Making a play off of the company’s racing legacy, Acura will be rolling out a hotter-looking version of their TLX luxury sports sedan. Okay, let’s get real here for a moment: What we, okay Acura (nee’ Honda) is talking about here with the new TLX GT Package is basically a body kit that makes the (relatively) big four-door appear a little bit more sporty and aggressive.
There are no mods to the interior. There are no upgrades to the drivetrain, or the brakes or the shocks, or any of that.
When you tic the box for the GT Package, what you get is a rear decklid spoiler, a front spoiler, side sill garnishes (which sound like some sort of salad accouterments), and a rear underbody spoiler, which is, most likely, an aerodynamically questionable diffuser of some sort. You can also opt-in for a 19-inch Diamond Cut wheel and tire kit.
No, I’m not sure what “Diamond Cut” means either, but it sounds pretentious.
Acura says they came out with the TLX GT Package to echo their “rich legacy in sports car racing,” including their just-completed campaign of the TLX GT car in the Pirelli World Challenge.
Okay, so they just ran the Pirelli World Challenge; why not celebrate a little?
I’m not really going to begrudge them that. Acura is if they have a rep at all, kind of a conservative and staid corporate culture. No, they’re not as blue-nosed as, oh, Rolls Royce, but no one is going to mistake them for the automotive equivalent of Bootsy Collins either. So let’em have a little fun, okay?
Hey, it’s not like Acura is any slouch in the racing department. They won the 2009 American LeMans manufacturer, driver, and team championships in both the LMP1 and LMP2 classes – which is no small feat. And the aforementioned running of the TLX GT in the Pirelli World Challenge netted 10 Manufacturers’ Championships, 14 Drivers’ Championships, and 78 race victories.
And, the Acura TLX isn’t like some pig of a car that the GT Package is being affixed to either.
Like I said, it’s relatively big for a Japanese car. Acura notes it as a “spacious five-passenger sedan,” but no auto manufacturers ever call their products “cramped,” do they? Then again, no one is going to mistake it for a 70s-era Chrysler New Yorker when it comes to bigness.
Since this is the early 21st century, and we’re talking about a Japanese company here, there’s a big bowl full of alphabet soup techno goodies dumped over the car.
There’s Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS), next-generation Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), and Agile Handling Assist (AHA). The first two are (seemingly) self-explanatory. Still, I have to guess that Agile Handling Assist (AHA, no not A-Ha, the Norwegian new wave-ish band from the ’80s (thankfully)) is some sort of ABS/Traction Control gizmo that intervenes if you start driving like a nit-wit.
There’s the Acura TLX with a 2.4-liter, 206-horsepower i-VTEC inline-4 with an 8-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (8DCT). It’s complete with a torque converter and P-AWS, which is as close to a “base” model as Acura is likely to get. But! Technical question! How can the transmission have both a Dual Clutch Transmission and torque converter? Doesn’t having a DCT imply this is a semi-auto box? Yes, yes it does.
But a torque converter means that it has all that slushy devilry of an automatic . . . I am confused.
In the middle of the TLX range there is the 3.5-liter, 290-horsepower i-VTEC V-6 with a 9-speed automatic transmission and P-AWS. I am trying everso hard not to laugh when I type out “P-AWS” – c’mon Acura, do you have to be that cute? Can’t you leave the Hello Kitty/ Badtz Maru/anime stuff to another end of the company?
And finally, there’s the range-topping TLX SH-AWD with next-generation SH-AWD. This ride is motivated by a 3.5-liter V-6 plant cranking out 290 horsepower and putting it to the tarmac via a 9-speed automatic and all four tires.
Styling Meets Performance
There’s a new body kit available for the Acura TLX. Getting it and the “Diamond Cut” wheels isn’t necessarily a bad idea, and it might dress up the car to a needed degree. But we’ll leave that up to the buyer. The new TLX GT Package will be available for all 2016 and 2017 TLX models at dealers nationwide. In case you want to observe what it looks like, the TLX in its new GT guise will be on display in Las Vegas at the 2016 SEMA Show, November 1st through the 4th.
Us? We’re going to try and figure out how to shoe-horn that 290 horsepower V-6 into a first-gen Civic . . . maybe where the back seat is?
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.