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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

Our family just bought an MDX and automatically fell in love with it. So much that when our sedan finally broke down we decided to get another Acura. We decided on a TLX and narrowed it down between a ‘19 2.4L A-Spec and ‘19 3.5L SH-AWD. I would like to hear what you all would prefer. The cars are selling for about the same price. I’ve read the horror stories about the 9 speed ZF transmission and was wondering if they were occurring with the 2019 models.
 

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Hi All,

Our family just bought an MDX and automatically fell in love with it. So much that when our sedan finally broke down we decided to get another Acura. We decided on a TLX and narrowed it down between a ‘19 2.4L A-Spec and ‘19 3.5L SH-AWD. I would like to hear what you all would prefer. The cars are selling for about the same price. I’ve read the horror stories about the 9 speed ZF transmission and was wondering if they were occurring with the 2019 models.
It depends on what you value. Do you value your experience driving the car, or looking at the car from the outside? Where do you spend most time?
A-Spec is mostly a visual package.
SH-AWD / V6 is mostly a handling and smoothness package.

Note that the bigger wheels of the A-Spec make for a harsher ride, and since the TLX is not really a sports sedan, they don't add much to the "spirited drive" aspect of things. You're better off buying an older BMW 3-series for the same price if you want to drive in a spirited way with a midsize sports-sedan.

I chose for the car being more comfortable. The V6 is buttery smooth, and has a bit of top-end power too. The SH-AWD makes for really nice handling too.
I tried the 2.4 and I didn't like it, felt like an overpriced Accord that takes premium fuel, with a body package.

As you can see, I'm very biased towards the V6. To be fair I also wanted AWD because of snow in the North East. It has proven to be really useful. I would also choose the Advance package over the A-Spec package all day every day.

Hope the info helped.
 

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I love my 2016 2.4. I have never driven the SH-AWD or any V6 model, so I can’t fairly compare them. I don’t have the a spec model either, just the tech package.
I love the steering feel, it feels very tight and responsive. I had an 06 RSX type S back in the day, and it’s very reminiscent of that. I wouldn’t mind some more power, of course, and initially had some slight buyers remorse for not springing for a V6. Professional Reviews, user anecdotes regarding V6 transmission, and my own time with car convinced me I made the right decision. If a tech package model without a spec was available, I suggest that just to save the money. But anyway, my 2.4 is very fun to drive. I leave it in Sport + mode most of the time and almost always use the paddle shifters. Gearing up is fun, fast and responsive, but I wish downshifting could be done a bit faster.
 

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2016 I4 Tech - Fathom Blue Pearl w/ chrome trim blackouts, Enkie Vulcan wheels, remote start & more
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As noted, are you interested in the appearance package and firmer ride of the A*Spec, or do you want more of a highway cruiser? I, too, have a '16 2.4 Tech and no regrets, though I did change to 18" wheels, blacked out the chrome, and added a heated A*Spec steering wheel (among other things).

EDIT: A few more comments: I'd driven a couple of V-6 models blindly thinking that's what I "needed." I test-drove the 4-cyl mainly on a lark, and was pleasantly surprised by the "lack of lack of power." The 8-speed DCT's shifts are crisp and timely, especially in Sport mode, and I do enjoy the "manual" shift ability via the paddles. Further, the PAWS makes handling the mountain passes here great fun. I completely disagree with the "Accord-like" comparison made above. If anything, the comparatively sluggish handling of the heavier, non-PAWS V6 makes it feel more mundane than my 2.4-equipped model. The stiffer A-Spec suspension would only add to the difference. Truth be told, though, I'm quite happy with the handling/comfort balance of my Tech.
 
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I'm with the other 2.4L owners here. I've owned two TLX's now and purposely stayed away from the V6 just because of the ZF 9-speed transmission woes.
 
