Is it a TL? Or a TSX? Strangely enough, it's sort of both. Having spent the better part of the last five years stepping on each others toes, Acura's entry level TSX and slightly higher grade TL carried many of the same features and catered to similar crowds, meaning that sooner or later one of them would have to go. The fact that Acura sold well under 45,000 sedans last year triggered a double elimination and both were cut from the lineup entirely.
Acura makes no qualms about the TLX serving as the "missing link" between the two models. Power plants offered include a direct-injection 2.4L with 8-speed dual-clutch automatic or a 3.5L V6 SH-AWD, also direct injected, utilizing a 9-speed auto (no manual version is available for either model).
The exterior is sleek and the look of the car makes it seem as if it's longer than any other Acura, when in reality it's right in between the TSX in TL in terms of exterior dimensions. Inside the cabin however, the TLX loses a bit of interior room when compared to the siblings it replaced.
Interior amenities are somewhat upscale without heading toward snob territory and not surprising, Acura has packed as much technology into the dash as possible. While the doo-dads and electronic bits are inspiring, the layout has been noted by more than one review as being confusing, and lacking focus. Rather than relying on a shifter stalk in the center console to select gears, a series of button and pull switches activate drive, reverse, etc.
After all of the backlash and negativity surrounding the front "mono-block" grill that's protruded from the front of just about every Acura over the last five years, you'd think that would stir up a fresh redesign, but no, the beak remains in all of its silver, plastic-like glory, though slightly refined.
Now for the really good stuff: Back in January, Acura Motorsports announced they'd be partnering with Realtime Racing via HPD to campaign a new TLX GT in the Pirelli World Challenge Championships, and as of yesterday, the new chassis has officially stepped into the arena. Armed with an AWD, LMP2 twin-turbo V6, the car sounds incredible and seems to be fulfilling its new role quite nicely.
Piloted by none other than Mr. Peter Cunningham, the twin-turbo TLX-GT made its first stop at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday. And though there are still some tweaks and adjustments to be made on the new chassis, Cunningham worked his way through the field to land in the number 13 spot out of 48 competitors. The event was cut short as Mother Nature had other plans, but the rain provided additional testing as the TLX GT remained steady with its AWD configuration.
Further development, testing and track time is planned throughout the year, and with any luck the TLX GT's street version, the TLX, will do well with car buyers and help pull Acura out of its sedan-selling slump.