2024 Acura TLX Type S takes pride in sleeper status

In our 2024 Acura TLX review over at The Car Connection, we called the stock TLX a “sport-sedan bargain.” So it remains for 2024, with a base price still below $50,000, still powered by a turbo-4 engine. 

But for the true sleeper in the TLX family, there’s a little more all around, from powertrain to tech upgrades. At $58,195, the TLX Type S isn’t the bargain that we see in the base car, but it’s a star performer we’d take cruising, with zero expectations of track stardom. 

For 2024, Acura’s added a raft of features to its safety and entertainment suite, but it hasn’t damped the low-key fun of the Type S in any way, other than modulating throttle response in its Sport+ mode. Thanks for leaving well enough alone.

I drove the ’24 edition over a long weekend under near-ideal circumstances—under flat-gray skies so its gray paint could let it sail undetected through speed traps. The destination: a rural Georgia farmhouse where I could spend the weekend cooped up near a hen house while the temperature danced around the 32-degree mark and egged me on to stay inside and compose.

The TLX Type S remains much the same as we first thought of it in 2021, when it went through a near-complete renewal. Even the noises have stayed the same. Open the door and listen to its chime—it’s the same as the first note in Demi Lovato’s “Cool for the Summer.” In so many ways, we wish we had a redo of 2015 again. 

Punch it to life and the big difference between the base TLX echoes clearly: the turbo V-6 under this hood wants to tussle with the tarmac. A 355-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 perks up and ships 354 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels through a 10-speed automatic gearbox. I’d say it barked it out, if it leaned in more to its engine note—it leaves a lot of vocal power on the studio floor. It’s a pervasive cue to Acura’s thinking with the Type S, which amplifies all its inherent virtues without turning anything to vice.

The Type S has the manners of a finishing-school graduate, even though its transmission snaps off downshifts almost twice as quickly, and even though it drinks gas at a 19-mpg rate in the city. It comes down to tuning. Acura (and its mothership Honda) have a lock on the natural interplay between front struts, rear multi-links, and the adaptive dampers offered with the Type S. As we’ve noted in our prior first drive, the Type S vaults the TLX’s essential competence into the truly engaging—mostly because it trades off a forgettable amount of ride compliance for flatter cornering. Sweeping through the bendy connectors between dairy farms and hen houses that mark the final perimeter of exurban Atlanta, it never foot-faulted despite some ill-advised hot-patching on the most rural of routes.

Steering rises to the top of the TLX Type S’s hit list. It tracks with resolute ease, some of it’s due to the Pirelli P Zero 20-inch tires that seemed an iffy choice as temperatures dropped. It puts just enough weight on to re-center in the lane, not stiff or brutally heavy as some of its competition prefers. Granted, the TLX Type S isn’t as track-settled or as quick as rivals like the Audi S4 or Mercedes-AMG C 43, but it’s no less delightful on the roads that bend like a garden hose, but don’t kink.

2024 Acura TLX Type S

2024 Acura TLX Type S

2024 Acura TLX Type S

2024 Acura TLX Type S: A sport sedan with (mild) manners

Sensible updates to the TLX’s comely body wear well on the Type S. A new frameless grille dukes it out against the Urban Gray Pearl paint of my tester—a unique shade for the Type S. You can spot the Type S also for its decklid spoiler, front and rear diffuser, quad exhaust tips, and red Brembo 4-piston front calipers. If it rides on summer tires, it also dons handsome copper-painted 20-inch wheels.

Its sport seats can be dialed in for just the perfect amount of bottom cushion tilt and back angle rake with excellent lumbar adjustment. With the TLX Type S’s steering wheel flattened off at the bottom and positioned at the right angle to frame the gauges, it offers a clear view of the road ahead. Packaging is, as usual, a strength even in the back seat, where passengers get firmly padded bench seats with good headroom and legroom even for those 6-feet tall and more. 

The driving interfaces can vex, though. Acura’s new 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster has more real estate, but the gauges themselves are down-low white against black, with a myriad of secondary functions woven in, tripmeters and safety settings and such.

Next door on the dash cap itself, the TLX Type S has moved up to a standard 12.3-inch infotainment display with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s prepped for greatness, minus one glaring omission: touch sensitivity. Acura wants you to swipe and touch on a console-mounted pad instead. It’s just not as simple to operate a touchpad for quick flicks between podcasts and maps, for example. For better sometimes but usually for worse, drivers have nonetheless proven touchscreens to be the desired path for infotainment; anything else just smacks of complication.

Every Type S has adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and automatic emergency braking—and like every other Honda and Acura, the Type S gets too sensitive to road-surface changes. It throws braking warnings like it’s throwing hands in frustration at your/my terrible lane hygiene. A new surround-view camera system finally becomes standard, and so has a 10.5-inch head-up display, but while the information’s welcome and discreetly displayed in the windshield, the HUD image projects on the windshield with a tilt up at its left top corner. 

Acura has padded the TLX’s owning protection. All models get two years of free scheduled maintenance to go with a luxury-standard 4-year/50,000-mile warranty. That’s comforting to have in mind when the farm animals sharing your weekend show inordinate interest in what you’re driving. 

It’s not an official endorsement, but the peahens and roosters fought equally hard to peck at the TLX Type S’s tires with affection. We couldn’t understand them, but their agent is going to get back to us with an official quote. We’ll update this story once I can read their chicken scratch.

2024 Acura TLX Type S

Base price: $58,195, including $1,195 destination

Price as tested: $59,037

Powertrain: 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6, 355 hp/354 lb-ft of torque, all-wheel drive

EPA fuel economy: 19/25/21 mpg

The pros: Excellent long-distance cruising, revamped features, sleeper status

The cons: Pricey, touchpad interface, maybe too mild-mannered?

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