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article details
Author Jeff Palmer
Categories TL
Create Date September 26, 2008 03:01
Last Update October 15, 2008 17:08
Impressing TOV 101: TRACK TIME!

If you're reading this, you've probably already seen our early assessment of the 2009 Acura TL, which we drove back in July. During our first drive of the 2009 TL, we were clued in by Acura staffers that an event involving the 2010 Acura TL would be taking place in September, and alas, they were right!

Given the reactions surrounding the 2009 TL thus far, it would seem that Acura has an interest in maintaining the mind share of enthusiasts, and that's probably a key reason why Acura was keen to show off their very early prototypes of the 2010 TL. These cars won't be hitting showrooms for another full year, but Acura is hopeful that this early look will persuade potential buyers to hold tight.

According to Acura's market research figures, somewhere around 5% of '04-'08 TL buyers have opted for the 6MT TL. That contrasts to an overall 25% take rate for BMW models. 5% seems like a small number, but let's be realistic. In the past, the TL's FF platform has been a major limiting factor in terms of driving enjoyment. The TL has always been competitive with its peers (a recent major magazine test pitting the FWD TL Type-S against the G35 and Lexus IS350 at Willow Springs had the TL turning faster laptimes than its rear-wheel-drive competitors), but subjectively the characteristics of the FWD layout have detracted from the overall driving experience.

What's New?
Since the 2004 model year, the TL has offered a 6-speed manual transmission. This has always been a bit of a give and take affair. The gear ratios of the TL's speed manual transmission offered a tremendous benefit in terms of outright scoot. On top of that, 6MT models were exclusively equipped with a limited slip differential and Brembo brakes. All of this meant that the 6MT TLs performed considerably better than their 5AT counterparts. On the flipside, the compromise involved a clutch and transmission that were never quite up to Honda's standards, and the levels of horsepower and torque that were coursing through the front wheels occasionally led to undesirable side effects.

SH-AWD is new to the 2009 TL, but it has been in the Acura lineup since debuting with the 2005 RL. To date, SH-AWD has never been paired with a 6-speed manual transmission, but that all changes next year when the 2010 TL goes on sale. This is huge news, because we've always felt that the benefits of SH-AWD have been blurred by the nature of automatic transmissions.

While the mere fact that SH-AWD is finally getting its due is reason enough to celebrate, we are ecstatic that the SH-AWD system was incompatible with the TL's existing 6-speed transmission. 'Why?', you might ask. We're ecstatic because this forced Acura to engineer a completely new transmission. While they were developing the new gearbox, they decided to do it right and eliminate the aggravating hitch that plagued the clutch takeup in the old 'box. The result is a gearbox and clutch that truly lives up to the very high standards that have been set by Honda.

In spirit, the only difference between the 5AT and 6MT TL SH-AWD models is the transmissions, but since the manual gearbox weighs 110lbs less than the slushbox, a number of other things have been tweaked. Spring and damper rates have been revised, as has the SH-AWD system's calibration. Where the 3rd generation 6MT model was "sported" up compared to the 5AT model, the changes in this case were intended to keep the 6MT closer in attitude to the 5AT model.

