Written by: Adil Arif
Photography by: Adil Arif
Let’s start off with a joke. What do you get when you scrap the Acura TSX and the Acura TL? The TLX of course. Now I must admit it’s not a very funny joke, rather it’s a clever amalgamation of both discontinued cars into one three-letter acronym. Maybe not an acronym either because neither Acura nor I believe “TLX” actually stands for anything. What I can tell you though is that it’s an entirely new entry-level luxury sedan built from the ground up. Stacked against some steep competition dominated by the Germans, it’s clear why Acura chose a fresh face to enter the ring.
When I stepped inside the TLX I was immediately surprised at the absence of a gear shifter. Instead lay a string of buttons along the bottom of the center console; one for park, reverse, neutral, drive, drive select system, and handbrake (electronic of course). Just press the button for what you want to do and that’s it. In fact I spent a good twenty minutes in Acura’s parking lot before driving off. I mean there’s a button for everything. Parking sensors, gas cap, headlight washers, gear selection, handbrake, touch screen display, power adjustable heated seats, push start engine button, heck there’s even a button you press and the nearest pizza shop GPS tracks your location and delivers on the spot. Ok I lied about the last one, but my point is this car is loaded to the 9s with tech with no levers or switches anywhere, just … buttons.
Being an old school gear head my initial reaction was, “Well that’s just crazy!” But after spending a week behind the wheel, the plethora of technology slowly grew on me. At first it’s a huge rush of gadgets and flashing lights but when you start to learn the tricks, everything becomes second nature and only then will you truly appreciate all those… buttons. For the first two days my right hand kept reaching for a gear shifter, but there was none. In fact, getting rid of the lever altogether provides so much open space and from a design standpoint, it opens up doors for some potentially beautiful layouts. It also killed my habit of resting my hand on the shifter and forced it to be on the steering wheel, where I was greeted with paddle shifters and an equally futuristic instrument cluster.
That being said the TLX is very easy and comfortable to drive. It’s more of a stylish cruiser where you can pull up to the country club in the morning and take the same car out at night with your significant other. It’s not a sports sedan and it’s not for those looking to carve up canyons or any back roads. It is the definition of a quiet, sensible highway commuter, spoiling occupants with enough tech to make even James Bond want to drive one. Keeping that in mind Acura has incorporated a drive select system dubbed IDS, operated by you guessed it, a button. Push it and you have the option of selecting between Economy, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus. Cycling between the modes gives the driver the option to bring out their inner environmentalist, remain neutral, or kill the environmentalists all together. You get the point; Economy for fuel savings, Normal to give a good balance and Sport mode for spirited driving. Switch to Sport Plus however and the gears are held much longer until the red line.
I’m sad to report that the transmission itself is a bit of a disappointment. Upshifts are harsh and the downshifts are slow. You can even feel the car lunge forward as the computer disengages and re-engages the clutch. Cycling down from ninth gear proves to be quite a cumbersome chore as well, making passing on the highways a bit of a “think ahead” event.
The 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque we had on tap from our 3.5L V6 engine allows the TLX to sprint from 0-100 km/h in a modest 5.7 seconds. It’s not the quickest by any means - an equivalent BMW 335i will do it an entire second quicker. The BMW also has rear wheel drive and a much smoother transmission. The TLX’s electronic steering also felt numb in comparison and did not provide much feedback. At times it was hard to feel where the front wheels were pointing. The suspension is quite soft and supple with moderate body roll and is overall tuned more for comfort. It’s evident to see that Acura really spent a lot of time on the design and the technological aspect of the vehicle rather than the performance, but being a new entrant I’d say it’s a valiant effort.
Overall the TLX is balanced and a pleasant car to drive daily. Acura took a chance with bold exterior styling, a futuristic interior and put together what feels like a complete package. There’s a long list of safety and comfort features such as Collision Mitigation Braking System, Road Departure Mitigation system, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Information system, Cross Traffic Monitoring system, Forward Collision Warnings, Lane Departure Warnings, Lane Keeping Assist Systems, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, keyless access and that’s just to name a few.
It’s also good on gas thanks to the engine start-stop feature. I averaged about 10.4 L/100km, which is very respectable considering it is equipped with all-wheel drive and I live in the city with a wide mix of stop-and-go traffic. All things considered the TLX stacks up quite nicely as a new entry-level luxury sedan. It may fall short on the performance slightly due to a boggy transmission, but for a first time outing I think they did pretty darn good. With a starting price of $34,990 and as tested price of $49,664 for our fully loaded V6 Elite SH-AWD trim, you might even call it a bargain. Acura is headed in the right direction and as we mentioned in our other TLX review, we have our fingers crossed for an Acura TLX Type S variant in the future.
型号 Model: 2015 Acura TLX Elite SH-AWD
顏色 Paint Type: Crystal Black Pearl
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $47,490
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,775
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,832 / 2,091 / 1,447
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,717
引擎 Engine: 3.5L, DI SOHC, i-VTEC V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 290 hp @ 6,200 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 267 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 9-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, FWD, SH-AWD
前懸 Suspension-Front: MacPherson strut
後懸 Suspension-Rear: Multi-link
煞制-前 Brakes-Front: Vented disc
煞制-後 Brakes-Rear: Solid disc
油耗 Fuel Consumption (City/Highway)- L/100 km: 11.2 / 7.5
輪胎尺碼 Tires: P225/50R18