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Acura TLX rocks the cradle

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It has been said that in the automotive world, there is no replacement for displacement.

At Acura’s stand at the New York auto show, however, the 2015 TLX sedan displaced two models in one fell swoop. Gone is the midsize TL, and with it the diluted legacy of the iconic Legend, as well as the smaller, sporty TSX, which had taken up the mantle as the enthusiast driver’s car in the lineup.

The TLX, then, falls into the same valley of undefined class as the Infiniti Q50, which stubbornly fails to conform to either the midsize or compact-but-not-quite entry-level luxury categories. That sedan, as we learned, is something of a “performance bargain”. The TLX, for its lack of competitive horses in the stable, may struggle to compete in that regard.

The design and shape of the production TLX, including its LED headlamps and large pentagonal grille, strays little from the TLX Prototype concept shown at the Detroit auto show in January.

There are no great surprises inside, either; the TLX adheres to a design and ergonomic formula that seems almost too familiar for a brand-new model expected to capture sales from two distinct pools of buyers.

And, inasmuch as Acura is trying to pursue a one-sedan strategy, Acura engineer Mat Hargett, who was heavily involved in the TLX’s development, described the resulting car as “actually three sedans”.

The base TLX will feature a 2.4-litre direct-injection gasoline four-cylinder engine producing 206 horsepower. Despite its similarity to a Honda engine, Acura claims the 2.4 is exclusive the TLX. It is matched to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.

A 3.5-litre V-6 is optional, producing a stout 290hp. The six connects to a traditional nine-speed automatic, sending its power to the front wheels or, optionally, all four, via Acura’s acronym-friendly Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive and Precision All-Wheel Steering system. Both powertrains will be more frugal than those in the TSX and TL, thanks to triple-digit weight savings.

The 2015 TLX goes on sale late in 2014. Pricing is forthcoming.

2015 Acura TLX

(Acura)

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