The Acura TLX, refreshed for 2018, goes on sale June 1st. Acura says it’s more sporty and alluring to better indicate the brand’s new design direction. In addition to a little nip here and a little tuck there, expect an all-new TLX A-Spec variant with new premium features. Acura has also added AcuraWatch as standard equipment on all TLX models, plus the current suite of advanced safety and driver-assist tech.
Before we dive into the minutiae here, let me just say that “TLX” is a pretty horrid name for a car. It’s not even a name. It’s three, seemingly random letters affixed to the car and left at that. What does it stand for? Total Luxury Experimental? Tricky Looking X-ray? No, what it stands for is, “we’re completely bereft of ideas and have no style.”
So, for 2018, Acura’s TLX gets a mid-cycle face lift. You get some sheet metal that’s been updated here and there, a few new bits and bobs, a new engine variant, but overall, not much to distinguish it from the previous versions. That will come soon, when a full update hits the street. For now, the 2018 TLX gets a redesigned dual-screen user interface, a new 7-inch capacitive touchscreen, and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay compatibility.
The design refresh for 2018 highlights Acura’s diamond pentagon grille, and takes other design cues from the Acura Precision Concept. Acura says it “boasts an alluring new style,” but ultimately that will be up to the buying public to decide. The hood is more sharply sculpted along with the front fenders for a more aggressive and sporty front and rear. They point out the “signature 5-lamp Jewel Eye LED headlights,” which is a silly name for a fussy over-design. There are also new alloy wheels, so that’s a plus.
All TLX V6 models get a new rear diffuser with exposed dual-exhaust outlets. The Technology Package adds a chrome side sill garnish, comfy leather seats with high-contrast stitching and piping, and a power-operated driver’s seat thigh extension. The Advance Package has new features such as trapezoidal LED fog lights, a Surround View camera system, a built-in wireless charging pad, and white LED ambient interior light piping. The steering wheel is heated along with the rear outboard seats. You also get power-folding side mirrors and a new body-colored decklid spoiler.
The 2018 TLX V6 A-Spec aims to be the performer of the bunch. Styling-wise, the A-Spec gets a unique matte-black diamond pentagon grille with a dark chrome surround. There’s a more aggressive lower front fascia with a broad center air intake flanked by round LED fog lights. The A-Spec wears exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels in Shark Gray paint with 245-series tires.
These fit nicely with the flared side sills, giving a more athletic and planted stance. Out back, there’s a gloss-black decklid spoiler, smoked LED taillights, rear fascia with a lower diffuser, and 4-inch round dual exhaust finishers. The side window surrounds are matte-black, and there’s A-Spec badging on the front fenders and rear decklid.
On the inside, the A-Spec gets more aggressively bolstered front seats with high-contrast stitching and piping, plus red LED ambient light – I’m guessing for that U-Boat look to go along with the red driver’s meter highlights. The headliner is black as is the pillar treatment, all of which contrasts with the brushed aluminum-look instrument panel garnish. A-Spec buyers also get an exclusive, thick-rimmed steering wheel with A-Spec badging.
Performance & Pricing
Overall grip is up thanks to Michelin Primacy 245/40R19 tires. The electric power steering system and damper settings have been retuned. If you go for the SH-AWD on your A-Spec, you’ll get a quicker steering ratio, stiffer spring rate, and a rear stabilizer bar for improved body control. The new 2018 TLX 2.4L starts at $33,000 while the V6 models start at $36,200; the TLX V6 A-Spec starts at $42,800. The charts below from Acura show more details.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.
Newly styled front fascia, hood and front fenders
Restyled Jewel Eye™ LED headlights with auto on/off and auto high beam
LED daytime running lights and turn signals
Dark Burl/Acoustic wood interior appliques
ODMD 2.0 user interface with capacitive touchscreen
Apple CarPlay compatibility
Android Auto compatibility
Sirius XM 2.0
Full-color TFT driver’s meter
New 17″ 10-spoke alloy wheels
AcuraWatch™ suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies (now standard)
2.4-liter Technology Package (adds to TLX 2.4L):
HD Radio with Digital Traffic
3.5-liter V6 (adds to 2.4-liter TLX):
New rear fascia design with chrome accents
Exposed dual exhausts outlets
3.5-liter V6 TLX Technology Package (adds to TLX V6):
HD Radio with Digital Traffic
New seat styling with high-contrast stitching and piping