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The 2018 Acura TLX A-Spec Is A Sport Sedan With out The ‘Sport’

Pictures credit score AcuraPhotos credit score Acura

After I first walked as much as the 2018 Acura TLX A-Spec, I needed to circle it just a few occasions. It regarded good—actually good, even. The colour was excellent, the styling was proper alongside these traces and it regarded, surprisingly, like a genuinely fulfilling sedan. Then I received in it.

(Full disclosure: Acura needed me to drive the brand new TLX so badly that one wound up in my driveway with a full tank of fuel. Certainly the neighbors puzzled the place the child subsequent door’s small automotive went, and why this huge, vibrant blue one changed it. Who is aware of! I hear that child is sketchy anyway.)

It wasn’t that I used to be notably upset in regards to the automotive. It’s simply that from the way it regarded on the skin, and its aggressive identify, and the way Honda basically has been turning out some its greatest sporty vehicles in many years these days, I believed the inside and efficiency would have somewhat extra kick to them. I used to be fallacious!

What Is It?

The Acura TLX A-Spec is, within the phrases of an Acura spokesperson, an look bundle with refined sport tuning. Which means it seems to be sporty, however isn’t a lot sportier than your common TLX, Acura’s midsize and middle-of-the-family sedan.



The A-Spec bundle comes with a 290 horsepower V6 (and, sure, VTEC) and a nine-speed automated transmission. It comes with what Acura calls “dynamic Sequential SportShift” paddles that aren’t, in actual fact, dynamic, and Honda’s long-touted Tremendous Dealing with All-Wheel Drive. Certain, I’ll give them that one.

There’s additionally the selection of black Alcantara or pink leather-based inside on the automotive, and, although I’ve by no means seen it in particular person, go along with the latter.


We at Jalopnik had heard good issues in regards to the A-Spec. We heard it was sporty and enjoyable, near what the Acura sedans of the 1990s have been like, a return to type for Honda very similar to the NSX and Civic Sort R have been. That’s not the case right here.

The V6 front-wheel drive A-Spec begins at $42,800, whereas all-wheel drive V6 like I had begins at $44,800. That was the MSRP of mine, full with a virtually $1,000 vacation spot charge that made the automotive $45,750.

Why Does It Matter?

In a world the place crossovers are the one factor individuals care about anymore, it’s exhausting to pinpoint why a brand new sedan with out some revolutionary expertise or a serious improve issues. Sedans aren’t what persons are shopping for, for probably the most half.

However possibly that’s why sedans are essential. If an organization goes to have a decently sized sedan lineup—which, numerous producers do have leftover from a time when individuals purchased them commonly—the corporate goes to wish to make them convincing sufficient to sway the informal purchaser from the darkish facet.


Take a look at Acura’s lineup within the U.S., for instance: It has three sedans, the ILX, TLX and RLX; a crossover, the RDX and MDX crossovers; and the NSX supercar. Although these center two are the gross sales kings at Acura, it’s nonetheless a sedan-dominant lineup, so that you’d suppose they’d attempt to do one thing attention-grabbing right here.

And the TLX does set itself aside within the seems to be class—particularly for an enormous, automated sedan. It’s distinctive in a means that makes you stare as an alternative of cringe, which is an efficient factor. The place it struggles is on the precise supply.

Informal Driving

Driving round city within the A-Spec was extremely common. However common in a automotive that appears, from the skin, like a lot extra is disappointing.

The A-Spec had paddle shifters, however they weren’t enjoyable or participating. Every shift had an extremely sluggish response time from the engine, which led to a clumsy variety of seconds of ready for the automotive to really upshift and the RPMs to go down after you’d already hit the paddle. It wasn’t even price it to attempt.

Mashing the fuel produced a light sound however didn’t provide you with as a lot thrill as you’d count on from a automotive that appears the best way the A-Spec does, however the averageness of its efficiency type of grew on me because the week went on. Nonetheless, at no level does it really feel prefer it has 290 HP. That’s nonetheless a good quantity for a sedan; you’d suppose it may do extra than simply really feel common.



The brakes on the automotive have been extremely sensitive in sport mode, to the purpose that in the event you put any strain on them in any respect, you’d find yourself lurching, once more, time and again, to a cease at even the bottom of speeds. It lurched much more in sport plus, for what felt like not a lot return within the different facets of driving.

However total, driving wasn’t a drag. It wasn’t what I might pay for with my very own cash, but it surely additionally wasn’t notably dangerous. It simply didn’t meet the expectations it set for itself with the A-Spec look bundle, which was disappointing.

Aggressive Driving

As a result of I had this automotive across the time Hurricane Harvey hit and I reside in central Texas, issues have been flooded right here for days. There was no time, nor was it secure or sensible, to take the A-Spec out on one of many two good roads we now have down right here in cow city for our aggressive-driving check. (The flooding can be why I had to make use of images from Acura as an alternative of my very own. Honest apologies.)



