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Eric's Autos: 2021 Acura TLX

Eric Peters on

Like all the cars in this class, the TLX has some needlessly overcomplex controls -- such as the smartphone-emulating touchpad on the console.

Under the Hood

Acura has upped the TLX's game considerably for 2021.

The car now comes standard with a 272-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that is nearly as strong as the previously optional 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 and which produces more torque (280 foot-pounds at just 1,600 rpm versus 267 foot-pounds at 4,500 rpm).

It's paired with a new 10-speed automatic transmission, and you can choose either front-wheel drive or the optional Super Handling all-wheel drive system, which was not available with the 2.4-liter, 206-horsepower engine that was standard in the 2020 TLX.

The new Type S variant comes with the most powerful V-6 Acura has ever put into anything with four doors. It is also an all-new V-6, turbocharged and displacing 3.0 liters. It makes 355 horsepower and is also paired with the 10-speed automatic. The SH-AWD system is mandatory. Equipped with this engine, the TLX lives up to its looks, getting to 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds.

 

On the Road

The TLX's charm isn't speed; it is tenacity.

Acura's Super Handling all-wheel drive system is about grip, particularly in the curves -- which it enhances by applying power side to side as well as the usual front to rear. This torque vectoring adjusts for both understeer (the tendency, especially of front-wheel drive cars, to track too deep into the curve during high-speed cornering) and oversteer (the tendency, especially of rear-wheel drive cars, to swing wide, tail out, as they approach the limit of grip in a curve taken at high speed).

At the Curb

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