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Date Thread Starter Thread
10-15-2008 02:01 Jeff, Draph94 & others   (Score: 1, Normal) crx-man
10-15-2008 11:20 DevilMayCry
10-15-2008 19:53 JeffX
10-15-2008 20:15 Cj
10-15-2008 23:24 TheGripper
10-16-2008 10:17 vhtran
10-16-2008 12:25 linty
10-16-2008 14:23 Hondarulez
10-16-2008 15:23 vhtran
10-16-2008 19:12 Hondarulez
10-16-2008 21:11 vhtran
10-17-2008 01:14 Hondarulez
10-17-2008 07:32 vhtran
10-17-2008 07:57 vhtran
10-17-2008 16:07 Hondarulez
10-17-2008 18:00 linty
10-17-2008 18:51 Hondarulez
10-18-2008 07:44 TheGripper
10-18-2008 18:08 Hondarulez
10-18-2008 15:45 crx-man
10-18-2008 18:15 Hondarulez
10-19-2008 18:02 linty
10-19-2008 23:41 Hondarulez
10-20-2008 08:00 vhtran
10-20-2008 13:02 Hondarulez
10-20-2008 13:02 Hondarulez
10-20-2008 17:00 linty
10-20-2008 22:02 Hondarulez
10-20-2008 23:10 linty
10-20-2008 15:54 linty
10-20-2008 16:09 Cj
10-20-2008 16:32 vhtran
12-29-2009 18:39 Draph94
10-20-2008 14:44 crx-man
10-18-2008 15:35 crx-man
10-19-2008 17:47 linty
10-19-2008 19:42 Cj
10-20-2008 00:44 linty
10-20-2008 07:39 Cj
10-20-2008 07:54 vhtran
10-20-2008 15:16 crx-man
10-20-2008 15:31 vhtran
10-21-2008 01:53 crx-man
10-21-2008 08:02 vhtran
10-20-2008 17:00 linty
10-21-2008 02:08 crx-man
10-21-2008 21:13 linty
12-05-2008 23:12 Road & Track Test of 6MT TL   (Score: 1, Normal) MASTERNC
09-26-2008 09:15 Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures   (Score: 1, Normal) cgx
09-26-2008 09:18 shingles
09-26-2008 11:28 cgx
09-26-2008 11:43 CarPhreakD
09-26-2008 14:17 shingles
09-26-2008 16:06 iNteGRaz92
09-26-2008 10:43 LudegarH22A7
09-26-2008 11:23 cgx
09-26-2008 17:49 LudegarH22A7
09-26-2008 17:09 siegen
09-26-2008 17:34 dampflok
09-26-2008 22:01 canuck-in-NY
09-28-2008 15:27 JeffX
09-29-2008 10:37 GhOsT
10-05-2008 02:45 Powered by Honda
10-08-2008 12:06 sjava
10-16-2008 13:04 linty
10-16-2008 14:09 Hondarulez
10-16-2008 16:55 vhtran
10-16-2008 18:57 Hondarulez
10-16-2008 20:49 vhtran
10-16-2008 22:03 TheGripper
10-17-2008 07:08 Cj
10-17-2008 07:28 vhtran
10-17-2008 16:09 Hondarulez
10-18-2008 07:53 TheGripper
10-20-2008 07:34 vhtran
10-24-2008 00:02 TheGripper
10-25-2008 06:54 vhtran
10-26-2008 22:30 TheGripper
10-27-2008 23:58 vhtran
10-20-2008 01:26 linty
10-20-2008 12:51 Hondarulez
10-11-2008 15:08 A 335 driver's opinion   (Score: 1, Normal) Draph94
10-11-2008 18:07 Hondarulez
10-11-2008 22:38 TheGripper
10-11-2008 22:53 TheGripper
10-12-2008 11:37 Draph94
10-13-2008 02:50 Hondarulez
10-11-2008 23:44 arm rest - does it slide forward?   (Score: 1, Normal) mlody
10-12-2008 09:09 TheGripper
09-26-2008 13:26 Sounds like 3rd gear snag is gone   (Score: 1, Normal) CrystalFiveMT
09-26-2008 13:33 JeffX
09-26-2008 16:59 CrystalFiveMT
09-26-2008 17:01 JeffX
09-26-2008 17:12 CrystalFiveMT
09-26-2008 14:02 bbelding
09-26-2008 16:53 99SI
09-27-2008 00:41 klui_188
10-10-2008 23:13 99SI
10-11-2008 23:03 TheGripper
10-08-2008 13:04 Why not now ??????   (Score: 1, Normal) tropa2000
10-08-2008 14:53 CarPhreakD
09-26-2008 10:50 Jeff - TL 6MT - why 12 months away?   (Score: 1, Normal) nowakj66
09-26-2008 12:18 JeffX
09-26-2008 13:32 nowakj66
09-26-2008 13:36 JeffX
09-26-2008 13:56 bbelding
09-26-2008 14:16 JeffX
09-26-2008 14:28 bbelding
09-26-2008 15:06 nowakj66
09-27-2008 16:29 gofast182
10-08-2008 14:34 JeffX
10-05-2008 02:46 TL looking way better then all those cars...   (Score: 1, Normal) Powered by Honda
10-08-2008 09:10 Texas
10-08-2008 12:37 sjava
09-27-2008 13:39 Given the (suprising) outcome of the TL SH-awd 6MT......   (Score: 1, Normal) CivicB18
09-27-2008 13:54 CarPhreakD
09-27-2008 15:19 99SI
09-27-2008 18:16 CarPhreakD
09-28-2008 21:47 gofast182
10-06-2008 16:14 dilidolo
09-30-2008 11:51 CivicB18
09-29-2008 05:57 sadlerau
09-26-2008 12:44 Competitors by Size   (Score: 1, Normal) sjava
09-26-2008 13:27 Cj
10-03-2008 07:51 vhtran
10-03-2008 20:52 Hondarulez
10-04-2008 12:26 TheGripper
10-06-2008 13:22 Colin
09-30-2008 12:20 Engine braking with SH-AWD torque vectoring ?   (Score: 1, Normal) ipribadi
09-26-2008 05:06 Good timing on the review   (Score: 1, Normal) A.W.E.S.O.M. - O
09-26-2008 08:47 PGH
09-26-2008 11:22 SoichirosHeroes
09-26-2008 11:44 JeffX
09-26-2008 14:32 JeffX
09-26-2008 16:05 HappaSaiyan
09-26-2008 16:17 CarPhreakD
09-27-2008 19:10 Colin
09-27-2008 19:51 Cj
09-26-2008 18:03 siegen
09-26-2008 22:54 A.W.E.S.O.M. - O
09-27-2008 11:55 Accord 6MT   (Score: 1, Normal) aznstuart
09-27-2008 15:42 Hondarulez
09-27-2008 01:29 J37 + SH-AWD + 6MT Coupe in the future...?   (Score: 1, Normal) klui_188
09-27-2008 07:36 Cj
09-27-2008 12:58 DevilMayCry
09-26-2008 16:12 Tires   (Score: 1, Normal) mcbrideorama
09-26-2008 16:17 JeffX
09-26-2008 16:45 jeasher
09-26-2008 16:57 JeffX
09-26-2008 18:55 HappaSaiyan
09-26-2008 20:44 notyper
09-26-2008 16:35 Why no G35x with the 18" wheel sport package?   (Score: 1, Normal) PINOCHET
09-26-2008 16:37 jeasher
09-26-2008 16:58 JeffX
09-26-2008 14:37 C-Class?   (Score: 1, Normal) Waatdaehell
09-26-2008 15:02 JeffX
09-26-2008 10:44 jeff- two TLs...   (Score: 1, Normal) HappaSaiyan
09-26-2008 12:03 JeffX
09-26-2008 10:29 They fixed the Transmission... Excellent.   (Score: 1, Normal) LudegarH22A7
09-26-2008 11:06 JMU R1
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