2021 Acura TLX vs. Audi A4, BMW 330i, Mercedes C300, Volvo S60: How these AWD sedans stack up

2021 Acura TLX vs. Audi A4, BMW 330i, Mercedes C300, Volvo S60: How these AWD sedans stack up
2021 Acura TLX

Sharp style is not just reserved for type S trim.

Acura

The Acura TLX certainly has its fans, but over the years it (and its predecessors) have fought for legitimacy against the established European premium competition. The new 2021 TLX This officially debuted Thursday aims to change this with sharp physicality and a promising pair of turbocharged engine options. Let’s see how the new sports sedan from Acura holds its own against the premium competition.

The usual suspects are here: Audi announced 2021 A4, the BMW 330i, the Mercedes-Benz C300 and we also include the Volvo S60, another outsider in this class. Like the Audi and Volvo, the 2021 TLX also has front-wheel drive as standard. Bimmer and Benz send their strength backwards. All five sedans are available with optional all-wheel drive. We will therefore look at these configurations to improve the competitive environment.

Powertrain

The upcoming TLX Type S is certainly exciting with its 3.0-liter turbo V6, but Acura has not yet announced any details or specifications for this model, so we’ll have to come back to this comparison later. Let us first concentrate on the standard drive train: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with turbocharger and a 10-speed automatic transmission. This is the same VTEC turbo engine as in Acura RDX crossoverwith 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. In this presumably lighter chassis, it should feel more responsive.

According to Acura, the TLX claims “the highest performance in its core competition group” technically that’s true. The A4, the 3 Series and the C300 are all members of the club with around 250 HP. For this comparison with all-wheel drive we have to look at the Volvo S60 T6 AWD, which – with its compressor and Turbo engine – raises the bar to 316 ponies. If you have a need for speed, maybe take a look at the Swedes.

Powertrain

engine power Torque transmission
Acura TLX SH-AWD

2.0 liter I4 turbocharger

272 hp

280 lb.-ft.

10-speed car

Audi A4 Quattro

2.0 liter I4 turbocharger, 12 volt mild hybrid

261 hp

273 lb.-ft.

7-speed DCT

BMW 330i xDrive

2.0 liter I4 turbocharger

255 hp

294 lb.-ft.

8-speed car

Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic

2.0 liter I4 turbocharger

255 hp

273 lb.-ft.

9-speed car

Volvo S60 T6 AWD

2.0-liter I4 with turbocharger and compressor

316 hp

295 lb.-ft.

8-speed car

Fuel consumption

Acura has not provided fuel economy estimates for the new generation TLX, but we can make an educated guess based on the RDX numbers. The crossover is good for 21 cities, 27 highways and 23 combined miles per gallon. In the probably lighter chassis of the sedan, we should expect slightly better numbers.

It will need this additional efficiency to rise from its previous point near the bottom of the stack. The Volvo S60, the most powerful of the series, is (for now) the least efficient competitor with 21 city MPG, 32 freeway MPG and 25 MPG combined – still better than the 2019 TLX. The Mercedes-Benz C300 with 26 combined mpg is slightly better. Audi hasn’t released numbers for its 2021 A4, but we don’t think it will be too far from the 27 combined mpg of the 2020 model.

The current king of the hill is the BMW 330i xDrive with 25 cities, 34 motorways and 28 combined mpg. Honestly, we don’t think the Acura will beat that, but if the TLX manages to land in the middle of the field, it will still be a solid move over last year.

fuel economy

city Highway Combined
Acura TLX

TBA

TBA

TBA

Audi A4

24 mpg (est.)

32 mpg (est.)

27 mpg (est.)

BMW 330i

25 mpg

34 mpg

28 mpg

Mercedes-Benz C300

23 mpg

33 mpg

26 mpg

Volvo S60

21 mpg

32 mpg

25 mpg

Dimensions

The new look of the TLX – based on the Type S concept – is wrapped around a new platform that is longer and wider than before. The wheelbase also extends to 113.0 inches, a gain of 3.7 inches. Interestingly, the roof is 0.6 inches lower (56.4) than last year, which contributes to the wide and low look.

