This review from Car and Driver gives a great overview of a car that is going to be a great edition to the Acura line up.
2015 Acura TLX
With clever engineering and right-size packaging, the fun-to-drive TLX just might signal a revival at Acura.
But this all plays second fiddle to the driving. Cycle the Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) button on the center console to its Sport or Sport+ settings, and the car’s inner first-gen TSX comes out—it positively begs to be ridden hard and put away wet. The electric power steering weights up, P-AWS works harder to swing the front-drive TLX’s tail through corners, and the throttle response is much spicier. In SH-AWD models, which lack P-AWS for obvious reasons, Acura’s magical torque-vectoring rear differential shuffles power to the outside rear wheel more aggressively to quell understeer.
Sport+ ups the ante with a unique and track-worthy shift logic; regardless of transmission, gears are held until redline, upshifts are cracked off with surprising firmness, and the transmission’s brain telepathically delivers perfectly rev-matched downshifts. The dual-clutch’s shifts are quicker, but the nine-speed reminds us of the excellent eight-cog ZF 8HP that sees duty in many of this car’s competitors, so it’s no slouch. (In manual mode, both ’boxes automatically upshift at redline.) When the IDS is toggled to Normal or Econ, the transmissions shift smoothly but diligently, quickly shuffling through the lower gears to maximize fuel economy. Throttle response is more subdued; the steering takes on a friendly, lighter disposition; and P-AWS and SH-AWD favor stability over agility. Econ mode further dials back the throttle and reins in the climate control to save fuel.
Even in the more workaday IDS settings, the TLX retains its composure when driven hard, never keeling over onto its outside front tire in tight corners. The steering lacks ultimate tactility but is amiably linear, and the brake pedal’s stroke is firm and easily modulated after an initial half-inch of fluff. The sweet-sounding four-cylinder is the most chuckable TLX, while the front-drive V-6 model feels a bit more nose-heavy and prone to torque steer. The V-6–only SH-AWD model hammers through bendy roads on a wave of torque and brute torque-vectored force.
The Choice Is Yours—But Mostly Acura’s
In typical Honda/Acura style, the TLX is offered with a small, curated batch of option groups masquerading as trim levels. A Tech package is offered on the 2.4L and front-drive 3.5L cars (it’s standard on the SH-AWD), while a more comprehensive Advanced package is available on V-6 versions. (For a full breakdown of what these packages include, see our pricing analysis.) Every model comes with a pile of standard equipment that includes heated front seats, full-LED headlamps and taillights, paddle shifters, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a sunroof.
In replacing the TSX and the TL, Acura has crafted a better car using the finest attributes of both. If you can live without rear-wheel drive, a manual transmission, or the fanciest badges, the TLX makes a very compelling case. Its case is made stronger yet when you consider its high level of sport and luxury features plus the fact that BMW will charge you $60K to get much of it in a 3-series.
Overall, the TLX is a satisfying and overdue return to the engineering and dynamic greatness long associated with Honda’s luxury brand. The three available configurations have their own distinct personalities and offer value at their respective price points, but if forced to choose, we’d hit the sheets with the V-6 SH-AWD model, wed the excellent 2.4L TLX, and (regrettably) kill the front-drive V-6 iteration. If Acura isn’t fully back, it’s damn close with this car. View Photo Gallery