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Discussion Starter #1
The Car Connection
Summary Rating: 7.8 out of 10

by Bengt Halvorson
Deputy Editor
Jan 6, 2011​

The Basics
While the 2011 Acura TL lays aim at some of the market's top sport sedans, it has very modest roots—essentially, building on the V-6 Honda Accord. That said, the TL is up to the task; it's a surprisingly well-rounded luxury sedan, with host of advanced tech features, and in top SH-AWD trim morphs into a complete and compelling sport sedan.

The TL has changed little since it was last completely redesigned, for the 2009 model year. Skinned with a high-tech but controversial look, the TL is, for many, a love-it-or-leave-it design. Still, heads swivel when the TL drives by. The more restrained mid-lux sedan owner may roll their eyes at its seemingly robot-inspired sheetmetal, but younger or more adventurous buyers will consider it refreshing. On the inside, there's much less controversy and more to like. Gentle arcs and circles predominate, beautifully melding leather and synthetic, analog and digital in an artful yet logical way that is uniquely Acura.

If you're looking at the TL because you're in the market for a well-rounded luxury sedan, you'll be happy with the standard 280-horsepower 3.5-liter VTEC V-6, that's essentially the same engine as used in the Honda Accord and powers front wheels with a 5-speed automatic transmission. But if performance at all matters, you'll want to step up to the TL SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive), and you'll get the 305-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 from the RL sedan juicing all 4 wheels through Acura's capable system that removes any threat of torque steer, displays how its distributing power in the instrument cluster, and almost gives the TL the feel of a rear-wheel-drive sport sedan-as long as you're heavy on the gas. In addition to the automatic, you can get a manual on the TL SH-AWD. Working together with the stability control system and allocating torque not only front-to-back but left-to-right, the SH-AWD system is ideally suited to spirited driving and quick emergency maneuvers on the road. Even on rough-surfaced, rain-slicked pavement, we found the TL almost impossible to fluster.

Thanks to its Accord roots, the TL has excellent passenger space front and back, with enough space for 3 adults in the back seat. The interior was appointed with supple leather and seats with generous proportions, giving good thigh support but not quite enough lateral support for serious high-performance driving. There's only 1 functional disappointment: With 13.1 cubic feet of space in the trunk, the TL is a bit short of some of its competition. Build quality is typically Acura, with solid materials and close tolerances, though there aren't as many options or upgrades as you'll find at brands like BMW, Mercedes, or Lexus.

The TL's cabin also feels tight and free of wind noise, and even on the coarsest pavement surfaces we noticed very little road noise—definitely less than the M37 or Cadillac CTS. The big 19-inch wheels, however, give the SH-AWD a particularly rough ride over irregular surfaces, a problem not evidenced in the base model, which is more comfortable for most purposes.

When it comes to showcasing a wide range of high-tech features, the 2011 Acura TL is at its best. Interfacing easily with a host of personal electronics, even the base TL features a standard USB iPod/MP3 interface, an 8-speaker audio system, and a crisp, high-resolution center-mounted display for controlling the infotainment system. Going up the scale, the top SH-AWD model sure can seem pricey, but it's a complete, sophisticated sport sedan with the Tech Package, including a navigation system with live traffic, weather, and rerouting; a rearview camera; solar-sensing temperature control, keyless access, and an upgraded 440-watt Acura/ELS surround sound system.
Styling
7 out of 10 A controversial snout is about all that’s not to like in an otherwise edgy yet functional sport-sedan design.
Performance
7 out of 10 While the 2011 Acura TL isn’t downright inspirational for enthusiasts, it’s surprisingly eager and athletic in TL-SH guise—especially if you go for the 6-speed stick.
Quality
8 out of 10 The 2011 Acura TL has more passenger comfort and functionality than most other luxosedans this size—plus a tight, high-quality feel.
Safety
9 out of 10 Although the TL hasn’t been put through some of the latest federal crash tests, it’s by most accounts a very safe sedan.
Features
9 out of 10 The 2011 Acura TL offers most of the tech wizardry of rival models, but the interface has a learning curve.
Green
7 out of 10 The 2011 Acura TL is about as green as you’d expect for a mid-size, V-6 luxury sedan that doesn’t have any hybrid tech on board.
We like
* Attractive, high-quality interior
* Poise and responsiveness (SH-AWD)
* Nice sound system and iPod integration
* Roomy backseat and excellent ride

