The Acura Way 

Several carmakers have tried to crack the modern sports sedan as perfected by the likes of BMW and Audi, but Acura’s approach isn’t like most. Rather than slavishly copy the dominant Germans, Acura used its own technology and some smart design elements to create a truly competitive offering. That car is the 2016 Acura TLX, and it’s as sharp as it looks.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2016 Acura TLX uses the latest technology to provide a sporty driving experience, while still prioritizing efficiency. Between the two available engines, two transmissions, and Acura’s available “precision-handling technologies,” there are also plenty of choices to think about.

Base TLX models use a 2.4-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine with i-VTEC variable valve timing. It produces 206 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque, and drives the front wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. This model gets an EPA-rated 28 mpg combined (24 mpg city, 35 mpg highway).*

There’s also the option to upgrade to a 3.5-liter V6, with 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. Like the four-cylinder, the V6 also features direct injection and i-VTEC, but also has Variable Cylinder Management, which can deactivate up to three cylinders under light loads to save fuel. This engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission, with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive models are rated at 25 mpg combined (21 mpg city, 34 mpg highway),* while all-wheel drive models get 25 mpg combined (21 mpg city, 31 mpg highway).*

But there’s more to the TLX than just powertrains. Acura threw a lot of hardware at this sedan to make it worthy of its “Red Carpet Athlete” codename. Front-wheel drive models feature Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) four-wheel steering, and all-wheel drive models use the latest version of Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), which use torque vectoring to further increase the TLX’s nimbleness.

Models equipped with either P-AWS or SH-AWD also feature Acura’s Agile Handling Assist, which utilizes both the stability control and the brakes to stabilize the car going into the corner, and helps rotate the car to make cornering easier. The Integrated Dynamics System also has multiple driving modes, including Econ, Normal, Sport, and Sport+.

Features and Trims

The 2016 Acura TLX is offered only as a four-door, five-seat midsize luxury sedan. It’s available in three trim levels, with prices starting at $31,695.**

The base TLX comes with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive, plus an impressive array of standard features. Notable features include LED headlights, Bluetooth®, Siri Eyes Free for iPhone users, Aha and Pandora® capability, SiriusXM® satellite radio, a compass, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, ambient lighting, and a power moonroof.

The midlevel model adds the 3.5-liter V6 with front-wheel drive, while the top model adds SH-AWD and applicable features from the Technology and Advance packages of the two other models as standard equipment. Its standard features include navigation, AcuraLink® Real-Time Traffic, Traffic Rerouting, a color multi-information display, an ELS Studio premium 10-speaker audio system, HD Radio®, GPS-linked climate control, and perforated Milano premium leather trim. Optional features include LED fog lights, ventilated front seats, remote engine start, and auto-dimming side mirrors.

Design

The 2016 Acura TLX features a chiseled exterior that’s as modern and sophisticated as its mechanicals and onboard technology. The front fascia has Acura’s current family look, with “Jewel Eye” LED headlights and shield-shaped grille. The rest of the exterior is elegant and free of excessive detailing. The car is also covered in LED lighting, including side-mirror accenting, taillights, license-plate illumination, and (available) fog lights and puddle lights.

The interior combines luxury and technology, starting with use of high-end trim like a soft-touch, one-piece instrument panel upper cover, alloy and wood-grain accents, and available Milano leather trim. Technology features include Bluetooth®, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, Siri® Eyes Free, and the AcuraLink® cloud-based connectivity system. There’s also a 60/40 split-folding rear seatback, for added practicality.

Safety

Standard safety equipment on the 2016 Acura TLX includes anti-lock brakes, Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control and Motion Adaptive Steering, front, front-side, side-curtain, and driver’s knee airbags, and a rearview camera. Optional features include Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking System with Head-Up Warning, Road Departure Mitigation, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, blind-spot information, hill-start assist, adaptive cruise control, and parking sensors.

Bottom Line

The 2016 Acura TLX is a smart take on the modern sports sedan.

Be sure to contact us online or visit us at Bob Howard Acura to schedule a test drive.

*Based on 2016 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, battery pack age/condition (hybrid models only) and other factors.

**Prices shown are Acura suggested retail prices only and do not include taxes, license or a $920 destination and handling charge. Acura vehicle accessory costs, labor and installation vary. 

Image: Acura