2023 Acura TLX Type S Review

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee

Proof a Performance Luxury Sedan Doesn’t Need to Be German

Love It

Leave It

Smooth Engine

True Touchpad Interface

SH-AWD System

Fuel Economy



The Acura TLX is a real underdog in the luxury sedan segment. When discussing the best premium sporty sedans, it seemingly gets overshadowed by the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and Genesis G70.

Maybe the TLX deserves more credit than many give it, especially in the performance-orientated Type S trim. Having not driven one in a few years, we revisited Acura’s peppy four-door to see how it stacks up to the constantly improving competition.

Powertrain and Efficiency: Putting the Pssh in Type S

The Acura TLX Tyle S is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine making 355-hp.

The Type S separates itself form other TLX models with an exclusive 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine. It generates a healthy 355 horsepower and 354 pound feet of torque. Acura has a long history of making some of the smoothest V6 engines on the market and by turbocharging this one, none of that is lost. Even though it lacks VTEC, the 3.0-liter revs freely, producing a pleasing soundtrack complete with turbo whooshes.

The car includes four drive modes, Comfort, Normal, Sport, and Sport +. The latter is exclusive to the Type S and requires an extra-long hold of the dial to engage. Regardless of drive mode, the engine produces a good amount of power, with extra low-end torque that would make short work of a Lexus IS 350 F Sport in a drag race. That stated, the Type S turbo can’t quite match up to the more powerful units found in the BMW M340i or Mercedes-Benz C 43 AMG.

Handling and Drivability

The exhaust note on the Acura TLX Tyle S matches both the car's style and performance.

Like other TLX models, the Type S uses a 10-speed automatic transmission. It does a great job seamlessly transitioning between gears under normal driving circumstances. Start playing with the various drive modes, and there’s an obvious difference in how it behaves. There’s an advantage to having so many forward gears, as Acura can really utilize them for different priorities, such as fuel economy or performance.

The steering wheel mounted paddle shifters produce quick upshifts, with a very Germanic bark out of the exhaust during first-to-second gear changes. Unlike the German competition though, downshifts aren’t quite as crisp or satisfying using the paddle shifters. Despite there being rev matching downshifts in the Sport modes, there seems to be a slight delay between tapping the paddle shifter and the lower gear engaging. Leave the transmission in full auto mode and it does a better job with deceleration gear blips.

Even with ten forward gears at the Type S’ disposal, fuel economy for the sporty TLX isn’t great. Officially it’s rated at 19 mpg (12.3 L/100 km) city and 24 mpg (9.8 L/100 km) highway which trails much of the competition. Compounding its abundant thirst is the fact Acura recommends the Type S uses premium fuel.

Ride Quality and Comfort

Power is nothing without control. And to reign in all that performance is a front 4-piston braking system designed by Brembo.

Like most sedans with sporty intentions, the TLX Type S has more than just a punchy engine. Included in the package is a double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension. There are Brembo four-piston front brake calipers clamping down on a 14.3-inch discs. Acura has included what the company calls high performance chassis bracing, as well as an adaptive damper system.

Those adaptive dampers offer quite a range of suspension flex – more so than found in many other similarly equipped sedans. In the Comfort setting, even smaller speed bumps are hardly felt. Switch the dampers to Sport, and car really stiffens up. Although this means more road imperfection make their way into the cabin, the benefit is better controlled body motions when cornering.

The Magic of SH-AWD

As the badge indicates, this Acura features the brand's world-class SH-AWD system for maximum grip.

But the real secret to the TLX Type S’ handling is the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive ( SH-AWD) system. This torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system does such a good job sending power to the outside rear wheel when cornering. Even though it has a front-wheel drive bias transversely mounted engine set-up, the car rotates the same way many rear-wheel drive bias cars do.

SH-AWD makes handling at high speeds intuitive, seamless, and easy to modulate. It really hides the car’s portly 4,200 lbs. (1,905 kg) curb weight and less-than-ideal 59/41 weight distribution. It’s one of the better handling front-wheel drive bias AWD chassis on the market. The whole package maximizes the grip from the 255/35R20 Pirelli P-Zero summer tires.

Value: Dollars and Sense

The proportions of the 2024 Acuta TLX Type S are just perfect, from the creases in the sheet metal to the stance.

At 194.6-inches (4,942 mm) in length, the Acura TLX resides in murky waters when it comes to luxury sedans. Decidedly longer than a BMW 3 Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class, it’s slightly smaller than a 5 Series, yet still a bit longer than a E-Class.

Price wise it competes firmly with the smaller luxury sedans, starting at a price of $41,245 (all prices include destination charges) in the United States, or $54,595 in Canada. As tested, our 2023 Acura TLX Type S tester came in at $57,745 ($64,095 CAD).

