2019 Acura TLX A-Spec 4-cylinder makes sports styling cheaper

Acura is bringing its latest sports sedan to the showroom, with the 2019 TLX arriving at dealerships complete with a 2.4-liter A-Spec version for those wanting a little more visual appeal. Based on last year's redesign, the 2019 Acura TLX addresses some of the lingering complaints would-be drivers had about the car, particularly around which models could be equipped with the automaker's styling packages.

At launch, only the 2018 TLX V6 could be had in A-Spec form. For the 2019 model year, however, Acura is offering an A-Spec trim option on the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. It's a move that brings the price of entry to the A-Spec club down to $39,400 (plus $995 destination), versus $42,800 for the TLX V6 A-Spec.

Your money gets you a matte-black diamond pendragon grille with a dark chrome surround, atop a more aggressively designed lower front fascia with more expansive air intakes. Round fog lamps are included, while the "Jewel Eye" LED headlamps are given a dark finish. The A-Spec cars also get exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels, with a Shark Gray finish.

At the back, there are smoked LED tail-lamps and a gloss black decklid spoiler. Acura also uses a different fascia, with a special lower diffuser that has 4-inch round dual exhaust finishers. Finally for the exterior treatment, the side window surrounds are matte black rather than chrome, and there's A-Spec badging on the front fenders.

Inside, meanwhile, A-Spec cars get high-contrast stitching and piping on the front seats, and more aggressive bolstering. There's red LED ambient lighting to match the red driver's gages. The headliner and pillars are finished in black, and there's brushed faux-aluminum trim for the instruments. Finally, there's a thicker sports steering wheel.

What doesn't change with the package is performance. Whereas the TLX V6 A-Spec SH-AWD cars get tweaks to the steering ratio, stiffer spring rates, and a rear stabilizer bar, the four-cylinder does not. As standard, that 2.4-liter engine comes with Acura Precision All-Wheel Steer, or P-AWS, which can adjust the angle of the rear wheels independently to tighten cornering and make high-speed lane changes smoother.

Performance and drivetrain details remain the same. The 4-cylinder engine comes with an 8-speed DCT gearbox and delivers 27 mpg combined, 23 mpg in the city, and 33 mpg on the highway. The 3.5-liter V6 gets a 9-speed automatic, and does at best 24 mpg combined, 20 mpg in the city, and 31 mpg on the highway, depending on whether it's the front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive version, and with or without A-Spec trim.