02 June 2020 04:40
Last week, we got the sporty new Acura TLX Type S. Now this week, hot off the back of news that Infiniti is giving up on luxury, Lexus is teasing it's own updated sports sedan — the rear-wheel drive 2021 Lexus IS. Just today we were talking about how Nissan's restructuring is throwing Infiniti under the bus, slashing plans to take on Mercedes-Benz in a new upmarket push. The TLX Type S is set to be a rear-biased, all-wheel drive V6 premium sports sedan — the spearhead of a new Acura lineup that leans more into its enthusiast heritage. And now Lexus is teasing its plans, with the updated rear view of the upcoming 2021 IS.
The outgoing IS is arguably the smartest looking of the lineup, and it's particularly notable for it's ridiculous cut line along the outside edge of its rear fenders, where the taillight drops into a sharp point and drags back across the side of the car's body. The new rear light design, which is all we get a good look at from the teaser image, keeps the directional point in the lower corners of the piece, but it seems the new car has dropped the dramatic rear lines of the outgoing model. The clear plastic blocking making for the flat top-line of the light unit brings out the face of the rear design, and it doesn't appear happy nor well rested. Maybe it's losing sleep over BMW stealing its design language. The new IS is expected to keep the same platform as the outgoing car, though with a wider track.
All new TLXs will be built on a completely original platform too – there's no sharing with the Civic or Accord here – and base models will start in the mid-$30,000 range. The 2021 Acura TLX looks like a major turning point for the Japanese brand, reviving the Type S name after a long hiatus and bringing the company back into the performance luxury limelight. The TLX Type S will be a direct competitor to the Audi S4 but with a turbocharged engine and 10-speed automatic transmission, there are still bound to be enthusiasts who prefer Acura's older catalog of cars with models like the Integra and Legend. Acura has refreshed the TLX sedan for 2021, with a renewed focus on dynamics and a sharp new look to match. The Audi A4 is most similar on paper, previously offering front- and all-wheel drive and now just the latter as part of its own 2021 updates.
Even looking past Deutschland however, there's the handsome pair of Volvo's V60 and Alfa Romeo's Giulia. There's good reason to include both here, but with Acura's stated goal of a more exciting drive, we're going with the Giulia. A heads-up early: while we're excited to get behind the wheel of the TLX Type S and its all-new 3.0-liter turbo V6, we're going to be focusing on the four-cylinder models here. The reason is two-fold: Acura hasn't released full details on that model yet, and it launches later, in spring 2021. With that, let's get down to how the 2021 Acura TLX stacks up against the rest of the luxury sport sedan market on paper. Acura has long straddled the compact and mid-size segments in terms of size with the TLX, and that continues with the second generation. Wheelbases are much closer: the Acura clinches it with a 113.0-inch axle-to-axle measurement, but everything else is within two inches. The Bimmer is a little wider, coming in a tenth shy of six feet, with the ascending order being A4 (72.7 in), Giulia (73.7 in) and TLX (75.2 in). Every one of the sedans is 56-and-a-bit inches in height; Acura might've shaved a bit off the top for the second-gen TLX, but the Audi is lower still. Not entirely: Acura hasn't released individual head-, leg-, and shoulder room dimensions yet, but the 2021 model gains just 0.1 cubic-feet of total interior volume over the previous model. Using the 2020 model's measurements as a yardstick, TLX 2.0 could boast the most front legroom and shoulder room in both rows. Headroom was on the lower end of the spectrum before (37.2 / 36.7 inches), so unless the seats are mounted much lower in the new car, we can't see it beating the Alfa or BMW. The stretched wheelbase should give the TLX the extra space in the rear to match its rivals, which all feature 35 inches and change back there. The TLX sits in second place thanks to its 13.5 cubic feet. dimension Acura TLX 2.0 SH-AWD BMW 330i xDrive Mercedes-Benz C300 4MATIC Audi A4 45 quattro Alfa Romeo Giulia AWD length 194.6 in 185.7 in 184.5 in 187.5 in 182.5 in width 75.2 in 71.9 in 71.3 in 72.7 in 73.7 in height 56.4 in 56.8 in 56.3 in 56.2 in 56.5 in wheelbase 113.0 in 112.2 in 111.8 in 111.0 in 111.0 in curb weight 3750 lb (est) 3772 lb 3605 lb 3627 lb 3632 lb headroom (f/r) N/A 38.7 / 37.6 in 37.1 / 37.1 in 37.3 / 37.4 in 38.6 / 37.6 in legroom (f/r) N/A 42.0 / 35.2 in 41.7 / 35.2 in 41.7 / 35.7 in 42.4 / 35.1 in shoulder room (f/r) N/A 56.0 / 54.6 in 55.3 / 55.0 in 55.9 / 54.5 in 56.1 / 53.6 in trunk space 13.5 cu-ft 17.0 cu-ft 12.6 cu-ft 12.0 cu-ft 12.0 cu-ft The Alfa is the quickest, which is expected: it has the most ponies, the most torque, and is just 27 pounds heavier than the lightest car (the Merc). We don't expect the TLX to out-sprint the racy Alfa, at least not in any four-cylinder trim. The TLX will have very healthy stats, with 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque at its disposal. Those numbers aren't far off the 2020 model's V6 outputs, so with SH-AWD, we expect it to maybe dip slightly below that car's 0–60 times, which hovered around 6.0 seconds even. The TLX uses a traditional automatic transmission, the same as every other one of the cars except the Audi. Like most four-ringed models, the A4 uses a dual-clutch transmission, with seven gears. The TLX trumps the others in sheer cog count, with ten gears; the Merc comes with nine, the Alfa and Bimmer eight apiece. The others are all pretty close, with the Alfa bringing up the rear with a respectable 23 city, 31 highway, and 26 mpg combined. We don't see the TLX stealing the crown from the Bimmer. Acura hasn't released EPA figures yet, but we're expecting the 2021 car to land somewhere near the current 2.4-liter model's 23/33/27. The new turbo engine has more power, but it also has extra cogs to work with. As we all know Acura made too many cars, and not all of them are good. But the new 2021 Acura TLX will be something that every sedan fan will love and want to own. We're amazed by the shape of the car like other people. Specifications Of 2021 Acura TLX: Likely the Honda Accord, we can have it with a 2.0-liter turbo engine. But in this case of the TLX, it makes 272 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. The turbo base engine hooks up to the front wheel via a new 10 speed automatic with Sequential SportShift technology and with paddle shifters. Acura mention this is the new auto-box with a wider ratio range, smoother shifts, and a stronger 1st-gear pull. In addition, you can have Super Handling All-Wheel Drive that will shuffle up to 70% of the power to the rear. The TLX Type S is the rear talking point of the 2021 model. Acura confirms this new model boasts a 3-liter V6. However, our ballpark figure is about 380 hp and 350 pound-feet for the Type S.