New Model News

Performance-focused 2021 Acura TLX breaks cover, will start around $30,000

The second-generation Acura TLX has debuted, packing a heck of a punch.

Photo courtesy of Acura

Acura has been teasing the return of a performance-focused sedan to its lineup for years now. Behind the scenes, plans have been in place to bring back some of the sports flavor to the Acura lineup that made it so popular two decades ago. Today, the first part of that puzzle has been revealed: the 2021 Acura TLX.

As it turns out, Acura had already given away many clues about the TLX, showing off a darn close version of it as the Type S prototype at the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. With its elongated wheelbase and low roofline, the TLX looks every bit the sports sedan.

The All-New 2021 Acura TLX: Revealwww.youtube.com

Exterior

The car's exterior showcases Acura Precision Concept design with an expansive hood, tapered windows, and muscular rear haunches. Its wheelbase is 3.7 inches longer in the new generation. The car also has a 2.2-inch wider body, wider off-set tracks in the front and rear (+1.2 in. and +1.6 in., respectively), a lower roof (-0.6 inches), and an extended dash-to-axle dimension (+7.8 in.).

The second-generation TLX is faced by an upright diamond pentagon grille that is flanked by lighting originally showcased on the Type S Concept. Under the headlamp cover are new Jewel Eye LED headlights with four LED elements and bright-white "Chicane" LED daytime running lights inspired by the championship-winning Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype race car. At the back are LED taillights and exposed dual exhaust.

The TLX rides on standard 18-inch wheels. Nineteen inchers are available in a variety of finishes, depending on trim level. TLX Type S models will be equipped with 20-inch split-10 spoke alloy wheels finished in Shark Gray. Buyers can upgrade to a lightweight wheel inspired by the NSX "Y-spoke" design that will be offered alongside a high-performance summer tire.

2021 Acura TLXAn available A-Spec package puts black accents on the car but doesn't include any performance upgrades.Photo courtesy of Acura

Acura will make its popular A-Spec appearance package available on the TLX. It will include Shark Grey 19-inch wheels, gloss black accents front to rear, darkened headlight and taillight treatment, and a pronounced rear decklid spoiler.

The company will sell the model in nine exterior finishes including five premium colors. New to the TLX for 2021 is Phantom Violet Pearl. The TLX Type S will be offered in an exclusive, bold Tiger Eye Pearl. Apex Blue Pearl, previously available only on A-Spec models, will be added to the Type S catalog.

Powertrain

Buyers will have their choice between two turbocharged engines. A 2.0-liter turbo-four is standard and paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. It delivers 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. This base engine delivers more power than even the high-end 3.5-liter V6 in the previous generation model.
The TLX Type S will be powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that is paired with the same 10-speed automatic transmission. However, Type S models will receive unique transmission tuning to provide an aggressive and responsive characteristic during performance driving scenarios. Final specifications for the new engine, including power output, will be released closer to launch timing. The car will have paddle shifters.

Drivers will be able to choose between Comfort, Normal, and Sport drive modes. TLX Type S models also get a Sport+ mode.

Ride and Handling

The 2021 TLX rides on a new platform that was designed for the sports car. The performance-focused chassis has a double wishbone front suspension, the same as what is in the redesigned 2021 BMW 5 Series and the current Acura NSX. This is in place of the common MacPherson strut setup that is favored by many other sedans.

The car also has a variable-ratio steering system, electro-servo brake-by-wire technology (applied from the NSX), and an available driver selectable Adaptive Damper System.

2021 Acura TLXThe car features an elongated wheelbase.Photo courtesy of Acura

The architecture of the car is the most rigid that Acura has ever produced. It delivers a 50 percent increase in global torsional stiffness and up to a 100 percent improvement in localized rigidity where the suspension is mounted to the body. The new structure uses 56 percent (by weight) advanced, lightweight materials, including aluminum and press-hardened steel, more than any previous Acura sedan.

