2021 Acura TLX and Type S have turbo engines and seriously sharp style

2021 Acura TLX and Type S have turbo engines and seriously sharp style

The 2021 TLX resurrects the Type S range from Acura.


The Acura TLX gets a bad reputation against more traditional luxury / sports sedans like the Audi A4, the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. His badge may not have the same clout in some circles, but it does TLX offers equivalent performance, Luxury and onboard technology like these competitors – and for less money.

With the 2021 TLX, Acura is really working to improve the sedan’s wow factor while remaining true to its mission of offering many features for the money. And frankly, if this new TLX drives as well as it looks, this could be the moment when the gap between Acura and the Germans finally starts to close.

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2021 Acura TLX: Type S returns with turbo power


Type S is back

The 2021 TLX marks the return of Acura’s famous Type S line and isn’t just an updo. When the TLX arrives next spring, it will be powered by a brand new 3.0-liter V6 turbocharged engine combined with a 10-speed automatic transmission and the company’s super-handling all-wheel drive technology. Unfortunately, Acura isn’t releasing official Type S specs as part of Thursday’s debut, but I’ve heard that this sportier sedan will do quite a bit of a breakthrough – at least more than 300 horsepower. The unique chassis calibration and larger Brembo brakes contribute to Type S performance on the road. Again, representatives from Acura cannot yet confirm how different the two TLX models will be. Stay tuned; I’m pretty excited.

Fortunately, the regular 2021 TLX also has a lot to offer. The design is slightly weakened compared to the Type S, but don’t make a mistake, this sedan is an eye-catcher. The TLX runs on a new platform and is about 3 inches longer, 2 inches wider and half an inch lower than its predecessor, with a wheelbase that has been stretched almost 4 inches. More importantly, Acura increased the length of the TLX from dashboard to axle by about 7 inches, giving the sedan a slightly stronger rear-wheel drive appearance. It is not quite as pronounced as on that 2019 type S concept – the car that Preview of the TLX design – but the change here is still pretty noticeable and welcome.

It is easiest to recognize a type S from behind. The Type S not only has a Honkin set of four exhaust pipes, but also a black finish on the license plate housing and a black lip spoiler (although the A-Spec also has this last one). The Type S also runs on 20-inch wheels, while standard TLX models can live to be 18 or 19 years old, depending on the equipment. And while every TLX is equipped with LED headlights as standard, the Type S loses its fog lights in favor of larger air intakes. Acura showed me both a standard TLX (in the loaded Advance kit) and a TLX Type S earlier this month, and frankly they both look great personally. The base car doesn’t sacrifice style.

Other cool details? Check how the piano black trim on the upper parts of the mirror caps inserts them into the windows. Also note the LED taillight signature “chicane”, which is available on all models. Oh, and probably the best of all, the Type S is offered in a shade of yellow called Tiger Eye Pearl that looks totally radical (at least in photos).

Acura TLX: 2020 vs. 2021

2020 Acura TLX 2.4L 2021 Acura TLX 2.0L

2.4 liter I4

2.0-liter turbo I4


206 hp

272 hp


182 lb-ft

280 lb-ft


8-speed DCT

10-speed car


109.3 in

113.0 in


191.7 in

194.6 in


73.0 in

75.2 in


57.0 in

56.4 in

Passenger volume

93.3 cu-ft

93.4 cu-ft

Loading volume

13.2 cu-ft

13.5 cu-ft

Tiger Eye Pearl and 20-inch wheels are both exclusive to the S.


Turbos for everyone

I will say it again: apart from the fact that the Type S has a 3.0-liter V6, a 10-speed automatic and all-wheel drive, there are currently no other performance specifications to be discussed. The rest of the 2021 TLX range is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo I4 engine – the same as the RDX crossover – and uses a 10-speed gearbox. Front-wheel drive is standard, SH-AWD is optional.