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Ok so I can’t speak to the I4 model since I haven’t test drove it before. But my V6 model definitely is fun to drive! The power is there and sport —> sport+ mode is a BLAST!
however there is gear searching at lower gears with the ZF9 besides that I like it. So it’s all based on if you can overlook the ZF9 issues. Kinda wish I got the AWD V6 but PAWS is still good and grippy in the corners too
 

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One thing's certain, you can tell we all love our TLXs, no matter which trim or engine we've got. That speaks volumes. Probably best bet will be to test drive them both. You might also consider that you already have one big, heavy Acura in the MDX. Might be nice to compliment that with the (anecdotally) more nimble and objectively lighter 2.4. And my understanding is that the A-Spec package brings some nice performance upgrades along, though none to do with power. It has a more sport-oriented suspension tune, and stiffer/larger diameter rear sway bar. Those 19s are heavy though, so it will probably feel underpowered compared to a base or tech 2.4. I just dropped 10 pounds per corner, and it feels like a totally different car. I think the OEM 19s would be closer to adding 10 per corner.

Please keep us updated. Have you already pulled the trigger on one or the other?
 

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Don't be too sure that larger wheels will always mean a bunch more weight. I gained only 1.5 lbs per corner going from the stock 17's and RS2's to 245-wide Verdestein's on 18" Enkei wheels. I'm sure the extra weight is in the wider-than-OEM tire.

(I'm glad this came up. It reminds me I need to sell the old wheels and tires.) :)
 
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I’ve got a 2019 V6 SH-AWD A Spec, so it’s a of a combination of both of what you’re looking at. Is the V6 you’re looking at the base, the technology, or the advance? If it’s a tech or advance, I’d absolutely go for the V6 AWD over the FWD 4 cylinder A Spec. The a spec doesn’t get you a ton of equipment over the technology (although the looks are appealing), and the increased power and handling capabilities from the V6 and AWD are well worth it.

That being said, if the V6 is the base, I might consider the FWD 4 cylinder a spec. The base trims get fake leather, only front door smart entry, an uglier rear view mirror, fewer speakers, no blind spot monitor, no rear cross traffic monitor, and no rain sensing wipers. Those are all features I’m not sure I’d want to live without.

The V6 AWD tech package is really the sweet spot for me in terms of value vs cost. The a spec on the 4 cylinder will really only get ventilated seats and the styling over the V6 tech.

As for the transmission, it was really only the 2015 and 2016 that had issues. The 8 speed dual clutch on the 4 cylinder is definitely smoother, but my ZF9 in my V6 is smooth enough that I never think about it. You’d only notice it back to back.

So TLDR in order of what I’d buy from most likely to buy to least likely to buy:
  1. V6 AWD Advance
  2. V6 AWD Tech
  3. 4 cylinder FWD A spec
  4. V6 AWD base
 

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I currently own a '18 TLX A-Spec V6 FWD BUT I got a '20 TLX base with the i4 as a loaner today and let me tell you how much smoother the base model drives in terms of road noise, driving over potholes and even handling! The seats have better cushioning compared to my premium red leather seats in my A-Spec. Granted the leather in the base model feels synthetic compared to mine but it is so much softer.

I feel like my A-Spec might have been abused by the previous owner due to all the issues I've been dealing with lately. So, my personal experience might not be the same as others with similar trims. I would highly advise driving both, the one with the v6 and the other trims back to back to get the best feeling and go with that.
 

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It depends on what you value. Do you value your experience driving the car, or looking at the car from the outside? Where do you spend most time?
A-Spec is mostly a visual package.
SH-AWD / V6 is mostly a handling and smoothness package.

Note that the bigger wheels of the A-Spec make for a harsher ride, and since the TLX is not really a sports sedan, they don't add much to the "spirited drive" aspect of things. You're better off buying an older BMW 3-series for the same price if you want to drive in a spirited way with a midsize sports-sedan.

I chose for the car being more comfortable. The V6 is buttery smooth, and has a bit of top-end power too. The SH-AWD makes for really nice handling too.
I tried the 2.4 and I didn't like it, felt like an overpriced Accord that takes premium fuel, with a body package.

As you can see, I'm very biased towards the V6. To be fair I also wanted AWD because of snow in the North East. It has proven to be really useful. I would also choose the Advance package over the A-Spec package all day every day.

