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    2015 Acura TLX 3.5L: Straddling the line between sport and luxury

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    The all-new TLX that replaces Acura's outgoing TL slides into a slot between the compact ILX and luxury RLX in what the company calls a "re-envisioning of its performance-luxury sedan lineup."

    Acura says the TLX replaces both the TSX and the TL but its size is similar to the TL. The body and chassis are all new. The wheelbase is 109.3 inches like before but the new car is four inches shorter and one inch narrower. The track, or width of the wheels, is slightly wider. The body bears a familial resemblance to the ILX and it looks smaller and more athletic than the TL.

    A key ingredient of the TLX is its availability with a choice of two engines: a 2.4-liter, 206-horsepower four-cylinder with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission or a 3.5-liter, 290-horsepower V-6 with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Precision all-wheel steering is standard, and Acura's terrific Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD) is optional with the V-6. That is the model I drove from Acura's press fleet.

    The four-cylinder begins at $31,445 while the V-6 starts at $35,320. All-wheel drive starts at $41,575.

    It would seem that the four-cylinder model is aimed at buyers who might have considered the less-pricey TSX while the V-6 version feels more luxurious.

    The nine-speed automatic transmission is operated with console-mounted push buttons, a real surprise to those of us used to grabbing a lever to select a gear. The buttons feel familiar after a day or so, but the change was certainly notable. Steering-wheel paddles can be used to shift gears when the driver wants more control.

    The V-6 engine delivers strong torque from low speed, and the nine-speed transmission has wider gears that enhance both performance and efficiency. The all-wheel-drive V-6 is rated at 21 miles per gallon in the city and 31 on the highway. The four-cylinder has a 34 mpg highway rating. All models have Econ, Normal, Sport and Sport+ drive modes.

    Acura's all-wheel-drive system is excellent. It has been redesigned to be more compact. The beauty of SH-AWD is the way it splits torque, or drive, from side to side or front to rear as conditions merit. The system rotates the outside rear wheel faster to help the vehicle turn. The optional Agile Handling Assist applies the brakes in cornering to help the car turn.

    The test car's cabin was well appointed. Leather seats replace the standard leatherette when you select the Technology package. The seats provide excellent lateral and lumbar support and the center sections were perforated for breathability. There are two LCD screens in the center of the instrument panel. The 8-inch unit displays audio and navigation information while the smaller, 7-inch touchscreen takes the place of hard keys. The touchscreen menu system is not as easy to use as simple knobs and keys.

    Acura is making a big push into technology with the availability of numerous driver aids: forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, rearview camera with cross-traffic alert and navigation with 3D view. Using radar and a camera, lane keeping provides "corrective steering," according to Acura, to help the vehicle stay in its lane.

    Collision mitigation can tell the difference between a pedestrian and a vehicle, and it alerts the driver to a potential collision. If the driver does not react, the system will apply the brakes to help reduce the severity of a crash.

    The base price of the TLX 3.5L SH-AWD ADV is $44,700. The sticker price is $45,595.

    • Four years or 50,000 miles with a six-year, 70,000-mile powertrain warranty.
    • Engine: 3.5-liter, 290-horsepower V-6
    • Transmission: Nine-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
    • Wheelbase: 109.3 inches
    • Curb weight: 2,978 pounds
    • Base price: $44,700
    • As driven: $45,595
    • MPG rating: 21 in the city, 31 on the highway
    Acura TLX News & Information Source

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    I love my Acura TLX.




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