We dislike
* Exterior detailing
* Overwhelming center-stack layout
* Sluggish automatic transmission
* Somewhat small trunk

Key Takeaway
If the bold exterior is to your liking, the 2011 Acura TL is a solid luxury value—and the SH-AWD has true sport-sedan chops.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
PortLand

2011 Acura TL SH-AWD 6mt: What's Not to Like?
Controversial styling aside, a great sport sedan for discriminating drivers
By Jim Redden
The Portland Tribune, Jan 7, 2011

The side mirrors on the 2011 Acura TL are a little narrow, reducing rear visibility somewhat.

There. That’s the only complaint I have about the all-wheel-drive version of Acura’s mid-size sedan I spent the last week driving. Everything else was just about perfect, including the smooth-shifting 6-speed manual transmission.

I know that not everyone likes the angular styling and shovel-like nose. I think it looks aggressive and different than anything else on the road, except other Acura’s that share the styling cues. Our black-and-silver looked very sleek, especially with the distinctive 5-spoke alloy wheels

Anyone who actually drives the 2011 Acura TL SH-AWD 6MT — as it’s formally known — will quickly forget such quibbles. It’s hard to argue with the beautiful and contemporary interior that surrounds you with fine leather, high-quality plastic and tasteful mesh aluminum trim. The leather-covered steering wheel is thick and rewarding to grasp. The Honda 3.7-liter V6 start revs eagerly to its redline in every gear. Body roll is negligible, encouraging spirited driving on winding roads. And the big 4-wheel-disc brakes respond instantly to the lightest touch, making it easy to sweep through fast corners.

The controls were well-designed and easy to understand and use. Some cars make it hard to tell the difference between the buttons, but those in the TL are logically grouped and marked.

Out test model was equipped with the comprehensive option technology package that included every gizmo you could conceivable want in a car these days, including a backup camera and super stereo system. The exclusive console-mounted control knob is easy to understand and use, allowing drivers to quickly pull up information on nearby traffic delays and the like.

For some reason, the leather sport seats in our test model were part of the tech package. They are no more adjustable than any other electronically-controlled seats, but were both supportive and comfortable, especially with the heaters that eased cold weather driving.

Legroom in the back seat is ample, but tall passengers need to duck to clear the sloping roof line when entering. Although the company says 3 adults can fit comfortably in the rear seats, a rise in the center compromises the middle 1. The trunk is large and the floor is flat, despite the rear differential.

You can spend a lot more than the $43,245 price tag on our fully-equipped test model and not get a better sport sedan. Everything works together so flawlessly it’s hard to imagine how it can be improved. The clutch is light and the shift lever floats cleanly between all gears. The steering is precise with just the right amount of feedback. Drivers can sense the Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive system shifting the power between the front and rear tires for the best traction. An electric display shows how the power it split, but watching it requires the driver to look away from the road — a bad idea when the information is probably the most interesting.

OK, that was 1 more “problem.” But considering everything else to like about the car, just another very small one.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Odd Time for a 2011 Review but ...

So Long 2011 TL, We'll Miss U
Acura's Sport Sedan Attractive, w/ Just a Hint of Menace

An established favourite among the intermediate luxury car set, the Acura TL was last redesigned for the 2009 model year. The only major change since then has been the availability of a 6-speed manual transmission, which was brought back last year.

