Acura improves its compact TLX sedan for 2018 and offers the A-Spec for enthusiasts

When a carmaker names its performance version the "A-Spec," automotive writers are naturally going to say it has a "type A personality."

But that's the truth with the 2018 TLX A Type, a performance version of Acura's compact sedan that comes with a 3.5-liter V6, a quick-shifting 9-speed automatic transmission with both a Sport and Sport+ modes, Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), a firmer suspension, a thick leather wrapped steering wheel, supportive front sport bucket seats, and distinctive exterior and interior chrome trim.

On the road, the TLX A-Spec is a gas to drive, not least of all because of its 290 horsepower V6. This is a surprising choice by Acura, since so many performance cars of all sizes are going with small displacement turbocharged four cylinder engines. But using the V6 is a good decision - it delivers its power smoother than smaller turbos, which can sometimes feel a bit high strung.

Although not all-new, the TLX has been completely remodeled for 2018. The exterior lines have been beefed up and it features the new mesh grill with a large center emblem instead of the much-scorned chrome beak. The A Spec version also includes dual chrome-tipped exhausts and a sporty-yet-tasteful chrome-trimmed rear spoiler.

2018 Acura TLX A-Spec
  • Base price: $33,950
  • Price as tested: $45,750
  • Style: Midsize sport sedan
  • Engine: 3.5-liter V6 (290 hp, 267 lbs-ft)
  • Transmission: 9-speed automatic with multiple modes and paddle shifters
  • EPA fuel economy: 20/29
  • Length: 191.7 inches
  • Weight: 3,850 pounds
  • Final assembly: Marysville, Ohio

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