A brand-new sport sedan joins the lineup of Hondas luxury division as an early 2004 model. Slotted squarely between the midsize Acura 3.2 TL luxury-performance sedan and the automakers RSX sport coupe, the new TSX was introduced at Detroits North American International Auto Show in January 2003.
In a number of respects, the TSX is similar to the European version of the Honda Accord. With 200 horsepower, a six-speed-manual transmission [and a] race-bred suspension, said Dick Colliver, Acuras executive vice president of sales, the TSX has what it takes to be a success in this hotly contested segment. This model will be Acuras gateway sports sedan, Colliver explained. Every aspect of this vehicle has been designed with performance in mind. Acura promises its buyers pure, unadulterated exhilaration.
Sales of the TSX begin in April 2003. Marketers plan to target young and affluent customers who are successful and discriminating and may be in transition from college life to maturity, Colliver said. Three-fifths of customers are likely to be male. With a median age of 33, the typical buyer is expected to have an $80,000 annual income.
Competitors include the Audi A4, BMW 325i and Lexus IS 300. Acura intends to produce about 15,000 TSX sport sedans each year.
Like so many manufacturers today, Acura promotes the aggressive nature of the sedans appearance. Essentially wedge-shaped in profile, the TSX features strong character lines, according to the Japanese automaker. Styling cues include Acuras familiar five-sided grille, which is flanked by high-intensity-discharge headlights and sits above lower air intakes that suggest racing brake ducts. The back window slopes into a short trunk lid, whose sharp termination is intended to help air separate cleanly from the rear of the car as it rolls along at highway speeds. A power moonroof is standard.
Alloy wheels hold 17-inch, V-rated, all-season performance tires. Measuring 183.3 inches long overall and 57.3 inches tall, the unibodied TSX has a four-wheel-independent double-wishbone suspension with a multilink configuration at the rear. Trunk capacity totals 13.2 cubic feet.
Inside the cockpit, which is described as sporty yet refined, deeply bolstered seats are upholstered in perforated leather. A three-spoke leather-wrapped sport steering wheel contains integrated audio and cruise controls. Dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power locks and windows, and keyless entry are standard, and the eight-speaker 360-watt premium audio system includes a six-CD changer. Acuras available navigation system can operate with voice recognition.
Under the Hood
Acuras 2.4-liter, dual-overhead-cam, i-VTEC four-cylinder engine generates 200 hp at 6,800 rpm and 166 pounds-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. The i-VTEC intelligent valve-control system adjusts valve timing and lift to enhance performance across a broad power band, according to Acura. It also promises to improve gas mileage and reduce emissions. A drive-by-wire throttle-control system aims to produce smooth acceleration.
Either a close-ratio six-speed-manual gearbox or a performance-oriented five-speed Sequential SportShift automatic transmission may be installed.
Side curtain-type airbags and all-disc antilock brakes are standard. Side-impact airbags include a passenger-sensing system. A standard Vehicle Stability Assist system is combined with traction control.