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30 Minutes With: The 2021 Acura TLX Type S

2021 Acura TLX Type S fender badge and front wheel

Publisher's note: Normally, the cars you read about here at are loaned to us by the press fleets of the various manufacturers for several days. Seven is typical. Occasionally, we'll get a longer period of time, and sometimes it'll only be three or four days. Our "30 Minutes With" series features cars we spent half an hour driving during the just-concluded Western Automotive Journalists Media Day in Half Moon Bay, California.

Needless to say, these are quick drives and brief impressions that we hope to be able to flesh out with a full review of the vehicle at some point in the near future.

Media Days is a driving program, with journalists taking cars from the staging area at our host hotel, the Aristocrat, down Highway 1 to Highway 84, onto Stage Road (named for the former stagecoach stop still---but barely---standing on the corner), past the historic (since 1889), socially-aware and only-in-Northern-California funky San Gregorio General Store, through some marvelous twists and turns that lead back to Highway 1 and ultimately back to the hotel.

At the hotel, support teams from Page One Automotive and DriveShop sanitize the vehicles as they return while journalists choose their next vehicle from a total of 27 cars, trucks and SUVs provided by their manufacturers. This goes on for eight hours on day one, minus a 90-minute lunch break, and for three hours on day two. For me, that was enough time to drive 11 vehicles that I hadn't driven yet.

2021 Acura TLX Type S front 3/4 view

My eighth and final drive of day one was in the 2021 Acura TLX Type S.

2021 Acura TLX Type S rear 3/4 view

Back in May, I reviewed the 2021 Acura TLX A-Spec, which I thought made the strongest case possible for the argument that Acura has its groove back.

Then I drove the Type S.

2021 Acura TLX Type S hood up

2021 Acura TLX Type S engine

Type S is not a trim level for Acura. It's an actual, quantifiable performance variant. The 272 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder found in the TLX A-Spec is replaced by a 355-horsepower 3.0-liter turbo 6. It has a ten-speed automatic, Acura's SH-AWD (Super Handling All Wheel Drive), and Brembo brakes up front.

The A-Spec's 7-second 0-60 runs morph into 4.9 seconds in the Type S, and the numbers on the speedometer climb rapidly from there. Fortunately, the TLX Type S has both the chassis bits and the brakes to handle the speed. As good as the Media Day driving route is, left to my own devices, I'd have kept driving Highway 1 until I hit San Luis Obispo , 225 miles away.

2021 Acura TLX Type S trunk open

2021 Acura TLX Type S rear seat

2021 Acura TLX Type S front seats

2021 Acura TLX Type S front seat detail

2021 Acura TLX Type S instrument panel

The base price jump from A-Spec to S-Type is about $7,000---and the performance leap justifies that. The window sticker is at the end of this review, so you can see for yourself what comes standard at $53,100.

2021 Acura TLX Type S steering wheel and gauge cluster

2021 Acura TLX Type S gauge cluster

2021 Acura TLX Type S center stack and console

Apart from $500 for the optional Tiger Eye Pearl paint, that's it (there's a typo on the window sticker below regarding color). So with $1,025 destination and handling, the as-tested price of the 2021 Acura TLX Type S is $54,625.

2021 Acura TLX Type S front view

2021 Acura TLX Type S side view

2021 Acura TLX Type S rear view

My gut feeling is that's a reasonable if not low price for this level of performance. As with all the "30 Minutes With..." pieces, this is just a preview. We've booked a full week in the 2021 Acura TLX Type S. Look for that evaluation in September.


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