Preview - 2004 Acura TL

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Sep 23, 2003.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,732
    Likes Received:
    1,596
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    Acura picks up the pace, the passion, and the price of admission

    [​IMG]

    BY TONY SWAN
    PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID DEWHURST
    October 2003

    If any car has been central to the revitalization of Honda's luxury division, this is it. Introduced in 1995, the TL established a solid formula—exemplary manners, smooth performance, and lots of standard goodies at an attractive price—that has spread to other divisional offerings.

    So here's the all-new TL, and the formula changes slightly. Standard features are still a key element—there's more baked-in hedonism here than just about anywhere else in this class—but it's the visceral octane that gets our attention. More muscle, more hustle, and—oh, boy—a six-speed stick to stir it all up.

    Like the previous 3.2TL, the new TL is based on the Honda Accord, redesigned for '03, providing new bones for its fancier cousin—stiffer, of course (Acura cites a 24-percent uptick in torsional rigidity), which equates with better dynamics. The engine is familiar—a 3.2-liter SOHC 24-valve aluminum V-6 with Honda's three-rocker VTEC variable valve timing, with ratings that have ramped up to 270 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 238 pound-feet of torque at 5000.

    That's not an enormous gain compared with the 3.2TL Type-S (260 horsepower, 232 pound-feet), but it's vast compared with the 225 horsepower and 216 pound-feet of the previous standard V-6. That's significant, because the more robust engine is also the only engine, and Acura has dropped the Type-S distinction. The only performance option is the six-speed manual, which includes a limited-slip differential, heavier front and rear anti-roll bars, bigger front brake rotors clamped by four-piston Brembo calipers, and the option of Bridgestone Potenza performance tires. All TLs ride on 17-inch wheels. The Type-S did, too, but on skinny 6.5-inchers, compared with the new 8.0s. With 235/45 tires supported by wider rims, there's lots more grip, although the Potenzas feel far stickier than the standard all-season Bridgestone Turanzas.

    If you want to maximize transient responses and corner getaways, you've gotta have the manual tranny and its allied hardware. Plus the tires, of course, which are available only with six-speed editions.

    Acura coaxed the extra thrust from the 3.2 by bumping the compression ratio from 10.5:1 to 11.0:1, improving airflow, and opening up the exhaust. Exhaust headers integrated with the cylinder heads help get the burned gases out more efficiently and also enhance converter light-off, all of which helps the upgraded engine meet ULEV-II emissions with no sacrifice in fuel economy: 19/29 mpg city/highway with the five-speed SportShift automatic, 19/28 with the manual. A new drive-by-wire throttle manages power delivery.

    The suspension is familiar—Acura's double control arms in front, multilinks in back—with revised geometry to accommodate a distinctly wider track: 62.1 and 62.0 inches front and rear versus 61.2 and 60.4. Also, the front suspension is now bolted to an aluminum subframe. All up, the new TL automatic is a few pounds heavier than the automatic-only Type-S, but the manual version is some 50 pounds lighter, according to Acura specs, with better fore-and-aft weight balance (about 60/40).

    [​IMG]

    You'd expect all of this to equate with across-the-board improvement in all performance categories, and based on a day of driving on Washington state byways, including a session at Bremerton Raceway, that expectation seems well-founded. With the manual gearbox—a gratifyingly precise device that encourages rowing—the TL seems fully capable of the 6.0-second 0-to-60 sprints Acura forecasts, emitting a delightful high-tech yowl while doing so.

    This is a slightly smaller car than its predecessor. The wheelbase has shrunk from 108.1 inches to 107.9, overall length is down 6.3 inches. However, at 56.7 inches, the new TL stands 3.0 inches taller, and at 72.2 inches, it's 1.5 inches wider. It adds up to a slightly higher passenger-volume index (97.7 cubic feet versus 96.5), although Acura sacrificed some trunk capacity: 12.5 cubic feet versus 14.3.

    As noted, this taller, wider interior is crammed with an unprecedented array of standard equipment, including a superb DVD-based surround-sound audio system, XM satellite radio, and a hands-free cellular phone setup, as well as safety gear such as electronic brake force distribution and curtain airbags. The only interior option is Acura's DVD nav system (about $2000), which has been upgraded with voice recognition. And if the new red, white, and blue analog LED instruments seem a little showy, there's no denying that the new TL interior, set off by tasteful splashes of aluminum trim, is handsome, indeed.

    Acura automobiles have never been stylistic standouts, but the TL's taut new skin is distinctly more aggressive: Its wider stance, bigger footprints, and more pronounced fender flares lend a sense of hunkered-down action readiness that goes with the upgraded performance capabilities.

    The downside? There's plenty to like here, but in the end, the front-drive TL is still competing with rear- and all-wheel-drive sports sedans such as the BMW 3-series and Infiniti G35. Although eager and athletic, the six-speed TL is still limited by its propulsion system. By just how much will be determined in a future comparison test.

    Beyond that, there's the issue of price. Acura wasn't ready to announce final numbers at the preview, but company execs suggest the new car will start a little higher—about $33,500—than the Type-S. Considering the standard features, that's still an attractive deal. But the previous base was south of $30,000, which may make the new TL harder to perceive as a bargain, at least for some.

