The 2015 TLX concepts from the Detroit show are packing huge advancements under that newly-stylish profile. In fact, this front or AWD sedan is on the bleeding edge of technology across all Honda and Acura models. How?
— New eight-speed twin-clutch automatic for the 2.4-liter
— New nine-speed torque converter auto for the 3.6-liter V6
Certainly raised my eyebrows, in a good way!
As does the styling. Despite sharing many family traits with terminal RLX sedan, the TLX prototype is really quite handsome. The once-controversial grille has even evolved into a much more cohesive and attractive shape.
Organic flow replaces the previous sheer surface of the TSX and TL grilles, while the entire lower bumper area is totally new. Smooth forms of painted areas line the lower grille and outer bumper edges, but the style is designed to emphasize the real party piece:
The LED lamps are a real treat on Acura’s newest models – and the TLX prototypes are no exception.
They are unique and very classy on the road, without any of the bounce glare that can make BMW’s latest active headlights a bit too eye-catching on city streets. The LEDs themselves are angled in a flowing shape, providing consistent and pure light spread that is at or above HID lighting output.
So the real question is: which parts of the TLX prototypes will make it to the real cars when they arrival later in 2014?
If I were a betting man, I would count on these exact dimensions and powertrains — especially the transmissions — which are key to staying competitive with Mercedes-Benz CLA250 and the new BMW 320i.
Lightly toned down wheels, mirrors and trims are also a general Honda concept-àreality step, and seem likely here.
Overall, Hooray Acura!
The TLX really seems like it might be competitive in this hot executive compact segment. By replacing both previous sedans, the TLX in (the expected) four-cylinder twin-clutch spec or the V6 AWD and its nine-speed: things are looking up for Acura this year.
2015 TLX PROTOTYPE – ACURA’S “RED CARPET ATHLETE” – UNVEILED AT 2014 NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
01/14/2014 – DETROIT, MI
Acura today unveiled the 2015 Acura TLX Prototype showcasing the design and performance direction for the all-new 2015 TLX performance-luxury sedan launching mid-year at Acura dealerships nationwide. The TLX was developed around the theme“Red Carpet Athlete” to deliver a compelling blend of luxury refinement and sports-sedan athleticism, with exhilarating performance enhanced by next-generation Acura powertrain and dynamic handling technologies. The TLX will join the ILX compact luxury sedan and the RLX luxury performance sedan as the third vehicle in Acura’s sedan lineup.
“The Acura TLX Prototype is a precursor of some amazing things we have in store for our Acura sedan customers,” said Mike Accavitti, senior vice president, American Honda Motor, Co., Inc. “As you would expect from an Acura, this completely new model will offer innovative technologies that break down the barriers between the driver and the machine to deliver a more intuitive, connected and personal driving experience.”
The TLX Prototype, bathed in Acura Athletic Red Pearl, presents a lithe exterior form, taut body surfaces and sports-sedan proportions. Its sporting character is further highlighted by its low and wide stance, shortened front and rear overhangs, dynamically sculpted fender arches, and purposeful character lines. Acura’s signature Jewel Eye™ LED headlights imbue the TLX Prototype with an advanced and bright-eyed appearance while producing superior down-the-road illumination. The prototype’s custom-designed five-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels and 265/35ZR20 low-profile tires accentuate its athletic stance, while the sculpted hood with its sharply creased bilateral ridgelines hints at the performance capabilities of the advanced new Acura powertrain. Another prototype-exclusive feature is the tailor-made side mirrors. Keying off of the Jewel Eye LED headlights, each mirror has a row of LED lights fused into its base. Click on the turn indictor, and the LEDs come to life, spreading a moving glow around the bottom of the mirror for a high-tech, 3D appearance.
Dimensionally, the TLX Prototype presages the production 2015 TLX sedan and is 3.8 inches shorter in overall length (190.2 inches) than the current TL, yet rides on the same 109.3 inch wheelbase as the TL. The prototype’s right-sized dimensions place the new TLX neatly in between the smaller ILX and larger RLX sedans. Despite its more compact exterior footprint, the TLX design targets the most spacious interior in the midsize luxury sedan class – roughly on par with the current TL – with an open and airy greenhouse, commanding sight lines, ample cargo capacity and comfortable seating for five adults.