The 2011 Acura TL lineup now consists of 2 models: the base front-drive Acura TL with a 280 hp 3.5-litre V6 engine; and the Acura TL SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive), which has a newer 305 hp 3.7-litre V6 engine. A much revised (some would say toned-down) 2012 TL will be hitting Canadian showrooms March 18 with a starting price of $39,490, the same as this outgoing model.

Both engines on the 2011 model come standard with a 5-speed automatic, and the SH-AWD model is also available with the 6-speed manual (a same price option). My tester was the SH-AWD, but unfortunately didn't come with the manual transmission option.

It's so rare these days to get a big, powerful sedan with a manual that it's become an exotically attractive feature. Not that there's anything wrong with the TL's automatic gearbox, which not only comes with a sport driving mode but also sequential manual-mode paddle shifters located on the steering wheel.

Although the practice of slipping superlatives into the name of a product or a feature is a cheesy one, the TL's so-called "Super-Handling" All Wheel Drive system is an excellent system that was unique to this car. There are a number of copycat torque-vectoring systems out there today, and Acura has expanded use of the system to other models in its lineup.

My TL also came with a Technology Package, which is available on both models. This adds a navigation system with voice recognition, a surround-sound premium audio system, and keyless entry featuring push-button ignition.

The Acura navigation system's interface is an 8-inch high-resolution colour display that's exceptionally clear and very easy to use. Acura/ELS Surround is a 10-speaker, 440-watt premium sound system that includes DVD-audio, CD, DTS, AM/FM tuner, XM Radio and a hard disk drive (HDD) with storage for up to 2,500 songs.


THE LOOKS

The TL has a wide-body, hunkereddown stance of a sports car with 4 doors. Acura calls it a Motion Surface body design and describes the styling theme as an "emotional design with linear fluidity and a strong presence." Acura's signature wide V-shaped front grille assembly is flanked by its narrow band headlights that give the TL a somewhat menacing look. The SH-AWD model adds brake-cooling air ducts at the outside front corners. In the rear, the V theme is also reflected in the trunk design. The Technology Package also adds a rear spoiler and the SH-AWD model has cool-looking (and sounding) quad tailpipes.


THE INSIDE

The TL has a driver-focused interior with low slung sports car-like front bucket seats that offer excellent lateral support. The leather upholstery on my tester had exposed contrasting colour double-stitching that gave it a rich, high-quality appearance. The four-pod instrument panel has well shrouded, round conventional gauges.

Between a large tachometer and speedometer, the driver can display an interesting digital graphic that shows all-wheel-drive torque demand at each wheel. Even though the driver has no control of drive distribution, it's still interesting to see what's happening, especially in corners when the system takes corrective action to maintain stability.

There's enough room in the back for most passengers, although the extra tall ones may complain about head room. Split-folding seatbacks to expand cargo capacity are not offered, and while the trunk has decent capacity (13.1 cu.-ft), it's an odd and less-usable shape due to the space requirements for the rear suspension and all-wheel-drive components. A solar-sensing, dual-zone automatic climate control system also comes with automatic humidity control.

XM satellite radio, an iPod interface, and a Bluetooth cellphone link also come standard.


SAFETY

Crash-test ratings on the TL are excellent. Both the NHTSA and the IIHS give it their highest rating in all categories, including rollover. Add in the active safety factor that the allwheel-drive system can provide and you've got a very safe package.


THE DRIVE

The TL is a decidedly sporty sedan with enough performance to satisfy an enthusiast driver, while also offering the practicality of a sedan and a reasonable price tag. The driver sits fairly low with legs out front in a sports car-like driving position. Loved the big dead pedal for my left foot and the angry growl from the exhaust when you push down rapidly with the other foot on the gas pedal. The torque vectoring all-wheeldrive system performed brilliantly in that late taste of winter that the weather gods threw at us recently. Under normal conditions, it has a front bias, sending 90% of torque forward, but if needed can send up to 70% to the rear wheels. The rear differential can also send more power to an outside rear wheel in a corner, which helps the car rotate through a turn. It works in collaboration with all the stability control and advanced brake control systems to magically keep it on track. Even in normal "D" position the 5-speed auto is a crispshifting transmission. Slip the shift lever down a notch into the sport mode and it winds the engine up as it stays in a gear longer. You can use the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts while in "D", but it reverts back to auto mode fairly quickly.