    [​IMG]

    Vehicle type: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
    Estimated base price: $33,500
    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

    Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 5-speed automatic with manumatic shifting
    Wheelbase: 107.9 in
    Length/width/height: 186.2/72.2/56.7 in
    Curb weight: 3500-3600 lb

    C/D-estimated performance (6-sp manual):
    Zero to 60 mph 6.0 sec
    Zero to 100 mph: 15.7 sec
    Standing 1/4-mile: 14.7 @ 97 mph
    Top speed (governor limited): 140 mph


    Projected fuel economy:
    EPA city driving: 19 mpg
    EPA highway driving: 28-29 mpg

    [​IMG]
     
  2. pixel804

    pixel804 yabba dabba do

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2001
    Messages:
    23,565
    Likes Received:
    14
    i think the front looks too much like the TSX
     
  3. the interior is cool, but the exterior... well umm that's just a face a mother could love :hs:

    the exterior shouts "squinty eyed civic" :hs:
     
  4. iZero

    iZero Guest

    It finally achieves parity, then the price jumps ruining it.
     
  5. and with that baseprice, i would opt for a Benz or BMW ;)
     
  6. Yoritomo

    Yoritomo dad's jar chimer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2001
    Messages:
    20,472
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    DFW
    Damn that's expensive for what you get.
     
  7. Nyce

    Nyce .

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2001
    Messages:
    52,024
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NYC
    interior gorgerous as expected from Acura

    but exterior is teh lacking to me for now :sad2:
    judging by the specs, it's a hell of a car.. but wtf.. the TSX looks too much like this thing
     
  8. Sonic

    Sonic Live every day to the fullest, for yesterday is go

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2001
    Messages:
    48,083
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Westchester County,New York
    I hate the exterior (rehash of a few year old design, but like the engine and interior.

    6 speed manual?:eek3: ABOUT FUCKING TIME!
     
  9. KDubb

    KDubb everyday I'm hustlin'

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2000
    Messages:
    92,285
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    everywhere
    :dodgeStratuslooks:
     
  10. Sonic

    Sonic Live every day to the fullest, for yesterday is go

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2001
    Messages:
    48,083
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Westchester County,New York
    IBmuckycomesalongandsaysitsloadedforthatprice

    For that price, I can get an even further loaded car from Nissan.:o
     
  11. Sonic

    Sonic Live every day to the fullest, for yesterday is go

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2001
    Messages:
    48,083
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Westchester County,New York
    And I see that they increased the CR to within a hair of its life, meaning that they can't get any more out of it for the Type-S.:o
     
  12. mucky

    mucky .

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2001
    Messages:
    44,972
    Likes Received:
    0
    You're going to have to settle for a slower 325i or C230 then. ;)
     
  13. Fully loaded Im sure its ~ $36k which is what my mother was quoted for a 2002 C320 last year ;)
     
  14. Dr_Trac

    Dr_Trac doh!@

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2002
    Messages:
    96,903
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Dallas
    i can't stand that "streak" on the sides. :hs:
     
  15. mucky

    mucky .

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2001
    Messages:
    44,972
    Likes Received:
    0
    When you said "and with that baseprice", $36k does NOT equal $33.5k.
     
  16. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,732
    Likes Received:
    1,596
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    Fabulous interior. :cool:
     
  17. Right, so it's going to end up being more. Base price for a Benz is much higher than that.

    And I said opt meaning that I'll spend a little extra ;)
     
  18. Mr.Fusion

    Mr.Fusion feast upon my magnificence

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2000
    Messages:
    43,024
    Likes Received:
    82
    Location:
    Austin,Texas
    Love the interior, not really wild about the rest.
     
  19. tekknikal

    tekknikal Nothing's ever been better than that

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2001
    Messages:
    7,436
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    On an Island
    nice.
    but id still rather a g35
     
  20. mucky

    mucky .

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2001
    Messages:
    44,972
    Likes Received:
    0

    Benz C320's base price is $36,000! And that doesn't include full-leather heated seats, sunroof, HID, rear fold seat, or even a single CD player. :eek3:
     
  21. Sonic

    Sonic Live every day to the fullest, for yesterday is go

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2001
    Messages:
    48,083
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Westchester County,New York
    The Maxima is its closer competition from Nissan.
     
  22. Priest Tango

    Priest Tango Custom User Tits

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2003
    Messages:
    17,613
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    LOOOOOONG ISLAAAAAAND
    it looks small:(
     
  23. Sonic

    Sonic Live every day to the fullest, for yesterday is go

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2001
    Messages:
    48,083
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Westchester County,New York
    Looks like a C230 Coupe from that angle.

    [​IMG]
     
  24. F=ma

    F=ma Guest

    They didnt even mention that its the first production car in the world to feature standard XM radio, and that it also comes standard with bluetooth, to sync with your phone and be able to take calls through the car's stereo and microphone.
     
  25. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,732
    Likes Received:
    1,596
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    :werd:

    The Maxima was redesigned to go upscale, and compete with this car.
     

Share This Page