The new Acura TLX 2021 has finally been revealed with a series of eye-catching tweaks, redesigned the creation language and the application of state-of-the-art technology. With that improvement, 2021 Acura TLX promises to enhance the comfort and reliability.
Under the hood of the Acura TLX 2021 is a 2-liter turbocharged engine that produces 272 hp and 379 Nm of torque. Power has increased 66 hp and 133 Nm compared to the contemporary 4-cylinder engine. The new model is equipped with a 10-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift technology. Front-wheel drive is standard while all-wheel drive is optional. The drive system can distribute 70% of the engine torque to the rear wheels during normal driving.
The all-new 2021 TLX is the first Acura sedan created from the ground up based on Acura’s Precision Crafted Performance brand direction. It continues the performance focus of Acura established with the launch of the second-generation NSX supercar, the brand’s return to motorsports competition, and by new approaches to Acura design and technology first seen in the Acura Precision Concept and Precision Cockpit and later evolved in the Acura Type S Concept and in the newest-generation Acura RDX.
The 2021 Acura TLX takes a dramatic step forward as the most performance-focused sedan Acura has ever offered, built on an all-new platform, developed exclusively for TLX, and geared to the desires of today’s sport sedan enthusiast.
This new generation of TLX also marks the return of Acura’s celebrated Type S performance line after more than a decade-long hiatus. The new TLX Type S will supplant previous models as the most potent Type S model ever, deriving power from an all-new 3.0-liter DOHC turbochargedm V-6 engine developed exclusively for Acura and Type S. Moreover, the new TLX Type S will be the first Type S to utilize Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®), now in its fourth-generation of advancement.
The TLX sport sedan and its predecessor, the TL sedan, are historically Acura’s top-selling sedan models, with cumulative U.S. sales of more than 1.1 million units since the launch of the first-generation TL in 1995. Since the launch of the second-generation model, in 1998 (1999 model year), all TL and TLX models have been designed, developed and manufactured in the U.S. using domestic and globally sourced parts.
The new TLX launches on the heels of a successful new RDX sport-utility and integrates a number of the next-generation Acura technologies and features first deployed on RDX, including its 2.0-liter turbo engine, 4th-generation SH-AWD®, ELS Studio 3D® Premium Audio, 16-way sports seats, and the latest iteration of Acura’s innovative True TouchPad Interface™.
The 2021 Acura TLX launches with four distinct grades: TLX, TLX with Technology Package, TLX A-Spec, and TLX with Advance Package. Eight exterior colors grace the exterior, including five premium colors: Phantom Violet Pearl (new), Majestic Black Pearl, Performance Red Pearl, Platinum White Pearl and Apex Blue Pearl. Interior color schemes, depending on grade and exterior color, include Ebony, Expresso, Parchment, Graystone and, for A-Spec, Ebony or Red with Black Ultrasuede® inserts.
Design and Packaging
The Acura TLX’s bold yet clean exterior form draws heavily upon the Acura Precision Concept with its near-exotic stance and proportion, sheer body surfacing and dramatic character lines. The TLX’s more distinctive and premium presence is founded in its reconstituted exterior dimensions – a 3.7-inch longer wheelbase, 2.2-inch wider body, 0.5-inch lower height, and 7.8-inch longer dash-to-axle dimension. The resulting effect is stance and proportion unlike anything in its segment. Moreover, the TLX’s long wheelbase, wider tracks (+1.2 in. front and +1.6 in. rear) and wider wheels and tires (+0.5 to 1.0 in.) contribute to the TLX’s more athletic driving dynamics and refined ride quality.
The Acura TLX’s new look is highlighted by signature Acura design cues first seen on the Acura Type S Concept, starting with an all-LED lighting package that includes next-generation 4-lamp Acura JewelEye™ headlights, “Chicane” daytime running lights and taillights inspired by the ARX-05 DPi race car, along with a new, wider Diamond Pentagon grille, upswept rear deck, and large dual exhausts finishers.
Exclusive New Body and Chassis
The 2021 TLX is built on an all-new, Acura-exclusive body and chassis architecture designed for Type S levels of driving performance and shared across the full TLX lineup. The new Acura sedan platform heralds the return of the double wishbone front suspension as a foundational component of the TLX’s handling prowess.
