The fourth-generation Acura TL continues in 2011 as a popular entry in the performance luxury sedan segment with upscale styling, comfort and technology.
The TL has a distinctive exterior design and a signature front grille that resembles a wide, happy smile. HID projector-beam headlights flank the grill, while strong character lines and pronounced wheel arches, stainless steel body trim and sweeping C-pillars accentuate the sides.
The Acura TL comes in two different models and there are two potent V-6 powertrains to choose from — the 280 hp front-wheel-drive TL model and the 305 hp SH-AWD model. All those initials add up to an acronym for Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system.
The TL SH-AWD does take performance in a luxury sedan to a new level, especially with the addition of the new 6MT transmission. It is 86 pounds lighter than the standard Sequential SportShift five-speed automatic transmission and it significantly enhances the TL’s acceleration, braking and cornering.
The TL rides on a double-wishbone independent front suspension and a multi-link independent rear suspension system. The SH-AWD model has been given more performance-minded dampers and coil springs, revised brake tuning, larger wheels and tires, and a specially tuned Electric Power Steering system.
Interestingly, the structural engineering for the TL’s unit-body included locating the frame rails inside (rather than underneath) the vehicle’s floor pan to give the car an almost flat body underside. That significantly improves crash safety, reduces interior noise levels and lessens aerodynamic drag for better fuel efficiency. Acura designers also have made significant use of high-strength steel to improve unit-body strength and reduce overall weight.
The Acura TL comes standard with 17-inch aluminum wheels or optional 18-inch aluminum wheels with all-season tires, while the SH-AWD model has standard 18-inch wheels or optional 19-inch wheels with high-performance tires.
On the inside, the Acura TL is loaded with luxury and technology, sweeping shapes and a generous use of premium materials in a combination of leather surfaces accented by metallic and wood-pattern trim. An impressive array of standard features includes a power moonroof, dual-zone adaptive climate control, 10-way power adjustable driver seat, eight-way power adjustable passenger front seat, and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for the Sequential SportShift automatic transmission.
An eight-speaker, 276-watt audio system is standard and includes a sox-disc CD changer, AM/FM tuner, XM Radio, Bluetooth audio, USB port and AUX jack connectivity, and HandsFreeLink wireless telephone interface.
Both TL models are available with the Technology Package that adds navigation, a rear view camera, an ELS Surround 410-watt Premium Audio System, and numerous electronic technologies such as AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting and Real-Time Weather.
Pricing on the 2011 Acura TL ranges from $35,305 for the TL 5AT to $43,585 for the TL SH-AWD 6MT with the Technology Package and 19-inch wheels.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.