The midsize Acura TLX recently struck the age of three years old, setting it up perfectly for a midlife refresh. So, it was unsurprising to see a teaser of an updated model with a reveal date during the 2017 New York auto show. Now, Acura finally let the cat out of the bag on the updated 2018 TLX, which gets a new face and a whole smorgasbord of updates.
Starting with the obvious, the new Acura TLX incorporates the brand’s latest Precision Crafted Performance design language. That means a larger, but less controversial “diamond pentagon” grille style in place of the controversial and polarizing chrome beak — hooray! This was first seen on the updated 2017 Acura MDX. The front fascia also gets tweaked with new lower vents and fog lights, but the Jewel Eye LED headlights remain.
Furthermore, the TLX’s appearance continues varying depending on the engine choice and if the A-Spec package is selected. For instance, the base TLX with the four-cylinder gains all the updates but keeps it simple with a bespoke 17-inch wheel package. Opting for the V-6 adds a revised rear fascia with added flair featuring rectangular exhaust tips, an integrated diffuser and larger 19-inch kicks. Checking the box next to the TLX’s Advance (tech) Package adds trapezoidal LED fog lights to the front bumper.
The return of the A-Spec
Aside from the tweaked visuals, the biggest news in the aesthetic department is the revival of the A-Spec sport package, which builds on the V-6 Technology Package. It adds exclusive 19-inch dark-finish wheels, a performance body kit with sportier appearances, larger round dual-exhaust tips, and a gloss-black decklid trunk spoiler on the outside. Inside, the package adds red or black leather seats with Alcantara trimming throughout, standard options lifted from the Advance Package, and red LED ambient lighting. Despite the sportier exterior and interior bits, the new 2018 Acura TLX A-Spec is more than just an appearance package.
The last time the Acura’s middle offering featured the A-Spec package was on the third-generation TL from 2004. Like that previous model, the 2018 TLX A-Spec gains a sport-tuned suspension with stiffer dampers and spring rates, a thicker rear anti-roll bar, and a retuned and optimized electric power steering system. Those special 19-inch wheels are also wrapped in wide 245-series performance rubber.
Carryover power- and drivetrains
Speaking of which, does the A-Spec package include more power? Sadly, it does not, reflecting the fact that both engines and transmissions are carryover items for the entire TLX lineup. The standard choice is Honda’s venerable K24 2.4L i-VTEC naturally aspirated inline-four. The only other option is the larger and more powerful 3.5L i-VTEC V-6 with cylinder deactivation. Acura didn’t announce official figures for either engine, but there isn’t much expectation for deviation from the 2.4’s outgoing 206 hp or the 3.5’s 290 hp. The base four-cylinder TLX is likely to still get an eight-speed DCT dual-clutch automatic while the V-6 retains the nine-speed auto.
Still lots of tech to enjoy
Known for offering incredible value and lots of standard equipment, the 2018 Acura TLX keeps with tradition by offering lots of standard and optional kit.
For instance, the 2018 TLX is the first Acura to get the company’s latest dual-screen user interface, dubbed On Demand Multi-Use Display 2.0. Supporting the latest in Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Sirius XM 2.0, Acura also promises the updated system offers improved response and loading times. Other changes include revisions to the menus and command hierarchies to improve ergonomics and ease of use.
With that seeming like standard affair, other signature technology for the TLX is the inclusion of Acura’s newest AcuraWatch safety suite. This makes passive and active safety systems like active and automatic emergency braking, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, radar-guided Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, and Road Departure Mitigation, are standard on every model.
Pricing and sales launch details aren’t yet available. But Acura confirmed those details will surface in May.