2024 Acura TLX Type S Review: German Alternative

Eric Weiner

If the Acura Integra Type S is a turn-key track animal, the TLX Type S is a buttoned-up road warrior. Like the two generations of TL Type S before it, Acura’s V-6 sport sedan aims to blend back-road performance, luxury feel, and comfort at a competitive price compared to German four-doors—think Mercedes-AMG C43, Audi S4, and BMW M340i. In many respects, the TLX Type S still trails behind these rivals, but the gap has never been narrower. Let’s take a look.

Acura refreshed the entire TLX lineup for 2024, three years after introducing the Type S model for 2021. Changes are pretty minor, which means underneath we’re dealing with the same exclusive Acura platform, 3.0-liter V-6 engine packing a single turbo, and the brand’s trademark Super Handling All-Wheel Drive with torque vectoring. Updates for the 2024 TLX Type S include revised front and rear fascias, improved throttle response in Sport+ mode, and a new all-digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster. A surround-view camera that was previously optional is now standard. 

For enthusiasts, however, the most significant change is that the lightweight wheel and summer tire package—previously an $800 extra—is now a dealer add-on costing a whopping $3493. The factory standard is a new 20-inch wheel with Pirelli Cinturato7 all-seasons. For summer rubber die-hards, this one stings.

2024-acura-tlx-type-s_EW-10 rear three quarter 2
Eric Weiner

Otherwise, the Type S is loaded up with everything Acura can muster as standard. The only option on our $58,795 test car was its $600 Urban Gray Pearl paint—essentially a new-for-2024 also-ran meant to evoke Audi’s Nardo Gray or BMW’s Brooklyn Grey Metallic.  

Specs: 2024 Acura TLX Type S

  • Price: $58,795
  • Powertrain: 3.0-liter turbo V-6; ten-speed automatic transmission
  • Output: 355 hp @ 5500 rpm; 354 lb-ft @ 1400 rpm
  • Layout: All-wheel-drive, four-door, five-passenger sedan
  • EPA Fuel Economy: 19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, 21 mpg combined
  • Competitors: Audi S4, BMW M340i, Mercedes-AMG C43, Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400

It’s a handsome color, and it looks great in a variety of light conditions, but unfortunately for Acura it does little to distract from the TLX’s bizarre proportions. The designers’ intent here was to make this front-drive-based sport sedan appear more like a rear-drive one, but the uncanny valley effect is palpable. There are few angles where the TLX looks of one piece. The profile view in particular accentuates the hood’s height, which disturbs the overall silhouette and visual balance. 

2024-acura-tlx-type-s_EW-01 profile
Eric Weiner

On the plus side, the Type S has some attractive details, which are subtle enough to look cool without veering into shouty territory. The widened air intakes and front splitter are sharp and purposeful, and they accentuate the tension of the redesigned front grille without distracting from it. Around back, the trunklid spoiler and diffuser add a sense of aggression without drawing too much attention from the main appeal—the Type S’ striking quad exhaust.

Many Acura customers end up with a car like the TLX because they want a luxury model without the social baggage associated with the German brands. And with its gorgeous red leather, supportive front seats, sensational ELS 3D audio system, and super-crisp center display, this interior feels upscale if not quite as refined as an Audi, BMW, or Mercedes. Acura’s quality fit and finish make the Cadillac CT4 and Alfa Romeo Giulia seem cheap by comparison, but some of the TLX’s details still won’t fool longtime luxury-brand customers. The steering wheel, for instance, appears suitably fat and dimpled to the eye but feels hard and slightly tacky to the touch. 

Happily, climate control buttons, including heated and cooled seats, are simply and clearly laid out, with no gimmicks or endless menu-diving necessary. The Type S’s standard heads-up display works excellently, and drivers will appreciate the large buttons on the left side of the dashboard to adjust its position. Acura’s new all-digital instrument cluster is fine, but the semi-analog setup it replaces benefitted from a much more sophisticated view from the driver’s seat. The push-button shifter in the center waterfall takes no time to figure out, and there is a dedicated volume knob and track-change button next to the touchpad. 

But oh, that touchpad—an awkward, imprecise nightmare that combines the worst aspects of physical controls and touchscreens. Lexus learned its lesson and moved away from the technology, which soured a lot of people to that brand’s last-generation vehicles, and Acura should know when to fold ‘em as well.

