The 2015 TLX is so important to Acura’s proclaimed renaissance that its importance is hard to overstate. While thew latest dullard RLX fails to wow just about anyone, its new ad campaign proclaims that “Yes, We Are There Yet.”
We Are? That is a concern on many levels because there is a distinctly hollow and untrue ring to that slogan.
The RLX suffers from lackluster appeal due to its inexplicable failings next to the Honda Accord, of all unlikely competitors. THe Accord is generally larger in all interior dimensions, and even a bit quicker in the sprint via a V6 model that is a dead ringer for the twice-as-much RLX.
Lastly about the RLX slow-mo failure: it still wears its proud woodchuck nose piece in the grille — which time has not made more appealing. It is shocking that Acura is still trying to shove this hideous idea down buyers’ throats.
On to the TLX then — which brings a dramatically changed set of two new engines and two new transmissions to the table.
But has it corrected all the above failings that have made the current TL such an engorged waste of money in its current skin?
Not exactly. Or, more accurately, not much at all.
The woodchuck grille shield is even more appalling in its bright-work presence because a simple dark-trimmed option would make it effectively disappear.
Previous theories here on why this gobsmacking design face is still around, more than eight years since it first shocked Acura sales down to barely-perceptible levels?
The coming NSX is thought to wear the big central tooth as well — meaning all these other models have been forced to bottom-up the design while waiting for the halo flagship’s face to appear in production form.
Initially, this new TLX seems bad-looking and uncompetitive versus anything, really. Not least the Cadillac ATS, BMW 320i, Mercedes-Benz CLA250, Lexus IS200, Infiniti Q50. It only seems like it benchmarks the soon-replaced Audi A4.
It seems like just another in a series of huge failures by Acura to connect and reflect current buyer moods.
Fingers crossed that the TLX looks more like the concept and less like the bloated ILX that these initial photos suggest.
But those hoping for a clean and mechanically-smoothed aesthetic from the first-gen TL are sure to be shopping elsewhere now regardless.
If this style does appeal to you, the new TLX is a far more rational machine. Its four-cylinder power will replace the current TSX altogether, while the interior promises far fewer buttons and better (ie not terrible) tech solutions for things as should-be-standard-equipment as a high-quality graphical naivation and backup camera. These given features on any Accord have typically been at least five years out of date on every previous Acura.
Objective design assesment? This car’s proportions are still ghastly compared with everything that is rear-drive. The nose is too long by a foot or more, the rear rising swage line accentuates this beak-like overhang, and the LED lighting is fresh, but not exactly love-able.
One might wonder how much wood this woodchuck face still has left before it demolishes the entire Acura forest.
Official Details below from Acura.
2015 ACURA TLX UNVEILED AT THE 2014 NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW16/04/14
Two new, high-performance engines backed by new 8- and 9-speed transmissions
Most advanced dynamic package ever offered by Acura
Sophisticated design, premium refinement and extensive luxury appointments
04/16/2014 – NEW YORK, N.Y. — Acura today unveiled the all-new 2015 TLX performance-luxury sedan at the 2014 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS). Developed under the theme of Red Carpet Athlete, the all-new TLX is designed to deliver a unique and compelling blend of sports-sedan athleticism and premium luxury refinement.
“Harnessing the exhilarating power of new engines, new highly-efficient transmissions and next-generation dynamics technology – blended perfectly with impeccable style and luxury – the TLX will deliver a thrill like no other,” said Mike Accavitti, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Acura. “Both the considerable performance capabilities of the TLX and the serious energy and resources brought to the brand from the newly dedicated Acura team herald the start of a new era for Acura.”
To achieve its dual mission of even sharper sports-sedan performance and increased luxury refinement, the TLX employs a host of new advanced powertrain and super-handling technologies. Powering the 2015 TLX are two Acura exclusive, high-output direct-injected i-VTEC® engines, a 2.4-liter 16-valve, 4-cylinder engine producing 206-horsepower1 mated to an all-new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission (8DCT) with torque converter; and a 3.5-liter 24-valve V-6 delivering 290-horsepower2 mated to a new 9-speed automatic transmission (9AT). For handling prowess, the TLX features the latest iterations of Acura super-handling technologies – Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS), Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), and Agile Handling Assist (AHA). These new technologies, in combination with its all-new body and chassis design, make the TLX the most dynamically advanced Acura ever produced; quick and responsive in sporty driving, stable and sure-footed in emergency maneuvers, and calm and quiet during long-distance cruising.