The TL is certainly no slouch and was clocked at 6.8 seconds to 100 km/h when tested at the Canadian Car of the Year event in October. Its brakes were even more impressive, as they brought it to a halt in less than 39 metres from 100 km/h. At 110 km/h the 3.7-litre V6 engine only spins at about 2000 rpm. The long gearing pays off in a good highway fuel economy rating, but around town the rating (12.3 L/100km) is not great. Over the years, the TL has packed on some extra weight (don't we all!). The top-line version now tips the scales at 1603 kg (which is almost 4,000 lbs.) and that doesn't help fuel economy. It also gives the TL a more ponderous handling feel and it's nowhere near as nimble as its stablemate Acura TSX.


THE SCORE

The Acura TL is an attractively priced luxury sports sedan with bold styling and a responsive powertrain. The torque vectoring all-wheel drive system (SH-AWD) on the topline version is state-of-the-art, and a real plus in Canadian winter driving conditions.

THE SPECS

2011 Acura TL

Trim levels: TL & TL SH-AWD

Sticker Price: $39,490-$46,990

Power: 3.5-litre V6, 280 horsepower. 3.7-litre V6, 305 horsepower.

Transmission: 5-spd auto; 6-spd man

Fuel consumption (3.5L): 11.6/7.5 L/100 km (city/highway)

Fuel consumption (3.7L): 12.3/8.1 L/100 km (city/highway)

Basic Warranty: 4 yrs / 80,000 km

Powertrain Warranty: 5 yrs / 100,000 km

Rust Warranty: 5 yrs / unlimited km

THE COMPETITION

Cadillac CTS: $40,650 -$72,045

Chrysler 300: $32,995 -$41,995

Hyundai Genesis: $38,995 -$49,995

Infiniti G37: $38,690 -$47,640

Lexus ES350: $41,950 -$52,000

Lincoln MKZ: $38,399 -$42,199

Volvo S60: $45,450

Volvo S60: $45,450​

 

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Discussion Starter #4
Montreal Gazette

A Fond FareWell to the 2011 Acura TL
It will be difficult for much-revised 2012 model to go far enough to match outgoing car

An established favourite among the intermediate luxury car set, the Acura TL was last redesigned for the 2009 model year. The only major change since then has been the availability of a 6-speed manual transmission, which was brought back last year.

The 2011 Acura TL lineup now consists of 2 models: the base front-drive Acura TL with a 280 hp 3.5-litre V-6 engine; and the Acura TL SH-AWD (Super Handling AllWheel Drive), which has a newer 305 hp 3.7-litre V-6 engine. A much revised (some would say toned-down) 2012 TL hit Canadian showrooms last week with a starting price of $39,490, the same as this outgoing model.

Both engines on the 2011 model come standard with a 5-speed automatic,and the SH-AWD model is also available with the 6-speed manual (a same price option). My tester was the SH-AWD, but unfortunately didn't come with the manual transmission option.

It's so rare these days to get a big, powerful sedan with a manual that it's become an exotically-attractive feature. Not that there's anything wrong with the TL's automatic gearbox, which not only comes with a sport driving mode but also sequential manual-mode paddle shifters located on the steering wheel.

Although the practice of slipping superlatives into the name of a product or a feature is a cheesy one, the TL's so-called "Super-Handling" All Wheel Drive system is an excellent system that was unique to this car.

My TL also came with a Technology Package, which adds a navigation system with voice recognition, a surround-sound premium audio system, and keyless entry featuring push-button ignition.

