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Acura Reveals Striking New Design for 2018 Acura RLX; Debut Set for Monterey Automotive Week
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Page 2 - Impressions

Styling
You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and the styling of the TLX Concept made a very good first impression upon us. We certainly like the styling of the production TLX as well, but we can't help but feel like something was lost in the translation from concept to production form, and it seems like most of that comes down to the TLX's exterior finishing details. The concept's fundamental styling and pleasing proportions remain intact, but somehow the finished retail product has a bit of an "under-premium" look to it. It's not just one thing that spoils it - it's an accumulation of small things (such as not quite hidden exhausts, strange looking wheel/tire pairings, and just maybe, a bit too much Accord-ness). Again, we're not saying we don't like the styling, we're just saying it doesn't quite live up to what we had hoped for. And that gorgeous red color that was featured on the TLX Concept is nowhere to be found in the production color palette. Overall, the TLX is handsome and understated, but there is certainly some untapped potential.

Driving
The TLX shed some serious weight when compared to the comparable TL models (in fact, the SH-AWD TLX Advance only weighs 4 lb. more than last year's FWD TL Advance), so you can imagine that the dynamic performance has improved. That's not the only thing that improved. The TLX has made spectacular strides in terms of refinement. The body structure has made dramatic improvements in both torsional and bending rigidity, and Acura engineers have beefed up the suspension mounting points considerably. Add that to some serious upgrades in the soundproofing department (including Acura's first ever application of acoustic foam to 10 locations of the vehicle), and you have what may be the quietest, most refined Honda or Acura that has ever been offered to date. In the TLX, there is a fluidity of movement, a sense of zero friction, a level of near silence and cabin calm that simply hasn't existed in any previous Acura models.

Last week, we spent over 300 miles driving and riding in all 3 trim levels of the TLX and came up with a preliminary order of preference. Below we list our experiences in order, starting with our favorite, the 2.4L model.

TLX 2.4L
Ever since the TSX debuted in 2003, we've always preferred it (if only slightly) to the TL. That's not to say that we thought the TSX was perfect - it has always felt underpowered to us, except in V6 form of course, but then that heavy V6 powertrain came at an untenable price as it pretty much spoiled the TSX's wonderful chassis feel.

Now we have a 4-cylinder engine that on paper is only slightly more powerful than the 2014 TSX's K24, but the latest iteration of the K24 is by far the most enthusiastic and energetic 2.4L 4-cylinder we've ever experienced in a Honda or Acura to date. This engine is paired with an absolutely superb 8-speed Dual-Clutch Transmission. We're not kidding when we say it is probably the best automatic transmission we have ever experienced. We have driven many cars with Dual-Clutch Transmissions (DCT) over the years, and the key drawback has always been their low-speed lurchiness. The torque converter that Honda added onto their 8-speed DCT was a stroke of genius. It's one of those things that makes you scratch your head and wonder why not a single one of the numerous automakers and OEM suppliers that trod down this path over the previous 10 years ever considered this solution. Bottom line, it works fantastically.

The car launches like a bat out of hell when you boot it, it upshifts and downshifts seamlessly and damned near instantly. The gear ratios are designed to get this car moving to freeway speeds with minimal effort and maximum expedience. The engine sounds great zinging through the gears, and during our limited time driving the TLX 2.4, we don't remember a single instance of hearing it strain. It's simply that good. During sporty driving, shifts are very quick and very crisp, with a small amount of shift feel intentionally engineered into the equation. At part throttle, in day-to-day cruising mode, the shifts are absolutely imperceptible, both in sound and in feel. The only indication is that you will see the tachometer make a nearly instantaneous step in rev count, plus or minus 500 rpms depending upon which way the shift went. Even though the car rides remarkably quietly, you probably won't be able to hear any of these variances in engine speed until you're up in the higher rpm ranges.

The 8-speed DCT operates as a fully automatic transmission in all 4 of the available IDS modes (Econ, Normal, Sport, and Sport+). You can manually command shifts via the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. After some period of inactivity from the paddle shifters, the system will revert back to fully automatic mode, unless you're in Sport+. Sport+ operates in fully automatic mode until the first time you use the paddle shifters, and then it will remain in full manual mode until you actively defeat the manual mode, either by switching IDS modes, or by clicking the right (upshift) paddle and holding it for a second.

