Acura introduced the TLX sports sedan just three years ago as a replacement for two tweener cars, the smaller TSX and the larger TL, and aimed it square at BMW’s 3-series and other stalwarts of the segment. Now, for 2018, Acura has launched a mid-cycle refresh that gives the TLX a fresh face and a suite of new tech and performance features.
Pricing for the base TLX with the 206-hp 2.4-liter inline-four starts at just $33,950—up $1000 from last year—but includes a smattering of newly standard features. The 2.4 now includes AcuraWatch safety and driver assistance systems (lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning) as well as new Jewel Eye LED headlamps with LED running lights. The dual-screen infotainment system returns, unfortunately, but Acura has upgraded the lower screen to a capacitive touch unit, and the system also adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. The front-drive-only TLX 2.4 utilizes the brand’s P-AWS four-wheel-steering setup, which lends a bit of agility and stability to non-AWD models.
The only option available for the four-cylinder car is the Technology package, a $3700 premium. It brings navigation and HD Radio, which are welcome additions, although you’ll need to spring for the six-cylinder car to reach the techiest TLX.
Jumping up to the TLX V-6 will set you back an additional $3200, but opting for that naturally aspirated six opens the door to more equipment choices. Last year’s 290-horse 3.5-liter engine and nine-speed automatic transmission carry over, but a new rear diffuser and dual exhaust finishers provide more style to the car’s tail end. Front-drive cars feature P-AWS here, as well, but Acura’s effective and capable SH-AWD all-wheel-drive system is available for an additional $2000.
The same $3700 Technology package from the TLX 2.4 is available here, providing nav and the fancy radio, but it also spiffs up the interior with contrast stitching, powered thigh support for the driver, and chrome sill trim. On top of that, buyers can stack the Advance package. That $3850 bundle brings a raft of luxury features such as LED fog lights, a body-colored decklid spoiler, and 18-inch wheels, as well as a 360-degree camera system, front and rear parking sensors, and power-folding side mirrors. Inside, LED ambient lighting, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a wireless-device charging pad add comfort and convenience to the TLX’s cabin.
Replacing last year’s decidedly unsporty GT Package is the new and more transformative A-Spec trim. For $2900 over a TLX V-6 with the Technology package, the A-Spec looks to restore the honor of sporty Acuras of yesteryear. The interior gains the ventilated seats and wireless charging capability of the Advance cars, along with some NSX-inspired red or black leather. Wider, 19-inch Shark Gray wheels and a more aggressive front and rear fascia ensure that bystanders know they’re looking at an A-Spec TLX. Dark-chrome grille trim, matte-black window surrounds, and a black decklid spoiler add to the visual flair. In addition, as we noted in our first-drive report, the A-Spec’s revised steering and suspension help the TLX take a step back in the right direction toward driver involvement. SH-AWD–equipped cars get a thicker rear anti-roll bar that helps matters even more. Look for the 2018 TLX on dealership floors in June.