Acura's bestselling sports sedan receives a midcycle makeover for 2007. The performance-oriented Type-S edition — dormant on the TL for three years — returns, adopting the automaker's 3.5-liter V-6 to make 286 horsepower, a 28-hp increase over the base model, which uses a 3.2-liter V-6. The TL retains its front-wheel-drive status, however, rebuffing early hopes that the Type-S might include Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive.
Acura dramatically redesigned the TL for 2004, promising greater performance and sportier handling. A standard V-6 worked with either a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission; the latter has been dropped in the base model but is available in the TL Type-S.
Honda's luxury division launched the TL as a 1996 model. Produced in Marysville, Ohio, the TL competes with such sedans as the BMW 3 Series and Infiniti G35.
Compared with earlier models, the current TL sedan exhibits a wider, more aggressive stance. For 2007, changes include new fog lights mounted on each side of the front air dam, as well as redesigned taillights. The TL Type-S adds front ground effects, quad exhaust and black chrome trim.
The TL's body displays a pronounced wedge-shaped cabin-forward profile, led by a shield-shaped grille that incorporates a large logo. Acoustic windshield glass is installed. High-intensity-discharge headlights operate with both low and high beams. A power moonroof is standard. Alloy wheels hold 17-inch tires; high-performance summer tires are optional on the TL Type-S. Other Type-S enhancements include a stiffer suspension, stronger brakes with Brembo four-piston front calipers and thicker underbody stabilizer bars.
Five people fit inside the TL. Leather-trimmed seats are standard, and a 10-way power driver's seat is equipped with power lumbar support. Each TL includes dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a tilt/telescoping steering column, and an Acura/ELS eight-speaker surround-sound system with an in-dash six-CD changer and DVD audio. Steering-wheel buttons operate audio, cruise-control and voice-recognition functions.
Brushed-aluminum trim accents the dashboard. Acura's optional navigation system features voice recognition, real-time traffic monitoring and an 8-inch display screen; it's optional on the base TL and standard on the Type-S.
Other additions include redesigned instrument gauges and a new three-spoke steering wheel. The TL includes wood trim and blue cockpit lighting, while the Type-S has red lighting, embossed headrests and carbon fiber trim.
Under the Hood
Operating with a drive-by-wire throttle, Acura's 3.2-liter V-6 produces 258 hp at 6,200 rpm and 233 pounds-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. In the TL Type-S, a 3.5-liter V-6 comes from Acura's larger RL sedan. Here it makes 286 hp at 6,200 rpm and 256 pounds-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. The TL's five-speed Sequential SportShift automatic transmission permits manual gear changes. A six-speed manual, which works with a limited-slip differential, is available in the TL Type-S.
Antilock brakes include electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist functions. Side-impact airbags, dual-stage front airbags and side curtain airbags are standard. A passenger-side position sensor controls airbag deployment. An electronic stability system is standard.