Acura is bringing back its Type S high-performance variant after a decade-long hiatus. The model will be part of the TLX sport sedan lineup for 2021 and will debut the brand's new 3.0-liter V6 Turbo engine. It will also include Super Handling All-Wheel Drive.
The 2021 TLX line -- the fastest, best-handling, and most well-appointed sedan in the brand's 35-year history -- features model-exclusive body structure and chassis architecture, an all-turbo engine lineup, and an athletic stance with bold proportions. It is available in two main flavors: standard (2.0-L 4-cylinder direct-injected and turbocharged 272-hp engine with VTEC and 280 lb-ft of torque) and Type S (3.0-liter, 24-valve, transverse-mounted V6 direct-injected and turbocharged engine). Both use Acura's super-responsive 10-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift. Horsepower for the Type S has not been released, but it should be a sizable jump up from the base model.
The new 4-door TLX features a low and wide stance, long dash-to-axle ratio, expansive hood, tapered greenhouse, and pronounced rear haunches. Relative to the previous model, it sports a 3.7-in.- longer wheelbase, 2.2-in.-wider body with wider front and rear tracks, lower roof, and an extended dash-to-axle dimension.
At the front, a bolder and more upright diamond pentagon grille is flanked by signature, next-gen Acura lighting cues previewed in the Type S Concept. These include new Jewel Eye LED headlights with four LED elements and bright-white "Chicane" LED daytime running lights inspired by the championship-winning Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype race car.
The neatly tailored cabin section is set farther back on the body and features more steeply inward-sloping roof pillars. The roof has been sculpted with a lower-set center section, defined by two inward curving grooves, for a more distinctive look that conveys a sense of movement and lower appearance.
Acura's popular A-Spec package is available, adding extra sporty appearance upgrades inside and out, including Shark Grey 19-in. wheels, gloss black accents front to rear, darkened headlight and taillight treatment, and a pronounced rear decklid spoiler.
The TLX Type S builds on the A-Spec styling elements, elevating TLX's sporty appearance even further. At the front, a unique open-surface Diamond Pentagon grille and larger side air intakes feed the all-new powerful V6 turbo engine. Aerodynamic elements include a rear decklid spoiler, aggressive front splitter and rear diffuser, and large quad exhaust outlets that harken back to the 2007-2008 TL Type S. Two exclusive 20-in. wheel designs will be offered, a split-10 spoke design from the Type S Concept and an NSX-inspired lightweight "Y-Spoke" wheel, both wrapped in 255-series performance rubber.
The new chassis sees the return of double-wishbone front suspension to Acura's top-selling sedan, offering more precise handling and cornering grip, as well as greater mechanical compliance for improved ride quality. In addition, the TLX chassis incorporates multiple new performance-focused engineering upgrades, including a variable-ratio steering system, electro-servo brake-by-wire technology applied from the NSX, and an available driver-selectable Adaptive Damper System.
The TLX's all-new chassis is anchored to an advanced new body structure delivering a 50 percent increase in global torsional stiffness and up to a 100 percent improvement in localized rigidity where the suspension is mounted to the body. The new structure uses 56 percent (by weight) advanced, lightweight materials, including aluminum and press-hardened steel -- more than any previous Acura sedan.
Acura's 4th-generation Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system has 40 percent more rear torque capacity and 30 percent quicker front-to-rear torque transfer than the 3rd-generation system in the outgoing TLX. The Acura SH-AWD system in the new TLX transfers up to 70 percent of engine torque to the rear axle during normal driving conditions, while continuously apportioning up to 100 percent of that rear-axle torque between either the left and right rear wheels. Additionally, the rear axle is continuously overdriven by 2.9 percent, which amplifies the yaw moment effect of left-to-right torque transfer, elevating performance through sharper and more accurate turn-in, and providing improved traceability when cornering.
Comfort, Normal, and Sport modes (and Sport+ on TLX Type S) incrementally dial up the sporting reflexes of the TLX using pre-set programs for the Drive-By-Wire throttle, transmission, SH-AWD, electric power steering, available Adaptive Dampers, and more.
The 2021 TLX's premium and tech-focused cabin takes inspiration from the Acura Precision Cockpit's intuitive functionality and flowing lines. High-grade materials include real aluminum, open-pore wood, and full-grain Milano leather.
The TLX's high and wide center tunnel and wrap-around instrument panel create a more personal and strongly delineated space for both front-seat occupants. Both the driver and front passenger also benefit from the tailored design of Acura's advanced front sport seats, highly customizable with up to 16-way power adjustability.
A-Spec and Type S models feature unique details throughout the cabin, including a thick-rimmed, flat-bottom steering wheel wrapped in perforated leather with contrast stitching and larger metal-plated paddle shifters. In addition to unique materials and colors, the TLX Type S interior is distinguished by Type S badging on the door sills, steering wheel, and embossed headrests.
Controls include Acura's innovative and driver-oriented True Touchpad Interface in a high-mounted 10.2-in. HD display, a standard 7-in. full-color Multi-Information Display (MID) in the center gauge cluster, and an available 10.5-in. full-color Head-Up Display (HUD).
TLX A-Spec sport package.
TLX A-Spec sport package.
All 2021 TLX models will come equipped with the AcuraWatch suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies standard. This includes several new features, such as Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR), Driver Awareness Monitor, and Traffic Jam Assist (TJA). Working in conjunction with Adaptive Cruise Control with Low Speed Follow, Traffic Jam Assist helps reduce driver stress in highly congested traffic situations by helping keep the vehicle in its lane and at a set interval behind a car detected ahead.
Additionally, the 2021 TLX features the first-ever application of the company's new front passenger airbag technology. This new, proprietary airbag uses a three-chamber design that functions much like a baseball catcher's mitt to protect the front seat occupant's head and to help mitigate potential injury in more steeply angled frontal collisions.
The new TLX also delivers advanced levels of passive safety (collision protection) performance through the use of Acura's proprietary Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, which has been further refined to provide additional occupant protection in a wider range of collision scenarios.
The new TLX will feature an expanded color palette with nine exterior finishes, including five premium colors. A total of seven interior color options will be offered.
Design, engineering, and development of the 2021 Acura TLX was conducted primarily in America. The new TLX will be manufactured exclusively at the company's Marysville, OH, plant.
Exact pricing was not released, but should start in the mid-$30,000 range.
More details on the TLX Type S will be released closer to its on-sale date in Spring 2021.