Detroit Auto Show: Acura reveals TLX Prototype

What do you get when you cross Acura’s TSX and TL sedans? No, not a bad joke. You get the Acura TLX Prototype, a look at the next sedan due out from Honda’s luxury division.

Debuting on Tuesday morning at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the TLX Prototype splits the difference between the two soon-to-be discontinued Acura front-wheel-drive sedans. The concept is a close look at the production TLX that will debut at the New York International Auto Show in April and go on sale later in 2014.

"The Acura TLX Prototype is a precursor of some amazing things we have in store for our Acura sedan customers," said Mike Accavitti, senior vice president of Honda America.

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When the TLX does hit the market in the summer, it will slot between the compact ILX sedan and the full-size RLX sedan in a simplified lineup. The TLX rides on the same wheelbase as the outgoing TL, but the new model is just under four inches shorter than the TL.

Yet because the TLX is filling a void left by two separate models, it will be available with a smattering of engine and powertrain options.

The base model will use a direct-injected, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Expect horsepower and torque figures to be north of 200. This engine will be paired with an all-new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and will available only with front-wheel-drive.

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The optional engine will be a direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 that’s bolted to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel-drive will be standard on this version, though buyers in snowy climes should consider Acura’s excellent (and optional) SH-AWD system.

All TLX models that are front-wheel drive will come standard with what Acura calls Precision All-Wheel Steer. This system subtly uses the rear wheels for steering to aid in both high-speed handling and low-speed maneuverability. Acura uses a similar system in the RLX, though our testing found the system unable to mask the front-wheel-drive tendencies when driven hard.

Acura and parent company Honda have been among the most proactive automakers in the industry when it comes to vehicle safety, so don’t expect this to change on the new TLX. Though testing has yet to be completed, Acura made it clear that it is already expecting a Top Safety Pick Plus designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a five-star crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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Pricing hasn’t been announced, but don’t expect it to stray that much from the $31,530 starting price of the outgoing TSX. Like the TL is replaces, the 2015 TLX will be built in Acura’s Marysville, Ohio, plant.


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