The Acura TL Type S is a Honda Accord with a bad, very bad, attitude.
While the Accord is a nice, polite and well-behaved sedan, the TL wants to kick some bumper.
Type-S (for Slick) crouches lower on performance tires with exposed Bembo front brakes. Type-S gets exclusive front and rear styling with unique bumpers, black chrome trim, wider side sills, 10-spoke alloy wheels and quad tail pipes. There's a rear spoiler.
The suspension is tuned for sportier handling and ride with firmer front and rear anti-roll bars, stiffer springs and shock absorbers. Anti-lock brakes are on the four-wheel disc brakes.
A five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission is available. The automatic uses racecar type paddle shifters on the steering wheel. There's no premium for the automatic transmission. The base price of $38,125 is the same for both.
All of this attaches to a new 3.5L V-6 of 283 horsepower that drives the front wheels. And drive them it does to 60 mph in a tad over 6 seconds. Boy racers can do it less than 6, while close to 7 seconds is more normal.
When it comes to turning, the Type-S does comport itself well, albeit with a goodly amount of body lean. That's better than most front wheel drivers, whose turning wheels also have to drive. It doesn't measure up to good rear wheel drive sporty vehicles, though.
That body lean on tight curves does provide a fairly compliant ride that mutes the big bumps fairly well. It's a little jiggly over undulating pavement. The seats are firm and heavily bolstered.
|Acura TL Type-S
•Engines: 3.5L V-6
•Dimensions: 107.9" wheelbase; 189.8" length
•Base price: $38,125; As tested $38,795
•Fuel economy: 19/28 mpg
TL Type S has got some very civilized aspects -- the radio has tuning and volume knobs and there is both a CD player and tape player. The bands are selected not by a computer screen but by real buttons.
Type-S can come with a navigation screen that doubles as a backup view. A power sunroof, heated side mirrors with those cute turn signals and heated seats. The radio has something called Active Noise Cancellation, which reduces cabin noise while underway. Room inside is generous thanks to a car length of 189.9 inches.
The Type-S has been absent from the Acura TL line for three years. It returns with a 3.5L V-6 that gets nearly the same fuel economy as the regular TL 3.2L V-6.
The larger engine turns in 19 city and 28 highway with the automatic and 20/29 with the manual. The smaller engine repeats the 20/29 figure. All are federal fuel economy estimates.
Thus the Acura TL Type-S combines zip with zoom.