What I did get to place to the check on the AWD A-Spec, which noticed nearly no sunshine till the morning it left, was its resilience within the rain. I by no means needed to suppose twice about accelerating, exhausting, by way of the waters that simply stored getting increased as the times went on.

I purposely drove my fiancé at any time when he wanted to go someplace as a result of the water was so dangerous. Individuals weren’t venturing out on the roads and I felt much more comfy within the A-Spec than both of our FWD vehicles.


When you did get to drive the A-Spec aggressively and needed to work the paddle shifters, although, the lag time looks as if it wouldn’t be preferrred and even secure on twisty roads. Given, I all the time shortly gave up on the paddle shifters and I had such little time with the automotive that I didn’t check if there was a big lag time in downshifts as nicely.


Maybe the most important miss on the automotive, being a “sport” look bundle, was that you just needed to press buttons to go from park to reverse to impartial and into drive. There was a “dynamic mode” button, too, there to make sure that dangerous producer buzzwords will ceaselessly reside on one thing extra everlasting and tangible than the web.

However the buttons have been an actual drag. Anyone who desires a sporty-looking automotive, I might hope, would not less than need some type of shifter to maneuver round. (Although we all know that sadly not everybody who desires a sporty-looking automotive desires a real, guide shifter.)



Having to press buttons felt like I used to be in a knockoff of one thing like an Aston Martin DB11, which has buttons as a result of it prices greater than some good homes and it may do what it desires. In any case, I hear wealthy individuals like that type of stuff. Reaching for them throughout fast three-point turns in visitors was by no means intuitive.

The backup digital camera additionally isn’t the very best quality at evening, however backup cameras aren’t my fashion anyway. Until the seat is giving me a again therapeutic massage, I often desire bare-bones expertise in vehicles anyway.


From the skin, the A-Spec seems to be like an costly automotive and it seems to be like one the client spent numerous time mulling over. However whenever you open the door and sit inside, you get the vibe of a primary Honda from 2006—minus the touch-screens and navigation, that’s. There isn’t a lot happening, the styling doesn’t seize your consideration, and it doesn’t really feel like a $46,000 automotive.

The Alcantara seats—a suede-like materials—didn’t really feel like one thing that belonged in such an expensive automotive, more than likely as a result of we people have been conditioned to equate sitting on cow hides with luxurious and costly issues. Hey, we’re not resistant to it.



It simply didn’t have the fanciness on the within that you just’d count on from one thing with that price ticket. The stitching on the steering wheel additionally seems to be like I, being unexperienced with any form of stitching gadgets and the kind of one who would sew a few my fingers collectively on accident, did it with a blindfold on.

What actually makes this automotive even shut to value its MSRP is the all-wheel drive, which is so steady it may make you are feeling comfy doing a timed lap round a shallow swamp.

The issue with the AWD being among the best options is that, at such a excessive worth level, there are many different issues you possibly can afford on the market which have those self same driving capabilities—not a lot “efficiency,” however capacity to deal with antagonistic situations on the street nicely—with extra spectacular interiors and higher precise efficiency.

Who’s It For?

I spent a very long time considering on the client for this automotive—who the particular person may be, their targets in a every day driver, and issues alongside these traces. Towards the tip of my week with the automotive, I realized: The A-Spec is for the one who desires sporty, younger seems to be out of a car, however doesn’t need all of that packed into the automotive.



And that’s a effective particular person to be. It isn’t the kind of particular person you’d in all probability run into at a automotive meet or stuffing their face with ice cream to numb the ache of shedding America’s V8, guide Chevy SS sedan, but it surely’s somebody who desires all of their buddies to suppose they’ve good style in trendy vehicles with out really wanting the efficiency that comes with that style.

The automotive can be extremely sensible for somebody who desires house out of a sedan—it’s a giant automotive total, and the trunk is gigantic. Hauling my a great deal of recycling didn’t even make me suppose twice, and I’ve numerous recycling as a result of I’m getting married in two months and packages arrive on the door day-after-day. It’s an Acura, too, so presumably it gives you fewer complications than one thing European.

The one drawback with the A-Spec for that type of purchaser is the worth level. It’s excellent for somebody who doesn’t need to do the analysis or spend the time testing new vehicles to see which one is the perfect worth for the cash, as a result of it truly is naked on the within for a $46,000 automotive. Worst of all, it makes the cardinal sin of being a poser automotive—one thing that appears like a sport sedan, however actually is just not. And that’s one thing we discover unforgivable.

It seems to be good, although. It’s received that going for it.

Extra materials from Patrick George, who additionally not too long ago examined a TLX A-Spec in New York and was equally unimpressed.


2018 Acura TLX A-Spec

For Every day Driving… A

Roomy, sensible, presumably dependable

For The Fanatic… D

Appears to be like actually enjoyable however is just not enjoyable


Four-Door Sedan


three.5-liter V6 • 9-speed Automated • AWD


290 HP • 267 LB-FT


3617 LBS


$33,000 • $46,000 Examined

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