Packaging could be better. The TLX’s back seat is surprisingly small given the roughly Audi A4-ish size of this car, and the trunk isn’t especially generous. Even more puzzling is the fixed X-brace between the trunk and the back seat, which makes storing long packages impossible. 

Acura says that 25 percent of TLX buyers go for the Type S, which, despite the $7000 increase in cost makes sense if you’ve driven both it and the lesser A-Spec model. This a fast, satisfying daily driver. The 355-hp turbo V-6 makes its maximum 354 lb-ft of torque at just 1400 rpm, and the engine feels responsive and willing all the way to about 5500 rpm. It’s paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission that manages to avoid the sensation of constant shifting in pursuit of fuel economy. Sport+ mode—activated by holding the drive mode knob all the wait to the right for a few seconds—turns throttle response, exhaust noise, shift mapping, and torque-vectoring on the rear axle to their most aggressive settings. This is a solid, punchy powertrain that drivers will happily choose over the workaday four-cylinder in the TLX A-Spec, but the engine lacks the juicy smoothness and aural charisma of BMW’s B58 inline-six.

2024-acura-tlx-type-s_EW-44 engine
Eric Weiner

Sport+ is highly entertaining for your favorite back road, however. Most impressive is the all-wheel drive system, which can send 70 percent of torque to the rear and then distribute 100 percent of that torque to either rear wheel. The Type S is sure-footed no matter the situation and never has issues putting down power, though dialing in the adaptive suspension to Comfort using the Individual settings does cut down on head-toss over small- and medium-sized bumps. We’d suspect that the summer tires also improve initial turn-in, which can be a little vague in elevation changes. Steering is accurate and predictable. The brakes (Brembos up front) are by far the dynamic high point, though—powerful and reassuring when the car is at full blast, with a consistent, fantastic feel through the pedal. In normal traffic, they totally disappear into the background.

Overall the TLX is not the most aggressive sport sedan out there, and purists will definitely balk at its 4221-pound curb weight, but it is impressively competent and satisfying to drive. Compared to past Type S iterations—the 2002-03 TL and 2007-08 TL—this TLX Type S comes across as much more considered and carefully engineered. At just under $60,000 this Ohio-built TLX Type S costs almost exactly the same, when adjusted for inflation, coming in at $4000-$7000 cheaper than today’s German competition, depending on exact options. While those prior Type S models were fun in their own right, they didn’t exhibit this level of dynamic refinement beyond their respective base models. Drivers of the 07-08 TL Type S may remember its considerable torque steer under full throttle. (That second-gen car was, however, astonishingly better-looking.)

2024-acura-tlx-type-s_EW-08 front
Eric Weiner

Those earnestly cross-shopping the TLX with a 3 Series or C43 won’t find them to be in the same league. That’s perhaps more a reflection on the TLX than the Type S in particular, which is a more-than-respectable effort for a performance badge that has appeared only in staccato fashion up to this point. With a TLX this good, not to mention the thrilling Integra and swift MDX Type S, we hope these performance models are here to stay. 

2024 Acura TLX Type S

Price: $58,195/$58,795 (base/as-tested)

Highs: Sweet powertrain. Sophisticated all-wheel drive that never gets caught out. Supportive seats with nice leather and soft suede-like fabric. Killer audio system.

Lows: Digital gauge cluster is a downgrade from the pre-refresh model, as is the new summer tire/lightweight wheel pricing. Some materials feel not-quite luxurious. Touchpad controller needs to go.

Takeaway: The TLX Type S shows signs that Acura still cares about satisfying enthusiast drivers, but European brands need not panic. This 2024 refresh doesn’t much move the needle.


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    This is a great car that weighs too much and is not nearly as sporty as a Turbo V6 + AWD would suggest. I expect a little more considering the Genesis G70 has more power or the outgoing KIa Stinger GT. For slightly more I purchased the Lexus IS 500. 472hp high revving V8 puts a smile on my face every time and weighs 330 pounds less.

    Definitely a different flavor and no question the Lexus has a more charismatic engine. But consider that the Acura has AWD and the IS500 is RWD only. Assuming AWD adds 150-200 pounds, the weight here isn’t crazy different.

    The TLX Type S may not quite hit the mark of a BMW or Mercedes, but it should far exceed the reliability of an Audi. It may not even hit the luxury of a Lexus. But this Type S, with the massive – expressive tail pipes, its sleek body design and interior, and meaty tires, really looks a whole lot better in my opinion. Acura just made a beautiful automobile. It may not be faster, but it looks faster. And it will probably last a lot longer than the competition as well.

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