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The 6-speed manual transmission is controlled via paddle shifters, and two transmission modes (Drive and Sport) allow you to control performance and even put the car into manual mode so you can take full control. The suspension is set up to offer a compromise between sports car nimbleness and luxury sedan comfort. Variable Valve Timing and Electronic Lift Control (VTEC) and high-flow exhaust enhance engine efficiency.
See our picks for best sedans in the CarsDirect 2013 Sedan Buying Guide.
The TL includes electronic stability control, vehicle stability assist, brake assist, and side and head airbags for both front seats, with head airbags for the rear seats. The tire pressure monitoring system will make you aware if you’re low on air. The TL’s interior has a voice-activated climate control system and is Bluetooth enabled. The 8-speaker audio system has USB and auxiliary inputs.
The Acura TL’s exterior styling makes it stand out from other cars in its class, with a longer hood and fastback design that looks very distinct next to most sedans. High-intensity headlights and security system come standard, along with 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and electronic brake distribution system.
If you’re looking for a good blend of performance and comfort in an upscale sedan, the Acura TL is worth a look. It doesn’t boast quite as many electronic systems and convenience features as more expensive cars in its class, but the powerful V6 engine makes up for a lot. If you want all the extras, they’re available in the optional Technology Package.
The base TL is front-wheel drive and comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that puts out 280 hp. It’s mated to 6-speed automatic transmission. In city driving, you’ll get 20 mpg, and an impressive 29 mpg on the highway.
The SH-AWD version of the TL has a 305 hp 3.7-liter V6 under the hood, which gets 18/26 city/highway mileage. As the name suggests, it’s all-wheel drive. The SH stands for Super Handling, a system that analyzes cornering, acceleration and weight distribution and redistributes power among the four wheels to maximize performance. For example,during highway driving, 90 percent of the power is sent to the front wheels. During acceleration, when weight transfers to the rear of the car, more power is sent to the rear wheels, where traction is greatest. An optional 6-speed manual transmission is only available in the SH-AWD (an automatic transmission is standard).
The A4's turbocharged 4-cylinder engine has nowhere near the power of the Acura TL (though a pricey 6-cylinder supercharged version is available).
The sleek, 2-door Infiniti G is closer to a sports car than a family sedan, with the base model V6 generating 330 hp.
A small back seat makes the Lexus IS less than ideal as a family sedan, but its aggressive stance and the muscular 3.5-liter V6 (in the 350 version) will appeal to drivers looking for a more exciting commute.
BMW's mid-size sedan gets consistently high ratings, and it has the iconic BMW styling.