Acura’s TLX performance luxury midsize sedan sees some styling alterations for 2018, and introduces an A-Spec version for V6-powered models. New premium features have been added, including AcuraWatch, the company’s advanced package of safety and driver assistance features, now standard on all models.
My tester was the TLX A-Spec with all-wheel drive. The A-Spec is available in front-drive configuration for a $2,000 smaller dent in the personal finances, but not a lot of savings on fuel economy. EPA city/highway/combined ratings are 20/30/23 mpg with front-wheel drive, and 20/29/23 mpg with all-wheel drive. I’d go for AWD.
My Acura TLX AWD A-Spec got a great workout for a week in varying degrees of daily rain. With a robust 3.5-liter V6 engine powering the car with 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque, the AWD delivered a godsend of extra stability during tight turns and my enjoyable jackrabbit starts and pullouts. This isn’t just any AWD system. It is Acura’s Super-Handling All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), roundly regarded by those in the know as one of the best in the business.
Wider wheels (8 inches rather than the 7.5 inches of other TLX models) and unique Michelin tires also contribute to the A-Spec’s road grip.
The V6 has a perfect partner in the TLX’s flawless nine-speed automatic transmission.
Sodden conditions during the test week also brought to attention the TLX’s remarkable ability to channel rainwater properly. When I had to lift the trunklid after an enthusiastic squall, water cascaded all around but not a drop fell into the trunk.
Styling elements exclusive to the TLX A-Spec include a matte-black diamond pentagon grille with dark chrome surround, an aggressive lower front fascia with broad center air opening flanked by round LED fog lights, and a dark appearance for the LED headlights.
Nineteen-inch dark alloy wheels are another exclusive.
At the rear, the A-Spec is identified by a gloss-black decklid spoiler, smoked LED taillights and a unique fascia with a lower diffuser accented by 4-inch round dual exhaust tips. And then there’s the A-Spec badging, also seen on the front fenders.
Unseen by observers but notable to an A-Spec driver is the car’s sport-tuned suspension and specially-tuned electric power steering system designed to enhance on-center steering feel.
In an already comfortable and refined interior for all TLX models, the A-Spec embellishes with more dramatically bolstered sport seats, red LED ambient light piping, simulated brushed aluminum trim, and a wireless phone charging pad in the center console.
Gobs of upscale features, nearly everything a reasonable person could want, are included as standard equipment on the Acura TLX AWD A-Spec. The only item increasing the base price is the destination charge, which isn’t really an option since no one I know can buy a car without paying a destination charge.
2018 ACURA TLX AWD A-SPEC
Base price, including destination charge: $45,750
Price as driven: $45,750
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.