There’s something to be said about Acura being in its bag. It’s legendary in terms of sport performance, but it’s the longevity that amazes too. Even a decade-plus old Acura TLX can accumulate 250,000-plus miles and still sputter around Northern California. We know a radiologist who has one. Now, imagine what a 2021 Acura TLX Type S, which is making a grandiose return 12 years after stopping production, is about.
To reiterate, it was just at the nascency of President Obama’s first term in office when the TL went ‘poof.’ Now, the 2021 reincarnation is a jazzy vibe, with a spruced up face, design – and a legendary performance ahead. If not excited yet, just consider that the TLX Type S is powered by a newly built turbocharged V-6 that sits on an adaptive suspension and is accentuated with details that brilliantly blend its sportiness and everyday utility to the highest degree of longevity.
Let’s take a closer look at what makes us so geeked about sipping some coffee and taking it out for a spin.
The Tiger Eye Pearl paint (a $500 extra option) is no trivial matter, since it is among the coolest offerings from the Acura designers who concoct vibrant hues for the TLX Type S. The hues glisten from gold to yellow in the light, ideal for late-night rendezvous or sunsets in the San Francisco Bay area with your favorite Bay Area rapper – RIP Traxamillion the producer – blastin’ out of the Acura speakers.
The Type S is exquisitely sculpted up front with details of gloss black accents that match its sturdy 20-inch light weight alloy wheels that weigh just over 20 pounds but are wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero tires that aide handling to the fullest. And there’s substantially more, because the phrase “fully loaded” just doesn’t suffice.
The TLX is well-apportioned inside, but its wide center console doesn’t make it easy to move around the touchpad infotainment controller. Although practice makes perfect, the controller is flimsy, and doesn’t have stable response (it’s not your iPhone 13 screen, don’t even trip). The seats are super dooper, though. Comfort and customization are a feeling and Acura mastered it, as you sit comfortably and enjoy the ride or the sounds.
And speaking of sounds, let’s just say that the Panasonic ELS audio system essentially makes up for the uneven touchpad experience. See how that works? Elsewhere, the analog gauges are just something to appreciate in the most old school way possible. Acura channels tradition of its heyday, if such as thing was wrapped in leather with Ultrasuede seats, metal pedals and trim and a finely stitched instrument panel that would be the envy of rivals. In the backseat, the legroom is a bit tight, but that’s expected for a segment in this class even with the Type S’ 113-inch wheelbase.
Compared to the other trims of TLX, the Type S is bigger and its more robust engine is the innovation that’s driving the next generation of TLX. With 355 hp, the 3.0-liter turbo V-6 is ample with 354 pound-feet of torque to play with in metro and rural areas. Consider that this is an upgrade from 2.0T’s 272 hp and 280 pound-feet and you have a better idea of what a specimen this is; not to mention the TLX Advance, which features the Type S Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive technology. It’s a giant among AWD systems, just ask around.
What else does the Type S have to offer besides the V6? Well, the quad-pipe exhaust is a jazzy tune to hear, and although it wheezes and strains when pushed, especially when you try to smash the pedal 0-60 and get there in what Acura pegs at 5 seconds.
Fast get-up-and-go times aside, the SH-AWD tech manages the torque well between the front and rear axles, and side to side, as it pushes forward on well-gripped summer times. The Type S’ maneuverability is on point, and much more so than the standard TLX with all-season rubber tires.
The TLX neat features include adaptive dampers and the sedan’s Comfort mode underscores luxury with smooth ride across uneven highway surface that make it feel floaty or disconnected. The steering is super light in this chill Comfort setting, but has decent weight in Normal mode and really stiffens in the Sport mode. Dial in the Custom drive and you get it calibrated to what you really want to vibe with. Yes, it’s just as fun as it’s breezy to whip around San Francisco streets and alleys, or East Bay hills, or even downtown San Fran.
Powerful cars need fuel to keep going and the TLX is up there, pushing 19.9 mpg in our observed fuel efficiency. That’s right on par with the EPA estimate that set the summer tire option at 19 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 21 mpg average. Whether these figures go up remains to be seen, as we’re optimistic considering the joyful experience that the new TLX offers drivers.
The TLX is actually at a lower price point then the Mercedes-AMG C43 ($56,500 MSRP) or BMW M340i ($54,700), some of its fiercer and spec’d rivals. It comes in at a lower price point than the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport, at $55,850.
Surely, the 2021 Acura TLX Type S is an underdog among those segment hefties, so at an MSRP of $53,100, sans $1,025 destination fees, whether what it has to offer actually reaches discerning buyers at $54,625 is going to be interesting to see.
Edited by Slav Kandyba / Twitter / IG @moneymakinslav
Photo Credit: Copyright 2022 Angel Mosqueda / Car Fanatics Blog