For 2018, Acura has given their mid-size TLX a little more of the sportiness that the brand built a reputation on. The TLX gets a new nose that trades Acura's previous "beak" grille for the mesh grille that the brand is using now. Acura is also giving the TLX an A-Spec package that adds sporty styling tweaks like a new fascia and rear diffuser, along with wider tires and stiffer springs and bushings. Every trim gets Acura's Jewel Eye LED headlights.
The TLX replaced both the TL and the TSX in the Acura lineup, debuting in 2014. It's a competent and composed sedan, but if you like to drive, then the A-Spec actually delivers. The revised and retuned steering system gives quicker turn-in and better straight-line stability. In Sport mode, the transmission will even hold gears during corners and when driving downhill. Getting rid of surprise mid-corner upshifts improves the driving experience and inspires more confidence in the car's handling.
The TLX comes in a surprising number of configurations, with two engine choices, and all-wheel drive on six-cylinder cars. The base engine is a 206 hp 2.4L four-cylinder, and the V6 is a 3.5L engine that makes 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. The four-cylinder engine has an eight-speed dual clutch automatic and the V6 has a nine-speed conventional automatic. Both engines recommend premium unleaded gas.
The base TLX model comes well equipped with active noise cancellation, adaptive cruise control, and a multi-angle rearview camera. It also gets Acura's tire fill assist that uses the tire pressure sensors to let you know when you've filled a low tire enough. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. Acura's infotainment system still uses a dual-screen setup, but it's a new system this year that Acura says has a better menu structure. Four-cylinder TLX models have all-wheel steering for stability and maneuverability.
TLX Tech adds a navigation system and Premium Audio with a 10-speaker stereo. It includes blind spot monitoring and cross traffic alerts. The seats are upgraded to perforated Milano leather and the steering wheel is heated, as are the rear seats.
TLX Elite adds a surround view camera system, LED fog lights, and parking sensors front and rear. Inside, the front seats are now ventilated, and there is contrast stitching and piping. There is wireless smartphone charging and the driver's seat has a power thigh extension.
A-Spec packages for Tech and Elite add A-Spec front fascia and rear diffuser, as well as a unique grille. The suspension and steering are tuned for sportiness and improved handling, which includes 19-inch alloys. Inside the seats are ebony Alcantara or red leather and there is a unique A-Spec steering wheel.
The base V6 model is the SH-AWD trim, standing for Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. It has the all-wheel drive system and V6, along with a nine-speed automatic, but is equipped the same as the base TLX. The SH-AWD is available in Tech and Elite, with A-Spec trim available on both.
Fuel economy is rated at 10.0/7.1 L/100 km city/highway for four-cylinder models. Pick the V6 and the TLX is rated at 11.4/7.7, jumping to 12.0/8.2 city/highway for A-Spec cars.