Just three years ago we brought you word of the all-new TLX midsize sport sedan from Acura, a car that would replace two models to secure its place as the middle child in the Acura showroom. For 2018, Acura has given TLX some very nice upgrades as well as a new A-Spec sport variant.
The TLX shows the brand finally saying goodbye to the much maligned beak look of the past decade in Acura passenger cars. This is the new look for Acura and it is going to be very well received. It is more aggressive, more sporty, and more alluring and features significant design changes from the A-pillar forward. There have also been significant improvements to noise, vibration, and harshness as well as new and upgraded technology, more power under the hood, and improved driving dynamics.
Our recent tester was the first in the class of 2018 for our test driveway and was the newest TLX A-Spec variant with the enhanced 3.5-liter V-6 engine with Super Handling All-Wheel Drive featuring dynamic torque vectoring capability. The 290hp engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters and sequential sport shift. All V-6 TLX models get new rear fascia with dual exhaust outlets and A-Spec enhancements include unique interior and exterior styling and trim accents as well as gloss black rear decklid spoiler and new 19-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels.
The A-Spec package seems to bring back the boy (and girl) racer attitude Acura was once known for and delivers a very attractive, aggressive package for everyday driving. While I am not a big fan of the new button shifter system, I do appreciate the dynamic driving modes offered in the TLX for even greater driving pleasure. When really pushed the new TLX responds to every challenge. It sticks in corners with little body roll and offers quick acceleration when back to the gas. This car is very fun to drive but exhibits excellent manners when sport modes are not called for.
Some of the other highlights for 2018 include AcuraWatch driving safety technology standard across all models and inside is a new dual-screen user interface dubbed ODMD 2.0. It features new intuitive menus and command structures for instrument and vehicle information displays. There is also full integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and a new wireless device charging pad in the center console.
The interior of the 2018 TLX demonstrates elegance and refinement while not forgetting this is a sport sedan. Seating is for up to five adults but you will most likely want to take the car out on your own or with a co-pilot who appreciates your driving style. The front bucket seats are comfortable and supportive and in the A-Spec model offer heat and ventilation. The Alcantara (faux suede) inserts in the seats are greatly appreciated especially on our Texas summer afternoons. A tech package brings Acura navigation and multi-view rear camera with dynamic guidance to the large color touchscreen display. When not listening to the engine sound enhancements while pushing the car in sports modes, the premium ELS Studio audio system blasts your favorite music from its 10 speakers in full surround harmony.
Pricing for the 2018 Acura TLX 3.5L SH-AWD A-Spec sport sedan is $44,800. Fuel economy from the 290hp/267 lb. ft. torque i-VTEC V-6 is 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway.
The 2018 TLX is, in my opinion, the best-looking sedan the automaker has brought to market in years. I have high hopes and expectations the design language will find its way into all Acura models very soon while also offering consumers more than just a mere facelift. The new A-Spec TLX is a blast to drive and once again proves Acura can compete in the segment of refined driving excitement.