In addition to the double wishbone front suspension, the TLX chassis employs a multitude of performance-focused technology and engineering upgrades. These include a new high-capacity, belt-driven and variable-ratio electric power steering system, NSX-derived electro-servo brake-by-wire technology, and available Adaptive Damper System, which provides for more responsive and also customizable ride and handling performance.
The Acura TLX’s new chassis is anchored to an advanced new body structure – the most rigid ever offered on an Acura sedan – delivering major gains in rigidity, including a 50 percent increase in global torsional stiffness and up to a 100 percent improvement in localized rigidity, where the suspension is mounted to the body. The new structure uses 64 percent (by weight) advanced, lightweight materials, such as aluminum and press-hardened steel, more than any previous Acura sedan.
An ultra-rigid new center tunnel serves as the backbone of the TLX’s higher structural rigidity and is complimented by triangulated front strut tower bars, front and rear underfloor braces, and Acura-first cast-aluminum front shock tower mounts. Front-to-rear weight balance is also improved by the extensive use of aluminum, including in the front bumper, hood, front fenders and front shock tower mounts, along with the relocation of the 12-volt battery from the engine bay to the trunk.
The 2021 TLX’s new standard powertrain is the same 2.0-liter DOHC, direct injected and turbocharged engine and 10-speed automatic transmission that debuted in the latest-generation RDX sport-utility vehicle. The 2.0-liter turbo, with peak output of 272 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque, boasts the highest standard horsepower in the TLX’s core competitive set and delivers major gains in torque when compared to the previous model’s normally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 (+13 lb.-ft. at peak, +48 from low rpms) and its normally aspirated 2.4-liter 4-cylinder (+98 lb.-ft. at peak, +123 from low rpms).
Acura’s 10-speed automatic (10AT) offers a wider ratio range, more discrete gears, 4-gear direct downshifts, and a lower first gear for exceptional launch performance when compared to the previous 9AT, making exceptional use of the new turbo engine’s high torque output.
All grades of TLX can be equipped with the latest generation of Acura Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®), with performance-elevating torque-vectoring capability.
Acura’s 4th-generation SH-AWD® system has 40 percent more rear torque capacity and 30 percent quicker front-to-rear torque transfer than the 3rd-generation system in the previous TLX. The system can transfer up to 70 percent of engine torque to the rear axle, continuously apportioning 100 percent of that rear-axle torque between the left and right rear wheels. Additionally, the rear axle is continuously overdriven by 2.9 percent, which amplifies the yaw moment effect of left-to-right torque transfer, elevating performance through sharper and more accurate turn-in, enhanced and improved traceability when cornering.
Sport Sedan Cockpit
Inside, the 2021 Acura TLX’s more premium, personal and technologically sophisticated cabin is designed around the needs and desires of today’s luxury sport sedan enthusiasts, offering first-class seating comfort for the driver and front passenger, with exceptional hip, elbow and shoulder room courtesy of its wider body design. Overall passenger volume is slightly increased (+0.1 cu.-ft.).
In keeping with Acura’s commitment to both performance and premium quality, the TLX cockpit eschews old-world opulence for a sharp and modern “cockpit” design with the tasteful integration of authentic, high-grade materials, including aluminum, open-pore wood, and full-grain, top-stitched Milano leather. For a more personalized cabin environment, the TLX with Technology Package features the new IconicDrive™ interior LED ambient lighting system with 27 selectable color themes. Three of those themes are tied to the Integrated Dynamics System, one each for Comfort, Normal and Sport modes, with an additional 24 themes named after iconic destinations and driving circuits.
The 2021 TLX utilizes the full array of Acura’s newest and most advanced comfort, convenience and connectivity technologies, including the innovative and driver-oriented Acura True Touchpad Interface™ featuring a high-mounted 10.2-inch HD display and “absolute positioning” touchpad; a full-color 7-inch Multi-Information Display (MID) in the center gauge cluster, and an available 10.5-inch Head-Up Display (HUD); along with an available 17-speaker, 710-watt ELS Studio 3D® Premium Audio system, and available 16-way power adjustable heated and ventilated Acura sport seats for both the driver and front-seat passenger (12-way seats standard for both front-seat occupants).
