First introduced in model year 2013, I didn’t get a chance to test drive the new Special Edition Acura TL until now. I just picked up the 2014 model and it is just how I like Acura’s to look, perform and please me driving a sporty luxury sport sedan. What the Special Edition does is offer a step up from the standard TL, with the addition of highly desirable feature upgrades, creating an excellent value in the luxury four-door sedan segment.
This front-wheel-drive TL Special Edition features unique 10-spoke dark chrome 18X8 inch alloy wheels wrapped with Michelin Pilot HX MXM4 245/45R18 inch low-profile high-performing tires for excellent grip and a quiet, smooth ride. Just four paint colors are available for the Special Edition and my test model came with Crystal Black Pearl with full leather-appointed Ebony interior with contrasting stitching. The body also features a color-matched deck lid spoiler and trunk-mounted Special Edition badge. Standard keyless access with pushbutton start adds convenience and ease of use. The keyless access system lets me enter the car without having to handle a key or fob. The keyless access remote has a unique digital identity that is automatically communicated to the car; I simply pull one of the front door handles while the remote is in my possession, and the door unlocks and opens. The trunk can be unlocked and opened by pressing a button located on the TL Special Edition rear spoiler. Another great feature is that the system identifies which of the two supplied fobs is in use each time the driver’s door is opened (even if it is already unlocked) and then automatically sets the driver’s seat, outside mirrors, climate control and audio system, including audio system presets, to a profile preset by the driver using the fob.
The front-wheel drive TL Special Edition come standard with Acura’s 3.5 liter, all-aluminum SOHC 24-valve V6 with intake valves actuated by Acura’s VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system for excellent low-end torque. This compact and efficient engine produces 280hp at 6,200rpm and 254lb.ft. of toque at 5,000rpm. It is mated to a sporty Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission operated by a straight-gate style console-mounted leather-wrapped/baseball stitched shifter. For more fun a racing-inspired steering wheel paddle shifter system is standard. Besides Drive mode, there is Sport mode that increases rpms and remaps the gear shift pattern to hold the gears longer for quicker acceleration and more pulse quickening performance.
On the inside the TL Special Edition illustrates Acura’s driver-oriented sport-sedan philosophy. Sweeping shapes and high-quality materials blend a luxury aesthetic with a feeling of advanced technology. Deeply cut and comfortable/heated sport leather bucket seats are standard and feature 10-way adjustable power driver’s side and an 8-way adjustable power front passenger’s seat. The sporty leather-wrapped/heated/tilt/telescopic, 3-spoke steering wheel features baseball stitching, audio, Bluetooth, and cruise control buttons. The rallye gauges are easy to see and understand. A power moonroof, 276-watt AM-FM-CD audio system with eight speakers, dual-zone climate control system with automatic humidity control are also standard. The TL Special Edition comes well-equipped with standard technology features including a Bluetooth HandsFreeLink wireless telephone interface, USB connectivity and a high-resolution Multi-Information Display above the center stack. The rear seats feature a pull-down center armrest with dual cupholders, air-vents from the rear of the center console and a pass-through for longer items needing transport stored in the trunk. Other standard equipment not mentioned above includes XM satellite radio, MP3 auxiliary input jack, two driver memory, HomeLink system, power windows with front express up/down, power door locks, self-dimming rearview mirrors, heated/power remote sideview mirrors with turn signal indicators, dual map lights, dual lighted vanity mirrors, variable speed wipers/washers, trip computer with readouts in the center of the gauge cluster, aluminum door sill plates, a center console with dual cupholders under an accordion sliding cover, armrest and deep lighted storage box, lighted glovebox, grab handles above each door, easy to use center stack buttons and dials with all buttons, switches and dials fully illuminated for safe nighttime travel, signature front floor mats and rear floor mats, remote trunk/fuel filler buttons and storage slots in each door.
Under the skin of the TL Special Edition is what I would expect from Acura-performance and smoothness. The suspension is fully independent with a front double-wishbone setup with coil springs, twin-tube gas-charged shocks and a 1.18mm hollow stabilizer bar. The rear is a multi-link setup with twin-tube gas-charged shocks, coil springs and a 0.75mm. Matched with an electric variable power-assisted rack and pinion steering system the response is quick and precise. Assisting my handling is the Vehicle Stability Assist that works with the throttle control and brake control that utilizes yaw, lateral g, speed and steering sensors for traction and stability enhancement when I take curves a little faster than the recommended speed. It virtually eliminates any torque steer at launch.
Speaking of excellent brakes, the new TL Special Edition has them standard. Up front are 12.6 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 13.1 inch solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers. Keeping me in control of my direction during severe braking times is standard ABS, EBD and BA.
The exterior is up-to-date with the signature ‘overbite’ front grille, front Xenon High-Intensity Discharge front headlights, daytime running lights, front bumper integrated foglamps, rear LED lamps, steeply raked windshield A-pillars, a full-perimeter chrome strip around the greenhouse, another chrome strip that runs along the drip rail from the hood back to the center of the trunk, big pullout door handles, and deep lower side extensions. The rear shows a thick chrome strip just below the trunk lid, a rear diffuser and 7 inch wide dual rectangular chrome exhaust finishers.
Standard safety features include dual-stage /multiple-threshold front airbags, front-side airbags, side curtain airbags for all outboard seats, 5-3-point safety belts with front seatbelts utilizing automatic tensioning and load limiters, LATCH system for child seats, front/rear crumple zones, a tire pressure monitoring system, steel beams in each door, and daytime running lamps.
Priced at just $37,405.00 the 2014 Acura TL Special Edition is a great looking, comfortable, luxurious high-performing mid-size sport sedan. It comes equipped with everything to keep me and any other enthusiast happy behind the wheel.
Acura is getting ready to introduce an all-new 2015 TLX luxury sport sedan that will probably cost more than the Special Edition so take my hint and check one out before they are all gone, besides Special Edition, it is also a Limited Edition.
COPYRIGHT: 2014: HARVEY SCHWARTZ
- Price: Base TL $36,925 / As-Tested TL Special Edition $38,905
- Engine: 3.5-liter SOHC 24-valve V6 VTEC 280 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm / 254 lb.ft. of toque @ 5,000 rpm
- Wheelbase: 109.3 inches
- Total length: 194 inches
- Total height: 57.2 inches
- Total width: 74 inches
- Track: f/r-63.2/63.8 inches
- Minimum ground clearance: 6.1 inches
- Headroom: f/r-38.4/36.7 inches
- Legroom: f/r-42.5/36.2 inches
- Turning circle: 38.4 inches
- Fuel tank: 18.5 gallons
- Curb weight: 3,726 pounds
- EPA mileage: 20mpg/city, 29mpg/highway
- 0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds