2015 Acura TLX beats BMW, Infiniti and Lexus in road handling and comfort
In fact, Acura TLX will change the way that you measure automotive performance.
While that’s a bold statement for any auto reviewer to make, we believe that after comparing BMW 328 i X-Drive, Infinity Q50 and Lexus IS 250 to the all new TLX, Acura’s newest offering is the winner in several categories.
Superior handling characteristics
2015 Acura TLX is more than a bit impressive in its handling. To date, we’ve yet to drive a stickier entry or mid level premium sport sedan. Offered in 7 models, all standard with superior handling, through (P-AWS) all wheel steering or SH-AWD, new direct injected engine designs, 8 and 9 speed transmissions. Acura has increased performance while improving fuel economy. Granted, BMW, Infiniti and Lexus performed well in most categories, TLX was superior in road control and interior ergonomics. TLX possesses what we’ll refer to as “Flatitude.” While driving TLX, one is in total command of the car and the road of the road.
TLX brings to the mid priced premium sport sedan class( base msrp $30,995.) what had previously been reserved for cars costing twice as much. The road stability and driver-wheel connectivity of this car is impressive. One can truly feel the road through the very smart electric asist rack and pinion linked steering wheel.Fit and finish is impressive, interior space and ergonomics, superior.
How’d Acura perfect handling and torque transference in TLX?
Acura engineering has increased the flex rigidity of the frame, crumple zone, added sound deadening to previously hollow body members while increasing suspension dampening and road noise isolation. They’ve put the development time and cost in the TLX where it most matters, where the tires meet the road. We were duly impressed by the rigidity, quiet and cabin comfort of the TLX.
Acura has reinstated the “door thunk” in the TLX. First impression is one of quality. TLX is measurably superior to the competition in road-bounce recovery, downhill nose dive, braking and acceleration recovery. It swoops out of a turns without noticeable side sway. Suspension dampening eliminates squirreliness, while reducing body mass rebound. Brake fade? none.
We discover that In the 3.5 liter SH-AWD premium sports sedan, Acura engineering has all but eliminated the negative torque steer often associated with front wheel drive. We noted zero torque pull to the right on take off. This is a big deal for drivers that prefer the performance attributes of a rear live axle. In the TLX the difference between the two is negligible.
Acura SH-AWD sends torque transference to the wheel where it’s most needed. Torque sent to a specific wheel in an accelerated turn or down hill effectively aids in the car's steering geometry, bringing the TLX quicker into a turn or exiting a turn on excelleration. You can watch the car do so via dash monitor. However, you won’t sense the change while driving, it's seamless.
For the front wheel drive 2.4L 4 cylinder 8 speed TLX and FWD V6 9 speed, Acura calls on all wheel steering to effectively emulate some properties of the SH-AWD while holding the line on fuel efficiency, MSRP and weight. Both systems challenge the competition for superiority in road handling.
Superior automotive design.
According to Acura engineering, TLX is a car of many firsts. Lowest wind resistance in class, shortest braking distance, superior suspension dampening, class leading cabin sound deadening, road vibration isolation and lowest base msrp in class.
Less noise less driver fatigue.
We couldn’t agree more, from where we sat, this car’s interior noise level is a bit unsettlingly quiet, you can hear your own heart beat.
In-fact, other than a barely detectable intermittent rear tire bump (very rough roads) and minor mirror wind noise; there was none. Speaking at a low decibel in the TLX is effortless.
Stability through superior engineering.
Handling attitude of the TLX is a flat plane trajectory. We launched the test car several times(oops) on the backroads of West Virginia. We noted zero brake and shock fade. When pulling the TLX through several “S” turns under heavy braking and follow through acceleration, the TLX in all variants performed flawlessly.
Pilot and passenger cabin ergonomics.
We're blown away by the interior cabin volume exhibited by the TLX. Once again Acura and Honda engineering has manifested a superior ergonomic dictated driver placement and passenger seating that logic dictates would not fit within the confines of the TLX.
The seats are exceptionally comfortable. Acura has removed the hard hip bolstering while retaining seating position control and grip. After 6 hours of pushing the TLX through its paces, this reviewer walked away unusually refreshed. The TLX SH-AWD V6 with advanced package(base msrp $42,500.) comes standard with a 10 way adjustable, heated driver’s seat, the passenger gets 8.
Leg, shoulder and hip room is more than ample for this 6’ 5” reporter. Yet, adjusted with ease and comfort for our 5’8” co-driver. Visibility afforded from the cab is superior, controls, gauge and touch screen monitor is well placed with one exception.
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We found the positioning of the drive mode toggle(IDS) to be less than intuitive, thus a bit distracting and clumsy. Offering four drive modes, the IDS toggle is positioned below the drive button on the center shift console. locating the toggle while driving requires a shift of the eye off of the road. We believe that the driving mode selector should be placed on the wheel, or voice activated.
In segment #2 of our Torque News review, we’ll cover the engine, drive train and electronics of the all new 2015 Acura TLX. Keep posted and thank you.
*Edited for Tech update 08-06-14