The 2021 Acura TLX that made its debut Thursday, this time around as the 2021 TLX is all-new and features an Acura-specific platform. The model also has a sharp new design that could finally help the model stand out from the crowd.
The TLX has a bold diamond pentagon grille that is flanked by slender Jewel Eye LED headlights and muscular air intakes.
The sporty styling continues out back as designers gave the model a dual exhaust system and an integrated rear spoiler. There’s also a more distinctive bumper and slender taillights.
The TLX looks smaller than it actually is. Compared to its predecessor, the 2021 model is 2.9 inches (74 mm) longer, 2.2 inches (56 mm) wider and 0.6 inches (15 mm) lower with a wheelbase that spans an additional 3.7 inches (94 mm).
The fresh styling continues in the cabin as there’s a new leather-wrapped steering wheel and a minimalist instrument cluster with a 7-inch multi-information display. The car also ditches the dual screen setup for a single 10.2-inch infotainment system.
Below, there’s a new center stack loosely inspired by the one used in the NSX. It features a tiered design with new switchgear and gloss black accents.
The cabin is more luxurious than the outgoing model and buyers will find aluminum accents as well as open-pore wood trim. There’s also a new center console with a wireless smartphone charger and a touchpad for controlling the infotainment system.
An assortment of options will be available including Milano leather upholstery and 16-way power front seats. Customers can also order a 10.5-inch head-up display and an ambient lighting system with 24 different schemes. There will also be a premium audio system with a subwoofer and four ceiling-mounted speakers.
Under the hood, there’s a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that produces 272 hp (203 kW / 276 PS) and 280 lb-ft (379 Nm) of torque. That’s a sizable increase of 66 hp (49 kW / 67 PS) and 98 lb-ft (133 Nm) over the current four-cylinder. In fact, the new 2.0-liter engine is torquier and nearly as powerful as the optional 3.5-liter V6 found in the 2020 TLX. In fact, the new 2.0-liter engine is torquier and nearly as powerful as the optional 3.5-liter V6 found in the 2020 TLX.
TLX Type S gets its motive force from a brand new, Acura-specific twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. The company wouldn’t cop to power or torque ratings but claims the engine will produce 50 percent more low-end twist and “dramatic gains” in peak power and torque output over the current TLX’s 290-hp (216-kW), 267–lb-ft (362-Nm) V6. Don’t be surprised to see around 380 hp (283 kW) and 350 lb-ft (475 Nm) from the Type S.
Both engines come with Acura’s 10-speed automatic gearbox, although the Type S gets upgraded internal components to suit its more performance-oriented mission. The Type S also comes standard with the next generation of Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), which actively routes extra power to the outside rear wheels in corners to improve balance and reduce understeer. Front-wheel drive is standard on models powered by the 2.0, but SH-AWD will be available.
The 2021 TLX sits on a new platform that is stiffer than before — Acura says the only vehicle more rigid in its portfolio is the NSX — and features double-wishbone front suspension in place of the previous model’s struts. Cast aluminum front shock tower mounts, the location of the 12-volt battery to the trunk and an electric-servo brake system with bits borrowed from the aforementioned NSX point to the automaker’s desire to turn the TSX into a proper sport sedan.
The full suite of AcuraWatch safety and driver-assistive technologies come standard, all of which actively attempt to avoid accidents. The automaker’s new three-chamber front passenger airbag design is said to function like a baseball catcher’s mitt to cradle the occupant for enhanced protection in frontal collisions.
The TLX arrives later this year, followed in early 2021 by the Type S. Prices for the former should start around $35,000.