The X on the badge of the compact luxury Acura TLX unveiled at the Detroit auto show Tuesday doesn’t mean experimental, as show cars often are. It’s actually an Ohio-developed and built evolution of the slightly longer Acura TL sport luxury sedan that the new TLX is tagged to replace in the middle of 2014.
The TLX was introduced as a “prototype,” but the car is very close to what will be available soon: A new sleeker body encompassing a host of available sophisticated driving assists that are intended to make the car feel more secure and capable on the road.
In addition, the new TLX claims to accommodate five passengers in even more comfort and style, according to Acura, a division of Honda.
Acura says the new TLX keeps the same interior dimensions and wheelbase as the current TL sedan, which starts at about $37,000, although it’s almost four inches shorter.
The more compact size is meant to make the car look more sporty, says the company, and the resulting lighter weight allows more efficiency and more nimble driving behavior. Two systems that support this are Acura’s so-called “Super Handling All Wheel Drive” and its next generation of “Precision All Wheel Steer.”
Engines available are the familiar 2.5-liter four-cylinder and 3.5-liter V-6, although exact outputs haven’t been released. The four-cylinder engine will be attached to a new eight-speed dual clutch automatically shifting transmission, which is unique in that it also has a torque converter like a conventional automatic. The V-6, which features cylinder deactivation, will use a nine-speed conventional automatic, and this combination will be the only driveline to have the optional all-wheel drive system.
Active noise control and comprehensive passive sound deadening improvements are also claimed to help the new TLX achieve luxury car comfort levels, while variable driving modes allow the driver to select more sporting settings for noise, climate control, throttle position and response, and transmission programming to make the car more fun to drive.