That’s significantly less expensive than an equivalently equipped Audi S4, Mercedes-Benz C 43 AMG, or BMW M340 xDrive. Granted it gives up a bit of power to those vehicles, but it does offer more space. Moving away from Germany, the TLX Type S just under cuts the Genesis G70 3.3T AWD Sport Prestige and Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 AWD.

Two Stand Out Details

Complimenting the TLX Type-S's performance-focused aesthetic are aggressive split-spoke 5-spoke 20-inch wheels which look more aftermarket than OEM.

Acura has come a long way in the past decade when it comes to styling. Other than a large front overhang that’s a by-product of the transverse engine set-up, the TLX is well proportioned and pleasing to the eye.

The Type S includes a sport appearance exterior, diamond pentagon grille, black rear spoiler, black front splitter, and black rear diffuser. There are no fog lights on Type S, but seeing at night won’t be an issue thanks to the brand’s Jewel Eye headlights.

The two standout features of the TLX Type S exterior, at least in our eyes, is the exhaust and wheels. We’re a sucker for a good quality quad exhaust tip layout, and the TLX has a fantastic design. The large, angled pipes look as good as they sound. Also looking good are the upgraded 20-inch split-spoke alloys that feature a simple, yet sporty, and timeless deign.

Comfort and Safety

A thick flat-bottom steering wheel gives a true sense of driver-focus in this premium sports sedan.

Our tester arrived with the Modern Steel Metallic exterior paint. In America, this would relegate us to an all-black interior, but in Canada it’s possible pair the grey exterior with the two-tone red interior.

The dual power sport front seats include perforated Milano leather with Ultrasuede inserts. They’re heated, ventilated, and quite comfortable. Headroom up front is 37.2-inches (946 mm) while legroom slots in at 42.5-inches (1,079 mm). The rear seat is a bit tighter, with 36.3-inches of headroom and 34.9-inches (886 mm) legroom. Despite these numbers, all but the tallest of adults will still fit in there. In the trunk, up to 13.5 cubic feet (382 L) of cargo can be stored.

Standard on all TLX models are safety features like collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, traffic jam assist, forward collision warning, and lane departure waring. Our tester also includes blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, as well as parking sensors front and rear.

One Item to Touch On

A notable weak spot on the Acura TLX Type is is the frustrating-to-use True Touchpad system to control the infotainment system.

Other features found on the top-of-the-line TLX Type S include push button start, ambient interior lighting, a 17-speaker audio system, a wireless phone charger, rain sensing wipers, a wiper de-icer, a 7-inch multi-function display, and a 10.2-inch infotainment system. The latter is non-touchscreen and controlled exclusively with Acura’s True Touchpad Interface.

It’s such a chore, and sometimes frustrating, performing seemingly simple tasks with the True Touchpad Interface, like changing a radio station or navigating various menus. The high levels of concentration and precision shouldn't be required to select items on screen. On a positive note, we appreciate all of the hard buttons in the center stack that control the climate control.

The Verdict: 2023 Acura TLX Type S

From the quad exhaust pipes to the subtle lip spoiler, the TLX Type S looks the business from every angle.

The TLX Type S embodies all Acura has learned about making sport sedans and the car is more than the sum of its parts. But does that make it the best kept secret in the luxury performance sedan world? There’s a strong case to be made here, especially when considering the TLX’s size and price.

It may not be quite as sharp, from a performance standpoint, as some of its German rivals, but the TLX Type S is unique and offers good value. If things like the True Touchpad Interface aren’t a deal breaker, it’s definitely worth a look by those seeking a fun to drive, premium sedan.

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Fast Facts


3.0-liter turbo V6


355 hp, 354 lb-ft.



0-60 MPH:

5.0 seconds est.

US Fuel Economy (MPG):

19 city, 24 highway

CAN Fuel Economy (L/100 km):

12.3 city, 9.8 highway

Starting Price (USD):

$41,245 (incl. dest.)

As-Tested Price (USD):

$57,745 (incl. dest.)

Starting Price (CAD):

$54,595 (incl. dest.)

As-Tested Price (CAD):

$64,095 (incl. dest.)


What is the Acura TLX Type S 0-60 time

Thanks to the potent 355-hp turbocharged V6 engine the TLX Type S can hit 60 mph in 5.1 seconds.

How much horsepower does the Acura TLX Type S make?

The turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine in the TLX Type S makes 355-hp and 354 lb-ft of torque.

What Acura TLX colors are offered?

For 2024 the TLX can be had in Lunar Silver Metallic, Liquid Carbon Metallic, Urban Gray Pearl, Platinum White Pearl, Majestic Black Pearl, Apex Blue Pearl, Tiger Eye Pearl and Performance Red Pearl.

Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

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