It’s been quite a while since an Acura sedan last made waves in the compact luxury segment, but things are about to change with the all-new, second-generation 2021 Acura TLX, unveiled in a virtual global premiere recently.
First of all, it makes a big fashion statement with a design that stays remarkably true to the superb Type S Concept from last summer. While many people found the outgoing TLX too conservative, the new model looks extremely sharp and infused with a bit more passion.
Featuring an athletic stance, beautiful proportions, an imposing front grille and more assertive personality, the 2021 TLX lacks no visual attributes to attract fans of sports sedans. That’s even truer when it comes to the high-performance Type S, which stands out with spectacular 20-inch wheels, a front splitter, larger air intakes and a new rear diffuser flanked by quad tailpipes
However, in order to really persuade driving enthusiasts, Acura didn’t stop there. It developed a brand new chassis with a 50-percent increase in torsional stiffness and 56 percent lightweight materials, got rid of the McPherson struts up front and replaced them with a double-wishbone suspension, while also incorporating a variable-ratio steering system, electro-servo brake-by-wire technology applied from the NSX supercar and an available driver-selectable Adaptive Damper System.
The Type S adds Brembo brakes with larger discs and specific tuning, plus some stickier tires. Another important change is that Acura’s torque-vectoring Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) now comes standard on all Canadian TLX models.
Under the hood, prepare for a pleasant surprise. The naturally aspirated four- and six-cylinder engines make way for a standard turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that produces 272 horsepower (+66) and 280 pound-feet of torque (+98)—numbers that are only bested by the Infiniti Q50 and Alfa Romeo Giulia—and an available turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 developed by members of the NSX team. Output has yet to be specified, but Acura Canada’s brand manager Emile Korkor talked about “insane” power and the quickest, best-handling sedan in Acura’s 35-year history.
Let’s continue inside where a radically modernized cockpit awaits TLX occupants, with a Transformers-style centre stack and a bigger focus on technology and sportiness. The interior is roomier with better forward visibility, customizable ambient lighting (24 colours) and sport seats with up to 16-way power adjustability.
With the debut of a sedan that essentially signals a rebirth of Acura cars, the company acknowledges past mistakes and seems to have learned from them.
“For a while, many consumers were not quite sure what Acura was really about. The brand’s identity was not so clear. Things are better now, but there’s still a lot of work to do,” Korkor admits. “We must carve our own niche. Above all, we want to provide joy and create passion.”
So now we wait until early fall to see the new 2021 Acura TLX in Canadian showrooms—at least the base model. The TLX Type S is scheduled to arrive in the spring of 2021. Are you excited?