The Acura navigation system's interface is an 8-inch high-resolution colour display that's exceptionally clear and very easy to use. Acura/ELS Surround is a 10-speaker, 440-watt premium sound system that includes DVD-audio, CD, DTS, AM/FM tuner, XM Radio and a hard disk drive (HDD) with storage for up to 2,500 songs.

THE LOOKS

The TL hasawide-body, hunkereddown stance of a sports car with 4 doors. Acura calls it a Motion Surface body design and describes the styling theme as an "emotional design with linear fluidity and a strong presence." Acura's signature wide V-shaped front grille assembly is flanked by its narrow band headlights that give the TL a somewhat menacing look. The SH-AWD model adds brake-cooling air ducts at the outside front corners. In the rear,the V theme is also reflected in the trunk design. The Technology Package also adds a rear spoiler and the SH-AWD model has cool-looking (and sounding) quad tailpipes.

THE INSIDE

The TLhas a driver-focused interior with low slung sports car-like front bucket seats that offer excellent lateral support. The leather upholstery on my tester had exposed contrasting colour double-stitching that gave it a rich, high-quality appearance.The 4-pod instrument panel has well shrouded, round conventional gauges.

Between a large tachometer and speedometer,the driver can display an interesting digital graphic that shows all-wheel-drive torque demand at each wheel. It's interesting to see what's happening, especially in corners when the system takes corrective action to maintain stability.

The re'senough room in the back for most passengers, although the extra tall ones may complain about head room. Split-folding seatbacks to expand cargo capacity are not offered, and while the trunk has decent capacity (13.1 cu.-ft), it's an odd and less-usable shape due to the space requirements for the rear suspension and all-wheel-drive components. A solar-sensing, dual-zone automatic climate control system also comes with automatic humidity control.

XM satellite radio, an iPod interface, and a Bluetooth cellphone link also come standard.

SAFETY

Crash-test ratings on the TL are excellent. Both the NHTSA and the IIHS give it their highest rating in all categories, including rollover. Add in the active safety factor that the all-wheel-drive system can provide and you've got a very safe package.

THE DRIVE

The TL is a decidedly sporty sedan with enough performance to satisfy an enthusiast driver, while also offering the practicality of a sedan and a reasonable price tag. The driver sits fairly low with legs out front in a sports car-like driving position. The torque vectoring allwheel-drive system performed brilliantly in that late taste of winter that the weather gods threw at us recently. Under normal conditions, it has a front bias, sending 90% of torque forward, butifneeded can send up to 70% to the rear wheels. The rear differential can also send morepowertoanoutside rear wheel in a corner, which helps the car rotate through a turn. It works in collaboration with all the stability control and advanced brake control systems to magically keep it on track. Even in normal "D" position the 5-speed auto is a crisp-shifting transmission. Slip the shift lever down a notch into the sport mode and it winds the engine up as it stays in a gear longer. You can use the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts while in "D", butitrevertstoauto mode fairly quickly.

The TL is certainly no slouch and was clocked at 6.8 seconds to 100 km/h when tested at the Canadian Car of the Year event in October. Its brakes were even more impressive, as they brought it to a halt in less than 39 metres from 100 km/h. At 110 km/h the 3.7-litre V-6 engine only spins at about 2000 r.p.m. The long gearing pays off in a good highway fuel economy rating, but around town the rating (12.3 L/100km) is not great. Over the years, the TL has packed on some extra weight (don't we all!). The top-line version now tips the scales at 1603 kilograms and that doesn't help fuel economy. It also means the TL is nowhere near as nimble as its stablemate Acura TSX.

THE SCORE

The Acura TL is an attractively priced luxury sports sedan with bold styling and a responsive powertrain. The torque vectoring all-wheel drive system (SH-AWD) on the topline version is state-of-theart, and areal plus in Canadian winter driving conditions.
 
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