2018 Acura TLX A-Spec: Luxury Performance [Review]

2018 Acura TLX V6 A-Spec
Can the 2018 TLX V6 A-Spec return Acura’s mojo to the people? [photo: Acura USA]
Acura, Honda’s luxury division, flew me out to Louisville, Kentucky for the introduction of what they refer to as the “refreshed” model 2018 Acura TLX A-Spec. They also showed off the more pedestrian TLX. Both fall into the performance luxury sedan category.


There will continue to be two propulsion choices: a 2.4-liter inline four cylinder and a 3.5-liter, SOHC, 16-valve i-VTEC V6 engine with Direct Injection and Variable Cylinder Management. The V6 produces 290 horsepower at 6,200 rpm along with 267 pound feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. The V6 mates to a 9-speed sequential SportShift automatic transmission with paddle shifters, a shift-by-wire gear selector, Grade Logic Control System and Shift Hold Control, while the 2.4-liter models mate to an 8-speed automatic gearbox.

All trims will be equipped with the AcuraWatch safety enhancement suite including Autonomous Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, and Road Departure Mitigation.

All 3.5-liter powered models are available in either FWD or with SH-AWD. The FWD models are equipped with Precision All Wheel Steering (PAW-S). Steering is Electrically Powered Motion Adaptive. Pricing ranges from $33,000. to $43,750. Add $950 for Destination and Handling and another $2,000 for SH-AWD. The base prices for the V6 powered Advance models with AWD I drove were: $43,750. As tested prices were $46,700. for the Advance SH-AWD and $45,750 for the A-Spec SH-AWD.

The TLX you want is the V6 with SH-AWD. [photo: Acura USA]


Both the 2018 Acura TLX Advance and TLX a-Spec share the same mechanicals, but the A-Spec delivers a sportier aura and ride with its Sport Tuned suspension, with stiffer damping rate, larger stabilizer bars, quicker steering ratio and enhanced engine sound. The 3.5-liter Direct Injected V6 provides more than ample get up and go, while delivering smooth gear changes up and down.

The Motion Adaptive electric power steering was spot on through the twisties and back roads of Kentucky, always with a positive on-center feel and immediate responsiveness to driver input. Both Acura TLX versions serve up a comfortable, but planted and stable ride quality,  especially with the SH-AWD and PAW-S. Piloting over narrow, curvy rural roads rendered a smoothness and preciseness that was literally ballet-like.

Acura’s Integrated Dynamic System provides four settings: ECON; Normal; Sport; and Sport+, allowing the driver to customize handling, powertrain and HVAC settings through two Shift Logic selections. Sport+ provides the most satisfying performance attributes.

The A-Spec cabin of the TLX embodies Acura’s luxury performance vibe to a T. [photo: Acura USA]


Inside the cabin is a refined feeling of luxury that provides roomy comfort and support for five. The TLX’s two-screen center stack interface features a new simplified menu structure for faster operation and enhanced ease of use. Gauges and switchgear are optimally arranged and user friendly. The cabin of the TLX V6 A-Spec features more aggressively bolstered front seats, an A-Spec badged thick-rimmed steering wheel, red driver’s meter highlights, black headliner and pillar treatment, brushed aluminum-look interior trim, stainless steel driver’s footrest, and front and rear door sill trim.

A Multi-Angle Rearview Camera comes as standard fare, and a newly available Surround-View Camera System comes standard with the Advance Package. A-Spec and Advance Packages also include a wireless charging pad in the front console for charging compatible devices. The Smart Entry Keyless Access System with front door and trunk access is standard on all TLX models, and on the Technology Package and above, Smart Entry access is expanded to include the rear doors. The 2018 TLX with Advance Package also adds remote engine start that can be activated with a range of at least 300 feet from the vehicle, allowing the vehicle to be preheated or pre-cooled and defrosted/defogged based on the customer’s pre-selected settings.

A host of available technology and convenience features enhance travel and driving enjoyment such as: a driver’s seat power thigh extension (V6 Technology Package and above); Walk Away Auto Lock®; Hill Start Assist; a Capless fuel filler; and much more. Connectivity with CarPlay and Android Auto, is visible through an updated On Demand Multi-Use display and feel.

TFLCAR’s TAKE: The racy styling and design enhancements of this latest TLX generate a sexy impression that is a cut above the Acura ILX and fits into a league of entry premium segment sedans including: Audi’s A4; the BMW 330i; Infiniti Q50; Lexus IS; and the Mercedes-Benz C-300. In a bottom line analysis, the 2018 Acura TLX Advance and TLX A-Spec with SH-AWD are both winning entries into the Luxury Sport sedan marketplace. To get the best out of this car go with the V6 engine.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Acura TLX Advance and A-Spec

  • Price as Tested: $46,700.-Advance SH-AWD/$45,750.-A-Spec SH-AWD (these are the models you want)
  • Engine Type and Size: 3.5-liter, SOHC, 16-valve i-VTEC V6 with Direct Injection and Variable Cylinder Management
  • Horsepower (bhp): 290 @ 6,200 rpm
  • Torque (ft./ lbs.): 267 @ 4,500 rpm
  • Transmission: 9-speed sequential SportShift automatic with paddle shifters, shift-by-wire gear selector and Grade Logic Control System.
  • Drive Train: Front transversely mounted engine / SH-AWD
  • Suspension: Front – MacPherson strut with Amplitude Reactive Dampers and 26 mm stabilizer bar
  • Rear – Multi-link with Amplitude Reactive Dampers and 25.4 mm stabilizer bar
  • Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front), ABS, BA, CMBS, LKAS, AHA, TPMS and VSA w/ TC
  • Tires: Michelin Primacy MXM4 245/40 R19 94V mounted on 5-double –spoke aluminum alloy wheels (A-Spec) / Goodyear Eagle LS2 225/50 R18 mounted on aluminum alloy wheels
  • Wheelbase: 109.3 inches
  • Length Overall: 191.7 inches / 191.5-A-Spec
  • Width: 73.0 inches
  • Height: 57.0 inches
  • Curb Weight:3,616 lbs.
  • Turning Circle: 39.5 ft.
  • Fuel Capacity: 17.2 gallons
  • EPA Mileage Estimates:20 mpg city / 29 mpg highway A-Spec w/ SH-AWD