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2021 Acura TLX Brings Heat Back To D-Segment Just As Lincoln MKZ Exits

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Remember when sedans ruled the world? Particularly sporty, luxurious sedans built for everyone from the entry-level guy straight out of business school all the way up to C-level executives? Yea, we remember. Now, cars like the Lincoln MKZ are headed to the great automotive graveyard, with many more following closely behind. And yet, in this time of great upheaval, the all-new 2021 Acura TLX has just dropped looking like its ready to turn back the clock.

2021 Acura TLX
2021 Acura TLX

Ironically enough, the 2021 Acura TLX is something of a D-segment throwback, seeking to advance the segment while Ford will soon discontinue its only remaining luxury D-segment model – the Lincoln MKZ, pulling out of the space completely. As such, the TLX will continue to do battle with the likes of the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS and ES, Volvo S60, plus the Cadillac CT5.

By the looks of things, the new TLX is certainly out for blood, too. For starters, its styling draws inspiration from the well-received Type S concept, with its low roofline, wide stance, and stretched wheelbase. It’s a great-looking car, for sure, and a huge improvement on the outgoing model. But more importantly, the new TLX has lots of exciting things going on underneath all that attractive bodywork.

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2021 Acura TLX

Acura calls the 2021 TLX ” the quickest, best-handling and most well-appointed sedan in the brand’s 35-year history.” And that’s saying a lot, given the fact the Type S models of the past have achieved cult-like status among the JDM crowd. And speaking of the Type S, the 2021 TLX marks that model’s return to the Acura brand after a decade-long absence.

2021 Acura TLX Type S

The TLX Type S, arriving next spring, will be powered by an all-new Acura exclusive 3.0-liter DOHC direct-injected and turbocharged engine V6 engine, but Acura isn’t talking power yet. The TLX Type S will also be the first Type S model to feature Acura’s torque vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system.

2021 Acura TLX

Visual changes to the TLX Type S include an open-surface diamond pentagon grille, larger side air intakes, a rear decklid spoiler, aggressive front splitter and rear diffuser, and large quad exhaust outlets that hearken back to the 2007-2008 TL Type S.

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Two exclusive 20-inch wheels designs will be offered – a split-10 spoke design from the Type S
Concept and an NSX-inspired lightweight “Y-Spoke” wheel, both wrapped in 255-series
performance rubber. The front brakes consist of larger rotors and four-piston Brembo calipers.

2021 Acura TLX A-Spec
2021 Acura TLX A-Spec

That’s exciting for Honda and Acura fans in general, of course, but the regular 2021 TLX is designed to be rather athletic itself. It will utilize a a high-output 2.0-liter VTEC turbocharged, direct-injected engine producing 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Both TLX engines will be backed up by a 10-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift.

The 2021 TLX also employs Acura’s 4th-generation SH-AWD system, as well as a double-wishbone front suspension, variable-ratio steering system, electro-servo brake-by-wire technology derived from the NSX, and an available driver selectable Adaptive Damper System. Acura says that the new TLX is its most rigid car ever, save for the NSX. And even better, it’s going to start at a very reasonable price in the mid-$30,000, though exact pricing has yet to be announced.

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2021 Acura TLX A-Spec

2021 Acura TLX buyers will also be able to opt for the popular A-Spec sport package, which adds unique features including Shark Grey 19-inch wheels, gloss black accents in the front and rear, darkened headlight and taillight treatments, and a rear decklid spoiler.

“With this new TLX, we’re doubling down on what today’s sport sedan enthusiasts are asking for – a more stylish, personal and performance-focused driving experience,” said Jon Ikeda, vice president and Acura brand officer. “Our designers and engineers really took the gloves off, rethinking what an Acura sport sedan should be, right down to its most essential elements – stance, proportion, platform and powertrain. This is unquestionably our most ambitious redesign of an Acura sedan.”

2021 Acura TLX A-Spec

The irony that Acura is building an all-new, enthusiast-focused sport sedan is simply mind-blowing given the fact that so many other automakers, Ford included, are running away from the segment. Personally, we hope the 2021 Acura TLX sells like hotcakes, forcing Ford to realize the err of its ways and get back to building exciting driver’s cars, just like the old days.

We’ll have more on this rebirth of the sport sedan soon, so be sure to subscribe to Ford Authority for non-stop Ford news coverage.

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Written by Brett Foote

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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8 Comments

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  1. The market is saturated with models like this. Lincoln would have a hard time offering something that sold in numbers high enough to make a profit. Even so, the money and effort are going elsewhere, and those needs are substantial.

  2. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…be careful about putting more eggs in fewer baskets. The markets these days can turn quickly, and Ford could find themselves without a competitor in a segment that gather steam quickly. SUV’s won’t always be the profit margin winners they are currently…it’s just a matter of time. As far as profits are concerned, how are other manufactures able to support fuller lines? They manage the profitability across all of their lines as an average, as opposed to focus on individual line markers only.

    This also keeps the offerings more nimble to accommodate other markets in other parts of the world as they shift. SUV’s are really only a thing here in the US. It is a world market, and if you’re going to play in it, you have to all chambers loaded to survive.

  3. The saddest thing about this article is this is Lincoln’s target market today they don’t build luxury automobiles they don’t even build American automobiles you have to leave that up to Chrysler – Dodge. A front wheel drive vehicle car or station wagon -SUV is not a luxury vehicle and I wouldn’t buy either, that’s why I don’t buy Lincoln

  4. The older people that bought most of Lincoln’s cars, have an easier time getting in and out of SUV’s. Not to mention seeing out better. My mother never wanted an suv and now she won’t drive anything else. They aren’t going anywhere, they might lose some profitability, but they aren’t going to be replaced by cars. Lincoln builds some of the best out now.

  5. I’ve posted about this many times that Ford is going to regret abandoning the sedan market. Does anyone thinks it makes any sense when you walk into a Lincoln dealership next year that all you’ll see is FOUR SUV’s and NO cars! I think it’s insanity. I can’t believe the Ford family is allowing this Hackett guy to turn the company into nothing more than a truck company. It’s becoming nothing more than a GMC division.
    I believe the stock price reflects what the market thinks of this strategy. Hackett has driven the stock price down to the five dollar range AND has eliminated the dividend. Quite a CEO! I’m still waiting for the big payoff from the Rivian, EV and AV programs. Keep in mind, we can’t build cars now, but we can fund these farces. Maybe the Bronco (because Ford needs another SUV in the market) will be a winner.
    Hackett will, unfortunately, skate through the coming debacle by blaming the effects of the Corona virus.

  6. This car well will sell well thanks to Fix Or Repair Daily’s inability to sell sedans profitably (even if they are made in low wage countries). Honda should be thanking the inexperienced unqualified furniture guy.

  7. Sad that the once proud U.S. automotive industry has chosen to cede
    entire product lines to foreign manufacturers. Now what little U.S.
    production capacity is left is being exported to foreign countries.
    Henry Ford increased production line wages so workers could afford
    to buy the automobiles they produced. It seems today’s management
    has lost sight of that goal. Detroit once had the greatest number of
    single family home ownership, per capita, prior to the 1970’s.
    The impact on Detroit is self evident and the question begs, will this
    be everywhere?

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