Detroit 2014: Acura TLX Spearheads New Three-Sedan Lineup

In typical Honda/Acura fashion, Acura showed off a so-called “prototype” at the 2014 Detroit auto show that closely previews its next sedan, the Acura TLX. The 2015 Acura TLX combines the previous TL and TSX sedans into one model, giving Acura a more streamlined, three-sedan lineup going forward. Though Acura still has a ways to go before challenging true luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz or Audi, the 2015 TLX at least moves the brand forward with two advanced transmissions.

When it goes into production at the end of the first quarter of 2014, the 2015 Acura TLX will come standard with a 2.4-liter, direct-injection four-cylinder which is paired with an in-house developed eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Interestingly, Acura says that this new DCT has a torque converter as well, meaning that it is meant to develop the quick shifts of a dual-clutch while eliminating much of the low-speed jerkiness. The optional engine on the TLX will be a direct-injection 3.5-liter V-6 similar to the Earth Dreams powerplant in the Accord, but this engine will be paired with an all-new nine-speed automatic transmission. Although Acura is tight-lipped about further specifications at this point, our bet is that this nine-speed is the ZF unit found in many Chrysler products. If so, this would confirm exactly what we predicted two years ago when we heard that future Honda and Acura could make use of this transaxle at some point in the future.

Acura says that both new transmissions will make for class-leading fuel economy, and we’re hopeful that Honda’s focus on engineering excellence can pull off the dual-clutch with few of the hiccups that have plagued brands like Chrysler and Ford with the same type of transmission. Clearly, Honda and Acura are using this new TLX as a showcase for new transmission technology that Honda senior vice president of automobile operations Mike Accavitti says should to see trickle down to the rest of the company’s lineup within the next few years.

Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive system remains optional on the TLX, and will be paired exclusively with the V-6 and nine-speed transmission. Front-wheel-drive models will also have an available version of the Precision All-Wheel-Steer (P-AWS) found on the larger RLX, which is said to improve high-speed stability and cornering performance. We were reasonably impressed with this system in our drive of the Acura RLX, and it’s possible that this system could have a greater effect in a smaller, lighter car like the TLX.

The Acura TLX may be smaller than the RLX, but it’s definitely not small. It rides on the same wheelbase as the previous TL, which was always slightly larger than entry-level luxury competitors like the Lexus IS and BMW 3 Series. In fact, the TLX is eight inches longer than a 3 Series but rides on a slightly shorter wheelbase.

Acura referred to the 2015 TLX as a “red carpet athlete” at its reveal, but we don’t see much athleticism in the looks of this sedan. It looks much like the slightly boring, larger RLX with its jewel LED headlight array, Acura shield grille, and slab-sided profile with a slight upward kink just before the C-pillar. Expect the production Acura TLX to do away with the prototype’s huge wheels and bodykit treatment, but otherwise look much like this concept. The Acura TLX GT race car that Acura also premiered in Detroit is at least more exciting and will begin competing this year in the Pirelli World Challenge race series.

Accavitti said he has high hopes for this TLX, saying that it will be a “shot of adrenaline” for the Acura sedan lineup. The Acura crossovers, MDX and RDX, have been selling well lately, but the brand’s sedans are not as lucky. This TLX should be the top seller among Acura sedans, and Accavitti says this clear hierarchy between ILX, TLX, and RLX will help eliminate the brand’s “crowded showroom” with overlapping models that are more likely to confuse customers.

Look for the production 2015 Acura TLX to debut within the next few months before it goes on sale in mid-2014.

Rohit Nagar
Dev Raj
t want this car
Daddys Back
looks like the same car....
Woodrow Hoover
Darren Songfreid
The IS, RC and Q will easily trounce this.
Jake Chapman
Looks similar to the current model but that certainly isn't a bad thing. Hope they keep the manual trans.
Robert May
Once again Acura stumbling on its own feet trying to figure out what they want. Their lineup is a joke. Acura used to be relevant 10-15 years ago, but the models they have now...I don't think so. Where's the Integra? Bring the Legend name back. And for gods sake, get rid of that ugly beak grille.
Erick Ople
Robert Lopez- I have 2.0T audi A3 with DSG. No issues and its a daily driver (100miles a day with infamous pasadena traffic)
Dammy Onafowokan
Hey remember the 2008 TL Type S? That was a good looking car
Vishal Barde
wooow lov itt.....
Digital Dealer Conference and Exposition
Love the headlights!
Robert Lopez
What model do you own, Erick?
John Paul Hussein
And it still looks the same after 10 years...
Hector Cerra
Looks alot like my 14 accord sport...
It's good to see that Honda has finally decided it's time for new transmissions and an overall upgrade to its drivetrains. It's just late to the party. With all of Honda/Acura's tech packed into the less expensive TLX, it will be just another reason why the RLX will languish on dealer lots. The TLX is better looking than the RLX too. With little difference in actual, usable space, there is almost no reason to buy the RLX. 
The styling is familiar because so many other cars have the same look. From the side, you could almost mistake it for the latest Malibu. The rear just looks Asian. Could be an Infiniti, Hyundai or a Lexus. The Acura beak has been toned down and looks like it finally fits its face - sort of what any good plastic surgeon could do for something that has been out of proportion. 
Aditya Deshmukh 7356885
Stephen Abbott
The huge gaping ducts on the front help balance the hideous buck tooth grille. A bit.
Chris Prather
No type sh? Less the 300 hp? Not enough to compete then.
Erick Ople
I'll keep my original smooth as silk Dual clutch developed by Audi/vw
Soklin Bosknor
Loy nas super car
Guna Seelan
Wow super car love that
Santhosh Kumar Darling
This is a much better looking car than the RLX, at a much lower price.  The RLX is a little ugly - this is elegant if derivative, a little like a pre-spindle Lexus.  An Acura has always been slightly more luxurious, slightly more sporty Honda, and in the 90s that was an empty niche that fit below Lexus and Infiniti.  But now Kia and Hyundai have developed cars that crowd that niche, look better and provide the option of a V-8.  The reason for buying an Acura instead of a Hyundai is the name and the resale. For now.
Finally has a sinister look again like the 3rd gen TL, and this time with a much tidier nose than the 4th gen.  May I put in a vote now for their ever-praised 6-speed manual to get attached to that 4-cylinder with AWD?  That might be all the "adrenaline" it needs.
Zack Kibler
I feel like Acura's only competitive edge these days is its Honda reliability. The styling (they still look like snapping turtles), luxury, performance, and handling just aren't on par with the Germans. Or Lexus. Or even Cadillac. And they are no longer the bargain they used to be to make up for the other discrepancies.
Kenneth Herbert
"Accavitti said he has high hopes for this TLX, saying that it will be a 'short of adrenaline'..."

I sure hope he meant a "SHOT of adrenaline," 'cuz if it's short of adrenaline, well, it's DOA. Also, no mention of a wagon. Anybody? The TSX wagon is a great wagon -- why not continue it as/merge it into this new, better Acura?
Alex Shapiro
Acura TSX is Honda Accord in Europe

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