Thoroughly refreshed 2018 TLX is now available
August 16 2019, North Shore Acura
Dramatic new "Diamond Pentagon Grille" is a standout design
The highly popular Acura TLX receives a dramatic mid-cycle redesign for 2018, giving the car a sharply chiseled, strongly assertive new look. Most noticeable is the Acura Precision Concept-inspired "diamond pentagon grille," first seen in production trim on the ultra-popular 2017 MDX crossover SUV.
The bold new grille is underscored by two new lower front fascia designs, either coming to a body-colour point at centre or filled with a wide engine vent featuring a sporty honeycomb mesh insert. The 2018 TLX' hood gets more sharply sculpted creases too, whereas the front fenders have been reshaped to meld cleanly into the new styling. Milder changes down each side and in the rear finish off the look, while all models now sport dual exhaust pipes.
Fabulous looking A-Spec package improves style and performance
The sportier lower fascia just mentioned is exclusive to the new A-Spec variant that adds yet more visual drama from a unique matte-black grille insert, a darkened Jewel Eye LED headlights, unique black honeycomb mesh bezels for the circular LED fog lamps, body-colour rocker extensions down each side, "smoked" LED taillights, and an aggressive black diffuser below the rear bumper, the latter housing larger four-inch circular dual exhaust finishers.
The A-Spec also replaces the regular model's chrome trim with matte black side window surrounds and dark chrome detailing around the front grille, making the latter look larger in the process, while bright chrome trim is deleted from the front fascia and the usual body-colour rear deck lid spoiler gets a glossy black treatment. Acura rounds out the A-Spec design with a set of menacing looking twinned five-spoke Shark Grey 19-inch alloy wheels on Michelin Primacy 245/40R19 tires, these in place of the more luxury-oriented model's bright machine-finished multi-spoke 17-, 18- and 19-inch rims mounted on more modest rubber. As a finishing touch, A-Spec badges are added to the front fenders and rear deck lid.
"We're enhancing the already outstanding dynamic performance of the Acura TLX by carrying our Precision Crafted Performance direction through to the exterior design," said Gary Gill, Senior Manager Acura Sales and Marketing. "The addition of the new A-Spec further advances the TLX to a more distinctive position in the segment and enhances its appeal to a more performance oriented buyer."
A-Spec package adds chassis tuning for better handling
Acura retuned the A-Spec chassis to match the uprated wheel and tire package too, with a focus on the electric power steering system and damper settings, whereas SH-AWD-equipped models also incorporate a quicker, more responsive steering ratio, stiffer spring rates, and a thicker rear stabilizer bar.
Additionally, the A-Spec model gets a sportier interior that includes an exclusive leather-wrapped steering wheel with a thicker rim and an A-Spec badge, plus bright red needles and indices for the primary gauge cluster, brushed aluminum-look trim for the instrument panel and lower console edges, red ambient LED light piping under the inlays, along the edges of the lower console, and within the cupholders, a black headliner and roof pillars, as well as heavily bolstered front seats featuring contrast stitching and piping.
New infotainment improves usability and responsiveness
All 2018 TLX models will benefit from Acura's completely redesigned ODMD 2.0 dual-screen infotainment interface, which is claimed to include "more intuitive menus and command structures," said Acura in a press release. The old resistive touchscreen has been replaced by a new 7.0-inch capacitive version, with 30-percent quicker response times plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
What's more, every new 2018 TLX receives a standard suite of AcuraWatch advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) including Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking, Lane Departure Warning with steering wheel haptic feedback, Lane Keeping Assist, and Road Departure Mitigation, while blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert is optional.
Two engines are available, including a base 16-valve, DOHC, direct-injection i-VTEC 2.4-litre four-cylinder that makes 206 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque and drives the front wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch automated transmission with Sequential SportShift manual mode and paddles on the steering wheel, the latter component benefiting from standard Precision All-Wheel Steering or P-AWS, while an optional 3.5-litre V6 puts 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque through all four wheels via a conventional nine-speed automatic with manual-mode and paddles.
Strong performance is backed up by great fuel economy
Both powertrains are quite efficient with Transport Canada five-cycle ratings ranging from 10.0 to 10.2 L/100km in the city, 7.1 to 7.4 on the highway, and 8.7 to 8.9 combined for the four-cylinder FWD model, or 11.4 to 12.0 L/100km city, 7.7 to 8.2 highway, and 9.8 to 10.3 combined for the V6-powered SH-AWD model.
The 2018 TLX undercuts most competitors with a starting price of $35,990 plus freight and fees, while SH-AWD models start at $40,990. The new A-Spec package can be had for just $42,190 when fitted to four-cylinder FWD trims, whereas the TLX A-Spec SH-AWD models start at $47,390.