2021 Acura TLX Looks Good ... Really Good

acura-tlx-2021-02-oem.jpg 2021 Acura TLX | Manufacturer image

Competes with: Cadillac CT4, Genesis G70, Infiniti Q50

Looks like: A more practical version of the Type S concept

Powertrain: 272-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder; turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 (power figures TBA); 10-speed automatic transmission; front- or all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Early fall 2020 for non-Type S versions; spring 2021 for the Type S

Acura unveiled its completely redesigned 2021 TLX sedan today, and it certainly has the looks of a sports sedan. Does that matter? While Deion Sanders espoused and exemplified the concept of “look good, play good,” we’ll have to wait and see if the TLX — especially the resurrected Type S variant and its new turbo V-6 — can cash the check written by its looks.

Related: 2021 Acura TLX Shows Its Face While Keeping Us in Suspense

Shop the 2020 Acura TLX near you

2020 Acura TLX V6
61,553 mi.
$21,857 $1,968 price drop
Great Deal | $1,414 under
2020 Acura TLX V6 w/Technology Package
53,661 mi.
$28,302 $598 price drop
Great Deal | $3,778 under

The new TLX is based on an all-new, exclusive-to-Acura vehicle platform that Acura says is stiffer than the previous-generation TLX’s, and is longer and wider with a longer wheelbase and wider track. Buyers can choose from front- or all-wheel drive with the base turbo four-cylinder engine — the last TLX only offered all-wheel drive with its V-6 — while the 2021 TLX Type S with its new turbo V-6 has standard AWD.


The longer and wider look contributes to a very aggressive-looking sedan, particularly in the TLX’s performance-oriented Type S guise. The front end features a more pronounced “diamond pentagon” grille, new LED headlights with LED daytime running lights. Sculpted lines run from the front along the lines to an aggressive rear end with a short deck lid and redesigned LED taillights. The roof is lower thanks to more aggressively angled roof pillars and looks even lower thanks to inward-sloping roof styling toward a lower center section. A-Spec versions wear unique 19-inch wheels and darkened exterior accents along with a rear deck lid spoiler.

The crown jewel of the lineup, the Type S, gets a unique “open-surface” grille along with larger side air intakes. It also wears a unique front splitter and rear diffuser, deck lid spoiler and a choice of two unique 20-inch wheel designs.


Acura has focused on the driver and front passenger with what it calls a Dual Personal Cockpit. The center tunnel and wraparound instrument panel create specific spaces for both front occupants as they sit in their sport seats.

Acura is also including a new version of its True Touchpad Interface, which uses a center-console-mounted touchpad to control functions displayed on a 10.2-inch screen mounted atop the dashboard. Acura says the system is improved and comes with physical controls for power, volume and seek functions — though we haven’t been very big fans of its implementation in the RDX SUV.

Engine and Transmission

The base engine in the TLX is a new, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 272 horsepower and 280 pounds-feet of torque, increases of 66 hp and 98 pounds-feet over the outgoing 2.4-liter four-cylinder, respectively. The four-cylinder even produces more torque than the optional 3.5-liter V-6 in the previous TLX.

Power figures for the all-new 3.0-liter turbo V-6 aren’t yet available, but Acura promises “the new engine delivers dramatic gains in peak horsepower and, more critically, in torque, across the engine’s full operating range, including a more than 50% increase in low-end torque.”

Both engines will be paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission, with the Type S getting a specially tuned version. Four-cylinder models will come with a choice of FWD or AWD, while the V-6 Type S will have standard AWD.

Other new features under the TLX’s skin include electro-servo brakes derived from the NSX supercar instead of hydraulic brakes and a double-wishbone front suspension instead of the last TLX’s MacPherson strut design.


The TLX will come standard with the AcuraWatch advanced safety suite, which now includes three new features: traffic sign recognition, a driver alertness monitor and a traffic jam assist system that will keep the car in its lane and at a set following distance in a traffic jam.

Additionally, the TLX will also be the first Acura to use a new “catcher’s mitt” airbag design that aims to do a better job of protecting occupants’ heads when the devices are deployed in a crash.

Acura says the TLX will have a starting price “in the mid-$30,000 range” and expects it to arrive at dealerships early in the fall, though the Type S won’t join the party until the following spring (and at a presumably higher price). More Type S details will be revealed closer to its arrival.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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Road Test Editor Brian Normile joined the automotive industry and in 2013 and became part of the Editorial staff in 2014. Brian spent his childhood devouring every car magazine he got his hands on — not literally, eventually — and now reviews and tests vehicles to help consumers make informed choices. Someday, Brian hopes to learn what to do with his hands when he’s reviewing a car on camera, and to turn his 2021 Hyundai Veloster N into a tribute to the great Renault mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive hatchbacks. He would daily-drive an Alfa Romeo 4C if he could. Email Brian Normile

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