The new TLX’s True Touchpad Interface integrates the latest OS updates with improved touchpad performance by implementing more accurate swipe zones and handwriting recognition, as well as other performance and cybersecurity enhancements. The TLX’s True Touchpad Interface adds a more ergonomically optimized palm rest. Also, new console-mounted Power, Volume and Seek controls, next to the touchpad improve usability. The 2021 TLX features AcuraLink™ cloud-based services, including in-vehicle 4GLTE Wi-Fi, vehicle location, geofencing, and Acura concierge services.
Integrated Dynamics System with New Individual Mode
The new Acura TLX offers a more personalized driving and cabin experience with its new Integrated Dynamics System, incorporating a multitude of powertrain, chassis and other systems, all tied into the center console-mounted, NSX-inspired Drive Mode Dial.
The new Integrated Dynamics System features Comfort, Normal and Sport modes, that integrate the Drive-By-Wire™ throttle, transmission, SH-AWD, steering, Adaptive Dampers (with Advance Package), along with Active Sound Control, idle stop functionality and ambient cabin lighting. Additionally, the new Individual mode allows the driver to choose their own ideal settings for each of these systems to create a fully personalized driving experience. Once programmed, Individual mode is activated very simply, in one step, by pressing the Acura symbol at the center of the drive mode dial.
Advanced Safety and Driver-Technologies
As an integral part of Acura Precision Crafted Performance, the new TLX is designed to provide advanced levels of both passive and active safety, utilizing the latest generation of Acura’s proprietary Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure and a full suite of AcuraWatch® safety and driver-assistive technologies, along with the first-ever application of the next-generation front passenger airbag technology, designed to protect occupants in a broader range of frontal collisions, including oblique-angle impacts.
The new TLX targets the highest available third-party safety ratings, a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), and a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), including a GOOD rating in all collision tests and a SUPERIOR rating for frontal crash prevention, both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian.
All new Acura TLX models come equipped with AcuraWatch® technology, incorporating new features, including Traffic Sign Recognition, Driver Attention Monitor, and new Traffic Jam Assist (enables Lane Keeping capability at speeds below 45mph). In addition, AcuraWatch features include Collision Mitigation Brake System™ (CMBS™) with pedestrian sensing and Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS) with Lane Depart Warning (LDW), Road Departure Mitigation, and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow.
Additional standard driver-assistive features include a new Driver Attention Monitor, Multi-Angle Rear View Camera with dynamic guidelines, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control, and in-wheel tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS); while upper grades add features including Blind Spot Information (BSI), Rear Cross Traffic Monitor, front and rear parking sensors, Surround View Camera System, and automatic high-beam headlights.
Design, Development and Manufacturing
Like all TLX and TL models since the 1999 Acura TL, the 2021 Acura TLX was designed, developed and manufactured in the U.S. Styling design was led by Acura Design in Torrance, California, while development was led by engineers in the company’s Raymond, Ohio R&D center. Engineering development of new 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine was led by the company’s Tochigi, Japan, R&D center and supported by powertrain experts in Ohio.
The new TLX will be manufactured at the company’s Marysville, Ohio, plant using domestic and globally sourced components. The TLX’s 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter turbocharged engines will be produced at the company’s Anna, Ohio, engine plant, also home to the NSX twin-turbocharged V6. Its 10-speed transmission will be manufactured in the company’s Tallapoosa, Georgia, plant. The rear differential and the torque-transfer unit for the SH-AWD® system are manufactured in the company’s Russels Point, Ohio manufacturing plant.
The 2021 TLX features a new generation of engine, transmission and driveline technology, with substantially increased performance across the full model range. The TLX’s new 272-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged in-line 4-cylinder engine is the most powerful standard engine in the model’s core competitive set.
The new turbo 4-cylinder engine offers substantially higher torque when compared to the previous model’s normally aspirated 2.4-liter 4-cylinder (+98 lb.-ft. at peak, +123 lb.-ft. from low rpms) and its optional 3.5-liter V6 (+13 lb.-ft. at peak, +48 lb.-ft. from low rpms).
Both 2021 Acura TLX engines are mated to an incredibly responsive and quick-shifting Acura-engineered 10-speed automatic transmission with a wider ratio range and more discrete ratios than the previous 9-speed automatic (TLX V6) and 8-speed Dual-Clutch Transmission (TLX 2.4L).
The TLX with the new 2.0-liter turbo is available with front wheel drive or with the latest generation of Acura Super-Handling All Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®)-using a fourth-generation rear differential with faster response and greater torque capacity.
Cylinder Block and Crankshaft
The TLX’s turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine uses a lightweight die-cast aluminum block with reinforced main bearing caps to minimize weight. Centrifugally cast-iron cylinder sleeves enhance durability. Each journal on the crankshaft is micro-polished to reduce mechanical friction.
Pistons and Connecting Rods
The Acura TLX’s engine has pistons with cavity-shaped crowns that help maintain stable combustion and contribute to improved efficiency. The lightweight pistons have a carefully optimized skirt design to minimize reciprocating weight, which reduces vibration and increases operating efficiency. The pistons are cooled by oil jets directed at the underside of each piston crown. Special cooling channels in the pistons also help modulate engine operating temperatures, while ion-plated piston rings further reduce friction. Lightweight, high-strength steel connecting rods are heat-forged in one piece and then “cold cracked” to create a lighter and stronger rod with an optimally fitted bearing cap.
Cylinder Head and Valvetrain
The direct-injected 2.0-liter VTEC Turbo® has a lightweight, low-pressure die-cast aluminum alloy double overhead cam (DOHC) cylinder head. With the exhaust manifold cast directly into the cylinder head, the use of a separate cast iron exhaust manifold is eliminated, reducing weight and simplifying assembly. The manifold is also liquid cooled to help keep heat in check and has a 4-into-1 design for improved fuel efficiency and responsiveness.
A low-friction, silent chain drives dual overhead cams that activate four valves per cylinder. The cam drive is maintenance free for the life of the engine. To further reduce weight, thin-wall hollow camshafts are used.
To benefit fuel efficiency, emissions and power, the engine uses sodium-filled exhaust valves. A hollow chamber within the valve contains sodium that is cooled by the exhaust port cooling jacket. Since the chamber is close to the valve head, the sodium helps to cool the entire valve; and since the valve is internally cooled, it doesn’t need the enriched fuel mixture that is generally used in turbo engines to help cool exhaust valves. The resultant leaner mixture reduces emissions and increases fuel efficiency and power.
The engine uses an advanced valve control system to combine high power output with high fuel efficiency and low emissions. The system combines intake and exhaust Variable Timing Control (dual VTC), which continuously adjusts the intake and exhaust camshaft phasing, with Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC), which changes valve lift, timing and duration of the exhaust valves.
The cylinder head incorporates small, 12-millimeter (M12) sparkplugs, down from the more common 14-millimeter (M14) size, to save space and weight. The head also includes direct-injection multi-hole wide-range fuel injectors with a small-diameter bore. High-pressure direct injection optimizes fuel atomization, allowing for more efficient combustion.
Dual Variable Timing Control (Dual VTC)
Dual VTC adjusts cam timing for the optimal balance of power and efficiency. Based on a range of sensor information, VTC adjusts an oil-control valve, which acts as a hydraulic actuator that can vary the position of each camshaft sprocket relative to the cam it drives. Under light loads, valve overlap can be increased to reduce pumping losses and improve fuel efficiency. When engine speed is low and the engine’s workload is high, such as during initial acceleration, the amount of overlap is increased to boost the scavenging effect, which improves torque and responsiveness.
The TLX’s Drive-by-Wire™ throttle uses smart electronics that “connect” the accelerator pedal to a throttle valve inside the throttle body. Acura’s Drive-by-Wire™ throttle evaluates and responds to varying driving conditions by monitoring throttle pedal position, throttle valve position, engine speed (rpm) and road speed.
The Acura TLX’s engine features a direct-injection system that enables increased torque across the engine’s full operating range, along with high fuel efficiency. The system features a compact, high-pressure, direct-injection pump that allows both high fuel flow and pulsation suppression, while variable pressure control optimizes injector operation. Multi-hole injectors deliver fuel directly into each cylinder, allowing for more efficient combustion.
Low Inertia Mono Scroll Turbo with Electric Wastegate and Intercooler
The TLX’s 2.0-liter turbo engine uses a mono-scroll turbocharger with a small-diameter, low-inertia turbine for maximum responsiveness. The mono scroll housing design helps the turbo build boost even at relatively small throttle openings and low engine rpm. The electrically actuated wastegate allows boost pressure to be precisely controlled.
A large, low-restriction intercooler is positioned low in the front of the car where it receives unobstructed airflow. The intercooler helps reduce the temperature of air entering the engine, increasing its density for greater performance. Intake air travels from the air filter, to the turbo compressor, on to the intercooler, then to the engine’s intake ports. To reduce weight, the turbo system is plumbed with lightweight resin-composite and aluminum inlet pipes.
Direct Ignition and Detonation/Knock Control
The TLX’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU) monitors engine functions to determine the best ignition spark timing. An engine block-mounted acoustic detonation/knock sensor “listens” to the engine, and based on this input, the ECU can retard the ignition timing to prevent potentially damaging detonation. The inline 4-cylinder engine has an ignition coil unit for each cylinder that is positioned above each spark plug’s access bore.
To help improve fuel efficiency, the TLX is equipped with Idle-Stop capability that automatically shuts off the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver releases the brake pedal after a stop, or pushes the accelerator pedal if the Automatic Brake Hold is active.
The 2021 TLX uses new control logic for more intuitive Idle-Stop operation. Previously, when the driver brought the vehicle to a stop, the engine would automatically stop; however, when the driver selected “P” (Park), the engine would sometimes restart. Now, in this situation, the engine remains off.
The Acura TLX engine’s exhaust manifold is cast directly into the aluminum-alloy cylinder head to reduce weight and complexity, and to position the primary catalytic converter as close as possible to the combustion chambers. The turbocharger is mounted to the exhaust port of the cylinder head, and a high-efficiency catalytic converter mounts directly to the turbocharger turbine exit for extremely rapid converter activation after engine startup.
10-Speed Automatic Transmission
All 2021 Acura TLX models are equipped with a 10-speed automatic transmission (10AT). Engineered for high efficiency with low internal inertia and an exceptionally wide ratio range, the 10AT maximizes the TLX’s performance and fuel efficiency. Compared with the previous TLX’s 9-speed automatic that was paired with the available V-6, the 10AT has a 3.3-percent wider overall ratio range with a 13.5-percent lower (numerically higher) first gear. Compared to the previous 8DCT in the 2.4-liter TLX, the new 10AT offers a 59.2 percent wider ratio range and 33.7 percent lower first gear.
The 10AT is designed to be lightweight and compact. It features four planetary gear sets that work together to provide an exceptionally wide ratio spread of 10.139:1 compared with 9.82:1 on the previous-generation TLX V-6’s 9-speed unit and 6.37:1 on the previous 8DCT.
The 10-speed also has substantially faster shift performance than the previous-generation 9-speed transmission. For greater responsiveness, the 10AT can make 4-gear direct downshifts, such as from 10 to 6, or from 7 to 3, enabling quick acceleration for merging or passing. To maximize fuel efficiency and minimize engine noise when cruising, 10th gear ratio is an exceptionally tall 1.857:1.
Shift-By-Wire Gear Selector
The 2021 TLX uses a fully electronic, shift-by-wire gear selector. Park, Neutral and Drive are selected with the push of a button. Reverse is selected by pulling back a dedicated switch. Indicator lights on or next to the buttons indicate the mode selected. Also, if the vehicle is brought to a stop in Drive or Reverse, the system will automatically select Park if the driver’s seatbelt is unbuckled and the driver’s door is opened. Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters let the driver take manual control of transmission gear selection.
