By Jennifer Geiger on April 15, 2014
Competes with: Cadillac ATS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Volvo S60
Looks like: Surprise, surprise — it looks like the prototype unveiled at the 2014 Detroit auto show
Drivetrain: 206-hp, 2.4-liter direct-injected four-cylinder mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission or a 290-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 paired with a nine-speed automatic; front- and all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Later this year
There were no surprises at the Acura press conference during the 2014 New York International Auto Show. The automaker's new sedan looks nearly identical to the prototype that was unveiled earlier this year in Detroit.
Today, however, Acura released more details and specs of the new-for-2015 TLX sedan and showed off the production version. The 2015 sedan launches with familiar styling, new powertrains and a host of additional safety features.
The 2015 TLX slots between the compact ILX and flagship RLX. Although the TLX is 3.8 inches shorter in overall length compared to the TL, it will replace that model and also squeeze out the TSX sedan in the automaker's lineup. Acura says the TLX's front and rear overhangs have been shortened compared to the TL's for a sportier look.
The production version retains much of the prototype's styling with a sculpted hood, a toned-down version of Acura's beak-like shield grille and what the automaker calls "jewel eye" LED headlights. The LED theme continues throughout the body with standard LED-accented side mirrors, LED taillights and LED license plate illumination.
No word yet on how the TLX's overall smaller size affects room, but the sedan seats five passengers. The automaker says the new model uses more premium materials than the TL, including a soft-touch, one-piece instrument panel cover, alloy and wood-grain trim and available Milano leather seats. TLX models with the V-6 get a bit more cabin storage room thanks to Acura's Electronic Gear Selector. It's a shift knob instead of a traditional gear lever, so center console space is freed up.
Front and center is a 7-inch touch-screen that controls the next-generation of the AcuraLink cloud-based connected-car system. All TLXs also come equipped with Siri Eyes Free technology, which allows the driver to control certain functions using voice commands when paired with a compatible iPhone. Other available features include heated and ventilated front seats, Bluetooth streaming audio, push-button start with keyless access, and navigation with 3-D view and real-time traffic.
In back, the TLX features a new 60/40-split folding rear seat; Acura says it allows for greater cargo-carrying flexibility. The trunk has also been redesigned with a wider, deeper opening, a lower lift-over height, a flatter cargo floor and two new hidden under-floor storage compartments (optional).
Acura is debuting some new technology under the hood of the TLX. Two engines are available. A new 206-horsepower, 2.4-liter direct-injected four-cylinder is mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with torque converter. It joins a 3.5-liter V-6 that powered 2014's TL. It makes 290 hp for 2015, up 10 hp from last year's V-6; it's paired with a new nine-speed automatic transmission.
The V-6 is overall more fuel efficient thanks in part to the new transmission as well as a new Variable Cylinder Management system. It can shut off three of the engine's six cylinders to boost fuel economy. Acura estimates that TLXs with the 2.4-liter should get 24/35/28 mpg city/highway/combined, and two-wheel-drive versions of the V-6 model to get 21/34/25 mpg, up 1 mpg in the city and 5 mpg on the highway versus the two-wheel-drive 2014 TL. All-wheel drive is only available on V-6 versions, and Acura expects it to return an EPA fuel-economy rating of 21/31/25 mpg, also up slightly from the 2014 TL’s numbers.
The new TLX will feature the all-wheel steering system that debuted on the RLX sedan; Acura says it makes for more precise steering. Its all-wheel-drive system also offers drivers four modes — Econ, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus — that adjust throttle and steering response.
Safety features include the Collision Mitigation Braking System, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with Low-Speed Follow and a blind spot warning system.
Pricing has not yet been announced.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer