Such a Tease

Acura teases redesigned TLX for 2021, confirms Type S

The 2021 Acura TLX Type S will debut in full on May 28.

Photo courtesy of Acura

Acura has been serious about performance behind the scenes for a few years now. The public is about to discover the first fruits of their efforts.

The luxury arm of Honda has released a teaser image and some engine information of the forthcoming 2021 Acura TLX and divulged that the full model will be shown on May 28.

There's a few key things you can see by turning up the brightness on the photo, the most important being the Type S badging on the driver's side rear of the car.

Acura has been dropping clues about the Type S arrival for years, even going so far as to show off the Type S Concept at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2019.

Type S is slated to be Acura's next step in the performance pyramid. Think of it as the equivalent of Audi's S models (like the S4 and S6). The automaker says that the model will be, “the quickest, best-handling, and most well-appointed sports sedan in Acura history.“

With the teaser, Acura is only showing the rear of the car. There, in addition to the badging is a quad exhaust, LED taillights, a fin antenna on the roof, flared fenders, and SH-AWD badging. The SH-AWD badging denotes that the model comes equipped with Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. This version of all-wheel drive is available on the current TLX and can transfer up to 45 percent of engine power to the rear wheels, giving the car additional traction in slippery conditions.

We also know that the TLX Type S will be the first model in Acura's lineup to to feature the company's new dedicated turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine. Look for the car to have upwards of 300 horsepower. The 2020 TLX has an available V6 that produces 290 horsepower.

Though not shown, the front of the car will follow the current Acura design language, which was set in place by the Precision Concept, which debuted in 2016 at the North American International Auto Show.

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The Passport was lightly modified for competition.

Honda

Honda recently announced a line of off-road-oriented trims and packages for its vehicles. Called TrailSport, the trim brings rugged appearance upgrades to the Honda Passport and will eventually offer more performance upgrades for other vehicles in the automaker's catalog. To further prove its mettle in the off-road space, Honda built a 2022 Passport rally truck to compete in the American Rally Association race series. The truck debuted over the weekend in Michigan and had a reasonably successful run for its first time out.

2022 Honda Passport Two Honda engineers handled driving duties.Honda

Importantly, the Passport's drivetrain and suspension were left untouched for the rally. The 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6, nine-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, and suspension in the rally vehicle are the same components that you or I would see if we bought a new Passport today. Honda did add a transmission fluid cooler, but even then, it's the unit that everyday buyers can get with the available towing package. The SUV's interior was stripped and modified for safety and performance.

2022 Honda Passport Honda is pushing deeper into the off-road with its TrailSport trims.Honda

Honda did upgrade the Passport's wheels and tires for the event by fitting 17-inch BRAID Winrace T rally wheels and Maxxis RAZR M/T or A/T tires. The automaker also made modifications to the SUV's underside with custom 1/8-inch thick aluminum oil pan and rear differential skid plates. High-density panels protect the fuel tank and other sensitive components, while Carbontech XP12 brake pads and high-temp racing brake fluid slow things down.

2022 Honda Passport The Passport's interior had to be stripped and modified for the event.Honda

The ARA National and Regional Championship Series events feature modified street vehicles that travel at speeds well in excess of 100 mph. The courses include gravel, dirt, mud, and snow, and cover hundreds of miles. The Honda Passport rally vehicle was first driven by two Honda engineers and ran in the top ten out of 42 teams. Honda says that a tire de-bead eventually slowed the team, leading to a delayed finish.

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The all-electric ID.4 will help its pilot and navigator tackle the grueling race route.

Volkswagen

Off-road racing and endurance races are nothing new, but the Rebelle Rally's approach is unique. The event is the first all-women event of its kind in the U.S. and takes participants through severely challenging terrain with no electronic aids allowed for navigation. This year, Volkswagen is bringing its new ID.4 EV to the event to be piloted by driver Mercedes Lilienthal and navigator Emily Winslow.

Volkswagen ID.4 Mercedes Lilienthal and Emily Winslow will pilot the ID.4.Volkswagen

Tanner Foust Racing and Rhys Millen Racing modified the VW with new suspension system, tubular control arms, fabricated skid plates, battery protection, and other off-road-ready kit. The crossover has also been fited with a Thule roof rack and Yokohama Geolandar A/T tires.

The ID.4's battery and electric motor will remain untouched. That means a combined output of 295 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. The 82 kWh battery can deliver an EPA-estimated range of 249 miles on a charge, but keep in mind that the terrain the team will be tackling will have an impact on that number.

The 2021 event marks the sixth year for the all-women rally raid. Teams are faced with 1,400 miles of desert in Nevada and California, and must navigate the racecourse without the use of electronic guides, such as GPS or cell phones. From the start in Las Vegas to the finish in Glamis, CA, participants must use maps, compasses, and their own skill to navigate.

Volkswagen ID.4 Several modifications were made to the suspension and other components.Volkswagen

Even though it's the ID.4's maiden year on the market, the electric crossover has already had a successful run in motorsport. Earlier this year, another modified version of the vehicle competed in the NORRA Mexican 1000. It was also massaged by Tanner Foust Racing and Rhys Millen Racing, and VW notes that the ID.4 that we'll see in Rebelle Rally vehicle was improved using data from its first races.

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