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A good sport: ACURA TL SPORTS SEDAN OFFERS COMFORT AND SUPER SOUND SYSTEM


By Ron Moorhead


Acura takes another swing at the European sedans and connects with the new TL. The design, performance and interior styling are aimed right at BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Acura is also looking to attract more driving enthusiasts to its lineup with the new TL, just as it did with the TSX. With the TL, however, Acura is leaning more toward the lavishness of sporty driving. The TL is as luxurious as it is competent.

The buying trend toward up-level vehicles such as the 5 Series and C-class was a major impetus for Acura to look at moving the TL into the same league. And it has done a magnificent job of it. The body design is unmistakably Acura, yet Acura with an edge. Short front and rear overhangs produce the well-balanced stance of a sport sedan. This is particularly evident with the strong rear fenders and trunk lid.

The sleek, newly designed body offers lower aerodynamics numbers with a drag coefficient of 0.29, allowing the car to slip through the air with ease and reduces wind noise. This design also increases down force, reducing body lift, which in turn helps the car keep a firm hold on the road.

The new platform also increases interior space for passengers and cargo, augmenting leg, shoulder and head room. The interior is a comfortable and warm setting for a motoring weekend to your favorite resort. Seats have wider cushions for ample comfort, yet hold you firmly in place even during spirited driving, an oh-so-important feature for a sport sedan.

New to the automobile world is the Acura/ELS DVD-A 5.1 sound system. I know it is a mouthful, but it is also an earful. This system was developed with Grammy-winning producer/engineer Elliot Scheiner, who has produced albums for the likes of Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac. The system offers 24-bit sound resolution. Compared with a normal 16-bit CD, the DVD offers a remarkably fuller sound. The first time I heard this system I was in awe of the quality and quantity. I can only compare it to the difference between the old mono records and stereo. The sound is of a quality you only get from a live concert.

With an extra ridged body structure, a more powerful V-6 engine, four-wheel wishbone suspension and special Brembo brakes, the TL has also improved handling and braking.

All of these features add up to making the TL a great performer. I took the TL for an extensive 300-mile drive to see just how good it can be, and returned with a smile on my face. The 3.2-liter all-aluminum V-6 reacts like it has a turbocharger attached, which it doesn't. As the engine speed climbs, the car performs well. But when the engine reaches the point where the variable cam executes its magic, the power comes on hard and strong. And while this engine is powerful, it is wonderfully smooth and quiet.

With more power, better handling and a larger, more comfortable passenger compartment, the new TL is further proof that Acura isn't content to sit on its laurels and wait for the competition to catch up. It might not be the most sporty of the sport sedans, or the most luxurious of the luxury sedans, but it sure makes an uncompromising alternative to owning one example of each.

Acura TL
Engine: SOHC, V-6
Displacement: 3.2-liter
Max power: 270 hp @ 6,200 rpm
Max torque: 238 lbs-ft @ 5,000 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Brakes: Power assisted, ABS
Front: 12.2-inch ventilated disc
Rear: 11.1-inch solid disc
Tires: 235/45R17
Wheelbase: 107.9 inches
Length: 186.2 inches
Weight: 3,482
Fuel Capacity: 17.0 gal.
EPA: City 20, Highway 30
Base price: $32,650
Price as tested: $34,650

http://www.lasvegasmercury.com/2004/MERC-May-06-Thu-2004/23783027.html
 

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Trivia question: There's an error in the review. What is it?

Hint: When you first read the review, you might not be sure if it's exactly an error or just an incomplete statement, but when you see the specs below the review, you can tell for sure that it is an error.

Nice review though. Great to see Acura getting good notices.
In general, however, the TL's reviews haven't been as uniformly positive as the TSX's were.
 

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Well, the review mentions the Brembos (MT-only) and the specs indicate they tested the AT. Also, I think the 5-series should be compared with the E-class, not C.

The TSX has a Cd of 0.27. I wonder why Acura designed the TL to be less aerodynamic? Drag coefficient is not dependent on frontal area, btw.
 

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kiteboy said:
Well, the review mentions the Brembos (MT-only) and the specs indicate they tested the AT.....
BINGO!!!!

That's it. They don't say that the Brembos are just on the MT, they say that the car has Brembos, period. I wondered if they meant that the car they tested had the Brembos, which could have been valid if it was the MT that they tested (although it still would have been misleading, and people generally would have misunderstood it). But it was the 5AT that they tested.

Those other points by Kiteboy are well-taken too, across the board.
 

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kiteboy said:
The TSX has a Cd of 0.27. I wonder why Acura designed the TL to be less aerodynamic? Drag coefficient is not dependent on frontal area, btw.
Nah...they probably tested a TL with mud guards and a rear wing sploiler... :D
 
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