2. Powerful engine hampered by the transmission
Although a less powerful 3.5 L V6 is standard, all TLs featuring the SH-AWD system come equipped with a 3.7L SOHC V6 pumping out 305 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Even weighing in at 4,000 lbs., the engine motivates this car with decent urgency and becomes quite powerful once opened up.
The Achilles heel to this engine though is the lazy six-speed automatic. It takes a fortnight to change gears and when it finally does so, it is in an abrupt fashion like a spaced out teenager hastily answering a teacher’s question upon realising his name was being called for the past 2 minutes.
The TL’s sport mode improves things to a degree, but is really only holding gears longer to keep the engine in the sweet rpm range as opposed to actually quickening up the shifts. The transmission wants to drive very slow or very fast and has issues with more moderate driving. The good news is that there is a fantastic six-speed manual available for the TL SH-AWD and the automatic’s lackluster performance may be the best reason to get the manual.