The hero of our Acura ILX 2.4’s yearlong story is its powertrain. Its punchy inline-four engine and its six-speed manual gearbox with the best shift linkage this side of the Audi R8’s metal-gated six-speed manual deserve all of the credit for making our ILX as fun as it is.
Just about every comment in the ILX’s logbook starts off with someone trying out a creative way to describe the car’s powertrain. Web editor Jake Holmes, for one, recently called the six-speed manual “supple,” and the 2.4-liter engine “responsive and throaty.”
“I really appreciate the way they work in harmony,” continued Holmes. “I always want to wind out the engine and hear it snarl all the way to redline, and I love the snick-snick closeness of the six-speed manual.” Another commenter agreed that the engine is “a hoot to rev” and the shifter is a “joy to row.” One staffer went so far as to say that if the Subaru BRZ or Scion FR-S had an engine and gearbox this enjoyable, they’d be near-perfect cars.
Copy editor Rusty Blackwell put it best when he said that he “wouldn’t like driving an ILX if it didn't have this absolutely wonderful engine and gearbox.” And he’s right. If we’d opted for a base model, with its 150-hp, 2.0-liter four, or hybrid version, we probably wouldn’t. The 2.4-liter engine and its six-speed manual transmission make this the best ILX you can buy.
That’s not to say, though, that this powertain makes the ILX the best luxury compact car you can buy. Remember that a Honda Civic Si sedan, a far less expensive car with the same engine and transmission, trounced our ILX in a head-to-head comparison we conducted this past May. A powertrain, however nice it is, is only one part of a car. So, after one year, what’s the sum of our 2.4-liter Acura ILX’s parts, of which the powertrain is only one (or two)?