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2016 Acura ILX A-SPEC performance sport sedan surprises (Video)

Despite mixed critical automotive review of Acura’s latest major refresh of ILX, Torque News-Acura finds this Honda Civic platform performer to be a bit more car than initial anticipated. 2016 Acura ILX-A-SPEC compact performance sport sedan surprises!


O.K, we won’t B.S. you here. For readers looking to Acura’s under $32 K compact production sports-sedan to be the “end all, be all” automotive metric performer, move on! This is not your car.

For the guys: Your girlfriend or wife will most likely not “love” the ILX-A-Spec for daily commuting, transporting little Buddy or Sis off to day care, or for its plushy, pillow soft, angel’s breath--quiet interior confines; it doesn’t have that! However, Let her drive it for a moment, she may back you on the purchase idea.

For the single gals and married junior executives with Danica Parker sports tendencies, 2016 ILX A-SPEC while a little edgy, and a bit less comfortable than the up-scale Acura TLX, does provide an extra shot of adrenalin when opting for that country two-lane on the way to work, or pulling off the ramp into stop and go freeway traffic. We like it for that, so will you. Plus, you’ll look "Hot" driving it!

Our 2016 ILX-A-SPEC turned heads wherever we drove it; including the local Lexus Lot. Featuring scaled-down TLX good looks, and a Civic Si-like inspired race interior, we also liked ILX-A-Spec premium ballistic fabric seating surfaces, perforated metal brake and gas pedal, leather covered steering wheel mounted paddle shifting, new rim designs and an exceptional exterior color pallet. Most on lookers will agree: ILX in any trim variant is darn good looking!

We used every bit of the 201 horsepower, broad torque-curve motivated, 8 geared power train, and kept on pushing

Featuring Acura’s latest 2.4 Liter direct injected 1-VTEC 4 cylinder and state of the art dual clutched, torque converted mechanically automated 8 speed manual transmission, A-SPEC is quicker than you think. Although not turbo or supercharged, it feels like it when you push the loud peddle to the floor.

We noted zero-shift-time-lag when opting for the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters and dropping ILX into “Sport” mode; found brake-fade to be nonexistent, and liked the over-all drive experience that is ILX A-SPEC.

Is A-SPEC a luxury car? No! Is it a fun to drive premium engineered and constructed, affordable performance alternative? Yes! For the Acura buyer wishing for a bit more cushion in their performance car, we highly recommend Acura TLX.

Interior noise level is relative

Admittedly, we found 2016 Acura ILX A-SPEC to be suspension stiff, seat firm, and just a bit interior noisy on our initial drive impression. 60 days later we were afforded a week-long drive review of A-SPEC, and-- found the car to “grow” on us a bit. By the end of the week, Torque News couldn’t get enough seat time in this compact sports sedan; and detected a (slight) welling of the eyes, as 2016 Acura ILX A-SPEC headed north up to Portland, Oregon.

Looking for edgy metric performance under $32,000

You will find our latest 2016 Acura ILX A-SPEC drive review here. But in short, although ILX is far from Acura’s most comfortable, or powerful offering, we do find it to be an exceptional performance driving experience with more than adequate accommodations for 4 occupants, a luggage bag or two, and all that life has to bring.

Note: There is very little headroom in the backseat of ILX. However, it does fold down for hauling long objects. And, friends or family of shorter stature will find the back seating area to be relatively comfortable. We did find ILX A-SPEC’s trunk to be spacious.

Think of ILX as a 2 place performance coupe with rear doors and a decent trunk; you’ll be happy with it. It’s fun to drive and reasonably priced, who can ask for more than that?
We enjoyed pushing ILX A-Spec through the twisty 2 lane roads of Lane County, Oregon.

Watch 2016 Acura ILX A-Spec work through the gears


JeffS (not verified)    May 13, 2015 - 3:20PM

Just one comment 'bout, "Road noise". Isn't that part of the, "experience" of a "Sports/Sporty car" . It is for me. Who wants a Sports car that is tomb quiet, (I am sure there are those and no slight against them), I don't. If you want to, "experience" intrusive road noise drive a 370z, (I have a '14 370z touring with the sports package), if there is one major critic against that car it is, "road noise", drive over gravel and it is the very definition of the sound of all hell breaking loose. In contrast my '14 SI coupe, (cousin to the ILX), has just the right amount and the right kind of road noise to add to the experience. When driving a car like this, particularly when driving it hard, the road noise it allows in helps communicate what the car is doing and helps define when one is approaching its limits. Not to mention the intoxicating exhaust note allowed in when being pushed. "Road noise", it's not necessarily a curse word.

Phast Phil (not verified)    May 14, 2015 - 10:23AM

Dear park,
Very glad you have enjoyed the ILX. The best thing with a Honda/Acura engine is running up the rev range. Also the upgraded brakes on this really do bite once you push through the initial pedal travel. Did want to help you with a few little things. The ILX has only 201HP and the rear seat is a single fold down. You had a slight mix up with the TLX specs. Keep on driving!