2018 Acura TLX A-Spec first drive review: character by committee Page 3


Yes, a V-6. The A-Spec is only available with the TLX's bigger, heavier, more powerful engine. My Motor Authority colleagues have raved about the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder in the more affordable TLX, but I don't mind the V-6 as much. Its 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque are accessible enough at low speeds and willing enough at higher speeds to make up for the extra heft and its effect on balance. And with the upgraded ASC, it sounds fantastic.

Likewise, there's been plenty of support for the base 8-speed dual-clutch transmission with almost as much derision reserved for the 9-speed automatic. Acura says it upgraded the ZF-built transmission for 2018, and it's better, to a point. The 9-speed feels responsive off the line, but there are too many gears to swipe through with the smallish, steering-wheel-mounted paddles to get the engine speed where I want it. Moreover, those shifts aren't super-fast.

2018 Acura TLX A-Spec

2018 Acura TLX A-Spec

Enlarge Photo
2018 Acura TLX A-Spec

2018 Acura TLX A-Spec

Enlarge Photo
2018 Acura TLX A-Spec

2018 Acura TLX A-Spec

Enlarge Photo

Prices for the 2018 TLX start at $33,995 (including a mandatory $995 destination charge), but the cheapest A-Spec model starts at $43,795 for a front-wheel-drive example. Add $2,000 for an A-Spec with Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive. For that price, not only do you get all the A-Spec goodies, but the TLX A-Spec comes with a neat mix of equipment from the pricier Advance trim, which costs $950 more. That includes navigation with real-time traffic, a 10-speaker ELS stereo, heated front and rear seats, wireless phone charging, and LED foglights. You'll be missing out on the Advance's heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, or surround-view camera system, though. That's a lot of important equipment for a $950 savings and a negligibly sportier driving experience.

The TLX A-Spec doesn't feel more exciting than the standard car. While that's disappointing, the reality is that this new trim presents a fresh new style and exciting design elements without upsetting the balance that makes Acura's bread-and-butter sedan such a compelling alternative and all-around good choice in a competitive and progressive segment. If you want a relaxing luxury sedan that will stand out better among the hordes of Germans and Lexus' popular IS, the TLX A-Spec is a fine choice.


 
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