C&D Short Take - Acura TL A-Spec

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Apr 30, 2004.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,732
    Likes Received:
    1,596
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    Gilding the wrong parts of the lily?

    [​IMG]

    BY TONY SWAN
    PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID DEWHURST
    May 2004

    More than most, American Honda is strongly attuned to the burgeoning tuner aftermarket. After all, Honda Civics and Acura Integras are two of the primary touchstones in the whole new-wave hot-rod revolution. So it's no surprise that this automaker, like so many others, is gearing up to turn this grass-roots phenomenon into a profit center with a line of go-faster, look-cooler packages of its own. The Honda Division answered the call with the Honda Factory Performance array, and now Acura is following suit with enhancements marketed under the banner of A-Spec.

    The first A-Spec package, designed for the RSX Type-S, made its debut at the SEMA show last November. And now there's a similar package for the TL sedan, an array of goodies conceived to enhance the new car's visual horsepower, as well as its ability to satisfy the owner's inner Michael Schumacher.

    There is considerable appeal in having the factory do your development work. No guessing, no shopping, and no possibility of voiding your warranty
    . On the other hand, there are the inevitable questions: Am I actually getting any real performance gains with this kit? Is it worth the money?

    [​IMG]

    When you're about to shell out almost six large, those are both high-priority questions. Here's a straight answer: Yes on both issues—depending on your expectations. Does that sound equivocal? We'll elaborate. But first, the hardware.

    Like a lot of stuff people are attaching to their cars, some of the A-Spec package is devoted to eye candy—the front air dam, the ground-effects rocker panels, the rear spoiler (high wing or decklid, your pick), the A-Spec steering wheel, and the A-Spec badging inside and out. But there is a hard core to the collection—retuned shocks, higher spring rates, and 8.5-by-18-inch aluminum alloy wheels (versus the standard 8.0-by-17s) wearing 235/40ZR-18 95W Yokohama AVS ES100 tires (versus one of two standard Bridgestone tires: all-season Turanzas for automatics, high-performance Potenzas for manual-transmission models). The footprint of the Yokohamas and the Bridgestones is the same, but with an aspect ratio of 40 versus 45, the A-Spec tire has a bit less sidewall, which means less flex, which means better handling response. And those 18-inchers fill the wheel wells, giving the TL an even more aggressive look.

    One other A-Spec element is high-performance brake pads, but this is for automatic models only. Regular TLs with manual gearboxes already come with Brembo four-piston front calipers, and the A-Spec team concluded that was plenty, an opinion borne out in our recent sports-sedan comparison (March 2004), where a TL stopped best in test: 160 feet from 70 mph. However, in our test, in cold weather, the A-Spec needed 174 feet to stop.

    So, that's the A-Spec inventory. We're sure you've already noticed the absence of any engine enhancements, and in truth, 270 horsepower is more than enough in this car. But in the absence of an output increase, assessing the effectiveness of a package such as this gets to be pretty subjective. The one objective distinction we can provide is skidpad performance, and that distinction is wafer-thin. In the comparo, the standard TL pulled a respectable 0.89 g. The Yokohama-shod TL A-Spec managed 0.90.

    The subjective scorecard is a little more decisive. Without getting into a lot of arcane discussion of damping adjustments, the A-Spec setup achieves a noticeable reduction in up-and-down chassis motions over roads with built-in whoop-de-dos, which eliminates the occasional lunging that afflicted the standard TL's responses in our recent test. Roll stiffness has been enhanced, too—cornering attitudes are flatter, and the Acura chassis guys deserve high marks for tightening everything up without a corresponding erosion of ride quality.

    What the A-Spec package does not address, however, is the biggest flaw of a TL with a manual transmission, and that's torque steer. Tramp on the throttle in one of the lower gears, and there's still that heavy tug at the steering wheel, particularly on pavement with lots of variations.

    So this package merits a mixed review.
    The components are high quality, and they do enhance performance, although it takes a well-tuned posterior to appreciate the A-Spec. But the problem of feeding high horsepower through a front-drive system is unaffected. Is this worth $5200? Plus about $500 for installation? We take the Fifth. Your money, your call.

    [​IMG]

    Vehicle type: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
    Price as tested: $40,895 (base price: $38,895)
    Engine type: SOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
    Displacement: 196 cu in, 3210cc
    Power (SAE net): 270 bhp @ 6200 rpm
    Torque (SAE net): 238 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm


    Transmission: 6-speed manual
    Wheelbase: 107.9 in
    Length/width/height: .186.2/72.2/56.7 in
    Curb weight: 3543 lb

    Zero to 60 mph: 5.6 sec

    Zero to 100 mph: 14.5 sec
    Zero to 130 mph: 28.4 sec
    Street start, 5-60 mph: 6.2 sec
    Standing 1/4-mile: 14.3 sec @ 99 mph
    Top speed (drag limited): 152 mph
    Braking, 70-0 mph: 174 ft

    Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.90 g
    EPA fuel economy, city driving: 19 mpg
    C/D-observed fuel economy: 20 mpg

    [​IMG]
     
  2. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,732
    Likes Received:
    1,596
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
  3. Buck-O

    Buck-O Guest

    Wow, so not worth it.

