TSX Gets Special Edition
The news from Acura is that the TSX comes in a Special Edition (SE) model this year. This often signals the end of the line for the current design, The SE is offered only as a sedan with the four-cylinder engine, and is equipped with a number of sporty styling upgrades. On the outside, the SE gets ground-hugging bodywork, with new front and rear bumpers, lower side sills and five-spoke aluminum wheels. On the inside, there are faux-suede seat inserts, aluminum pedals, silver trim and a black headliner.
To me, the TSX looks like a junior version of the TL. It has the same chiseled contours and shield-like grille. The interior features a twin-cockpit design up front. Each passenger’s compartment is defined by curving brushed-silver trim that flows from the dash down to the center console. The dash is a two-tiered arrangement, much like the Honda Accord. A centrally located digital screen displays a variety of data and the map for the optional navigation system. The TSX holds five passengers in leather-clad seats, but the backseat legroom is cramped. However, trunk makes up for it with12.6 cu-ft. of storage space.
The base engine continues to be the 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder that generates 201 horsepower and 172 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s teamed with a six-speed manual, or a five-speed automatic at no extra charge. I’ve tested a four-cylinder with the automatic and found it to be peppy, but not particularly strong.
However, my test sedan was equipped with the optional a 3.5-liter, V-6, which delivers 280 horsepower, 79 more than the 2.4, can generate. The V-6 brings with it some plusses and minuses. It adds 200 lbs. of weight to the TSX, but it enables it to hit 60 in 6.0 seconds, nearly two seconds quicker than the four-cylinder. It also gives the TSX more muscle, but loses up to three miles per gallon in fuel economy, averaging 23-mpg overall.
The V-6, comes only with a five-speed automatic, there is no manual option. However, this combo delivers smooth, and seemingly effortless power. Yet, the V-6 is missing a sporty exhaust note. The only time you hear the engine is under full throttle.
Out on a winding road, the V-6 TSX feels much like its four-cylinder sibling. Acura compensated for its additional weight with stiffer springs and a retuned anti-roll bar. The steering is quick and delivers good feedback from the road. The sport suspension makes the TSX feel light on its feet, and 18-inch tires provide good grip in the corners. The TSX may not be quite as agile as a BMW, but it’s an entertaining car to drive. And even though the emphasis is on sport, the TSX delivers a comfortable ride.
Pricing for the TSX starts at $30,695 for the four-cylinder model. The Special Edition comes in at $31,695. However if you step up to the V-6, you’ll have to pay $36,235, which is $5540 more than the base model. This seems like a lot for an engine transplant, but this TSX is actually less pricey than its Japanese competitor, the Lexus IS350. My V-6 powered test car with the optional Technology package, which included navigation, backup camera and surround-sound audio had a MSRP of $39,335.