-wise the new TLX is longer, wider and lower than the previous generation. The bold yet clean exterior draws heavily upon the Acura Precision Concept with its exotic-looking stance and proportion, sheer body surfacing and dramatic character lines. The TLX is a beautiful sedan anyway you look at it.

Sit inside the TLX and you’ll find yourself in one hot-looking and sporty cabin. The fancy lines and futuristic look of the dash is impressive to say the least. Not only does it look the part but it’s comfortable too. The driver has a low seating position which adds to the sporty feel and all the materials are of exceptional quality.

The problem is that the 10.2-inch infotainment display is out of reach, forcing you to use a touchpad-type interface device which has been Lexus’ Achilles heel for years. Acura’s is a tad better than the Lexus system but still highly frustrating to use.  

Touchscreen aside, the 17-speaker, 710-watt ELS Studio 3D Premium Audio system was like nothing I’ve ever heard in a car before. It was by far the best and most powerful system I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing.

Under the hood, the A-Spec packs a turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 272 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque. For daily driving purposes this is fine and the vehicle will perform admirably. If you have a lead foot and need something that can push you back into your seat, it may not be enough. Fortunately, for those type of folk, the new Type S will pack 355 horsepower.

The TLX offers a very comfortable and precise ride with the suspension is firm, yet smooth at the same time. Coupled with the 10-speed automatic transmissions decent performance in smoothing things over, it makes for a pleasant package.

The new Integrated Dynamics System incorporates a multitude of powertrain, chassis and other systems, all tied into the center console-mounted, NSX-inspired Drive Mode Dial. The new Integrated Dynamics System features Comfort, Normal and Sport modes, that integrate the throttle, transmission, SH-AWD, steering, Adaptive Dampers (with Advance Package), along with Active Sound Control, idle stop functionality and ambient cabin lighting. Additionally, the new Individual mode allows the driver to choose their own ideal settings for each of these systems to create a fully personalized driving experience. Once programmed, Individual mode is activated very simply, in one step, by pressing the Acura symbol at the center of the drive mode dial.

All new TLX models come equipped with AcuraWatch technology, incorporating new features, including Traffic Sign Recognition, Driver Attention Monitor, and new Traffic Jam Assist (enables Lane Keeping capability at speeds below 45mph). In addition, AcuraWatch features include Collision Mitigation Brake System™ (CMBS™) with pedestrian sensing and Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS) with Lane Depart Warning (LDW), Road Departure Mitigation, and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow. 

I think the new TLS has what it takes to go head to head with some of the industry stalwarts like the 3 series and C-Class. It certainly looks and feels the part and with the new Type S trim on the way, it’ll certainly be going head to head with them at the race track.

You can get into a base TLX for a reasonable $47,095 including transport. The A-Spec model starts at $52,395. The top-of-the-line Type S will run you $62,490.