Vehicle Profile: The 2012 Acura TL
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The Acura TL has a well-earned reputation as one of the premiere luxury sports sedans on the market, and the arrival of the restyled 2012 model brings a host of updates aimed at putting even more distance between the TL and the competition.
The power to back the looks
The 2012 Acura TL’s new bodywork delivers a street presence of muscular sophistication, and the available powertrains ensure that the TL can walk the walk.
The standard Acura TL (MSRP $35,605) features a smooth 3.5-liter aluminum V6. It’s both powerful and efficient, delivering 280 hp and 254 lb/ft of torque. A six-speed sequential SportShift automatic transmission with racy paddleshifters channels that power to the front wheels. According to EPA estimates, this powertrain combination is good for 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway.
Stepping up to the range-topping Acura TL Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system means you get even more performance as standard equipment. The TL SH-AWD gets Acura’s aluminum 3.7-liter V6. It shares most of its technology with the standard TL’s 3.5-liter, but has larger cylinder bores and a longer stroke that account for the slightly larger displacement. There’s also more power on tap, of course - 305 hp and 273 lb/ft of torque to be exact.
That added muscle is channeled to the ground via a six-speed transmission and Acura’s SH-AWD system. In addition to the sequential SportShift automatic, the TL SH-AWD can also be ordered with a traditional six-speed manual transmission, so you can choose to shift for yourself. Flick the SportShift’s paddles like a grand prix driver, or work it old school with the 6MT’s clutch and shifter.
Super Handling All-Wheel Drive
Standard on the 3.7-liter 2012 Acura TL SH-AWD, the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system does more than simply improve the TL’s traction in sloppy weather; it delivers optimum all-weather dynamics.
SH-AWD’s torque vectoring distributes power not only between the front and rear axles, but also between the left and right rear wheels to deliver confidence-inspiring cornering and handling. If you’re casually cruising along, SH-AWD can send up to 90 percent of the available torque to the front wheels. Bury the throttle or aggressively look to carve corners, however, and it will send up to 70 percent of the available torque to the rear wheels. What’s more, 100 percent of the power at the rear axle can be directed to either rear wheel. This ability to overdrive a single rear wheel means that the AWD system can literally help turn the car through a corner.
The net result is improved steering accuracy and vastly improved confidence in all weather conditions, as the understeer that plagues many other front- and all-wheel drive cars is all but eliminated by SH-AWD.
Increased interior refinement
Acura always looks to deliver more standard equipment than its rivals, and that philosophy is apparent in the 2012 TL. Premium materials are used throughout the cabin, and leather seating with seat heaters for the driver and front passenger is standard. LED interior lighting and a power moonroof are also featured in every TL.
Standard Bluetooth® connectivity delivers safer mobile phone use via HandsFreeLink and the convenience of Bluetooth Audio Streaming via the TL’s 276-watt, eight-speaker audio system. Also included in the audio system are USB connectivity for an iPod and other USB storage media, XM Satellite Radio, an auxiliary jack for MP3 players and XM’s Note music reminder functionality.
Technology and Advance Packages up the luxury
Choosing the available Technology Package adds sumptuous perforated Milano leather upholstery. Staying on the topic of in-car comfort, the Technology Package also includes GPS-linked temperature control, which uses the GPS to keep tabs on the car’s position relative to the sun and adjusts the climate control settings on the brighter side of the car accordingly.
The hard-drive-based Acura Navigation System, Acura’s most advanced to date, is also part of the deal with a vivid eight-inch high-resolution VGA display, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic and Weather™, Voice Recognition and Zagat® restaurant ratings. The standard audio system is upgraded to the audiophile-grade 440-watt 10-speaker Acura/ELS surround-sound system with Song by Voice functionality and 15GB of dedicated onboard hard-drive music storage. A rearview camera makes backing up a safer bet, and keyless start means you no longer need to fish around for the fob when you slide into the driver’s seat.
Adding the available Advance Package delivers ventilated front seats – ideal for keeping that leather comfortable during the hot summer months – and Acura’s blind spot information system, which will alert the driver when an adjacent vehicle sidles into the TL’s blind spot.
The ultimate driver’s car
With brilliant style, every imaginable creature comfort, state-of-the-art safety equipment, two muscular-yet-efficient powertrains and the availability of an innovative AWD system, the restyled and improved Acura TL is a world-class sports sedan – and a terrific value as well.
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.
MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $860.00 destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary
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Looking to Save?
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