Like any truly world-class athlete, the TLX will pair power and efficiency with deft agility. With its low and wide stance, rigid yet lightweight body, and nimble and responsive chassis, the TLX is designed to deliver confident, precise and refined ride and handling performance in almost any driving situation. From low-stress urban commutes to relaxed long-distance cruising, or adrenaline-inducing runs down twisting country roads, the TLX is designed to be an intuitive and confidence-inspiring driving partner, a vehicle that epitomizes Acura’s dynamic concept of “performance at the will of the driver.”
The 2015 TLX Prototype also communicates the diverse range of advanced technologies and performance options that will be available to Acura TLX customers – including two-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations; two high-performance, highly fuel-efficient new engines; two new advanced transmissions; and the next generation Acura Super-Handling All Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™) and Precision All-Wheel Steer™ (P-AWS) dynamic performance and handling technologies.
In keeping with the “Red Carpet Athlete” design and development concept, the 2015 TLX’s advanced new powertrains will deliver highly responsive, refined and efficient power delivery. An all-new 2.4-liter 16-valve inline 4-cylinder engine employs direct-injection and Acura’s i-VTEC® valvetrain, and is significantly lighter than previous Acura engines of similar configuration and displacement. The new engine is mated to an all-new 8-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) with torque converter. This new 8-speed DCT takes full advantage of the 2.4-liter engine’s broad power band, delivering incredibly quick and smooth gear changes, expertly matching engine revs on down shifts, and putting the power down in a responsive and intuitive way.
For even greater power and performance, there is a 3.5-liter SOHC V-6 that also employs direct injection and VTEC variable valve control and cam timing along with fuel-saving Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM™) cylinder deactivation technology. The 3.5-liter V-6 is mated to a new 9-speed automatic transmission with closely spaced gear ratios and a wide overall ratio range to further extend engine performance and fuel efficiency. Both the 2.4-liter and 3.5-liter TLX models will target EPA fuel economy ratings at the top of the midsize luxury sedan class.
Two-wheel-drive models with either the 2.4- or 3.5-liter powerplant will utilize the next generation of Acura Precision All-Wheel Steer™ (P-AWS™) technology with independent left and right rear wheel toe control. As four-wheel steering becomes an increasingly popular technology on high-performance automobiles, Acura continues to evolve and improve the capabilities of its cutting-edge P-AWS system, first launched on the RLX sedan in 2013, to deliver even more responsive handling, precise steering control and high-speed stability.
The TLX SH-AWD™, available exclusively with the 3.5-liter V6 engine and 9-speed transmission, employs a new generation of Acura’s signature Super-Handling All Wheel Drive™ technology that is 25 percent lighter and incorporates new torque-vectoring control logic.
Understanding that customization is a key component of luxury, the TLX will feature an Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) to allow for further personalization and a sportier driving experience. The four driving modes – ECON (Economy), Normal, Sport, and a new Sport+ mode – take full advantage of the TLX’s high-performance capabilities. Depending on which mode the driver selects, the Integrated Dynamics System will adjust Electric Power Steering (EPS), throttle response, SH-AWD and P-AWS control logic, transmission shift mapping, Active Noise Control settings and HVAC control in accordance with the preferences of the driver.
Also in keeping with its luxury sedan status, the TLX was designed to deliver vault-like quietness in all driving conditions, with major improvements in noise reduction through enhancements to body stiffness, body sealing and sound insulation, and the application of electronic Active Noise Control.
The TLX utilizes Acura’s next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure and is expected to achieve the highest available safety ratings – a five-star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The TLX will be available with Acura’s most advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies including Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow and Blind Spot Indicator (BSI).
The TLX was designed and developed in the United States by Acura engineers working in the company’s Los Angeles design studio and Raymond, Ohio new-vehicle development center. The new TLX will be produced using domestic and globally sourced parts at the company’s award-winning Marysville, Ohio auto plant, which presently manufactures the 2014 Acura TL performance-luxury sedan.
For More Information
Consumer information about Acura is available at acura.com. To join the Acura community on Facebook, visit facebook.com/Acura.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
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