Review: 2022 Acura TLX Type S



Words: Calvin Chan

Photography: Calvin Chan

Published: July 28, 2022

 



Aside from the NSX sports car, there was nothing truly spectacular or lust-worthy in the Acura lineup in recent years. Yeah, their SUVs were comfortable and fun to drive, but the A-Spec packages were half-hearted attempts to excite the driver, and most of it was just aesthetics anyways. But with the revival of the Type S badge, the Acura TLX aims to change that by battling the likes of the BMW M340i, Audi S4, and Mercedes-AMG C 43.

 

 

If you’re constantly confused between the A-Spec and Type S badges, you aren’t the only one. It takes us a second or two to register which is the sportier one. But looking at the more aggressive body kit of the Type S will give you a better clue, as does the black lip spoiler and Audi RS-sized quad exhaust tips. Those NSX-style wheels are equally stunning.

 

 

Inside is nearly the same as the standard TLX but with sportier seats, a thin-rimmed steering wheel, and Type S badges throughout. Acura’s retainment of analog gauges instead of migrating to digital real estate is commendable, and we adore their functionality, easy-to-read layout, and they just look damn cool. The paddle shifters feel chintzy and cheap like they were taken off a Logitech wheel, and the carry-over infotainment system isn’t anything noteworthy and the trackpad can be damn frustrating, but you can read about that in our TLX A-Spec review. Because the Type S is all about the drive.

 

 

Under the hood lies a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 that produces 355 hp and 354 lb-ft. This engine is the car’s gravity and is the reason why we think the Type S is a standout car in the field. The V6 is chock full of character, revs freely like a naturally aspirated unit, and surges forward with strong acceleration. It’s like Acura found a way to channel the spirit of the TL Type S into this car’s DNA. The exhaust is also wild, delivering highly-strung octaves that reminds me of VTECs of yore, except this one taps out just above 6,000 rpm, but it sounds more like 7,000. We think it’s audibly more engaging than the V8 in the Lexus IS 500 too, with notes that are always in play, not just when the valves open at certain RPMs.

 

 

The Type S does not fly off the line like its rivals because it’s also fighting off a significant curb weight of 1,905 kg, about the same as a mid-size SUV, so its 355 hp output might feel a bit short if you’re coming from a M340i or C 43. That’s also due to the TLX being slightly larger in dimension than its direct competitors - the Acura measures closer in size to a BMW 5 Series or Mercedes E-Class.

 

We can’t help but shake the fact that this V6 would pair amazingly well with a manual gearbox but the 10-speed automatic is a solid unit, gentler than the Mercedes 9-speed but not as polished as the BMW 8-speed. What did annoy us however was that the gearbox is programmed to always automatically shift whenever the needle hits the redline, even in manual shifting mode and the sportiest drive settings. We also noticed that the gearbox mapping would automatically and annoying short-shift from first to second as well when flooring the throttle - there was nothing we could do to override that either.

 

 

Clearly and meticulously crafted for drivers who prize handling and have engaging, winding roads to explore in their backyard, the Type S is a peach to drive on empty suburban roads. The springs and suspension are tuned to be stiffer than the regular TLX but we found it still compliant and usable on a daily basis. Sport+ also unlocks its best behaviour, ramping up all drive modes to the elevens, stiffening up the dampers, perking up the gearbox to hold gears longer and swap the cogs quicker, changing to a more aggressive throttle map, and telling the differential to send more power rearwards. This is the mode where you want to spend the majority of your time.

 

 

The Type S demonstrates a neutral driving behaviour with a wickedly capable chassis matched with a clever AWD system. Keep the foot planted and let the torque vectoring rear differential figure the rest out, and keep traction control off to really feel it alive under your right foot. We’re not saying it’s as easy to drift and get the tail wagging as a Toyota GR86, but it’s far from the understeery tendencies of a front-wheel-drive sedan like the Honda Civic Si.

 

The Type S offers oodles of driver involvement through its light steering that’s playful and direct, but it could use a bit more weight, resistance, and a slightly quicker ratio to sharpen the front end and add to its dynamic acuity. The brakes are also electrically assisted but feel artificial and will take some time to become accustomed to. They are quite sensitive at initial input, offering a springy, almost EV-like bite, which never made us truly feel comfortable or consistent with its feedback.

 

 

In typical Acura fashion, the Type S undercuts its direct German competition in price with an all-inclusive price of $60,500, with the only real option available being the Platinum White pearl paint job on our test vehicle. That’s compared to the BMW M340i xDrive ($67,504), Audi S4 ($64,950), and Mercedes-AMG C 43 ($68,200). But what actually surprised us was that Acura hasn’t forgotten how to make an engaging car, one that is both honest and fun to drive. The new TLX Type S is proof of that.

 


Photo Gallery:

 

2022 Acura TLX Type S white 2022 Acura TLX Type S rear

 

2022 Acura TLX Type S grill badge

 

2022 Acura TLX Type S wheels 2022 Acura TLX Type S rear tail lights

 

2022 Acura TLX Type S spoiler 2022 Acura TLX Type S exhausts 2022 Acura TLX Type S interior

 

2022 Acura TLX Type S gauges 2022 Acura TLX Type S dynamic mode dial

 

2022 Acura TLX Type S display 2022 Acura TLX Type S front seats

 



Specifications:

Model: 2022 Acura TLX Type S

Paint Type: Platinum White Pearl
Base Price: $60,500

Price as Tested: $61,000
Wheelbase(mm): 2,870
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,942 / 1,909 / 1,432

Curb weight (kg): 1,905
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged V6
Horsepower: 355 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Torque: 354 lb-ft @ 1,400 - 5,000 rpm
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD

Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 12.3 / 9.8 / 11.2
Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 11.5

Tires: Pirelli P Zero; P255/35 R20

 



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