This sublime powertrain plugs into a chassis which carries just the right amount of weight on each axle - the car turns in intuitively and effortlessly traces the intended arcs through every manner of road. In this sense it feels a lot like a first generation TSX, except it's MUCH quicker. For something that rides as quietly and comfortably as the 2.4L TLX does, it certainly transitions better than seems reasonable. Ultimate grip is pretty good, but of course limited by the all-season tires and a mild degree of understeer.

That's all the good stuff. Could it be better? The answer to that depends upon what your needs and desires are. If you're looking for a super comfy commuter that gets great fuel economy, handles really well, and still has a high fun quotient when you want to open it up, this car might be perfect. If you're looking for something that's a little more serious in terms of "driving machine", then we can't help but think that Acura left quite a bit of room for a "Type-S" model to step in down the road. For example, even in the sportiest of IDS settings (Sport+) the steering still feels overboosted, a little slow in terms of ratio, and somewhat detached. The TLX's suspension strikes a good balance between ride comfort and handling, though it's clear that ride comfort takes priority. This bias towards ride comfort obviously takes some of the edge off of the feeling of responsiveness, though this suppleness doesn't seem to negatively impact forward progress by any tremendous degree. In this sense, the 2.4 TLX reminds us fondly of the original TSX - a machine which makes its maximum performance very accessible and effortless to the driver.

One other thing we should mention is that the P-AWS system was essentially imperceptible, which is likely a good thing. It just works, and seemingly goes about its business without forcing its presence upon the driver. Side Note: the toe-control actuators used on the TLX utilize a completely new design that is 100% unique from the P-AWS system found on the Acura RLX, though they offer roughly the same degree of toe control (1.8 degrees, to be precise).