The 10-speed automatic transmission can be operated in two fully automatic modes: The D (or “Drive”) mode is ideal for most driving situations and combines fuel efficiency with smooth operation and responsive power when needed. The S (or “Sequential” mode) is meant for more spirited or demanding driving in 1st through 8th gears and features more aggressive shift mapping to keep engine speeds (rpm) higher for greater acceleration and pulling power.
In D mode, the transmission incorporates an advanced Grade Logic Control System, Shift Hold Control and Cornering G Shift Control – all of which reduce unwanted shifting and gear hunting. The result is smart transmission operation that optimizes fuel efficiency and keeps the transmission in the appropriate gear for driving conditions, offering excellent performance and smooth operation.
Grade Logic Control
While ascending or descending hills, Grade Logic Control alters the transmission’s shift schedule to reduce shift frequency and improve speed control, helping to minimize driver workload. The transmission ECU continually measures throttle position, vehicle speed and acceleration/deceleration to determine when the vehicle is on a hill. The shift schedule is then adjusted – during ascents to hold the transmission in lower gears to boost climbing power, and during descents to provide greater engine braking.
Shift Hold Control
Shift Hold Control keeps the transmission in its current (lower) gear ratio during aggressive driving, as in the case of decelerating at a corner entry. Shift Hold Control leaves the chassis undisturbed by eliminating excess shifting and ensures that power will be more immediately available (without a downshift) at the corner exit.
Cornering G Shift Control
Cornering G Shift Control monitors the speed of each rear wheel independently to determine when the TLX is turning. When the system detects a sufficient speed differential between the rear wheels, it will suppress any unwanted upshifts. This prevents the transmission from upshifting during a corner which could upset the chassis balance, thus requiring downshifting again at the corner exit when the throttle is applied.
The Acura TLX features dual steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Particularly useful in mountainous terrain or during spirited driving, the paddles give the driver greater control over transmission operation. On long downgrades, the driver can command downshifts with the paddles that allow increased engine braking to reduce the load on the brakes and help control the TLX’s downhill speed. A-Spec models get paddle shifters with a metal finish.
Paddle Shifter Operation in Drive Mode
While in Drive mode, special transmission logic programming allows the use of the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. When the driver operates the paddle shifters, the transmission responds to the driver’s shift command and then returns to its normal fully automatic mode if further paddle shift inputs are not made within a few seconds, depending upon driving conditions. This special logic makes it easy for the driver to command a quick downshift without leaving the convenience of Drive mode. This temporary manual mode can be cancelled at the driver’s will by holding the right-side paddle for two seconds, and the transmission will resume “Drive.”
Paddle Shifter Operation in Sequential Mode (Sequential SportShift)
By selecting the “S” position, Sequential mode is engaged. This mode offers automatic operation with more aggressive shift mapping and locks out operation of 9th and 10th gears. A pull on either of the paddle shifters places the transmission in fully manual mode until another mode of operation is selected. A digital display in the instrument cluster indicates which gear the transmission is in. The Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system creates a “blip” of the throttle to help match gear speeds while downshifting.
Transmission Operational Backstops
To prevent harm to the powertrain when the transmission is paddle shifted by the driver, the system will inhibit potentially damaging shifts. As an added safety measure, the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) can also cut off fuel to the engine to prevent over-revving. If fuel cutoff is insufficient to prevent engine over-revving, as might be possible when the vehicle is on a steep downhill, the transmission will automatically upshift to prevent damage. On downshifts, the transmission will not execute a driver command that will over-rev the engine.
For improved stop-and-go performance and to help prevent “lugging” the engine, the transmission will automatically downshift even though the transmission has been left in a higher gear as the vehicle comes to a stop.
Both shift performance and smoothness are improved by cooperative control between the Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system and the electronically controlled transmission. The engine is throttled by the engine management system during upshifts and downshifts so the function of the engine and transmission can be closely choreographed for faster, smoother shifting. As a result, peak g-forces (or “shift shock”) are reduced significantly during upshifts and downshifts.
