Following a steady stream of teaser images that have done a good job wetting our appetite for Acura‘s revamped TLX sedan, the Japanese luxury car brand has taken the veil off of the 2021 TLX which aims to reinvigorate Acura’s ability to be a threat in the popular sport sedan segment. Based on what we see here, we think Acura could be on the right track to reaching this bold goal.
The exterior styling of the 2021 TLX thankfully embraces many of the styling cues that we came to adore in the Type S concept, with chiseled lines, aggressive curves, and a low wide stance helping to define the visual presentation. The angular front grille is nicely flanked with Acura’s familiar Jewel Eye LED headlights and Chicane style LED daytime running lights. The duo help create a very expressive face, and when combined with the clean rear styling, helps produce a very cohesive design and is perhaps the most expressive Acura we have seen yet. Opt for the A-Spec package, and you are rewarded with darkened accents, trim exclusive 19-inch wheels, as well as a rear spoiler. But while these two models certainly look expressive in their own right, the range topping Type S pumps up the volume a notch with its exterior garnishments. A diamond pentagon grille, and larger air intakes help set the mood, while a front and rear diffuser, quad exhaust tips, and 20 inch wheels rounds out the styling package.
But the most radical elements of the transformation are undoubtedly found under the hood, with the TLX adopting a new game plan when it comes to performance. Two engines will be available with lower trim cars getting their motivation from a 2,0 liter turbocharged four cylinder that now produces 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. That’s a big 66 horsepower bump over the outgoing 2.4 liter four cylinder, and torque also goes up by 98 lb-ft. Acura execs revealed that the engine even makes an additional 123 lb-ft of torque at 1,500 rpm which should help bolster its acceleration credentials. Buyers looking for more power will have to opt for the 3.0 liter turbocharged V6 which is only found in the Type S. Acura did not release formal performance figures for that particular engine, but promised that it will be much more powerful than the outgoing 3.5 liter naturally aspirated V6. Regardless of which engine is selected, both of them will be mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Front wheel drive is the default layout, but buyers looking for more traction can equip the TLX with Acura’s fourth generation torque vectoring Super Handling All Wheel Drive system. It is standard issue on the Type S, and optional equipment on other TLX models.
Handling is also paramount here, with the TLX riding on an all new platform that is much stiffer than before. How much you might ask? Acura execs were quick to reveal that the only vehicle that is even more rigid is the much more expensive and exotic NSX supercar. That’s impressive, but the rigidity is put to good use with a double front wishbone suspension replacing the old model’s strut setup. Further enhancing things are cast aluminum front shock tower mounts, a trunk mounted 12-volt battery, and an electro-servo operated brake system that has some of its components lifted from the fore-mentioned NSX. With the enhanced NSX connection, it’s pretty clear that Acura is dead set on making the TLX a true contender in the sport sedan ranks.
With such a strong start, it should come as no surprise that the interior has also received its fair share of attention for 2021. Technology is front and center, with the cabin featuring a centrally mounted 10.2 inch display screen, as well as the latest iteration of Acura’s True Touchpad Interface. A 7-inch digital display in the instrument cluster is standard on all TLX models, while a 10.5 inch heads up display is optional. Acura’s Integrated Dynamics Control system is along for the ride, and is controlled via a prominent silver dial, and the trick system now offers an Individual mode which should please buyers that want more flexibility in their driving experience. First rate interior materials also make themselves prominent, with the TLX featuring high quality leather accents as well as slick looking open pore wood acents. Lastly, Acura’s full suite of driver assistance aides is offered, and the TLX uses Acura’s three chamber air bag design which is supposed to operate like a baseball glove to help cradle occupants in the event of a frontal collision.
The 2021 TLX will begin making its way to dealerships later this year, with the Type S arriving shortly after in 2021. Pricing will begin at $35,000 with the Type S potentially starting somewhere near the $40,000 barrier. With the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes C-Class being very potent benchmarks to beat, we look forward to seeing if the TLX can indeed usurp these two marques, and perhaps claw its way to the top of the sport sedan ranks.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.