Acura has used aluminum extensively on the body and placed the car's 12-volt battery in the trunk to give the car a good front to rear balance ratio.

Acura is offering all variants of the car with all-wheel drive. Acura calls their rear-biased system Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) and it delivers industry-leading torque-vectoring all-wheel drive technology. The TLX Type S comes standard with the tech.

Interior

The cabin of the TLX takes a heavy nod from the RDX, which was redesigned for the 2019 model year. Its premium appointments and driver-centric cockpit design put the car in line with the expectations of sports car enthusiasts who may have been turning to German brands to satisfy their need for speed.

2021 Acura TLXTLX models will be available with a red and black leather interior. Photo courtesy of Acura

While a high center turned divides the car up front, it creates a dual-cockpit-like design for the driver and front passenger. However, because of the extended width of the next-gen model, Acura doesn't expect occupants to feel pinched.

Sporty front seats provide 16-way power customized adjustability for the driver and front passenger.

A total of seven interior color options will be offered on the 2021 TLX. Ebony, Espresso, Graystone and Parchment will be offered on the standard TLX models, depending on trim. TLX A-Spec and TLX Type S models will feature either Ebony or Red Leather, both with black Ultrasuede inserts. Additionally, the TLX Type S will offer an exclusive Light Orchid leather interior option.

The car features real aluminum, open-pore wood, and full-grain Milano leather appointments. The steering wheel is wrapped in leather. In A-Spec and Type S models, that wheel is flat-bottomed.

Infotainment

At the center of the dashboard is a 10.2-inch infotainment screen that is navigated using the driver-oriented True Touchpad Interface. This is the same system setup as in the RDX. Physical power, volume, and seek control buttons are mounted next to the touchpad.

2021 Acura TLXThe car's center stack is straight from the RDX playbook, with some fine tuning.Photo courtesy of Acura

In front of the driver is a 7-inch multi-information display in the middle of the center gauge cluster. A 10.5-inch full-color head up display is available, as is the Acura ELS Studio 3D premium audio system.

Safety

The new TLX also features the latest generation of AcuraLink with in-vehicle 4G LTE Wi-Fi with over-the-air software update capability and a variety of available cloud-based services, including emergency roadside assistance, remote locking/unlocking and engine start, stolen vehicle tracking, remote diagnostics, geofencing, speed tracking and Acura concierge services.

All models will come equipped with the latest version of AcuraWatch safety and driver assistance technology.

On-sale date and pricing

The 2021 TLX will arrive at dealerships early this fall with a manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) starting in the mid-$30,000 range. The 2021 Acura TLX Type S will arrive in the spring of 2021. The new TLX will be manufactured exclusively at the company's Marysville, Ohio plant.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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The 2023 Acura Integra is a very good thing
Acura

After years of rumors and speculation, we finally got confirmation that the Acura Integra is returning. The iconic Japanese sports car left the market in the early 2000s, and has been notably absent since. Now, though, Acura is bringing it back. Today, the automaker announced that production had begun. The new Integra will be the first to be built in the U.S., and production will take place at Acura's Marysville Auto Plant. Interestingly, Acura's five other models are built in the Ohio facility.

2023 Acura Integra2023 Acura Integra reservations begin soonautomotivemap.com

The Integra will start arriving on dealers' lots in early June, and will carry a starting price of $30,800 before destination. The car is the only liftback in its segment, and gets a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 200 horsepower. A six-speed manual is available, but buyers can opt for a continuously variable transmission.

2023 Acura IntegraThe new Integra comes as a five-door only. Acura

Acura says the Integra rolls down the same production line as the TLX sedan. The car required a rethink of Acura's production processes, and COVID-19 threw a wrench in development efforts. Acura notes its team worked rmotely and traveled to Japan to collaborate with home-office engineers. The Integra will also usher in a new training process for Acura, where associates learn the vehicle, the production process, and tooling before ever seeing the actual car.

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