The upcoming 2021 Acura TLX is supposed to be a legitimate sports sedan built on an “all-new, Acura-exclusive sport sedan platform” according to Honda’s luxury brand. We’ve heard rumors about powerful new engines and a new suspension, but now we have leaked technical info and photos. Check it out.
The new TLX will debut digitally on May 28, but Acura released a little teaser earlier today showing some of the car, and highlighting the new front suspension. That suspension—unlike the Honda Accord upon which the current TLX is based—connects the steering knuckle to two wishbones rather than to a lower control arm and a strut assembly.
From Acura’s press release:
The new TLX’s front suspension uses two wishbone-shaped control arms, in place of the more common Macpherson strut setup in many competing sport sedans, to deliver more precise control of wheel camber, caster and toe angles, and to maximize tire-to-ground contact for exceptional handling precision and cornering grip. Due to its inherent performance-enhancing attributes, double wishbone suspension underpins the second-generation NSX supercar and was a staple of Acura performance products of the past, including the Legend (1986-1995), Integra (1990-2001), TL and TL Type S (1996-2014), and first-generation NSX (1991-2005).
The brand even released this fun image showing the control arms and steering knuckles:
Jalopnik also received a tip from Allcarnews showing what appears to be an official Acura slideshow for the new 2021 TLX. The slides point out the vehicle’s exterior and interior in what is apparently production form. The differences between what’s shown in these images and the Type S concept aren’t exactly dramatic (we expected as much, since the concept was obviously close to production feasible, as we made clear at the LA Auto Show) and that’s a good thing.
There’s a lot we don’t know, here. Specifically, I know very little about the provenance of this document, but the images do look official:
The standard TLX powertrain will borrow the 10-speed automatic transmission and turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four from the Acura RDX but adds optional all-wheel drive. The Type S will bring some potency to the mix with a new turbocharged V-6, likely displacing 3.0 liters, that will provide a massive bump in power over the outgoing 3.5-liter V-6's 290 horses.
It’s worth noting that the leaked slideshow only makes mention of the 2.0-liter, showing its torque curve compared to that of the current TLX’s 3.5-liter V6. As you can see, the curve is much flatter in general, and low end torque is way up after around 1,500 RPM:
Also included in the leaked presentation is a look at the suspension and braking system, as well as the body-in-white:
The slide, apparently from Acura, points out a rigid center tunnel, bracing for cast aluminum strut towers, and a stiffener for the bulkhead between the rear seats and the trunk. The idea behind highlighting these bits, I’d guess, is to push the idea that the added stiffness will yield sporty, responsive handling.
Assuming that this random slideshow that Allcarnews apparently received from “a friend” named George Kamal is legit, I think Acura did a nice job. The upcoming TLX doesn’t appear to have deviated far from the Acura Type S concept, which—we can all probably agree—is a stunner, and which Acura did promise would “heavily influence the character of the upcoming, second-generation TLX Type S”:
I will say that the rear end photo, shown below, that Allcarnews sent Jalopnik, does appear to show a design that’s not quite as nice as the concept’s back end, though we don’t know what trim level this particular car is:
As a reminder, he’s what the Type S concept’s rear end looks like:
Even if the production 2021 Acura TLX isn’t quite as nice as the Type S concept, I bet we can agree it looks a whole lot nicer than the outgoing car:
Anyway, this actually seems like a fairly exciting car from Acura. The car looks good, it’ll offer all-wheel drive, it’s built on a dedicated Acura platform with a double-wishbone suspension setup as one might expect on a sports sedan, and rumor has it that Acura will offer at least one (transversely mounted) engine that makes more than the current V6's 290 horsepower and that it will send power through a 10-speed auto.
We’ll learn more in the coming days.