2018 Acura TLX adds sporty A-Spec to lure tech-savvy younger drivers

Acura promised last year that its Precision Concept would donate its distinctive styling to production models sooner rather than later, and the 2018 Acura TLX is next in line. The company's luxury sports sedan is targeting younger, more eager drivers with its big revamp for the 2018 model year, complete with the marque's new signature diamond pentagon grille. Inside, meanwhile, there's more tech and gadgetry as standard.

Having already shown up once before on the 2017 MDX SUV, the new grille takes pride of place on a massaged TLX body. In fact, there are now three distinct versions of the 2018 TLX, with the 4-cylinder and V6 cars joined by a new TLX A-Spec. That will slot in as the flagship car.

The 2017 TLX 2.4-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder gets a new fascia and bumper, more sculpting to the hood, new fenders, and a new Jewel Eye headlamp design. LED turn signals are now included, along with standard 17-inch alloy wheels. As standard it'll get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, too.

Next up is the 2018 TLX V6. That throws in a new rear fascia with exposed, rectangular dual-exhaust trim, along with a rear diffuser. It also upgrades to 18-inch wheels as standard. The V6 TLX with Technology Package throws on chrome side sill trim on the outside, while inside there are new seats with contrast piping and stitching; the driver's seat gets a power-operated thigh extension.

As for the V6 TLX with Advance Package, that introduces trapezoidal LED fog lights, a body-color deck lid spoiler, and power-folding side mirrors. Inside, there's a surround view camera system, white LED ambient light piping in the cabin, a heated steering wheel, and heated rear outboard seats. You also get a wireless charging pad for your phone.

New for the 2018 model year, Acura will offer its Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system across all of the V6 TLX models. Previously only available on those with the Technology or Advance Packages, it combines AWD with torque vectoring.

The big change, however, is an all-new TLX version. The 2018 TLX A-Spec will come with Acura's V6 engine, in either 2WD or SH-AWD configurations. It differentiates itself visually courtesy of an exclusive front fascia, round LED fog lights, more aggressively-designed side sills, and a rear diffuser through which large, round dual-exhaust finishers are visible. A gloss black decklid spoiler and dark-finish 19-inch wheels with 245-series tires round out the visual changes.

However, there's also more aggressive damper settings and new tuning to the electric power steering for what Acura claims is more sporty on-road performance and more precise handling. The SH-AWD version gets a stiffer spring rate and rear stabilizer bar. Inside, exclusive A-Spec leather seats add extra bolstering, there's red added to the instrumentation, brushed aluminum-look trim, and a thick-rimmed sport steering wheel. The seats are offered in red or black leather, with Alcantara seat and door inserts, and there's the wireless charging pad, ventilated front seats, and ambient lighting from the Advance Package.

Along with Google and Apple's smartphone interfaces, the 2018 TLX also gets a new On Demand Multi-Use Display infotainment system. Spreading the UI across two displays, there's a new 7-inch capacitive touchscreen which promise to be swifter in its response; the system as a whole is a claimed 30-percent faster than what was in the old TLX. Crash avoidance is standard, as part of AcuraWatch, with collision mitigation braking, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lan keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, and road departure mitigation all available.

Acura says the 2018 TLX will begin showing up at dealerships this June. Pricing will be announced closer to release.