Hope the info helped.
I have a 2015 TLX with the Tech Package (my 7th Acura in 30 years, starting with a 1988 TL). Overall great cars for the money, good value. I have owned some with the V-6 but chose the inline 4 for the 2015 and have no regrets. I drove from So. Cal. to Quebec (not on a direct route) when it was 4 months old. Did over 12,000 miles and averaged over 35 mpg (I am a spirited driver) in 69 days. One of my sons owns an MDX A-Spec and only averages 18+ mpg. I would steer you to the 4 cylinder model, it 's better balanced, much better mileage and handles better (probably 125# lighter in the front end). The only weakness in my opinion (regardless of which engine) is the brakes. I put Okebono pads on my first brake job and that helped but larger rotors and improved caliper would help a lot.
 

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2018 Acura TLX 2.4L Technology
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I'm with the other 2.4L owners here. I've owned two TLX's now and purposely stayed away from the V6 just because of the ZF 9-speed transmission woes.
Same here, I chose the 2.4L for the DCT, timing chain instead of timing belt and the little better gas mileage that you get with the 4 cylinder.
 

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cotobob - You sound a lot like me. I find the brakes on most "normal" cars to be merely adequate, and almost never impressive. Case in point the upgrade to Cobra brakes that I did on my '95 Mustang GT made them perform the way I think the GT should have been from the start. My F150 will get an Expedition upgrade if/when I need to replace things as well. It's too bad there's not an OEM swap for the TLX to improve its braking performance at a reasonable cost.

P. S. I have those Akebono's saved in an Amazon list for when I need to replace pads.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you all for taking your time to respond. I can see this is a community that is passionate about their cars. Sorry for the late update I wanted to spend time with the car and give an honest opinion before posting. I was able to test drive both vehicles and was impressed with both and ultimately took home the 2.4L Aspec. I loved the V6 with SH-AWD but I felt like I could not enjoy and take the car to it’s full potential. Where I live there are very few winding roads and the speed limit is 55 mph with fairly strict enforcement. The 2.4L is surprisingly peppy for when I need to pass a slow driver, smooth, and handles very well. This car is also a head turner as there are very few on the road. Majority of people drive Accords, Camerys, and Lexus IS models.
Any recommendations as to modifying the interior trim at the infotainment and center console? More specifically the silver trim at the A/C vents and cup holders. I would like to either have carbon or black it out. I can’t seem to find any. Maybe I’m not searching hard enough?
 

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Thank you all for taking your time to respond. I can see this is a community that is passionate about their cars. Sorry for the late update I wanted to spend time with the car and give an honest opinion before posting. I was able to test drive both vehicles and was impressed with both and ultimately took home the 2.4L Aspec. I loved the V6 with SH-AWD but I felt like I could not enjoy and take the car to it’s full potential. Where I live there are very few winding roads and the speed limit is 55 mph with fairly strict enforcement. The 2.4L is surprisingly peppy for when I need to pass a slow driver, smooth, and handles very well. This car is also a head turner as there are very few on the road. Majority of people drive Accords, Camerys, and Lexus IS models.
Any recommendations as to modifying the interior trim at the infotainment and center console? More specifically the silver trim at the A/C vents and cup holders. I would like to either have carbon or black it out. I can’t seem to find any. Maybe I’m not searching hard enough?
Congrats on your A-Spec TLX purchase please post pics we all would love to see your new Acura 🔥
 

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You went the same way I would have. Nice!

Your only option for the interior carbon/blackout will be hydro-dipping or vinyl wrap, though I don't know why you'd want to do it. In my opinion, the matte silver helps to break up the dash and all the dark trim.
 
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I was glad to see you updated the thread, congratulations! The right choice is the one you are happy with.

If I were going to have my interior trim done, I'd take it a vinyl wrap professional. I had my front grill wrapped in gloss black at a shop specializing in highend vehicle wraps. It was like $200, pretty high I think, but worth it to me. They did a great job, treated my car the same they do the teslas, porches, the R8s and M4s. They're regularly doing 5-8 thousand dollar wrap jobs, but were still respectful of my tiny job. I would have been unhappy with it if I'd done it myself or didn't enlist a specialist. Even if there was a kit. I'd buy the kit and take it to a wrap shop.

Anyway, the point is, I would be highly confident in their ability to do awesome work on the interior also. It would probably be expensive, but that's what I'd suggest. I'd go with gunmetal if I ever pull the trigger on that, but it's low on my list.

I agree with Trickvert that breaking up the dominant color is a good choice, but style is subjective. The carbon fiber would do that, but also tone down the overly bright silver.
 
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