The Acura TLX offers standard front-wheel drive. With its efficient design and light weight, the TLX with front-wheel drive receives EPA fuel economy ratings of 22 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, 25 mpg combined. The TLX A-Spec with front-wheel drive receives EPA fuel economy ratings of 22 mpg city, 30 highway, 25 mpg combined.
Super Handling All-Wheel Drive System™ (SH-AWD®)
The TLX is available with the fourth generation of Acura’s acclaimed Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®), which progressively distributes optimum torque not only between the front and rear axles, but also between the left and right rear wheels for more precise and exhilarating handling response across a wide variety of road conditions.
First introduced on the 2019 RDX, the new 4th-gen SH-AWD® rear differential has enhancements to upgrade its torque capacity and response. Compared to the previous-generation TLX, maximum rear axle torque capacity has been increased by 40 percent. In normal conditions, up to 70 percent of torque can be sent to the rear axle, and 100 percent of that torque can be distributed to either the left or right rear wheels. The rear wheels also receive torque 30 percent faster than the previous-generation TLX.
When cornering, SH-AWD® distributes more torque to the outside rear wheel, creating a yaw moment to help turn the vehicle through corners – making for more accurate turns, reducing understeer and improving controllability. With cornering forces more evenly distributed between front and rear tires, the ability to utilize more torque is increased – on wet or dry roads. The system also overdrives the rear axle by 2.9 percent, which amplifies the yaw effect of lateral rear-wheel torque distribution when cornering.
Electronic Controls and Parameters
The SH-AWD® system works in cooperation with the TLX’s Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) system and Agile Handling Assist to optimize torque distribution for superior handling and traction utilization. The Electronic Control Unit (ECU) provides information on engine rpm, airflow and transmission gear-ratio selection, while the VSA® ECU provides wheel-speed data. The SH-AWD® ECU also monitors steering angle, lateral g-forces, vehicle yaw rate and electrohydraulic clutch engagement for the right and left rear axle shafts. Drive torque is calculated by the ECU, and then the acceleration, wheel spin, lateral G-force and steering angle are used to determine the front-to-rear torque distribution and the torque split between right and left rear wheels.
SH-AWD® System Layout
The TLX SH-AWD® is a full-time all-wheel-drive system that requires no driver interaction or monitoring, thanks to a torque-transfer unit that is bolted directly to the front-mounted transaxle. The torque-transfer unit receives torque through a spline connection that is part of the front differential housing. A set of helical gear shafts and a hypoid gear set within the torque-transfer unit sends power to the propeller shaft, which in turn transfers power to the rear differential. To optimize the unique packaging needs of the TLX, a “high mount” torque-transfer unit from the front transaxle is used.
The Acura TLX’s lightweight SH-AWD® rear differential utilizes an electric motor that powers a pair of hydraulic pumps – one for each clutch pack. A pair of linear solenoids controlled by the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) selectively sends pressure to the clutch packs, which in turn control the amount of power sent to each rear wheel.
The hydraulically operated clutches can be controlled as a pair to alter front/rear torque split, or they can be controlled independently to allow up to 70 percent of available engine torque to go to either rear wheel, which gives the system the unique ability to create yaw moment that increased cornering grip and line traceability.
The fourth-generation SH-AWD® system offers 30-percent quicker front-to-rear torque transfer compared to the third-generation SH-AWD® system, achieved by the adoption of a shorter hydraulic circuit and a higher-torque electric motor that drives the rear differential’s twin hydraulic pumps. The hydraulic circuit was also optimized for more consistent response time at the left and right rear wheels.
100,000-Mile Tune-up Intervals
The Acura TLX powerplant requires no scheduled maintenance for 100,000 miles or more, other than periodic inspections and normal fluid and filter replacements. The first tune-up includes water pump inspection, valve adjustment and the installation of new spark plugs.
To eliminate unnecessary service stops while ensuring that the vehicle is properly maintained, the TLX has a Maintenance Minder™ system that continually monitors the vehicle’s operating condition. When maintenance is required, the driver is alerted via a message on the Driver Information Interface (DII).
The new 2021 Acura TLX exudes bold sportiness and incorporates leading-edge modern technology, typically by replacing a dual-screen setup with a single 10.2-inch infotainment system.