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Date Thread Starter Thread
08-20-2014 08:10 BMW VS Acura   (Score: 1, Normal) Mpeoplefan
08-20-2014 08:44 HondaForever
08-20-2014 10:44 shingles
08-20-2014 13:01 spagolli94
08-20-2014 21:15 shingles
08-21-2014 11:17 Osaka2002
11-08-2014 04:13 saitamahonda
10-29-2014 13:18 Apple CarPlay   (Score: 1, Normal) dampfnudel
10-29-2014 14:28 A77X
10-31-2014 02:01 dampfnudel
08-06-2014 22:09 Sad to hear about the brakes.   (Score: 1, Normal) batman25
08-07-2014 00:43 JeffX
08-09-2014 16:42 Popeyes2k
08-11-2014 11:31 Cfox84
10-26-2014 09:27 Popeyes2k
08-07-2014 18:52 Honda-D
08-07-2014 22:22 JeffX
08-08-2014 12:13 ipribadi
08-08-2014 15:39 gofast182
08-12-2014 18:01 ducmnguyen
08-08-2014 11:03 Leatherette Interior?   (Score: 1, Normal) spyder5786
08-13-2014 20:07 spyder5786
08-13-2014 23:22 JeffX
08-14-2014 17:49 spyder5786
08-14-2014 23:38 Adam
08-15-2014 09:43 shingles
08-15-2014 18:36 iutodd
08-15-2014 22:11 Adam
08-18-2014 11:59 NSXman
08-15-2014 16:05 Colin
08-21-2014 13:49 rocky
09-02-2014 21:47 kjhgr01
09-03-2014 13:36 Hondarulez
09-11-2014 17:32 A77X
09-12-2014 10:05 Brutus
10-26-2014 09:20 Popeyes2k
09-12-2014 14:11 TLX 0-60 clips   (Score: 1, Normal) The Legend
09-15-2014 08:21 Pseudomaniac
09-16-2014 23:03 JeffX
09-19-2014 16:20 TL_06
09-20-2014 08:49 Pseudomaniac
09-22-2014 12:50 Hondarulez
09-24-2014 12:49 ipribadi
09-24-2014 13:14 ipribadi
09-24-2014 22:09 dutchboy
09-25-2014 14:30 Pseudomaniac
09-25-2014 17:24 Hondarulez
09-26-2014 07:17 Pseudomaniac
09-26-2014 14:07 Hondarulez
09-26-2014 15:07 Pseudomaniac
09-26-2014 18:37 Hondarulez
10-08-2014 09:03 TL_06
08-06-2014 08:28 TLX formaldehyde free?   (Score: 1, Normal) Mpeoplefan
08-06-2014 09:58 DCR
08-07-2014 10:19 nightflow
08-07-2014 11:07 Mpeoplefan
08-11-2014 12:06 Cfox84
08-28-2014 10:47 rocky
09-09-2014 08:49 George Knighton
08-14-2014 13:28 Experience the Thrill?   (Score: 1, Normal) spagolli94
08-14-2014 14:35 TL_06
08-14-2014 15:15 spagolli94
08-14-2014 16:44 silverTL6
08-15-2014 09:44 shingles
08-15-2014 15:36 spagolli94
08-15-2014 18:43 Hondarulez
08-15-2014 22:15 silverTL6
08-16-2014 21:55 iutodd
08-17-2014 17:12 Adam
08-18-2014 12:54 iutodd
08-21-2014 11:44 Osaka2002
08-22-2014 14:53 spagolli94
08-22-2014 16:27 Hondarulez
08-22-2014 18:53 spagolli94
08-26-2014 05:58 saitamahonda
08-26-2014 13:47 Hondarulez
08-26-2014 22:58 spagolli94
08-27-2014 14:17 Hondarulez
08-27-2014 18:44 spagolli94
08-28-2014 17:45 Hondarulez
08-23-2014 04:13 silverTL6
08-19-2014 11:13 RMTRADER
08-19-2014 12:46 spagolli94
08-19-2014 13:09 RMTRADER
08-19-2014 14:17 iutodd
08-19-2014 15:04 spagolli94
08-21-2014 15:46 ipribadi
08-14-2014 18:37 Hondarulez
08-20-2014 03:17 The Legend
08-24-2014 23:33 Styling conclusions   (Score: 1, Normal) traumeri
08-07-2014 06:24 no IS350 and 335xi at event?   (Score: 1, Normal) silverTL6
08-07-2014 12:10 Hondarulez
08-07-2014 18:04 Honda-D
08-11-2014 11:50 Cfox84
08-11-2014 12:53 Hondarulez
08-11-2014 16:42 shingles
08-21-2014 11:31 Osaka2002
08-05-2014 14:07 Tires?   (Score: 1, Normal) 99SI
08-06-2014 11:35 MardiGras
08-06-2014 12:20 99SI
08-06-2014 20:03 dutchboy
08-07-2014 09:42 MardiGras
08-09-2014 16:40 Popeyes2k
08-11-2014 11:41 lexusgs
08-13-2014 12:15 Pauly123
08-13-2014 20:03 Honda-D
08-13-2014 17:46 iutodd
08-15-2014 20:29 atomiclightbulb
08-05-2014 11:03 Ride Quality and Rim Size   (Score: 1, Normal) chhan02
08-12-2014 09:22 Pauly123
08-04-2014 23:12 Jeff.... any hints about   (Score: 1, Normal) RolledaNsx
08-05-2014 00:12 JeffX
08-05-2014 19:43 TurkMan71
08-05-2014 21:25 NealX
08-05-2014 22:44 JeffX
