Making its global debut in Los Angeles, the 2016 Acura ILX has undergone a major mid-cycle refresh bringing new levels of style, sophistication and performance to the entry level model. These upgrades should help raise the appeal and prestige of this compact sport sedan against rivals like the Audi A3, BMW 2 Series and Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class. "ILX was always a great idea. Now it's a great idea fulfilled -- a luxury vehicle for the next generation," noted Michael Accavitti, senior vice president and general manager for the Acura division.

Bolder look 

Visual changes to the 2016 ILX start feature more aggressive front and rear fascia treatments highlighted by full LED headlights on all models and rear LED combination taillamps. The sedan also has a more elegant take on its signature grille and upsized 17-inch alloy wheels. For those seeking a bit racier look, the 2016 ILX also will offer a new A-Spec package that brings a bespoke side-sill accents, a subtle trunk spoiler, front fog lights and 18-inch/10-spoke machined-alloy wheels with gloss black insets.

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Inside, the ILX's cabin receives numerous enhancements, with the A-Spec upgrade taking things further courtesy of its black headliner and perforated Lux Suede seat inserts, gray contrast stitching, red instrument illumination and aluminum sport pedals. All versions benefit from additional sound insulation as well as the use of Active Noise Control technology. Connectivity also gets a boost for 2016 with more than 50 upgrades that facilitate operation of various systems on Acura's dual-screen On-Demand Multi-Use Display that's standard on all with ILX Premium and higher grades. 

AcuraWatch driver assist suite 

The Premium grade ILX also offers a new tethered navi system powered by the owner's iPhone that works with the AcuraLink navigation app as well as adding Blind Spot Information and Rear Cross Traffic Monitor plus enhanced audio options, including SiruisXM radio, AHA radio and HD radio. All 2016 ILX models also can be equipped with the division's new AcuraWatch suite of advanced driver assists. A clone of the just-introduced Honda Sensing package, it has Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, a Multi-View Rear Camera with Dynamic Guidelines, Road Departure Mitigation and a Collision Mitigation Braking System that includes Forward Collision Warning.

Addressing one of the key gripes about the current ILX - namely that its hottest engine could only be had with a manual transmission - Acura moved to a single spec powertrain for 2016 that should reap tangible performance benefits as well as deliver better fuel economy. All ILX models will be fitted with a 2.4-liter, direct-injected i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine that makes 201 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque mated to Acura's paddle-shift 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This front-drive gearbox features a torque converter for smoother operation and rev-matches on downshifts. And yes, it's the same powerplant combo found in the larger, heavier TLX. To further sweeten its dynamic personality, the steering and suspension on the ILX have both been retuned for enhanced responsiveness. Additional reinforcing to the body structure of this front-drive 4-door adds stiffness to the platform and also has Acura anticipating a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS. 

Set to arrive in dealers early next year, the 2016 Acura ILX will come in six distinct variants: Base, Base + AcuraWatch, Premium, Premium + A-Spec, Tech Plus and Tech Plus with A-Spec. Pricing, final packaging specifics and EPA numbers will be released closer to the actual on-sale date.

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