The TLX’s new chassis, powertrains and precision-handling technologies are wrapped in a lithe new exterior design with taut body surfaces, dynamically sculpted fender arches, and purposeful character lines. Its sporting character is further highlighted by its more compact sports-sedan proportions. Luxury exterior features include Acura’s signature Jewel Eye™ LED headlights, standard on all models. The spacious five-passenger interior of the TLX provides a high degree of refinement, luxury and technological sophistication while supporting an exhilarating driving experience. High-end premium elements include a soft-touch, one-piece instrument panel upper cover, alloy and wood-grain design accents, and available Milano leather seating surfaces and trim.
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 also designed to appeal to a broader cross-section of luxury sports-sedan customers with a wider range of powertrain and drivetrain options. There are three distinct TLX model offerings that carry a long list of standard luxury comfort, convenience and safety features. All TLX models can be upgraded to the Technology Package and the V-6 models are available with the line-topping Advance Package.
The 2015 Acura TLX is scheduled to go on sale at U.S. Acura dealers nationwide later this year. Pricing details will be announced closer to launch.
Anticipated EPA Ratings3
TLX V-6 SH-AWD
Design and Packaging
For sports-sedan dynamic capabilities the 2015 TLX is 3.8-inches shorter in overall length than the 2014 TL while maintaining the same wheelbase and tandem (front-to-rear) passenger-seating distance. The TLX’s front and rear overhangs are also shorter by 3.8-inches in total compared to the outgoing TL. The TLX engineers worked diligently to make the TLX lighter, incorporating a wide range of high strength steel and lightweight materials in the design. As an example, the TLX two-wheel-drive with the 3.5-liter V-6 Technology Package model has a curb weight just under 3600 pounds, about 145 pounds lighter than the TL Technology Package model.
Acura’s signature Jewel Eye™ LED headlights, standard on all models, lend the TLX an advanced and bright-eyed appearance while producing superior down-the-road illumination. It’s LED lighting theme carries through to the LED-accented side mirrors, LED taillights and LED license plate illumination.
The TLX also features a new 60/40-split folding rear seatback for greater cargo-carrying flexibility and a new trunk design featuring a wider and deeper opening, a lower lift-over height, a fully flat cargo floor, and two new hidden underfloor storage compartments (Advance pkg.).
The TLX’s spacious five-passenger interior is designed and engineered to underscore the “Red Carpet Athlete” development theme of the new TLX, providing a high degree of refinement, luxury comfort and technological sophistication while supporting an exhilarating driving experience. High-end premium elements include a soft-touch, one-piece instrument panel upper cover, alloy and wood-grain accents, and available Milano leather seating surfaces and interior trim.
An abundance of luxury features and technologies are available on the TLX, including heated and ventilated front seats, HomeLink®, Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®, Smart Entry/Push Button Start keyless access system, Acura Navigation System with 3D view, and AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic™ with Traffic Rerouting. A 7-inch On Demand Multi-Use Display™ (ODMD) touch screen, located in the center console, controls these and other features, and, with its contextual menus, displays relevant items while minimizing instrument panel clutter.
Also featured on the TLX is the next-generation AcuraLink®, Acura’s cloud-based connected car system, offering Acura owners a broad range of cloud-based and embedded convenience, connectivity and available security features. All TLX models also come equipped with Siri Eyes Free technology that, when paired with a compatible iPhone, allows the driver to control functions using familiar voice commands. Additional standard and available luxury features include one-touch turn signals and power windows, power driver and front passenger seats, GPS-linked automatic climate control, Color Multi-Information Display (MID) with turn-by-turn guidance, LED accent lighting, HD Radio®, Pandora® and Aha™ integration and USB connectivity.
In keeping with Acura’s commitment to delivering a world-class audio experience, the TLX can be equipped with a 455-watt, 10-speaker Acura/ELS Studio® Premium Audio System, engineered specifically for the TLX by legendary recording engineer Elliot Scheiner.
TLX models featuring the new 3.5-liter V-6 engine utilize the advanced Electronic Gear Selector, using an intuitive push-button array in place of a traditional gear lever, freeing up center-console space while presenting a premium futuristic appearance. All TLX models incorporate the Electronic Parking Brake with Automatic Brake Hold, which retains brake pressure when the vehicle is stopped, simplifying stop-and-go driving in heavy traffic or on steep hills.
