By: Roger Rivero |
Acura is still looking for identity. Like the crisis of the 30s, when young people question the lack of success, the brand continues to change its appearance and alignment. It was time. There is not much incentive for a manufacturer, when they associate it only with luxury SUVs for wealthy people.
When Honda launched its luxury brand “Acura” in the mid-1980s, it came bragging with a pair of sports and luxury models, which relied on state-of-the-art engines. At age 11, Acura marked territory with the NSX, an imposing machine, created with a purpose: it would have to be as fast as any car that came from Italy or Germany.
In need of a resurgence, last year revived the NSX, after more than a decade of forgetting, and attack for 2018 with the TLX A-Spec, a sports sedan that deserves a look. This car is a medium-sized sports car with ample interior space and enough luxury to keep the majority happy. Although in this item -lujo- is somewhat below the Germans, it outnumbers many of them in price.
The TLX A-Spec adds a bit more attitude and puts a name behind what previously could only be achieved by adding additional packages. While the regular TLX comes with a choice between a 206-horsepower 4-cylinder engine or 290 in a 3.5-liter V6, the TLX A-Spec is only available with the second option.
Both engines were already used last year, and share many components with those in charge of fueling the Honda Accord. The car is agile, and thoroughly treaded, it reaches 60 miles in less than 6 seconds.
The new TLX A-Spec, comes with front-wheel drive and all or optional AWD. The front wheel drive has steering on all wheels, which allows steering changes with excellent response.
Our test car was equipped with the SH-AWD, the proprietary Honda system that optimally distributes torque to all wheels, using this force that normally drives the vehicle forward, to use it at the moment of entering the curves.
When entering a curve, the SH-AWD is in charge of overdrive or put on the outer rear wheel more, reducing the understeer. The system can also help stability on the road with small adjustments when changing lanes.
In our test for some crooked roads, it was almost impossible to hear the rubber of this car howling under protest. The TLX A-Spec brings selector of modes of handling with options of Eco, Normal, Sport and my preferred, Sport +.
In this last mode of operation, my only complaint is related to the automatic transmission of 8 speeds and double clutch, which, although it does a notorious work, when applying the brakes reduces the speeds with some anxiety, like trying to decide exasperadamente where to place .
In the interior the changes are measured. The TLX-A-Spec is offered with two exclusive interiors, black with Alcantara and red leather. Unfortunately none of the athleticism achieved in this version of the TLX goes to the design of the cabin.
Only notable are the inscriptions on the carpet and the metallic plating of the foot rest.
The dual screen system is maintained. It would be unfair not to recognize that some changes in design and functionality make it more attractive.
This historically confused and vilified double screen system has been the target of much criticism, but it is time to give it some credit. Now it seems more organized, with better menus and faster response.
According to Acura, it is 30% faster than the last version, which is fairly appreciated. Apple CarPlay and Android as well as smartphone projection technology, Digital Radio and charging for wirelessly come as standard equipment.
Also on a standard basis is AcuraWatch, the safety suite with warning and remission for possible lane departure and collision warning with emergency braking. With all these benefits we can consider this new member of the TLX family as well equipped.
However, with a price tag of $ 42,800 for the entry model, this A-Spec can enter price matters in turbulent waters when we add options.
Our test vehicle with AWD was close to $ 46,000, a condition that enters the territory of the German entry models to which, in honor of the truth, adding some benefits would cost much more than the Acura.
With the A-Spec of the TLX family, the manufacturer seems to send a message that pleases many; Acura is moving in the direction of offering performance-oriented vehicles. If so, we eagerly await new deliveries from your production line.