Driven: 2010 Acura TL SH-AWD 6MT

#Acura, #TL

What is it with Acura giving up on great names? This car should, by all rights, be called the Legend Type-S. Except that Acura has abandoned both of those monikers. Acura TL SH-AWD 6MT? That sounds like something an inebriated math teacher would mutter before drifting into unconsciousness.

Luckily, this Type-S replacement has the goods to make up for its name, and with no price premium over a comparably equipped automatic TL, it's a good deal, too. The 305-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 carries over, but in place of the antiquated five-speed slushbox, Acura has installed a six-speed manual and also added a host of driveline reinforcements.

Significant revisions to spring and damper rates help turn the 6MT into a veritable master of back roads. The ride is on the busy side, but that's a small price to pay for phenomenal body control and composure. Michelin tires generate ludicrous levels of grip, and Acura's torque-vectoring SH-AWD system can send up to 70 percent of the engine's power to a single rear wheel. The top TL explodes out of corners without a trace of understeer or the old Type-S's torque steer and wheel spin. The TL is smoking fast over curvy, broken pavement - literally, as the brakes quickly reach their heat capacity.

The perfectly weighted, short-throw shifter is pure Honda heaven - no other car company does shift feel this well. The 6MT's clutch, though, is another story. The soupy clutch pedal engages gradually, but inconsistently, throughout most of its travel - and, worse, the gas pedal is a hypersensitive all-or-nothing affair. That's exactly the reverse of how it should be, making smooth shifts all but impossible at around-town speeds.

It's much easier to be smooth when you're railing on this Acura. And that's exactly the reason that the TL SH-AWD 6MT exists. It may not have a catchy name, but it has the best chassis tuning of any Acura since the Integra Type-R (two more discontinued labels), and that's what matters.

The Specs
Price: $43,195
Engine: 3.7L V-6, 305 hp, 273 lb-ft
Drive: 4-wheel

Yikes... I think Cammisa means that Acura's 5 speed gearbox is an antique, compared to the 6 speed autos available on so many other (and much less pricey) vehicles. And yeah, the DSG is great stuff (and delivers better performance), but still too expensive for popular cars. Manuals these days are just a preference, even if there's now a slight fuel economy disadvantage when compared to better traditional automatics. (Traditional slushboxes still deliver inferior performance when compared to manuals, though. Would have been nice to compare 0-60 for auto vs manual for the TL here...)
This isn't a Porsche. Its an Acura sedan. I will guarantee you that the take rate will not be higher then 5%. I'm also seriously doubting that Porsche take rate is 65%. Why do you think they started offering the 996 Turbos with a Tiptronic? Because their buyers demanded it. Oh, and theres no reason to talk shit about fast Jeeps just because they're quicker then whatever you're driving. Don't be jealous, just get used to looking at Grand Cherokee taillights.
11secJeepSRT8's comment is pretty retarded. Single-digit take rate for manuals? Maybe for Jeeps, but not for Porsches. For Porsche, 65% of the new cars still sell with manuals. You see, manuals are for people who have a passion for driving. Shifting is fun. Fast Jeeps are dumb.
"Antiquated five-speed slushbox"? Your bias is showing. The manual transmission is the antique, and it belongs in the annuls of history along with drum brakes and wind down windows. Nobody wants stickshifts, they're garbage and theres no advantage to them. Why do you think they have a low single digit take rate? Why do you think Ferrari doesn't even offer one on the 458? Why do you think that Team Viper, that prides itself in yestertech, is replacing it with a DSG? Because a convential manual transmission is old and useless. When you get your head out of your ass and realize that, maybe we'll take your writing seriously. Until then, you're a joke Cammisa.

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