Acura has revealed the second generation TLX, which it claims to be the quickest, best-handling and most well-appointed sedan in the brand’s 35-year history. Built on a new platform, the 2021 TLX sports a revised styling and new powertrains.
Most of the styling cues come from the Acura Precision Concept of 2016, which subsequently evolved into the Type S Concept that we saw in 2019. The production model retains most of the styling elements of the Type S Concept.
Compared with the previous generation, the new TLX features a 3.7-inch longer wheelbase, 2.2-inch wider body with wider front and rear tracks (+1.2-inch and +1.6-inch, respectively), lower roof (-0.6-inch) and an extended dash-to-axle dimension (+7.8-inch).
Exterior features include Jewel Eye LED headlights with 4 LED elements and ‘Chicane’ LED DRLs inspired by the championship-winning ARX-05 Daytona Prototype race car. The rear-end features an upswept decklid, Chicane LED taillights and dual exhaust outlets.
The A-Spec features Shark Grey 19-inch wheels, gloss black accents front to rear, darkened headlight and taillight treatment, and a pronounced rear decklid spoiler.
The Type S is the sportier variant that builds upon the A-Spec styling elements. At the front, it gets an open-surface Diamond Pentagon grille, larger side air intakes, and a splitter. The rear-end gets a diffuser insert and large quad exhaust outlets. It rides on an exclusive 20-inch split-10 spoke design wheels that are fairly similar to the Type S concept.
There’ll also be an optional NSX-inspired Y-spoke design lightweight wheels on offer for the Type S models, shod with high-performance summer tires.
The Type S also gets larger discs and 4-piston Brembo front calipers complemented by performance-focused tuning of the entire braking system.
Acura claims that the TLX’s all-new chassis delivers a 50% increase in global torsional stiffness and up to a 100% improvement in localized rigidity where the suspension is mounted onto the body. The new structure uses 56% (by weight) advanced, lightweight materials, including aluminum and press-hardened steel, more than any previous Acura sedan.
The drama has been carried over to the interiors too and the “Dual Personal Cockpit” design theme looks very impressive. The wide center tunnel creates a more personal space for both front-seat occupants, while its wider body is claimed to enable top-of-the-class hip and shoulder room (+0.5-inch and +0.7-inch, respectively). The materials used include real aluminum, open-pore wood and full-grain Milano leather.
The sports sedan also features Acura’s in-house developed advanced front sport seats with 16-way electric adjustability. The A-Spec and Type S models feature unique details throughout the cabin, including a thick-rimmed, flat-bottom steering wheel wrapped in perforated leather with contrast stitching and larger metal-plated paddle shifters.
In addition to unique materials and colors, the Type S interior is distinguished by Type S badging on the door sills, steering wheel and embossed headrests.
Other features and technologies include a 10.2-inch HD display, a touchpad, and a 7-inch full-color Multi-Information Display (MID). Options include a 10.5-inch full-color Head-Up Display, Acura ELS Studio 3D premium audio system, and ambient LED lighting with 24 selectable schemes – each named after popular driving roads.
All 2021 TLX models will come equipped with the AcuraWatch suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies standard. This includes features such as Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR), Driver Awareness Monitor and Traffic Jam Assist (TJA). The TJA works in conjunction with Adaptive Cruise Control to reduce driver stress in highly congested traffic situations.
Additionally, the 2021 TLX features the first-ever application of the company’s new front passenger airbag technology. This new proprietary airbag uses a three-chamber design that functions much like a baseball catcher’s mitt, designed to more effectively cradle, and helping to protect the front seat occupant’s head to help mitigate potential injury in more steeply angled frontal collisions.
Moving on to the business end of the story, the 2021 TLX will be powered by a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that develops 272 bhp (203 kW) and 280 lb-ft (380 Nm) of torque. It replaces the previous model’s naturally aspirated 2.4L unit.
The Type S will pack a 3.0-litre V6 turbocharged petrol engine, replacing the 3.5L N/A V6. The numbers are estimated to be 355 bhp (265 kW) and 480 Nm (354 lb-ft) of torque. Both engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) is standard on the Type S, where up to 70% of the engine torque is transferred to the rear axle during normal driving conditions.
The new TLX will be manufactured exclusively at the company’s Marysville, Ohio, plant. Prices are expected to start in the mid-$30,000 range.