Barely Changed, Unquestionably Good: A Deeper Look at the 2024 Acura TLX Type S

Slight changes don’t do much to enhance the flagship four-door, but that’s okay by me.

Acura says the 2024 TLX sedan has some updates, but man, is it hard to tell from looking – especially in the case of the flagship Type S model.

The grille has a thinner frame, and there are some new colors and wheel options. There’s thicker carpeting (shared with all 2024 TLXs) and added insulation (shared with the mid-tier A-Spec). The windshield mono-camera and grille-mounted millimeter-wave radar have wider fields of view than the 2023 sedans for theoretically better driver assistance, and there’s a larger center infotainment display.

But still, those changes are so minor that I almost turned down the opportunity to drive the 2024 Type S.

Then a last-minute drive to CES in Las Vegas suggested I might enjoy the supposedly quieter ride and better AcuraWatch driver assistance suite – with a blast on some of the Mojave Desert’s curvier roads adding to the fun.

As before, there’s a lot to like about the 2024 TLX Type S. Its turbocharged 3.0-liter makes all the right noises, with a bit of chuffing boost to go along with the naturally sweet music of a Honda J-series V6. Acura’s Super Handling all-wheel drive with real torque vectoring makes a standard appearance on the Type S, actively quashing mid-corner understeer by sending power to the outside rear wheel.

(Lesser torque-vectoring systems use fade-inducing, power-sapping brake application to imitate SH-AWD.)

And the TLX is still an attractive take on the mid-size luxury sedan, especially in my tester’s new-for-2024 Urban Gray Pearl – a Nardo-ish shade that goes from smoky in darkness to shimmering in direct light.

The long hood and short deck are a bit unusual when paired with the snouty front overhang, but the dash-to-axle ratio looks great and hides the front-drive underpinnings very nicely.

Inside, the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster provides lots of information, and the larger center display looks good too. Shame it still runs on Acura’s complicated True Touchpad Interface.

Making up points is the automaker’s incredible ELS Studio 3D audio system, which relays uncompressed audio with unbelievable fidelity and improves the quality of streaming services through an impressive sound processor.

The Acura TLX Type S was also a lot more fun on a twisty road than I remember. My tester’s summer tires – Pirelli P Zeros – gripped the road with tenacity, a surprise given my middling experiences with this brand of tire in the past, and the Type S’ cornering attitude was far more neutral than that of its larger MDX equivalent.

I could even coax some gentle lift-throttle oversteer if I was really pushing it, a sensation I thought was wholly at odds with a modern Acura. The snarling exhaust note and responsive throttle only added to the fun.

Now, if only the transmission could keep up. The 10-speed torque-converter automatic is a fine gearbox in everyday conditions, with seamless up- and downshifts when milling through traffic.

It’ll even kick down pretty adroitly for a fast two-lane pass. But when you’re pushing hard through the canyons, it seems to seek inadvisably tall gears for the task at hand, and it’ll ignore the shift paddles and upshift before redline unless your foot is absolutely to the floor.

I’ll put my manual-apologist hat on the shelf for a minute, but at the very least, this car deserves some aggressive shift tuning in its sportiest drive modes.

And although Acura claims the new TLX is more refined at highway speeds than before, it still has some work to do. Wind seemed to catch the B-pillar on my long drive toward Vegas – making a whooshing sound for hours on, you know, the spot right next to my ear – and there’s still lots of tire slap over mediocre pavement.

The automaker’s efforts on the AcuraWatch driver assistance suite have also come up short. Any time a car in an adjacent lane encroached on its road markings, the TLX’s adaptive cruise control would overreact and hit the brakes.

And despite the wider field of view from the camera and radar, the lane-centering system doesn’t seem to work very well. I don’t remember having either of these problems the last time I drove a modern Acura, so I suspect the system just needs a bit more fine-tuning.

Verdict: With a base price of $58,195 including $1,195 destination and handling, the TLX Type S is about $5,000 less expensive than a BMW M340i optioned with those bits that the Acura includes standard.

The TLX is also about $1,000 pricier than a likewise-equipped Genesis G70. My tester’s $600 pearlescent paint and $3,340 accessory summer tires mounted on gold accessory wheels brought the total price to a gasping $62,477 – unless you have to have the flashy rims, save some cash and just buy summer meats on the aftermarket.

Keeping things under $60,000, the TLX Type S is a pretty neat sedan, with nice interior materials and a high-tech rear differential giving it a fighting chance against the pricier Bimmer and dated G70. Once Acura sorts out the complicated touchpad and annoying wind noise – and maybe adds a six-speed stick – the Type S will be an unqualified winner.

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