2021 Acura TLX
Acura has removed the wraps from the next generation of its midsize TLX sport sedan, and Honda’s luxury brand refers to this exciting new car as the “quickest, best-handling and most well-appointed sedan in the brand’s 35-year history.” A bold claim to be sure, but with new chassis architecture, dynamic styling and a more powerful line of engines, all these splendid descriptors should be true. Not only is the TLX all new for 2021, Acura has announced the brand will be bringing back the Type S — a high-performance variant that hasn’t been around since the 2008 Acura TL.
True to Type S Concept
This second-generation Acura TLX is a dead ringer for the Type S Concept shown last August during Monterey Car Week. The low, wide stance gives the new TLX a high-performance look, further enhanced by an updated diamond pentagon grille flanked by next-generation Jewel Eye LED headlights. Not only do these design elements make the TLX look wider, the car is actually 2.2 inches wider than the outgoing version.
The silhouette of the 2021 Acura TLX showcases new sculpting along the hood and doors that flows into larger rear wheel arches. The sleek roofline makes the new model look like a fastback — the surface flows smoothly from the base of the windshield to the taillights.
Engineers at Honda developed a new dedicated sedan platform to underpin the new Acura TLX. With an all-new chassis and body structure that increase torsional stiffness by 50 percent and localized rigidity by 100 percent, this new platform is the most rigid ever for an Acura vehicle, with one exception — Acura’s iconic NSX sport car.
Inside the 2021 Acura TLX, both driver and front passenger have advanced sport seats with 16-way power adjustment. The driver also gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel; the A-Spec and Type S will have flat-bottomed wheels with larger paddle shifters.
The new TLX comes with a 7.0-inch color display in the center gauge cluster as standard equipment, and can be equipped with a 10.5-inch color head-up display. At the center of the dash resides a 10.2-inch HD display with a console-mounted touchpad interface that the company introduced in the current RDX. Acura will also offer the ELS Studio 3D premium audio system that includes four ultra-slim ceiling-mounted speakers.
Acura will equip all 2021 TLX variants with AcuraWatch, the brand’s suite of high-tech safety features. New AcuraWatch features include Traffic Jam Assist, which uses the adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist to ensure the TLX stays in its lane and at a set distance behind the vehicle in front, reducing driver stress while sitting in traffic. The 2021 TLX also introduces new front-passenger airbag technology with a three-chamber design to help protect the front passenger in more steeply angled frontal collisions.
Powering the 2021 Acura TLX is a 2.0-liter DOHC turbocharged VTEC engine producing 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque — a major boost in power over the standard powerplant in the previous generation. The engine gets teamed with a 10-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift and paddle shifters.
The new TLX will be available with the latest version of Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. This high-tech AWD system can send up to 70 percent of available torque to the rear wheels, and with torque vectoring can deliver up to 100 percent of that power to the right or left wheel, which can dramatically improve handling — especially when the road gets curvy.
The 2021 Acura TLX will be available with the popular A-Spec sport package when it arrives later this year. Models equipped with the A-Spec package will get gloss-black accents, darkened headlight and taillight treatments, a more pronounced rear spoiler and Shark Grey 19-inch alloy wheels.
Driving enthusiasts will definitely welcome the Type S back to the Acura lineup. The new TLX Type S stands out thanks to a unique open-surface diamond pentagon grille, larger side air intakes, an aggressive front splitter, a decklid spoiler, large quad exhaust outlets and two 20-inch wheel options. More details about this high-performance TLX will be released early next year, although we do know the Type S will have Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive as well as a turbocharged V6 engine likely to produce in excess of 300 horsepower.
The all-new 2021 Acura TLX will be built exclusively at Honda’s assembly plant in Marysville, Ohio, and the car is scheduled to arrive in showrooms this fall. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date; expect the new sedan to start in the mid-$30,000 range. The TLX Type S follows in spring 2021.