The 2.0T has an output of 272 hp and a torque of 280 pound-feet, which can compete well with the four-cylinder turbo engines of the TLX competitors. These are increases of 66 hp and 98 lb-ft compared to the old 2.4-liter I4 with naturally aspirated engine from the outgoing TLX. And during the 2.0T compared to 2020 TLX 3.5 liter V6It has 13 lb-ft more torque, which is delivered lower in the rev range. Acura doesn’t have any fuel economy figures yet, but expect the 2.0-liter engine to do much better than the V6, which was rated as somber 20 miles per gallon city, 29 MPG freeway, and 23 MPG in combination with all – Wheel drive.

Acura recently touted the new TLXs Double wishbone front suspensionthat replaces the old car’s MacPherson strut setup. This should offer an improved curve grip and be combined with a multi-link rear suspension geometry. The other major mechanical changes are variable gear ratio programming for electrically assisted power steering and a switch from hydraulic to electric servo assistance for the brakes. The TLX Advance and Type S models also have adaptive dampers.

Each TLX will be equipped with the usual Comfort, Normal and Sport driving modes, and the Type S will receive an additional Sport Plus program. There is also a new custom setting that can be accessed by pressing the large dynamic mode button in the middle of the center stack. Here the drivers can adjust the parameters for gas, transmission, steering, adaptive dampers (if available), etc.

Visually there is a lot going on in the cabin, but the materials are all excellent.


A wide range of luxury and technology

Inside the TLX, Acura has gone to great lengths to improve the cabin with real metal on the speakers, open-pore wood and soft leather surfaces. Overall, the design is a little much – a lot happens here – but the steering wheel is a nice size and feels good in my hands. The relatively thin A-pillars allow an excellent view from the driver’s seat. The rear seats are large enough for most adults and there is 13.5 cubic feet of space in the trunk, which is roughly average, although slightly larger than the old TLX.

The middle stack is known to everyone who has been in an RDX, in which the somewhat confusing electronic shift lever is located under the wheel, which is too large for the driving mode. There are also simple climate controls. Acura’s latest multimedia system is located on a 10.2-inch screen above the dashboard, which is controlled by the company’s True Touch Interface touchpad on the center console. Do not worry, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

A word on TTI: Acura’s version uses the logic of “absolute position,” meaning that it doesn’t work like your laptop’s touchpad or the terrible thing Lexus uses in its cars. It’s not my favorite surface, but it’s not bad once you get used to it. Fortunately, there is physical volume and controls to the right of the touchpad. According to Acura, the latest version of TTI technology has “more accurate swipe zones” and “other performance improvements”. As the company continues to improve this system, the wireless updates feature will distribute TLX’s standard 4G LTE WI-Fi connectivity to all customers.

A 7-inch color display shows all types of information in the instrument cluster, although Acura’s permanently installed instruments cannot compete with the fully digital IPs of its competitors (Hello, Audi Virtual Cockpit). At least there is an optional head-up display with a size of 10.5 inches. Owners can also choose from 24 different ambient lighting options, including two-color schemes named after various driving-centered destinations such as race tracks (Suzuka) or great roads (Pacific Coast Highway).

A-Spec models get the Type S rear spoiler, but not the fantastic quad exhaust tips.


For driver assistance technology, each TLX comes with the AcuraWatch package, which includes traffic sign recognition, a driver awareness monitor, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and other functions. The TLX also includes a traffic jam assistant that combines adaptive cruise and lane keeping technology to simplify commuting. Yes, TLX’s competitors are available with this type of technology, but most of them require you to spend more on an optional package to get the goodies.

Pricing and availability

The 2021 Acura TLX will be available from dealers in the fall, and pricing will start in the $ 30,000 range, according to Acura. The 2020 TLX starts at $ 33,000 before the finish, and I’m assuming the new one will cost around $ 35,000. Mom says how much the Type S will cost when it arrives next spring, though it is likely to undercut competitors like the Audi S4. BMW M340i and Mercedes-AMG C43.

In its appearance alone, the TLX is a step ahead of its ancestor, and it appears that Acura has made numerous technical improvements to make this sedan a better performer. The TLX has always deserved better than its also managed status in the luxury / sports class. We hope this new one strikes a stronger chord.

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