CARLOS LAGO: Hey, Carlos
Lago here with Edmunds. And that is the 2021
Acura TLX Type S. [MUSIC PLAYING] We're going to explain
why it's important, what makes it
special, and you might want to consider it
if you're looking for a fun-to-drive, luxury,
compact-ish sedan that doesn't break the bank. Before we do, make sure to
like, comment, and subscribe. [BELL RINGING] If you like this video. If you didn't,
then by all means, don't do any of that stuff. If you're looking to sell a
car, the best place to do it or the easiest place to do
it, is edmunds.com/sellmycar. And also, check out the
links in the description for more information,
because there's a lot more about this car that
we can't contain in this video.

So what is Type S, or what's
the best way to describe it? I don't know if Acura is
ever said what S stands for. But you could think of
it as special or sport. This is essentially an upgraded
version of their regular TLX. It's got a bigger
engine with more power. It's got a nicer interior. It has more features. And it has a really
sophisticated all-wheel drive system. The best thing about
it, though, overall is the value proposition. This thing, as it's
equipped right here, is in the low $50,000 range.

And that fares really well
against the junior performance rivals from the Germans,
like the Audi S4, BMW M340i, and the Mercedes Benz AMG C43. Let's talk about
why it's so special. The engine upgrade– the
heart of the TLX Type S is a 3-liter single turbo V6. You can actually see the
turbo like right here-ish. Now this packed
power train makes 355 horsepower and 354
pound-feet of torque. It's connected to a 10-speed
automatic transmission and that all-wheel drive
system, which we'll cover later. If you care, the engines
made in Ohio, so that's neat. And it's rated at
21 MPG combined. We'll talk more
about how it feels on the road and the
acceleration it gives you when we're driving
it, but I just thought it's neat that you could
see the turbo over there-ish.

There's even a QR code. When you get the
Type S, you also get 20-inch wheels and
Brembo branded brakes, which always look great. What you should know, though,
is there's an $800 roughly tire and wheel option. Acura calls these the
lightweight wheels. And these are
definitely summer tires. They're Pirelli
P0, size 255, 35. Now this is definitely going
to make your driving experience better– better handling, better
steering feel, and all that. But I call it out because these
wheels just look fantastic. Just look at them. They're great-looking wheels. They're so good that
we actually made sure that the emblem was the right
side up, because we just want to do them justice.

When we get to the trunk,
the space is pretty generous. It's wide and deep, although
the lift-over height does seem a touch tall. The thing I really
want to call out is the bracing back
here that blocks– oops, there it goes,
that's no fun either– but it does block a bit
of space back there. But that's a trade-off
for fun handling. You probably won't be able to
fit two snowboards back here. But that's probably
not a problem. If you've got a Type S
with summer tires on it. The interior of the TLX Type
S makes a really positive impression on first blush. I really like the layout
in terms of aesthetics and the material and
the overall style. There's a lot of really
expensive-looking nice materials on the dash
and the steering wheel and all the places that you would touch. As far as organization goes,
the layout of the center stack compromises interior
storage in ways that we'll talk
about a bit later. In terms of comfort and space,
I really like these seats. They've got great adjustments,
including side bolstering.

They're really
comfortable to sit in, and there's plenty of
room for front passengers. Back seat passengers, it's
a little tight, but nothing that kids won't mind. They won't like that there's
no power outlets back there. That's a big bummer. No 12 volt, no USB
ports, no nothing. Connectivity up here,
though, is great because you've got two USB ports
and a wireless charging pad. That's where my faithful
companion Ernie is hanging out. There's going to be a
couple small complaints. None of them are
really deal killers.

And some of them
are kind of petty. The first thing I noticed when
I started driving this car is the gauge cluster. In a nod to previous Acura
performance vehicles, they are white with red letters. Unfortunately, the
white is a little dark and the red isn't that bright. So in the wrong light, it
comes kind of low contrast. So it's actually hard to see
what the gauges are displaying, and that's unfortunate. The center, though,
is a digital screen. And that's really easy to
read, so that offsets it. And I like how
that, the top left, there's a little boost gauge
that looks like Hal from 2001– a Space Odyssey. On the right, there's a
little accelerometer graph that only works
when you're driving, but that's a really
cool little touch. The thing about this car
that it's the most annoying– how you interact with
this center display. The display up there looks
nice, it's a good size, it's easy to read.

But instead of it
being a touch screen or using a dial to control,
it uses this touchpad. Now Acura gets credit
for installing a pad here to rest your arm on so
that when you move your finger on it, it's comfortable to use. But this gets you
the worst aspects of a touchpad and the worst
aspects of a dial-based system, where, in order to
use it, you have to make sure your hand's
touching this pad down here, and then have to see how that
corresponds with the screen. You can learn that. But this screen can
be delayed and slow and that upsets the thing
that you're trying to touch.

So sometimes you'll
accidentally be changing screens and you're trying to wonder
where your fingers at or how it's represented
on the screen. You do get Apple CarPlay
You do get Android Auto. I've had a couple of
instances with Apple CarPlay where it just refuses to
connect until I turn the car off and turn it back on. So all that stuff is
just minor frustrations that you could
possibly live with, but stuff you
should be aware of. Lastly, I got a call out, you've
got auto buttons for the seat heating and the
seat ventilation, and that's just nice. [MUSIC PLAYING] [ENGINE REVVING] TLX Type S, a little
handling assessment.

