The 2021 TLX’s wheelbase is 3.7 inches longer than the outgoing model. Overall length increased 2.9 inches, width 2.2. The roof is a half-inch lower, contributing to a rakish and distinctive look. Other exterior touches include boldly flared rear fenders, a low hood, narrow headlights and 7.9 inches longer dash-to-axle measurement for a long hood and sport profile.
All TLXs come with a turbocharged 272-hp 2.0L four-cylinder engine that produces an admirable 280 pound-feet of torque from 1,600 to 4,500 rpm. A 10-speed automatic transmission is standard.
The base powertrain is front-wheel drive, but I drove a pair of all-wheel-drive models.
The engine revs fast and free, delivering plenty of power for quick, smooth shifts. The AWD system can send up to 70% of torque to the rear wheels, and all of that either right or left, to aid traction and handling in curves.
The steering is precise and quick. Engineers shifted the battery to the rear to improve balance, but the TLX remains nose heavy. The 57% front/43% rear weight distribution becomes apparent in fast curves, when understeer feels imminent.
I tested two TLX models: A-spec and Advance. Their features differed slightly, but the biggest difference was in interior color, material and personality. The A-spec was black and grey, with red stitching and aluminum pedals. Advance was done in lighter shades and wood. Wood and metal trim are genuine, a sign Acura’s been studying the competition.