2024 Acura TLX Type S

Acura's TLX is more akin to a sporty gran-tourer than an all-out sports sedan, but it doesn't skimp on thrills
Acura's TLX is more akin to a sporty gran-tourer than an all-out sports sedan, but it doesn't skimp on thrills

by Imran Salam | June 17, 2024


Acura is having a bit of a renaissance. Throughout the early 2010s, fans wanted more performance, more character, and less beak-like styling. Acura didn’t have a real performance car until the NSX, and even then, it wasn’t anywhere close to being the game-changer the original was. And although this 2024 Acura TLX Type S isn’t a game-changer, either, it’s a welcome breath of fresh air reminding us of Acura many of us grew up with.

I’m not sure what Acura was going after during their awkward phase. It seemed like they wanted to move away from an on-the-cusp luxury brand with a dash of sportiness, trading “childish” things like performance for more grown-up stuff like utility and fuel economy. Who were they trying to be? Lexus? Buick? Infiniti? I have no clue, but either way, bringing back the Type S badge on the TLX and MDX a few years ago was the right call. And now, heading into 2024 with a subtle refresh, we’ll see if the TLX Type S is still worthy of the badge.

The TLX certainly looks the part. It reminds me a lot of the TL and CL Type S, in that they’re handsome, elegant, and aggressive enough without going overboard. The TLX is also big for a midsize sedan, measuring almost 195 inches long and 75 inches wide, so it definitely has presence on the road. Acura has also figured out their grille situation; gone is the beak, and in its place a frameless grille with a diamond pattern that flows out of the Acura logo.

Down the side, some character lines running through the doors keep things visually interesting, but the 20-inch gunmetal wheels steal the show, clearly inspired by the modern NSX. The TLX Type S’ rear end is finished off by quad tailpipes, a small lip spoiler, and an appropriately sporty rear diffusor, but I wasn’t big on the tail lights. Their somewhat bulbous shape doesn’t 100 per cent match the rest of the TLX’s sharp and sleek shape, but aside from that, there aren’t many visual missteps. And judging by the number of compliments I got in my week with the TLX Type S, it certainly appeals to the masses.

The interior doesn’t receive the same unanimous praise. For starters, despite being built on a different chassis and having a much larger overall footprint, the TLX somehow has less interior volume than the Integra. I’m not sure how Acura managed this, but if space is an issue, look elsewhere in the sport sedan segment — or just get an Integra Type S. Fit-and-finish is typical Acura; most touch points feel good, but not quite as nice as its German competitors. I personally dig the two-tone red-on-black interior, sharing a strong familial resemblance to the Integra and MDX Type S.

The most polarizing bits inside the TLX Type S is no doubt Acura’s infotainment and button-shifter arrangement. The infotainment is controlled with a touchpad instead of a touchscreen, and it’s damn well infuriating to use. The position of your fingertip on the touchpad corresponds to what you want to select on the screen, and you swipe up to scroll down on the screen, but swipe down to go through any sub-menus. Try doing all this even at parking lot speeds, and it’ll drive you insane. The MDX is ditching this setup as part of a refresh next year, and I hope to the Car Gods that the TLX is next. This infotainment setup is a failed experiment.

The button-shifter is unconventional, but a little less polarizing and you eventually get used to them. I understand why park is a button, reverse is a toggle, and neutral and drive are different-shaped buttons. It doesn’t feel ultra-intuitive to me, and personally, I’d prefer a typical shifter in its place, especially when this particular button arrangement doesn’t free up that much centre console space instead of a shifter.

Now let’s talk about how sporty this TLX Type S really is. In two words, it’s … pretty good. The TLX isn’t the sportiest of things because of its sheer size and not to mention hefty curb weight, at nearly 4,200 pounds. It’s not the lithe and darty Acura of old, but it’s a step in the right direction. With Acura’s 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 under the hood, it produces a respectable 355 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. It’s smooth and sounds pretty darn good, too, but it’s only available with a 10-speed automatic which isn’t totally up to the task.

Look, I’m not one to lament on “too many” gears, but if you’re having this many, you need the programming to be bang-on and ensure it’s never caught in the wrong gear. But on more than a few occasions, the transmission had a mind of its own, from shifting smoothly into the next gear and randomly clunking a shift into the next one, to holding onto a gear when there was absolutely no reason to do so. The paddle shifters are responsive enough; there’s a slight delay in response, but not so egregious that you’d never use them. Perhaps the worst part of the 10-speed automatic is the fuel economy it returned, averaged a thirsty 14.0 L/100 kilometres in the admittedly spirited driving I did. Yikes.

Beyond the powertrain, the powertrain is too light in comfort and better, but still-too-light in sport. The suspension soaks up bumps well in comfort, but feels jittery in the TLX’s more aggressive modes, as if the body sits on top of the suspension as opposed to being integrated into it. I suspect a half-inch drop would solve it. Acura’s SH-AWD system works well and inspires confidence in both wet and dry — as does most of the TLX Type S, so long as you don’t drive it above seven-tenths.

The 2024 Acura TLX Type S it’s more akin to a sporty gran-tourer rather than an all-out sports sedan. It’s something you can easily commute or take a road trip with, yet have a bit of fun when the traffic clears. It’s not a track car by any means, but then again, you wouldn’t have taken an old TL Type S to the track — and let’s be honest, who actually tracks a BMW M340i or a Mercedes-AMG C 43? It may not be the sharpest sport sedan, but the TLX Type S excels at being a value leader in the segment, providing 80 per cent of the thrills of its German competitors — OK, more like 70 per cent compared to the Bimmer — at a much lower price.



Vehicle Specs
Midsize sport sedan
Engine Size
3.0L twin-turbo V6
Horsepower (at RPM)
355 hp at 5,500 rpm
Torque (lb-ft.)
354 lb-ft @ 1,400 rpm
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Imran Salam

Staff Writer

Imran is a true enthusiast who you'll find at shows, local meets, Sunday drives or the track. He appreciates the variety the car industry has to offer, having owned over a dozen cars from different manufacturers. Imran is grateful to own one of his childhood poster cars and enjoys inspiring the next generation. When Imran is not behind wheel he is found playing basketball or spending time with family.

Current Toys: '13 Boxster S 6MT, '24 Integra Type S, '08 328xi