    Though, all things considered, it is a 6 of one, half dozen of the other type of scenario, so i think they drew the right conclusion.

    But seriously, its a TL...and you shouldent be trying to do this with it anyway...
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Dr. Woo

    Dr. Woo Guns don't kill people

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2002
    Messages:
    31,237
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Virginia Beach
    6k for that? Well, I suppose there have been worse deals from manufacturers...
     
  5. Bernout

    Bernout OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2002
    Messages:
    20,687
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    300C >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> TL-S A-spec

    Its cheaper too. Imagine that. :rofl:

    Acura = :Owned:
     
  6. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2001
    Messages:
    293,959
    Likes Received:
    2,988
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    gran turismo a-spec > acura tl a-spec
     
  7. Nyce

    Nyce .

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2001
    Messages:
    52,024
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NYC
    40k? suck my cock


    How much is the Aero package alone? ossuming there is one?


    that is rape right there..

    if people are that performance oriented, they wouldn't buy a FWD TL.. :o and if they are, they probably know that they could do a LOT more shit with that extra $ it will cost for the A-spec package.. as far as aftermarket upgrades go :o

    but it's still hot.
     
  8. Nyce

    Nyce .

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2001
    Messages:
    52,024
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NYC

    300C is a piece of shit compared to the TL
    speed doesn't mean much.. if it's ugly as fuck and looks like ass inside :o


    fuck that, G35 w/ sports package > TL :o
     
  9. Dr. Woo

    Dr. Woo Guns don't kill people

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2002
    Messages:
    31,237
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Virginia Beach
    TL = lighter, manual

    They're different kinds of cars.
     
  10. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,732
    Likes Received:
    1,596
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    I found the TL is one of those cars that looks awesome on paper, but in real life it's quite underwhelming. I used to say the TL was better than the Maxima based on what I read, but after driving a few and riding in my friend's new Maxima, I'd say it's the opposite.

    I'd also be willing to bet the 300C rides and drives better, and comes with most of the same features, including Bluetooth.
     
  11. Lokey

    Lokey OG Lurker

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2000
    Messages:
    2,982
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Cen-Flo
    There is no TL-S A-spec... just a TL A-Spec, the Type S only exists in the RSX these days.
     
  12. neight

    neight OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2004
    Messages:
    70,588
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    San Diego
    visual horsepower?

    No thanks
     
  13. Bernout

    Bernout OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2002
    Messages:
    20,687
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    True, G35 w/ Sports Package that Nyce mentioned is is a better comparo. But for people looking for real performance, the 300C owns all in that price range.
     
  14. LEGbEND

    LEGbEND .

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2001
    Messages:
    23,270
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Shitcago
    S60R > that :o
     
  15. Dr. Woo

    Dr. Woo Guns don't kill people

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2002
    Messages:
    31,237
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Virginia Beach
    You mean straight-line performance? As heavy as the 300C is, I doubt it could pull the same handling performance that a TL or G35 does.

    EDIT: you said price range...oops
     
  16. Jim311

    Jim311 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2002
    Messages:
    100,368
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
    40 grand for an econobox :mamoru:
     
  17. Confused

    Confused OT Supporter

    Joined:
    May 19, 2003
    Messages:
    7,591
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Toronto
    luxury sport sedan?
     
  18. Bernout

    Bernout OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2002
    Messages:
    20,687
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Again, true, the TL would probably run circles around the 300C in that respect. But anyone autocrossing his new $40k TL-A is a moron.

    Facts are that the majority of TLs sold will be automatics and driven around on the streets and highways 100% of the time.

    So the guy in his TL-A with stiff suspension, 18" rims and bodykit who thinks he gonna outgun the 300C next to him onto the freeway onramp when the light goes green is gonna get owned. That suspension will almost never be used to even half of it purported potential. The 300C's acceleration, however, can be used to its full potential anytime, anyday, anywhere there's a clear stretch of road ahead.

    :cool:

    But I do love the TL's design. :o
     
  19. YelloWRX

    YelloWRX Sonic Yellow...Bitch!

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2002
    Messages:
    4,937
    Likes Received:
    0

    thats a tsx there asshat.
     
  20. Blindsight

    Blindsight Guest

    that looks so sexy, but its not worth $6k

    dammit, i want a TL :drool:
     
  21. iNteGraz92

    iNteGraz92 trolling apple sackriders is just too damn easy

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2000
    Messages:
    8,054
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    El Monte, CA
    :rolleyes:
     
  22. Madness

    Madness Do not let Dr. Mario touch your genitals. He is no

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Messages:
    37,904
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Nobody paid the extra money for the RSX A-spec package and I doubt anyone will pay for it on the TL. Good looking package but until they slap on an extra 30hp OR rear wheel drive, it ain't gonna sell. Damnit why can't they figure out that if they want to compete in this market they need an RWD platform.
     
  23. M5_Elite

    M5_Elite New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2003
    Messages:
    4,906
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    That car is fucking sexy!
     
  24. Blindsight

    Blindsight Guest

    i'd sure as shit pay an extra $6k for RWD
     
  25. Blindsight

    Blindsight Guest

    well... maybe not $6k. they need to just do it right from the start
     

Share This Page