Acura TLX Type S - Opinions and Predictions
A few of my thoughts on what Acura has in store for us with the first iteration this this name's revival.
First off all, if you're more interested in hearing me talk, you can watch my new video on this here. If you prefer reading, I'll get on with it.
The TLX Type S has been known for a while now, since the Type S badge was announced in January of 2018 and a TLX Type S prototype was spotted last December. One thing I've noticed is confusion over powertrain. Acura announced that they were developing a brand new, turbocharged V6 (at the same time they announced the return of the Type S badge) mainly for the Type S models but which may also be used for lower level models. What I'm going to say next we should all take with a grain of salt, because it is information from an Acura salesman, specifically the sales manager of Superior Acura of Dayton. For power, he says he has heard that it is a twin-turbocharged V6 producing in excess of 400 horsepower. I would hypothesize a power number somewhere in the 420s using the F80 M3 as a benchmark, which has 425 horsepower in base spec.
Onto the transmission and powertrain. For the powertrain, since the power numbers are high, FWD is illogical and knowing that Honda and Acura do not currently make RWD cars, the obvious answer is SH-AWD or an evolution of the SH-AWD system. Now, we come to the unknown variable: the transmission. I will say that everything about this topic is my opinion and thoughts, since absolutely no information on the transmission has been revealed.
The transmission has three likely options, in my opinion. These are in no particular order. The first option, since they are developing a new engine, is to take the German route and design the engine around the ZF 8-Speed Automatic architecture. This would be affordable and effective, though Acura might want to take a more bespoke approach. One option for said approach is to design the engine around Acura's own 9-Speed Dual Clutch from the NSX. It would be using an already designed part, so affordable and easy, while still keeping the Type S bespoke.
A side note: I have also seen in an article that a new 10-speed automatic transmission from Acura is in the works, but I have not been able to find the article again and have not seen the information from any other credible sources, so I have not included this option in the article or video. Remember that this could still be what happens, and I would say it is still significantly likely, though maybe not to the degree that the former two are.
There is still a likely alternative, however. This is Acura's revival of an amazing badge, known by many enthusiasts for being fun to drive; it still maintains much credibility today. Acura may want to cater to these same enthusiasts and keep that credibility, and considering how much the fan base of the Type S badge has been requesting it, a 6-speed Manual Transmission doesn't seem all that unlikely. Sure, one may argue the issue of sales, but this isn't the RDX, MDX, or regular TLX. This is an enthusiast's car, so why not cater to them? Besides, although it would be a new transmission, it would only be a manual, so somewhat cost-effective to develop, very bespoke, given it would be a newly developed transmission and a rather rare one, and great to drive. I will warn that this option is less likely than the above two, so don't get your hopes up. I guess we can only wait and see.
There are, of course, two unlikely options as well. One would be to waste money and develop a brand new automatic or dual-clutch transmission. The other would be for Acura to ignore many, many complaints, be completely stupid, and stick the current TLX transmission, the ZF 9HP 9-speed automatic, in the Type S (if even possible, considering it's a new engine and the fact that this transmission can only handle 450 NM, or approx. 332 lb/ft of torque, which are numbers the Type S will likely exceed).