We'll talk about the engine and
transmission and all that stuff later. The first thing we have
to get out of the way is the understanding that
this is not a car intended for racetrack use. It just isn't. So this isn't a competitor to
the BMW M4 the Mercedes Benz C63 AMG or the Alfa Romeo
Giulia Quadrifoglio. This is a car meant to
be driven around town, commuted with, and
enjoyed on curvy roads. And when you think about
it in that context, it really begins to shine.

Part of that reason is the
way this car is laid out. The TLX is primarily
a front-drive car, even in this super handling
all-wheel drive version. But the way this all-wheel drive
system works is really nice. So primarily, your
engine power is going to go to your front wheels. When this all-wheel drive
system determines it, it's able to root
up to something like 70% of available
torque to the rear wheels. And then it will bias
all of that torque to the left or the right
rear wheel accordingly. And that creates this really
enjoyable handling phenomenon where, when you apply the
gas, the car turns more. That's backwards from
how it should work. When I come out of
the sweeper here, I'm going to roll
into the gas, and I'm going to feel the
back end help maneuver the car around the
corner and help it almost tighten its line.

Now when you combine that
with a willing front end, a willing front tires, you
end up with a handling package that, once you get into the
throes of understeer like there you get on the gas, and the
car starts steering more. It's totally backwards than
the usual state of things, but it is a lot of fun. And yeah, if you
were to drive it like a maniac on a
racetrack, you're going to run to the limits
of the capabilities.

But again, this is a street car. If you think about this
on a curvy mountain road or any curvy
road where it's more point-to-point
corners, this thing's going to feel like a lot of fun. And I think conceptually
there's some real genius to this layout. Because when you have
a rear drive car, you have a platform
that you need to dial some stability
into, some understeer into, so it's safe for
people to drive fast. Because let's face it, not
all of us are great drivers. When you have a
front drive platform but with this kind of
all-wheel drive system, you can dial in some yaw, some
of that oversteer sensation, because you know behind that
is a lot more stability. So instead of
turning in like you would in some of
these luxury sedans and having to manage
your way around through some initial
understeer because you've come to the corner too
fast, this you apply the gas and it drives you right out. So it's really clever from
that conceptual standpoint.

This is a really
fun car to drive. So that's the super handling,
all-wheel drive in a nutshell. And as far as I
can tell, there's really nothing like
it in the segment that delivers this experience
with regard to handling. It's really fun. This turbocharged
V6 makes good power, but this isn't a
very quick vehicle. When we tested it, we did
zero to 60 in something like five seconds, which is OK.

That's adequate, even
though you'd probably be expecting more from
a modern sports sedan. A Model 3 Performance will
blow the doors off this thing. So you have to accept
that and be OK with that if you decide to do this. And I think, given
the handling benefit, some people might
be OK with that. I'll say the engine
is loud, but doesn't sound intoxicating or exciting. It sounds fine, nothing
particularly wrong with it. It has that soundtrack that you
might remember from old Gran Turismo where it just sounded
like a very trebly noise of the engine rising– not the most exotic sound,
but totally gets the job done.

It's also interesting
that the gauge cluster says it revs to 6,200
RPM, even though it always seems to shift at 6,000 RPM. And I wonder if that just
means the tachometer is slow. I don't know. Now beyond the engine
response, which is adequate and
enjoyable, you have a 10-speed automatic
transmission. I've got the whole car set
up in its Sport-Plus mode, and it activated the
Sport-Shifting mode. And for, again,
largely a streetcar, it's ending up most of
the time in the gear I want it to be for the
corners that I'm navigating. That's pretty much
all we can say. In general, though, I like
the feel, I like the balance. This is a really
enjoyable package for a streetcar, a commuter,
something that's still going to be comfortable on the roads. And it's still going to be fun,
something that you could drive to work every day and
not really experience the performance benefits of.

But when you find that
one on-ramp or off-ramp, or you have a series of
corners on your commute, you can attack them
and have a good time. Now of course, you really need
the summer tires to maximize that handling experience. But hey, we already
covered that. You want those really
attractive wheels. What we're going to come
back to is that extra degree of handling enjoyment that you
get from that all-wheel drive system. That really is what makes
this experience special. [ENGINE REVVING] Despite some minor
annoyances, the TLX Type S has some really nice
things going for it. It's comfortable to drive,
fun to throw around, and it's really good looking. There's no denying the road
presence of this thing. Just got to make sure
you get those wheels. All that makes the TLX a
really compelling vehicle, especially when you consider
it against the more traditional German rivals.

This costs a lot less,
feature for feature. And there are a lot
of features in here. So if you've decided
that, for whatever reason, a Tesla Model 3 Performance
doesn't fit your lifestyle and you can live with the
somewhat annoying interior, the TLX Type S gives you a
really compelling alternative to the traditional sports
sedan establishment and at a really good price. If you like this video,
let us know in the comments below, especially you, Josh. I know I freaked
somebody out right there. Like and subscribe really
helps us out when you do that.

Also, if you're
looking to sell a car, do it at edmunds.com/sellmycar. Also, check out the links in
the description for information. We'll see you next time..

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