2018 Acura TLX A-Spec Review


Last year Acura began one of their biggest projects to date. They plan to redesign every single model within the next five years or so, a process which began with the trusty MDX. The 2018 Acura TLX was next on the list, and what you see here is the result. In addition to different styling and an updated cabin, the big news for 2018 is the addition of the A-Spec package. While the 2018 TLX doesn’t offer any drivetrain changes, the A-spec offers unique damper settings, a different power steering tune, stiffer spring breaks with rear stabilizer bars and much more.

SPORTY EXTERIOR DESIGN

The 2018 Acura TLX A-Spec is what the car should have looked like when Acura originally introduced it years ago. While they were obviously using a different design language back then and tastes were slightly different, the 2018 TLX embodies exterior design perfection. Just the right amount of aggressiveness and understatement. Very few vehicles can pull off that combination, but the 2018 TLX very much succeeds!

For 2018, the front fascia of the TLX shows the most change, getting the corporate fascia update with the Acura Precision grille and larger Acura badging. The unique mesh is pleasing to the eyes and it makes the grille really stand out from the crowd. The new fascia is modern and fresh, exactly what the car needs if it’s to beat the established German rivals. The 2018 TLX A-Spec’s new headlights compliment the grille and the thick chrome trim nicely, while a mesh design similar to the grille surrounds the lower bumper and rear exhaust areas.

Overall, the 2018 TLX A-Spec gets a sportier design than other TLX models, showcasing large rounded rear exhausts, larger 19-inch wheels and sportier side skirting.

PERFORMANCE INSPIRED INTERIOR

The ergonomic cabin of the 2018 TLX A-Spec is smart, elegant and classy. The materials used throughout are high quality and have an luxurious look and feel. The entire build is well put together and looks like it was made to last. While the design is simple enough, Acura has included a couple distinctive elements to break up the traditional black plastics.

The chrome trimmed dash showcases dual displays to allowing for the minimization of button clutter. The new infotainment system is a lot easier to use than the units found in its Mercedes and the BMW competitors. It’s just as powerful, but a lot more user-friendly, especially when first learning to navigate the features and options. The updated dual screen system is 30 percent faster than before, and includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Sirius XM.

The racing inspired red leather seating in the 2018 Acura TLX A-Spec are both comfortable and supportive on the back and sides. The seating position is great, although you get a slight feeling of sitting on top of the car rather than fully nested in it. The A-Spec gets different trim and styling, as well as better front bolstering, ventilated seats and even wireless charging. The Advanced Package fully decks out the 2018 TLX with heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel and a heated windshield. A-Spec vehicles get red LED ambient light piping, which ads an extra dose of sportiness to the interior.

PERFORMANCE AND DRIVE

The base engine in the 2018 Acura TLX is a 2.4L four cylinder making 206hp, but the A-Spec receives the larger more powerful 3.6L V6, outputting 290hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a nine speed automatic with paddle shifters and Acura’s patented Super Handling All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, you truly have a car built for a driver passionate about driving!

The TLX A-Spec uses larger 245-section Michelin Primacy tires for better traction, something that’s noticeable once you start pushing the car hard. In normal driving it doesn’t make a big difference, but throw in some harder cornering and you can really start to feel the difference.

Accelerations are smooth and effortless in automatic mode, yet quick and responsive in manual mode. Add in the precise all wheel steering providing great feedback and the supportive, racing inspired seats and you truly have a thrilling driving experience!

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you want the sportiest TLX available, the 2018 A-Spec definitely checks all the boxes. The 290hp engine is immensely powerful and delivers a pleasing soundtrack through the large dual exhaust. While the all-wheel drive system may be a bit redundant for a daily driver, it’s a great feature to have for slippery winter conditions or if you fancy a spirited drive from time to time!


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About Sean Mackay

Sean writes about cars, golf and events going on in British Columbia, Canada. He is also the editor for The Automotive Review – an automotive publication bringing a West Coast flavour to its editorials.

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