So far, so good...
It's been about four months since I took hold of the keys for Project TSX V6, and I have to say, the car is awesome. I wrote a review late last year during a week-long stint with the 3.5L powerhouse, and I genuinely felt that seven days wouldn't offer enough road time to really sit back and enjoy what this platform has to offer. More recently, I was given a week alone with the TL SH model, and though it was powerful, luxurious, and what most would refer to as a technological marvel, it didn't have the same spunk that motivates the TSX. Perhaps it was the weight difference, or maybe the shorter body, but I'm confident it had more to do with the sportier feel of the TSX. Nevertheless, the somewhat nimble (even with its lofty curb weight) TSX, in stock form, can be improved upon.
As with most new Honda/Acuras, especially those who don't carry the Civic badge, the aftermarket isn't exactly stepping over each other to create new products. The previous TSX generation picked up some momentum as the car aged and the initial pricing came down a bit, but the latest version hasn't picked up any steam yet. I'm hoping to help change that.
As with any Honda/Acura, the first area most enthusiasts attack is the suspension. It's something that will not only improve the appearance of the car by eliminating the unsightly wheel gap, but its effect can be felt every time the car is on the road. Every sharp turn, every freeway on-ramp entrance is like a real-time reminder that helps justify that fresh debit in the owner's bank account. Searching high and low, I found only two manufacturers offering a standard spring for the current model TSX, and I couldn't find an aftermarket set of shocks. Down but not out, I contacted Tein USA to see if they'd be interested in developing a coil-over kit for the new model. Luckily, they were more than interested-they actually took hold of the car just a week later to begin extensive R&D. You've no doubt heard of, purchased from, or dreamt of owning something from Tein, and for good reason; their coil-overs and spring kits are legendary throughout the world on both competitive race and street cars. One of the most interesting aspects of Tein's philosophy focuses on regional demands. What that means is they have offices that are fully equipped for complete R&D and testing throughout different parts of the world, and the products they offer are very specific to the needs of the drivers in those areas. Road conditions, unique vehicle specifications, and driver needs are all taken into account when a new suspension kit is developed. This guarantees that their customers always get the absolute best product for their particular region. In our case, the TSX V6 is specific to the U.S., and some serious R&D was about to get underway as these coil-overs aren't being made for just this car-they're going to be added to Tein's long list of available applications. That's right TSX V6 owners and potential buyers, Tein's high quality coil-over kit will be ready for purchase by the time you read this, and Tein mentioned that they've actually reduced their pricing.
The Super Street Damper features a twin-tube construction, 16-way adjustability, and is EDFC compatible. The spring seat is made of aluminum with an Alumite coating, and the body is constructed of steel with a three-stage powder coat and additional zinc coating on its threaded section.
On the pavement, the new coil-overs were like a breath of fresh air. The portly TSX felt lighter and much crisper, from simple lane changes, to "spirited" blasts through local mountain back roads. The undeniable body-roll that would often rear its ugly head at the most inopportune moments was greatly reduced, and Project V6 saw a major increase in its fun factor. Through all the harsh road testing that was thrown at the car over the next four weeks, one thing remained a constant; comfortable ride quality. It's no secret that Americans who purchase a sporty sedan are looking for road comfort, and wider seats for our, uh, "larger" American frames. Knowing this, Tein set out to produce an excellent performer for the TSX that could also maintain a comfortable ride quality equivalent to what U.S. buyers have come to expect from the Acura nameplate.
The 2010 TSX V6 is equipped with a pretty tasteful set of eighteen-inch rollers from the factory. Lowered on our new Tein coil-overs, our project car didn't look too bad with the stockers. More than a few people commented on how the car looked quite different with the new stance, and a few of those that initially scoffed at the newer generation TSX were quick to change their minds when they saw the car's new look. Not willing to settle for the skinny Acura wheels, we contacted Mackin Industries to see if they had anything new coming down the pipeline that would fit the TSX. Essentially the Holy Grail of high-end wheels and products, Mackin supplies their dealers with more JDM dream wheels than you can possibly imagine. For our car, the crew at Mackin suggested we upgrade to a set of Advan RS-D wheels. Similar to the original Advan Racing RS, this new line features a much deeper lip. We opted for the matte black finish in 19x8.5 +38 to contrast with the Palladium Metallic body, and we couldn't be happier. The look is classic refinement combined with an aggressive demeanor, and the old saying "wheels can make or break a car" has never been more obvious. To compliment the wheels and add a layer of security, Mackin also supplied us with a set of MXP X-Duralug lug nuts. Made of Duraluminum, they're just .08oz each, and feature a clever heptagonal lug nut that requires a special key to remove.
High performance wheels and a V6 power plant require a set of tires that can keep up. Falken Tire has always taken pride in offering a quality tire for every segment of the automotive spectrum, especially the import world. Their legendary Azenis have appeared on more Honda Tuning feature cars than any other tire, and we knew they'd be the ones to rely on for the right tires. Falken told us to give their FK452 a try, and we were all for it. Just a little research told us that the FK452 was a performance tire that features five linear ribs and three dimensional rounded tread blocks, silica compound, and multi-angled grooves. If you're not a "tire guy," that translates to excellent handling for a street tire, even on wet concrete, and one that won't wear too quickly. The 245/35-19s we received exhibited almost no road noise, and were outstanding on both the freeway and the back roads. The lighter and wider than stock Advans, stickier Falkens, and impressive Tein coilovers are three key components to transforming the TSX V6 into something our crowd would be proud to own and drive every day.
Though the wheel and tire package looks outstanding on the car, they didn't go on without a little massaging. The inner fender lip on both the front and rear of the TSX will cause some problems if you're up-sizing to wider wheels. And when there's a fender rolling needed, there's only one place we'll turn to: Evasive Motorsports and Mike Chang. When our Project AP1 needed more fender clearance, Mike went to town on the roadster and we were amazed at his handy work. Letting him loose on the TSX, he made a few discoveries. First off, the wheels really wouldn't have fit the front fenders at all. They would have rubbed, even rolling straight, and trying to turn would have been ugly. In the rear, the inner fender has two sections; a thin area, and a very thick metal body. Heating and rolling the thin portion wasn't a problem, but as he sized up the thicker portion, it was apparent that it wouldn't be so easy. Luckily, the rear Advans fit just fine after the initial rolling. Had we opted for a lower offset, that thick fender portion would have to be cut out completely-something to think about for TSX owners jumping up to larger wheels.
We've teamed up with JDP Engineering once again to design a front lip for the new generation TSX. A simple and non-obtrusive look is what we're after, and we're confident JDP will knock this one out of the park. Stay tuned...