New TLX Powertrains
At the heart of the TLX’s athletic sports-sedan performance capabilities are two new powertrains, utilizing direct-injection, V-TEC or i-VTEC valvetrains with Variable Timing Control (VTC) or Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) and low-friction technologies to deliver higher output, more linear and responsive power delivery and anticipated class-leading fuel-economy ratings.
The direct-injected 2.4-liter DOHC i-VTEC in-line 4 produces a peak 206 horsepower1 and 182 lb.-ft. of torque4. The engine is mated to an all-new 8-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (8DCT) with torque converter, the world’s first DCT to be paired with a torque converter on a production vehicle. The DCT, with its closely spaced ratios, ultra-quick shifts and automatic rev-matching downshifts, gives the 2.4-liter TLX an aggressively sporting yet refined feel. The torque converter provides exceptionally smooth operation in stop-and-go situations, plus it offers off-the-line torque multiplication for substantially improved initial acceleration that a conventional DCT cannot match. The new transmission also features Sequential SportShift.
The direct-injected 3.5-liter SOHC i-VTEC V-6 incorporates Variable Cylinder Management (VCM), with the ability to deactivate three of the engine’s six cylinders, for improved fuel efficiency. The aluminum-alloy 24-valve engine produces a peak 290 horsepower2 and 267 lb.-ft. of torque5, gains of 10 horsepower and 13 lb.-ft. versus the 2014 TL 3.5-liter engine. The engine is mated to a new 9-speed automatic transmission featuring Sequential SportShift. The new 9-speed unit is substantially lighter than the 6-speed automatic in the outgoing TL, with a wider overall ratio range and more closely spaced individual gear ratios to enhance both performance and fuel efficiency. No competitive vehicle in the segment offers as many transmission ratios.
The TLX SH-AWD also incorporates a model-exclusive idle-stop capability for improved fuel efficiency. And a new 28-volt Active Control engine mount significantly reduces engine vibration during restarts.
The TLX equipped with the 2.4-liter engine has an anticipated EPA fuel-economy rating of 24/35/283 mpg city/hwy/combined. The TLX two-wheel-drive with the 3.5-liter V-6 has an anticipated EPA fuel-economy rating of 21/34/253 mpg (+1 city/+5 highway versus the two-wheel-drive 2014 TL). The TLX SH-AWD has an anticipated EPA fuel-economy rating of 21/31/253 (+3 city/+5 highway versus the 2014 TL SH-AWD).
Acura Precision-Handling Technologies
Two-wheel-drive TLX models, with either the 2.4-liter or 3.5-liter engine, come equipped with the latest iteration of Acura Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS). This new P-AWS system was integrated into the fundamental chassis design from the earliest stages of development, allowing engineers to take full advantage of its independent left and right rear-wheel toe angle control to enhance handling precision, maneuverability and stability.
The TLX SH-AWD features a new hydraulically controlled version of Acura’s acclaimed torque vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®). This next-generation SH-AWD system is 25 percent lighter and friction is reduced. The new rear-drive unit is constantly overdriven by 2.7-percent (compared to 1.7 percent on the previous system), with a greater torque-vectoring effect across a broader spectrum of driving situations, further enhancing cornering capability at lower speeds and in tighter-radius corners.
Near-limit and emergency maneuvering capabilities of both the P-AWS and SH-AWD models are further enhanced by the use of Agile Handling Assist (AHA), which utilizes the TLX’s Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and premium 6-piston brake modulator to create a yaw moment (a vehicle turning force), helping the driver smoothly and easily trace the desired line with smaller steering-wheel inputs. AHA stabilizes the car earlier than conventional VSA, resulting in more agile and engaging dynamic performance in everyday driving conditions.
All TLX models also feature the latest development of Acura’s Integrated Dynamics System (IDS), which allows drivers to customize their driving experience through four selectable modes – ECON, Normal, Sport and Sport+. Depending on the setting, IDS will adjust power-steering effort, throttle response, transmission shift logic, HVAC system operation, active sound control and the control logic for either the P-AWS or SH-AWD systems. The new Sport+ mode, a first for Acura, unlocks the full performance potential of the TLX with the most aggressive settings in all areas.
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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