08-06-2014 10:23 PhrozeDeuce
08-06-2014 15:48 TurkMan71
08-06-2014 17:26 NealX
08-06-2014 20:21 klui_188
08-06-2014 21:44 A.W.E.S.O.M. - O
08-07-2014 22:24 Jesse
08-07-2014 10:13 NealX
08-07-2014 10:29 DCR
08-07-2014 10:48 Nick GravesX
08-07-2014 14:25 TurkMan71
08-07-2014 20:01 Hondatalover
08-07-2014 20:50 klui_188
08-07-2014 21:22 Hondatalover
08-07-2014 22:46 NealX
08-08-2014 00:39 TurkMan71
08-08-2014 06:42 Jesse
08-08-2014 08:31 Jesse
08-08-2014 09:44 NealX
08-09-2014 15:07 Inebriated Snake
08-09-2014 16:58 Bodyshopguy
08-11-2014 01:24 Jesse
08-10-2014 09:36 TurkMan71
08-10-2014 12:24 Hondatalover
08-11-2014 12:43 NoBrainer
08-11-2014 09:31 6SPDTL
08-11-2014 10:38 spagolli94
08-11-2014 09:25 6SPDTL
08-06-2014 16:28 Hondarulez
08-07-2014 01:54 jshaw
08-07-2014 06:08 silverTL6
08-05-2014 11:44 For TSX 1G lovers? Is that a joke?   (Score: 1, Normal) crx-man
08-05-2014 12:17 JeffX
08-05-2014 18:03 Price
08-05-2014 22:24 gogzy
08-11-2014 10:36 crx-man
08-04-2014 20:13 Thanks, Jeff! Now a couple questions...   (Score: 1, Normal) gofast182
08-04-2014 20:19 JeffX
08-04-2014 20:39 gofast182
08-04-2014 20:51 JeffX
08-04-2014 20:49 iutodd
08-05-2014 22:42 JeffX
08-05-2014 23:41 iutodd
08-05-2014 23:59 RolledaNsx
08-06-2014 00:05 RolledaNsx
08-06-2014 00:54 jshaw
08-06-2014 02:07 RolledaNsx
08-06-2014 07:46 Fan Koni
08-06-2014 12:35 Nick GravesX
08-07-2014 00:02 40mpg
08-07-2014 00:53 JeffX
08-07-2014 07:11 40mpg
08-05-2014 00:57 TLinTX
08-05-2014 01:41 RolledaNsx
08-05-2014 05:39 Nick GravesX
08-05-2014 06:39 BG
08-05-2014 07:16 gofast182
08-05-2014 10:19 Nick GravesX
08-05-2014 11:57 BG
08-05-2014 13:36 Nick GravesX
08-05-2014 14:10 Mikeydred
08-05-2014 15:32 TheDiscriminator
08-06-2014 10:59 Mikeydred
08-07-2014 06:27 gofast182
08-08-2014 00:15 TheDiscriminator
08-08-2014 05:25 silverTL6
08-08-2014 13:21 gofast182
08-08-2014 13:51 TheDiscriminator
08-08-2014 14:42 gofast182
08-09-2014 16:48 Popeyes2k
08-10-2014 21:17 S600=Dream
08-05-2014 16:41 owequitit
08-05-2014 16:58 99SI
08-05-2014 20:22 gofast182
08-07-2014 14:06 jeez..38.8, 39.2, 39.5 turning circles   (Score: 1, Normal) alohatoad
08-07-2014 18:37 siegen
08-05-2014 17:04 Ou est le Wagon? Et les chien gears du 9AT.   (Score: 1, Normal) TonyEX
08-05-2014 18:02 TonyEX
08-05-2014 22:51 JeffX
08-06-2014 04:59 BG
08-06-2014 15:21 TonyEX
08-06-2014 16:39 Hondarulez
08-07-2014 00:44 F148VR
08-07-2014 02:25 jshaw
08-04-2014 22:14 TLX 3.5 FWD/AWD Acceleration   (Score: 1, Normal) Hondarulez
08-04-2014 22:25 JeffX
08-04-2014 23:36 Hondarulez
08-05-2014 00:21 JeffX
08-05-2014 07:12 gofast182
08-05-2014 10:38 JeffX
08-05-2014 10:48 JP
08-05-2014 13:58 JeffX
08-05-2014 14:50 Hondarulez
08-05-2014 13:49 ipribadi
08-05-2014 13:53 ipribadi
08-05-2014 13:55 JeffX
08-06-2014 12:19 retired
08-07-2014 00:46 JeffX
08-06-2014 20:17 Question for Jeff or anyone else   (Score: 1, Normal) dutchboy
08-07-2014 00:42 JeffX
08-04-2014 23:41 Regular fuel OK?   (Score: 1, Normal) JIRZLEE
08-04-2014 23:54 6SPDTL
08-05-2014 00:05 JIRZLEE
08-05-2014 13:12 av911
08-05-2014 13:28 Waldo
08-05-2014 14:29 notyper
08-05-2014 14:42 Hondarulez
08-05-2014 14:45 notyper
08-05-2014 14:47 notyper
08-05-2014 14:52 Hondarulez
08-05-2014 14:30 RSX
08-05-2014 12:44 DCT8 for V6?   (Score: 1, Normal) Waldo
08-05-2014 13:00 JeffX
08-04-2014 20:08 Nice review   (Score: 1, Normal) PoweredbyHondaX
08-04-2014 20:58 cpr2@
08-04-2014 21:03 JeffX
08-04-2014 21:50 6SPDTL
08-05-2014 10:58 osaze
08-05-2014 12:41 JeffX
08-04-2014 21:24 Excellent honest review   (Score: 1, Normal) 6SPDTL
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