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  • Writer's pictureMitchell Weitzman

2024 Acura TLX Type S review: Audience unknown

This attractive sports sedan is less sport than its moniker suggests, but makes a capable grand tourer minus some frustrating electronics

2024 Acura TLX Type S review | The Road Beat

2024 Acura TLX Type S review by The Road Beat

Words and pictures: Mitchell Weitzman

If you're thinking this is some kind of cut-price BMW M3, then walk away now; It just ain't that. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the reality is that, despite the same Type S nameplate bestowed on the fabulous new Integra Type S, or Acura legends of the past, this hopped-up TLX is more of a luxurious grand tourer. Now, that's no bad thing, but keep in the mind the expectation given by its appearance. Take that metaphorical and physical step back and then you can appreciate the talents this sedan does possess, but even then, it comes across as confused and made for an audience that might as well not exist in the first place. Questionable electronics only further diminish its point.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of areas where the TLX Type S excels. For example, its 355-horsepower turbocharged V6 makes easy and convincing power. 0-60 MPH, aided by all-wheel drive grip, takes just 4.5 seconds. But, more importantly, this TLX feels properly quick through the gears. The noise isn't terrible either, with a grunty grumble even if it does sound a bit synthetic. Back off for long cruising and the TLX can nearly get 30 MPG on a level highway, and I even averaged 25 MPG overall during a week together.

2024 Acura TLX Type S review

As mentioned prior, with the TLX Type S better suited to a grand touring role, you might be inclined that that implies some degree of comfort, and you'd be right; The crimson leather seats are highly accommodating over longer periods, the road and wind noise levels are low, and the suspension soaks up most imperfections well while retaining positive control. With the practicality of four doors and a large trunk for luggage, the TLX can be an excellent long-distance tourer. And, when you do want to venture down a winding canyon road, you can turn a knob to sport, take control of the transmission manually, give it some revs, and proceed at a great pace despite this model wearing modest all-season tires. If you want sticky summer rubber, it's an option, but an expensive one. Brakes works well and boast a strong pedal feel, with the binders working well to slow pace when needed. You know, this seems like a pretty good car, until it just kind of isn't.

Where does the TLX lack? Well, as a sports sedan, it's never exactly involving, coming across as rather inert and without character. Performance cars are supposed to be fun as well, and the TLX Type S is missing that all-important ingredient. It's not like a similarly priced BMW 3-series offers any increase in the fun department, because it definitely does not, but a Genesis G70 V6 certainly does so, with a properly organic chassis and natural rear-wheel drive playfulness and balance. There's a similar theme here with so many new cars, and the TLX Type S falls victim to it like so many others; Performance without any soul. Effective, yes, but it's not far off from playing a video game. And I'm not referencing a fancy sim set-up featuring iRacing, but more like Forza using an Xbox controller.

2024 Acura TLX Type S interior

Another demerit comes against the 10-speed automatic transmission, which can at least reel off rapid full-throttle upshifts, but it's easily too lazy in all other circumstances. Downshifts, especially in spirited driving where you want to use a lower ratio to provide engine braking and help control the chassis and your speed, are particularly woeful, being too long and with free-wheeling pauses in-between downshifts.

The less said about Acura's horrendous trackpad infotainment system the better, but I am obliged to tell you how awkward and finicky it is in actual use. Instead of really ever having to utilize it, I just left it on a single satellite radio station the entire time to avoid any such headaches.

2024 Acura TLX Type S interior review

And then there's the adaptive cruise control, which is - and I do not think I'm underselling this - the worst cruise control of any new car I've driven. How can this be? I mean, it's cruise control, cars have had cruise control for over 30 years now, yet this is appallingly in application. The problem here is that, with so many gears, the TLX is constantly changing to different ratios. As a result, speed can be lost on uphill sections of freeway as the tall 10th gear bogs the engine down, thus necessitating a downshift and then a subsequent burst of acceleration to make up the lost speed. But that's not even the worst bit. Because, once the road transitions to a downward slope, the Acura has an inkling to go above your set speed, before harshly applying the brakes to slow you back down. And no, these weren't even steep hills where the car can naturally just coast out of control and gain speed on its own. No, these are downhill grades that would still require a slight amount of throttle to even maintain your speed. And what's the Acura TLX Type S do? Gain speed, and then brake to rein itself back in. On my continuously up and down section of freeway on my daily commute, I couldn't take it and just never used the cruise control; it was that bad and annoying. It's one thing for it to relax the throttle to coast back down to your set speed, but to actually brake and cause discomfort? Awful! Not to mention the safety implications, because there were multiple times the Acura sharply slowed down with cars behind me who probably were thinking, "who the heck is this idiot?"

At initial glance and acquaintance, the cabin is a well-made luxury environment, but the more time spent in it, it has an aged design to it with overly large plastic buttons in the center that cheapen the atmosphere. In short, a Genesis G70 is a nicer place to be, and I would know because I only just tested one a couple weeks prior. Further, I think a Lexus IS has a higher quality to it. At least the red seats look pretty rad.

2024 Acura TLX Type S exterior

Look, I don't hate this car, but the cruise control alone would be enough reason to never want one. There's another issue, and that's the just mentioned Lexus IS, because I'm not talking about a pedestrian IS 350, but rather the V8-powered IS 500. The IS 500 has a starting price as good as exactly the same as this TLX, but has a raucous and charismatic V8 with more power, and the neutral, involving handling that a well-balanced RWD sports sedan can give you. If you're looking for a fun sports sedan, that's the clear winner here, and you'd be mad to choose this TLX Type S over it any day of the week. Does the TLX Type S warrant any kind of recommendation? Maybe over an Audi S4, because at least this is somewhat interesting. This is an effective and practical car with aggressive looks, but it does little truly, truly well and misses out on the fun factor. Oh, and that cruise control is a nightmare. Did I forget to mention the cruise control?

2024 Acura TLX Type S

As-tested price: $58,795

Pros: Good looks; Attractive price

Cons: Not engaging enough; User interface; worst cruise control ever tested

2024 Acura TLX Type S review

2024 Acura TLX Type S rear seats

2024 Acura TLX Type S trackpad

2024 Acura TLX Type S seats

2024 Acura TLX Type S review

2024 Acura TLX Type S review by the Road Beat. All photos by Mitchell Weitzman Photography.


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