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To provide more “character and performance” Acura introduced a new trim level called A-Spec. Entry-level luxury sedans have been always a win-win for the masses. Luxurious interior, more power, and a sportier chassis gives everyone the best bang for their buck. BMW had an answer for all those amenities with their classic 3-series. They set the bar high over the years and became the go-to for that customer, but in the process, these types of cars have evolved into more of a luxury vehicle with even pricier options. The TLX could be the under the radar answer that you may be looking for.
The TLX’s styling is near the top of the list along with Audi and Mercedes. Introducing the new Signature Diamond Pentagon grille, replacing the bright satin finish grille. Dead center of the new grille is a large Acura emblem that hides the hardware for the Adaptive Radar Cruise control. The front end has become larger and larger over the years and it is noticeable, but it isn’t as theatrical as the Lexus’ front ends. Adding to the new front end are the re-shaped full LED headlights that help tie the front end together very meticulously as well as show you what’s ahead in the late hours of the night. Large dual-exhaust tips provide a very aggressive looking rear diffuser.
Inside the cabin, the optional red leather seats offer a nice pop to what some would usually call a boring and familiar interior. The dual level infotainment system survives the year-to-year updates but has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay added. The enhanced phone connection lives in the upper-level screen, which is not a touchscreen. You interact with it via the rotary knob that lives at the bottom of the center stack. The controversial push-button gear selector made its way into the 2019 model. It’s difficult to understand why Acura went with this setup of buttons when it takes up no less space than the conventional stick gear selector.
The TLX comes in a 2.4-litre 206-horsepower engine or a 3.5 litre 290-horsepower V6. The engine is tied a 9-speed ZF transmission which in turn, provides you with 267 ft-lbs of torque to play with. A 0-100km/hr run comes in at 6.1 seconds which is very similar to the comparably priced fully loaded Audi A4 which runs at an even 6 seconds. Under low load, the TLX will decide to shut off 3 of the 6 cylinders to save your wallet at the pump when it comes to highway cruising. In the city the stop-start idle comes standard in the V6 models. Combined city/hwy driving, the 3.5L TLX sips a mere 9.8L/100km. As for the handling, when you decide to swing your SH-AWD around a corner with the throttle down, the instrument cluster will show you as more power is delivered to the rear outside wheel. The A-Spec package gets you firmer dampers and a re-tuned electric power steering system. A-Spec models with SH-AWD (in other words, all V6 models) get firmer springs and a more rigid rear stabilizer bar for better wheel and body control.
Starting at around $35,000 offers the most value for the TLX, but the fully loaded model reviewed above comes in at around $51,000. Which is fair when compared to a fully loaded sedan in the same class, like the previously mentioned comparable Audi A4. But other competitors at this price range such as the 400-hp INFINITI Q50 RED SPORT 400, or the classic 320hp BMW 340i xDrive might start making more sense if that is what price range you are shopping for. I find the TLX a great, well-designed sedan, with a great sounding engine and it feels nimble for something with 4 doors. The interior is nice and there are many options to make it unique to you. Acura offers lots of convenient tech to add also.