What you see above is a concept, but one that will see a production version fairly soon. A redesigned 2021 Acura TLX is on the horizon — production delays notwithstanding — but the news is even better than that. See that badge on the front? That’s the one folks are waiting for. That marks the return of the much-loved Type S to the sports sedan fold.
At the heart of the 2021 Acura TLX Type S will be an all-new platform designed exclusively for the model. The 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V-6 will bow out for a new turbocharged setup, according to a recent Car and Driver report.
Most likely it will be a 3.0-liter unit, as that’s a common displacement for modern turbo V-6 powertrains, but there’s no official information just yet. However, we can rest assured that forced induction will definitely give a major bump over the current model’s 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. The TLX (and the TL that preceded it) have always been front-wheel drive-based models, and that’s not likely to change here. However, Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system would be a nice match for more power in the Type S.
For the standard TLX, buyers should get a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder out of the current-generation Accord. That engine, in itself, is basically a detuned Civic Type R engine, so that’s certainly no bad thing either.
Why the TLX?
In a time where crossovers have dominated the landscape — I make no secret of my fondness for the Acura RDX A-Spec, for example — a perfectly reasonable question is, “Why?” There’s still a market for sports sedans, and Acura does still manage to shift the TLX, more so than its other sedan offerings. This class of car is also where Acura should fight. The 2021 Acura TLX Type S would compete against heavyweights like the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and Genesis G70, all of which have high-performance variants. More to the point, it’s a part of the market that still draws devoted fans and buyers, even with the shift toward crossovers.
We should get more information from Acura later this year, but at least there’s more confirmation the Type S is indeed coming. It should also undercut its German rivals, as the TLX currently starts in the mid-$30,000 range. Even for the Type S, prices shouldn’t rise much above $50,000. That would put it right in the butter zone of the sort of sedans it’s looking to take on.
If the styling matches the concept and it brings serious power to the table, Acura may just have a winner on its hands.