2021 Acura TLX Gains Turbocharged Engines, Type S Variant

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - May 29, 2020

Take one look at the all-new 2021 Acura TLX and it quickly becomes abundantly clear that Acura was dead serious about making a compelling luxury sports sedan. Shockingly, Acura stayed true to the styling found on the Type S Concept that was unveiled at last year's Monterey Car Week. If you can manage to pull your eyes away from the gorgeous design, you’ll find that the new TLX marks the return of the performance Type S line, is powered by new turbocharged engines, and comes with quite a lot of high-performance hardware. If the TLX drives half as well as it looks, Acura could have a winner on its hands.

Part of the thing that gives us the impression that the TLX will do well in the hot segment is its looks. Compared to the outgoing TLX, the new one is 2.2 inches wider, has a roofline that 0.6 inches lower, and has a wheelbase that’s 3.7 inches longer. Interior’s been overhauled, too, ditching the luxury forward look of its competitors for something much more dramatic. There’s an available 10.2-inch display, though the standard unit measures in at 7 inches, and the latest generation of AcuraLink is also included.

Going along with the new design are two turbocharged engines. The base engine in the new TLX is the same turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that’s found in the RDX crossover. The turbocharged unit replaces last year’s naturally-aspirated motor that made a modest 206 horsepower. The new engine is more powerful, with an output of 272 hp. Unlike before, consumers can now get all-wheel drive with the base four-cylinder engine.

The TLX Type S will get its own engine in the form of an all-new turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine. While Acura hasn’t provided any hard specifications for the V6 engine, the automaker claims that it “delivers dramatic gains in peak horsepower” and torque. Official figures will come out closer to when the vehicle goes on sale. The naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6 engine in the current TLX is rated at 290 hp. Both turbocharged engines come with a 10-speed automatic transmission, replacing last year’s 8- and 9-speed automatic units.

Acura TLX

Speaking of Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, it’s been updated to provide a sportier experience. Now, the engine can send up to 70% of its torque to the rear wheels, while the torque-vectoring rear differential can split that torque from between zero to 100% between the left or right wheel.

Other sporty changes Acura made to the sedan include adding a double-wishbone front suspension setup, variable-ratio programming for the power-steering system that’s electrically assisted, and switching from hydraulically assisted brakes to electro-servo units. Every TLX now comes with various drive modes, which include Comfort, Normal, and Sport. Going with the Type S means an extra Sport Plus mode.

When the 2021 TLX arrives at dealerships this fall, it will start in the “mid-$30,000 range.” That’s not too far off of the current TLX, which starts at $34,025 including destination. We expect pricing to start closer to $36,000 with destination for the 2021 model. If that price holds true, it would be the cheapest offering in the compact class, which includes the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, Genesis G70, Volvo S60, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. It almost sounds too good to be true at the moment, as the TLX is shaping up to be an incredible value option.

Beyond pricing, the TLX will also have a major advantage in standard horsepower. The sedan’s 272-hp output bests every other standard engine in the class. When it comes to torque, the 3-Series takes the lead there with 294 pound-feet compared to the TLX’s 280 lb-ft. Based on the horsepower figure of the base engine, we’re excited to see how the upcoming 3.0-liter V6 stacks up to the competition.

Based on the specs, we’re incredibly excited about the new TLX. With automakers putting all of their efforts toward SUVs and crossovers, it’s startling to see Acura come out with an all-new, sporty sedan. There aren’t too many of those out there anymore, so to say that we’re excited about the TLX would be an understatement.

Learn more about the all-new Acura TLX »

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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