When is one better than two? When it’s a mid-sized Acura, that’s when. The new-for-2015 Acura TLX luxury sedan replaces not one, but two middle-child products in Acura’s sedan lineup, and it looks like a winner. The 2015 TLX will be on display at the 2014 New York International Auto Show.
Acura may be the original Japanese luxury brand, but it has been flying under the radar lately (or driving under the radar, more accurately) with a glut of similar-looking sedans—all with confusing acronyms: ILX, TSX, TL, RLX. In a move that should help clarify its model range (to say nothing of consolidating its marketing budget), Acura is replacing its two middle children, the TSX and the TL, with one fetching new sedan called, you guessed it, the TLX. And it looks to be a pretty sweet ride.
If you think the TSX is a bit too small, and the TL is a bit too large, you’ll find the TLX to be just right. It shares its long wheelbase with the TL but loses several inches off the overhangs, giving it a nice, solid-looking stance without compromising interior space. Acura has evolved its controversial guillotine grille treatment over time, and TLX arguably wears it better than ever. Indeed, with the slick new LED headlamps, elegantly rising character line in the body, the tapering window-line, and tidy rear end, the 2015 TLX could be considered the most handsome new Acura to appear in a decade.
A luxury car isn’t a luxury car unless it has lots of well-made stuff inside, and here the TLX won’t disappoint. The cabin feels just as roomy in front and back as the outgoing TL, and even if its interior design doesn’t advance the state of the art terribly far, there’s a marked step-up in quality over the last model, er,models. The TLX looks, feels, and even smells a lot like the fancier RLX, with optional Milano leather, lots of soft-touch materials, real alloy and woodgrain trim.
Available features include heated and ventilated front seats, Bluetooth connectivity, keyless access, navigation, real-time traffic, a seven-inch touch screen display, and as always, a whompin’ surround sound system designed by Elliot Scheiner, this time with 10 speakers and 455 watts of juice.
The new TLX will also come with Acura’s cloud-based connectivity system, Siri Eyes-Free technology for iPhone users, and available GPS-linked climate control, LED accent lighting, and more.
The TLX will come with a choice of two engines: a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 206 hp and 182 lb-ft of torque, mated to an innovative new eight-speed dual clutch automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Hot-shoes may want to opt for the 290-hp 3.5-liter V-6, which produces 267 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 10 hp and 13 lb-ft of torque compared to the outgoing TL’s 3.5-liter six. It also gets a new transmission, a conventional automatic with nine speeds.
The V-6 model is also available with the next generation of Acura’s torque-vectoring Super Handling All-wheel drive (SH-AWD), which we loved in its first iteration and can’t wait to try out with its new enhancements. Combined with Acura’s P-AWS all-wheel steering system (standard on all models), the SH-AWD-equipped cars should have even sharper turning around low speed corners, and greater stability at expressway speeds.
Speaking of stability, the TLX takes safety as seriously as anything in the class, offering many an electronic and sensor-based driver assistance feature, including lane departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, blind spot monitor, cross traffic monitor.
Fuel economy for the four-cylinder model is estimated to be 24 mpg city and 35 mpg, with V-6 models coming in around 21 mpg city / 34 mpg highway for with front-wheel drive (a rise of one and five miles per gallon compared to the front-drive 2014 TL) and 21/31 mpg with all-wheel drive (up three and five mpg compared to the all-wheel-drive TL). Some of this fuel economy gain can be attributed to the taller gearing of the transmissions, but also due to a reduction in overall weight; front-drive V-6 models, for example, weigh some 145 pounds less than a comparable 2014 TL.
Pricing hasn’t been announced, but we expect the new TLX to come in somewhere close to the 2014 TL (about $37K – $46K) than the TSX. Will the TLX drive as nicely as it looks? We will let you know as soon as we find out.