2022 Acura TLX Type S – Track Tested

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Acura enthusiasts rejoice. After more than a decade away, the Type S performance line returns to North America. The Acura TLX Type S is the best performing sedan Acura has ever offered.

We had the opportunity of taking this eye-catching Tiger Eye Pearl (CAD $500 option) 4-door to the race track at the 2.8 kilometre, 1.8 mile, Driver Development Track road course at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, about an hour east of Toronto, Ontario.

Under the hood is a new aluminum turbocharged 3.0-liter DOHC V6 engine that uses technology derived from their flagship NSX supercar. Horsepower is rated at 355 at 5500 rpm with peak torque of 354 lb-ft from 1400-5000 rpm. The engine is assembled at Acura’s engine plant in Anna, Ohio. It was developed in Japan under the guidance of Akio Matsuda, TLX Type S Powertrain Development Leader. “While I was in Ohio, I was involved in the strategy development phase of this Type S Turbo V6 engine,” said Matsuda. “I remember how excited I was, along with the rest of the Acura engine development team, when it was decided to start developing this high-performance, environmentally responsible engine that we had proposed with our North American associates.”
Power is sent to the pavement, and ice and snow, via Acura’s torque vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). The transmission hooked up to the SH-AWD features a beefed-up sport tuned quick shifting 10-speed automatic with paddle shifters. We found the Sport+ setting to be ideal for lapping this tight and twisty race track. It holds the gears and revs out the engine for maximum horsepower in auto, and provides for aggressive gear changes when using the paddle shifters. “I remember the first time I was able to feel the performance of the all-new Type S,” said Craig Brazeau, Type S Powertrain Development Engineer. “I was in a prototype car at Acura’s Ohio proving grounds and I can say it was an amazing experience to finally feel that level of performance, see our concept come to life and witness the culmination of all the technologies that we worked on together in developing this amazingly fun to drive sports sedan.” Bringing this car to a halt are new 14.3-inch Brembo four-piston brakes up front, 13 inch in the rear, resulting in an 11% increase in thermal mass to resist brake fade out on the race track. Stopping distances from 60 mph has improved by 13% according to Acura.

ON THE TRACK

To help make this car sound like a performance machine, the 2022 Acura TLX Type S features an Active Exhaust which was also adapted from the NSX. The Active Exhaust opens butterfly vales in each exhaust increasing the rumble from the quad tailpipes by 5 to 7 decibels, according to Acura. The valves open and close at various times in Comfort, Normal and Sport modes, but stay fully open in Sport+ mode. It provided us with a satisfying performance soundtrack out on the track. As you would expect from an all-wheel drive car, especially one with a badge on the back indicating that it is equipped with Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, planting your right foot deep into the carpet while exiting the corners on the race track is free of drama. The well sorted drivetrain seamlessly claws its way out of the corners utilizing the 255/35 R20 performance rubber on the aggressive looking 20 inch grey rims.

This is a big heavy car which can feel a little bit cumbersome as it leans through some of the corners on the track. The TLX Type S weighs in at 4221 pounds (1945 kg) with 59% of that weigh up front and 41% in the back. But overall Acura has done a good job of tuning this car’s chassis and suspension. It is fun to toss this car into the corners, then put the hammer down on the way out. The gear selection process is amongst the least intuitive we’ve tested. One must choose from four uniquely shaped buttons and push them in varying directions. The Park button is at the top, under it is a Reverse button that you don’t push in but push down. Under that is the Neutral button and at the bottom, a big round Drive/Sport button. It takes a bit of getting used to. Amongst all of that is a very large dynamic mode button that is pushed to toggle through the Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sports+ drive modes. The leather-wrapped flat-bottom multi-function steering wheel is beautiful and a pleasure to use, as are the comfortable and nicely contoured leather seats. Overall, this is a quality premium luxury interior, slightly dampened by the overly unique gear selection layout.

OUR TAKE

The 2022 Acura TLX Type S is a lot of fun to drive on the track with its predictable handling, solid braking and its smooth and controlled acceleration. On the back roads near the track, the TLX Type S nestles the driver, and its occupants, in a really civilized environment. Living with this car on a daily basis, winter, spring, summer and fall, would be a pleasure. Having the opportunity of taking it out onto a race track is an added bonus. The 2022 Acura TLX Type S starts at just over CAD $60,500. Complete Canadian and US pricing and model details can be found at the Acura Canada and Acura USA websites.

    Photographs © Copyright 2021 oneword Photography and TrackWorthy

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