By Matt DeLorenzo
The 2015 Acura TLX replaces two models (the TL and TSX) in the division’s line and introduces new 8-speed and 9-speed automatic transmissions in an attractive package. Acura is counting on the TLX to elevate the brand from the ranks of premium nameplates into the realm of true luxury by offering standard LED headlights on all TLX trims, crafting a high-quality interior, and equipping the all-new sedan with advanced safety and fuel saving technologies. While keeping the larger TL’s wheelbase, the TLX is closer in length to the more compact TSX and competes with the Audi A4, Lexus IS and Infiniti Q50. The availability of front-wheel drive with 4-wheel steering or Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) gives the TLX the dynamics of a rear-drive sports sedan.
The TLX is the definition of smart luxury if you value the driving experience and appreciate Acura’s cutting edge technologies like 4-wheel steering or Super Handling All-Wheel Drive over the prestige bestowed by having a European badge on your car’s nose.
If you expect an upscale car to have a commanding presence, stick with the European automakers. While the styling is contemporary and the LED headlights distinctive, the 2015 Acura TLX comes from a brand that is perceived as more premium than a luxury heavyweight.
The 2015 Acura TLX is all-new, replacing the TSX and TL sedans. It shares the same 109.3-inch wheelbase as the larger TL, but is 3.7 inches shorter overall while retaining the same cabin space. The TLX features two new gearboxes, an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic and a 9-speed automatic. Front-drive models have 4-wheel steering to improve maneuverability and handling.
Two different powertrains and the availability of front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive allow for varied driving experiences in the Acura TLX. The 4-cylinder feels lighter and more nimble, with crisp...
... turn-in thanks to the 4-wheel steering system. Previous TSX owners will more closely identify with the spirited nature of this model. The V6, thanks to its abundant power and active noise cancellation, is quieter and feels more substantial, with a driving experience closer to the previous TL. In all models, drivers select from four driving modes ranging from Econ to Sport+. The Econ mode uses reduced climate-control loads to save fuel. There are also Normal and Sport modes in addition to Sport+. Sport adds some weight to the steering and has a more aggressive shift strategy, yet it’s not so hard-edged that you can’t use it in everyday driving. Sport+ is even more aggressive and also features a pure manual mode for the paddle-shift transmissions.
DUAL CLUTCH 8-SPEED AUTOMATIC
The industry’s first application of an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission with a torque converter gives 4-cylinder TLX models an edge in performance and fuel economy while delivering super-smooth, quick shifts.
SUPER HANDLING All-WHEEL DRIVE
A top-line Acura TLX V6 model equipped with SH-AWD is the best of both worlds: the safety of all-wheel-drive traction on slippery roads and tremendous handling featuring sharp turn-in when pushed to the limits on dry pavement.
Modern and functional best describe the Acura TLX interior. The dash is symmetrical in layout, divided by a large center stack dominated by an 8-inch information screen positioned high for good line-of-sight visibility and a secondary 7-inch touch screen positioned below it to control most features. There are also separate switches for the climate control and a large knob to scroll through the sound system and optional navigation. The interior features soft-touch materials, wood and aluminum accents that add to the upscale feel. Models equipped with the 4-cylinder use a traditional gearshift, while V6 models have console-mounted buttons. The TLX comfortably accommodates adults in both the front and rear seats.
The rows of LED headlights flanking the traditional “mail slot” grille on the 2015 Acura TLX is its most distinguishing design cue, the face of the vehicle is similar to that of the upcoming 2016 Acura NSX supercar. This is a handsome 4-door sedan with flowing character lines that add an element of sensuality to a normally staid product. There are no differences in exterior detailing between 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder cars except for the latter’s optional fog lights and a discreet badge on the rear of SH-AWD models.
In addition to the first use of LED headlights as standard equipment across the board, the 2015 Acura TLX has a high level of standard features including keyless entry and start, heated power front seats, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power moonroof, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, high-gloss Zebra wood accents, a tilt/telescope steering column, a 355-watt 7-speaker sound system, 60/40-split folding rear seats, one-touch power windows, Bluetooth connectivity, electronic cruise control, and automatic headlights.
There are two major option packages, Technology and Advance on the TLX. The Technology Package ($4,030) includes navigation with real-time traffic, an upgraded 490-watt 10-speaker Acura/ELS Studio sound system with hard-disk drive, forward collision warning, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, blind-spot information, rear cross-traffic monitor, a leather-trimmed interior, rain-sensing wipers, and a frameless rearview mirror. The $3,250 Advance Package, which is available only on V6 models, includes collision-mitigation braking with head-up warning, adaptive cruise control with low-speed following, road-departure mitigation and heated/ventilated front seats.
The 2015 Acura TLX offers three distinct drivetrains, a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder front-drive with an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and a 3.5-liter V6 mated to a 9-speed automatic in either front-drive or all-wheel drive form. The 4-cylinder model feels light on its feet and has ample power for a car in this class. The V6 is even more muscular without a huge fuel economy penalty and benefits from advanced gas-saving technology such as cylinder deactivation and idle stop/start.
206 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
182 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/35 mpg
290 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
267 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/34 mpg (front-wheel drive), 21/31 mpg (all-wheel drive)
The 2015 Acura TLX starts at about $32,000 for the base 4-cylinder, while the front-drive V6 is just over $36,000. The front-drive V6 tops out at $43,395, while the V6 SH-AWD starts at $42,345 and is fully loaded at just over $45,500 with the Advance Package. All prices include $895 delivery. The TLX price range pretty much covers the current TSX/TL pricing which extends from $31,530 for the 4-cylinder TSX to the fully loaded TL at $46,405. In its class, prices are comparable to the Lexus IS, which runs in the low-$40,000 range and the Audi A4. To get a better idea of what people are paying for their Acura TLX sedans in your area, check out the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price. Because the TLX is an all-new model, resale is still a question, but it’s reasonable to assume its values will be in the same range as the current TSX/TL models.