The 2015 Acura TLX represents the Japanese premium brand's effort to consolidate its customer base and remove some of the confusion from its showrooms. Designed to take the place of two existing models - more on that below - and present a more unified front in the entry-level luxury space, the Acura TLX is more cohesive than past four-door efforts from the brand. Hovering right at the edge of sporty, but leaning more towards the soft and supple side of the luxury equation, the TLX hopes to snag new buyers while keeping past Acura owners happy when it's time to trade-up.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2015 Acura TLX.
01. The 2015 Acura TLX Replaces Two Cars
The 2015 Acura TLX isn't just an all-new model, it also serves as the successor to two existing vehicles in the Acura line-up. The Acura TLX is the direct replacement for both the compact Acura TSX and the somewhat larger Acura TL. It's easy to understand why Acura killed two birds with one stone here: having a pair of entry-level luxury options featuring similar features and styling didn't make much sense as a product strategy, forcing the company to essentially compete against itself right there in its own showroom. The TLX will present a united front going forward, offering better diversity in terms of drivetrains, equipment, and pricing for premium shoppers.
02. The 2015 Acura TLX Is Smaller, And Bigger, Than Either Model
Given that it's been tasked with filling in for a pair of past models, the 2015 Acura TSX has been designed to offer the best of both worlds. The Acura TSX maintains the same wheelbase as the now-departed Acura TL, allowing it to offer that sedan's excellent interior volume and rear seat room. On the outside, however, the car is almost four inches shorter in terms of overall length than the TL, placing its profile more in line with the smaller Acura TSX and making it a better match for rivals like the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4. At its core, the TLX is very much like a TSX that has seen its interior expanded without pushing out the boundaries of its sheet metal into the mid-size segment.
03. The 2015 Acura TLX Features A New Four-Cylinder Engine
The 2015 Acura TLX's base engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that at first blush seems identical to the unit that was found as the only power plant in last year's TSX sedan. There are a number of key differences between the two motors, however, to the point where Acura considers the TLX's entry-level option to all-new. Now featuring direct fuel injection along with a slightly higher compression ratio and a dual-stage intake that makes use of both short and long intake runners, the 2.4-liter produces 206 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque. This represents a five horsepower boost compared to the TSX's four-cylinder engine as well as a slight torque increase and a modest improvement in fuel efficiency (23-mpg city / 35-mpg highway). Other changes to be found with the TLX's entry-level motor include ion-plated piston rings and the elimination of the idler pulley.
04. The 2015 Acura TLX's V-6 Offering Has Been Re-Designed, Too
Not to be outdone at the top end of its spec sheet, the 2015 Acura TLX also upgrades the 3.5-liter motor that was previously available in the Acura TL. The Acura TLX's 3.5-liter V-6 also offers direct fuel injection as well as an improved variable valve timing system and a new cylinder deactivation feature that allows the motor to run on as few as three cylinders during steady state cruising. Total output for the V-6 TLX stands at 290 horsepower (an increase of 10 ponies compared to the TL), as well as 267 lb-ft of torque (13 lb-ft more than was available from 2014's similar motor). Fuel economy has also been improved to 21-mpg city and 34-mpg highway, with the latter figure representing a substantial five mile per gallon increase over the TL.
05. The 2015 Acura TLX Introduces 8 and 9-Speed Transmissions
The 2015 Acura TLX does away with the five-speed and six-speed automatics that were a feature of the TSX and TL and instead introduces two high-tech gearboxes that hint at the future of transmission technology. The four-cylinder version of the Acura TLX is gifted with a unique eight-speed unit that combines both a dual-clutch design as well as a torque converter, an unusual arrangement that Acura claims dials out the roughness and hesitation that can be a feature at lower speeds with a DCT setup while improving gear change speeds by 33 percent compared to 2014's five-speed. The TLX's 3.5-liter V-6 benefits from a traditional torque converter automatic that features an astounding nine forward speeds, allowing for 25 percent quicker shifting versus the outgoing six-speed autobox found in the TL along with paddle shift response that is five times faster (both units feature paddle shifters located behind the steering wheel).
06. The 2015 Acura TLX Offers A Lighter Version Of SH-AWD
The 2015 Acura TLX cribs the TL's Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system (SH-AWD) and makes it available with the V-6 version of the sedan. SH-AWD allows the Acura TLX to actively manage torque in both a performance driving situation as well as when tackling slippery road conditions, shuttling power from wheel to wheel on an as-needed basis. For 2015, the TLX's SH-AWD system has seen its weight reduced by 25 percent, and it also gains an integrated lubrication system and a hydraulic actuator that steps in for the TL's older, electromagnetic actuator design. SH-AWD-equipped TLX's additionally feature an automatic engine start-stop system that helps them to post the same around town fuel mileage as their front-wheel drive siblings.
07. The 2015 Acura TLX Debuts P-AWS Rear-Wheel Steering
For those 2015 Acura TLX models not equipped with SH-AWD there's another technology on hand to help enhance handling and stability. Precision All-Wheel Steer, or P-AWS, moves the Acura TLX's rear wheels in phase and out of phase in harmony with the front wheels so as to assist the vehicle when turning. At higher speeds the wheels move in phase so as to slide the car from one lane to another with a minimum of fuss, while at lower speeds and in more dynamic driving situations the wheels actually move out of phase to properly pivot the car. There's even a toe-in setting that's activated during braking on the highway in order to keep the car pointed in a straight line. The rear wheels move only a few degrees in either direction, and the overall effect while driving is completely transparent to the pilot.
08. The 2015 Acura TLX Packs Two LCD Screens
The 2015 Acura TLX has seen a number of updates made to its interior, with a specific focus on reducing the number of buttons and knobs on its dashboard. The Acura TLX somewhat succeeds in simplifying its control surfaces, but there are still a few unusual design decisions such as the inclusion of not one, but two LCD screens on its center stack. Positioned one on top of the other, the units can display different types of information at the same time, but they can also duplicate functionality such as when making adjustments to the vehicle's entertainment system. It's a bit confusing to have to move back and forth between the pair in order to complete a given task.
09. The 2015 Acura TLX Delivers Updated Safety
The 2015 Acura TLX can be loaded with a surprising amount of active safety equipment. The Acura TLX features a forward collision warning system with automatic braking that makes use of both front-facing radar as a well as a single camera that combine to provide an accurate view of the landscape immediately ahead of the vehicle. The car also offers lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and a 'road departure mitigation' system that attempts to keep the TLX on the road by steering and braking it away from danger should it drift out of its lane.
10. The 2015 Acura TLX Starts Just Below $31k
The 2015 Acura TLX has been aggressively priced to appeal to entry-level luxury buyers. The Acura TLX doesn't quite break the mythical $30k barrier that has become such a white-hot dividing line in the premium segment, but with a window sticker of $30,995 for the 2.4-liter model it's still quite affordable - especially when compared against vehicles like the Lexus ES (MSRP $36,620). Of course, the ES comes standard with a six-cylinder engine, so it makes a bit more sense to match it against the V-6 version of the TLX, where Acura still holds a pricing advantage (MSRP $35,220). The most you can lay out for the new sedan? Opting for the 3.5-liter motor with SH-AWD and the Advance Package will cost you $44,700.