Upon first impression, TL may catch one’s attention. Take the relationship past skin deep and infatuation may blossom. Second viewings can do wonders, especially when drivers step inside Acura’s sedan for a test drive. TL balances entry-level luxury with a sports car soul evenly on four wheels while strolling alongside pre-approved luxury. Four generations after inception, TL feels worthy enough to hang alongside BMW’s 3 series, Audi’s A4, and Lexus’ IS 350, especially when considering the SH-AWD deluxe trim. The only impression Acura wants to leave is that their TL is a great buy. 2012’s version does nothing to dispute that.
First things first. There has been some talk about TL’s outward appearance.
2012 models have become sleeker, (you know, aerodynamics) and represent themselves as such with a new Optimus Prime approved transformers-like grill. Turning the ignition won’t have TL morphing into a secondary monster; however, there is plenty of go-go gadgetry to impress the masses. Technological delights range from a new and improved 60 GB navigation system, the “centerpiece of the TL Technology Package,” offering voice recognized real-time traffic and weather updates, restaurant tracker (reservation capable), and lodging finder, among other on-the-road conveniences.
Advanced Package model (starting at $45,085) options include typical niceties like heated seats and a blind spot information (warning) system.
But what’s she got under the hood?
Equipped to handle a bigger, heavier body this time around, TL’s base model comes moderately equipped with a 280 HP 3.5L V6, OK, but the real potential lies in the SH-AWD model, with a 3.7L 305 HP power source, as well as all wheel drive standard (That’s what the AWD stands for). Completing the advanced trim dissection is the Super Handling (SH) portion, actually a nice feature: TL transfers engine power to contend with proper weight distribution during acceleration, cornering, and even straight line driving to justify its ‘superior handling’ moniker and maximize fuel economy.
What’s more impressive is that while TL keeps growing in size, so does its fuel economy. Boasting 20/29 MPG for the base and18/26 for SH-AWD when equipped with automatic transmission is commendable. Base model comes standard with said 6 speed automatic Sequential Sportshift with paddle shifters. SH-AWD models have a 6 speed manual option, trimming MPG’s to 17/25.
Bigger and heavier exterior also means more interior space, most of which is put to good use.
Cabin room, though not quite atrium quality, is enough for five to breathe comfortably; long trips for small to moderately-sized families will receive no arguments regarding seating territory.
All is enjoyed with what Acura states as best in class wind-noise performance, meaning a nice and quiet cabin ride.
Acura’s version of the entry level midsize luxury sports sedan comes with a long description but short list of negatives. Base model TL’s start at $35,605 but the technology really thrives with the SH-AWD models, starting at $39,155. Availability is limited to the two trim levels, but accessories abound.
Whatever model chosen, TL’s imprint is best felt behind the wheel.