This year marks the 25th anniversary of Acura entering the market as the first upscale luxury brand from Japan. To celebrate, Acura chose this year’s Orange County International Auto Show in Anaheim, California to introduce the new 2012 Acura TSX Special Edition (SE) sport sedan. A popular gateway vehicle for young buyers seeking the Acura brand’s renowned levels of luxury and performance, the front-wheel drive TSX earns its Special Edition stripes with the addition of track-inspired design enhancements meant to intensify its already abundant sporting appeal.
The linear descendant of the famed Acura Integra – a first-ballot inductee in the hot-hatch hall of fame – the TSX family, which includes available V6 power and a roomy Sport Wagon, offers buyers far more than its reputation as a preferred ride among young driving enthusiasts. This year, U.S. News and World Report
magazine named the TSX the “Best Upscale Small Car for Families.” Aimed at buyers looking to dovetail “family-friendly” with an additional jolt of driving excitement, the 2012 TSX Special Edition satisfies with a host of model-exclusive interior and exterior upgrades.
The TSX Special Edition sport sedan (MSRP $30,810) boasts the standard 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder, which makes 201 hp and 172 lb/ft of torque. Credit the powerplant’s dual-overhead cams, low-friction piston rings, Programmed Fuel Injection and i-VTEC® variable valve timing for its unrivaled efficiency and its ability to charge rapid-fire across the rev band.
Acura offers the TSX Special Edition with a standard five-speed Sequential SportShift automatic transmission, which offers full “manual” mode with gear changes actuated by bright-silver-plated paddleshifters unique to the Special Edition. This highly advanced automatic features Grade Logic Control, which can recognize steep inclines and avoid “gear hunting,” and Cornering G Shift Control, which delays upshifts while cornering to maximize chassis stability. Drivers who prefer can choose the available close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox. For all its credentials as a road burner, the TSX Special Edition delivers surprising gas mileage. Expect an EPA-estimated 31 highway mpg with the automatic transmission and 29 mpg on the highway with the manual.
In keeping with its track-tuned pedigree, the TSX Special Edition features suspension geometry shared with many race-only vehicles. In front, the double-wishbone design provides optimized wheel positioning under hard cornering while out back, the multi-link setup reduces lift and improves stability. Add the standard vehicle-speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering, and even the tightest mountain switchbacks are easily tamed.
Further bolstering confidence behind the wheel is an assortment of driver-assistance technology, led by the Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) system. Relying on an array of sensors, VSA monitors parameters such as throttle position, steering angle and lateral G-force to help detect an impending slide. The system then reduces engine torque and applies the ABS disc brakes at individual wheels to keep the TSX Special Edition planted under power.
You don’t win commendations as a family vehicle unless you incorporate leading-edge safety technology. In the TSX Special Edition, occupant protection features include six airbags, active front head restraints, LATCH anchors for securing child seats and an Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure that disperses crash energy more evenly to reduce forces transferred to the passenger compartment.
The five-passenger TSX has earned its stripes as a secure and luxurious ride. The TSX Special Edition sport sedan brings a sense of athleticism with model-exclusive exterior appointments such as a bolder front spoiler, a new rear bumper fascia, beefier side sills and a “Special Edition” badge mounted on the trunklid. Unique 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, featuring a polished finish and dark gray background, round out the sedan’s aggressive appearance.
Inside the TSX Special Edition, sporting improvements include black headliner material, aluminum pedal covers and seating surfaces featuring perforated black Lux Suede inserts with red backing. You also get red accent stitching on the shiftknob, steering wheel and seats, along with red illumination for the gauges, overhead lights and footwell lights.
Of course, the Special Edition models share a bounty of standard features with their TSX siblings. Highlights from the long list include a power moonroof, High-Intensity Discharge headlights, a rearview camera, automatic dual-zone climate control, dual-level heated front seats, Bluetooth® with HandsFreeLink®, a USB port for iPod integration and a 360-watt, seven-speaker audio system.
Acura has been building and marketing technologically advanced performance luxury vehicles for 25 years, and the TSX stands as the entry point to today’s impressive lineup. If you’d like your TSX with an extra dose of adrenaline, choose one of the 2012 Special Edition models, and share in the 25th anniversary celebration.
*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $885.00 destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
** Based on 2012 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.