The TLX is now the longest model in this summary. It is over 7 inches longer than the next longest Audi A4 and over 10 inches longer than the C-Class. The Acura’s 113-inch wheelbase is also one of the longest in the class. The TLX from Acura has spanned the size range between these compact sedans and their medium-sized counterparts for a long time.

With 13.5 cubic feet of luggage space, the TLX lands right in the middle of the backpack. The BMW has the largest trunk in the group with 17 cubic feet, while S60 drivers manage with only 11.6 cubic feet. Interestingly, the 80.3-inch Volvo is the widest sedan – about 5 inches wider than the Acura – if you like wide bois.

Dimensions

length width height wheelbase Loading volume
Acura TLX

194.6 in.

75.2 in.

56.4 in.

113 in.

13.5 cu. ft.

Audi A4

187.5 in.

79.6 in.

56.2 in.

111 in.

12.0 cu. ft.

BMW 330i

185.7 in.

71.9 in.

56.8 in.

112.2 in.

17.0 cu. ft.

Mercedes-Benz C300

184.5 in.

79.5 in.

56.3 in.

111.8 in.

12.6 cu. ft.

Volvo S60

187.4 in.

80.3 in.

56.6 in.

113.1 in.

11.6 cu. ft.

technology

The Acura’s 10.2-inch infotainment system looks almost identical to that of the RDX. We’re not in love with the True Touchpad interface, which is somewhat similar Lexus’ remote touch Controller – but the “Absolute Positioning” control method works well enough once you get used to it. However, some people may never get used to it.

The 10.1-inch MMI touchscreen infotainment system and the digital instrument cluster Virtual Cockpit of the Audi A4 are our personal favorites with a very intuitive user interface that should be easy to use for anyone who has used a phone. The iDrive infotainment of the 3 Series is much better than before, but can still be a little confusing when it comes to navigation. Volvo Sensus is another mixed bag; The core functions are easy to access, but once you leave the main screen, using them can be a bit cumbersome and awkward. People tend to love or hate this, with a few in between. Meanwhile, the COMAND technology of the C-Class is a generation behind its cohort. it won’t get the latest MBUX infotainment until the next update.

All five sedans have Apple CarPlay and Android AutoHowever, BMW’s use of wireless connectivity for Android devices is limited to a few phones that support wireless connectivity.

All 2021 TLX models are equipped with the AcuraWatch suite of driver assistance and assistance systems from the car manufacturer as standard. This means that buyers will get adaptive cruise control with a new traffic jam assistant at low speed, lane keeping assistant, blind spot monitoring, automatic collision avoidance braking and driver awareness monitoring without ticking a single box. These functions are available for all competing models, but are often tied to option packages or limited to upper trim levels, which increases costs for buyers of Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Volvo.

Pricing

So early in the game, Acura didn’t say much about prices that go beyond the broad starting point of $ 30,000 to $ 30,000 when the TLX 2021 arrives at retailers this fall. We expect the new four-wheel drive model with turbocharger to land in the same $ 38,000 stadium as the current V6 SH-AWD.

If we’re right, the Acura will likely be the cheapest crown of this comparison, and for less than the S60 T6 AWD ($ 40,550), the A4 45 Quattro ($ 40,900), the C300 4Matic ($ 43,400), and the 330i xDrive (42,750 USD) come onto the market).

Pricing

Base price Target fee
Acura TLX SH-AWD

$ 38,200 (est.)

TBA

Audi A4 45 Quattro

$ 40,900

$ 995

BMW 330i xDrive

$ 42,750

$ 995

Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic

$ 43,400

$ 995

Volvo S60 T6 AWD

$ 40,550

$ 995


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