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Acura’s 2018 TLX gets sharper styling, tech infusion, new A-Spec model

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Acura's first go at the TLX may have been a bit too understated. Now the luxury brand is trying to spice things up.

When it debuted in 2014, the Acura TLX featured more restrained styling than the TL and TSX sedans it replaced. But now Acura is reversing course and giving the TLX a little more visual spice.

Making its first public appearance at the 2017 New York Auto Show, the 2018 Acura TLX gets the same design language already seen on the updated MDX crossover, as well as the Precision concept. In addition to the face-lift, the TLX gets an infusion of new tech, and a sportier A-Spec model.

Like the MDX, the 2018 TLX sports a larger version of Acura’s signature “diamond” grille that seems perilously close to the oversized “beak” that drew so much criticism on previous Acuras. The “jewel eye” LED headlights are enlarged as well, and each powertrain variant gets its own special styling details.

Speaking of powertrains, the TLX is expected to continue with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder as the base engine, and an optional 3.5-liter V6. The four-cylinder is rated at 206 horsepower in the current TLX, and the V6 at 290 hp. Acura did not say whether those figures would change for 2018. As before, front-wheel drive is standard, with Acura’s torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive available as an option. For 2018, Acura is expanding availability of the system to all V6 models, rather than just the top trim levels.

V6 models also get a new A-Spec package. Available with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, it adds sportier exterior and interior styling, 19-inch wheels, and a sport-tuned suspension. That includes a stiffer spring rate and rear stabilizer bar on all-wheel drive models. We’d like to see Acura take things a bit further and create a full-on TLX Type R performance model.

On the tech front, the TLX gets a new dual-screen infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a host of standard safety features under the AcuraWatch banner. These include autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and road departure mitigation. The 2018 TLX goes on sale in June, with pricing to be revealed closer to that time.