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Track Day with the TLX at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

7815 Views 17 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Chris
Acura sent me this past fall to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park to Ride and Drive the all new TLX, at it was AMAZING!! :)

We had a chance to look at some cool new features like the new Tire Fill Assist feature. We also got to use Siri Eyes Free which really is easy to use if you are an iPhone user. Even had a chance to try the all new driver assist and safety features such as the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). Both were good systems however the CMBS did nothing on 2 occasions (2/15 participants). These systems are not perfect but great to have just in case.

Finally after all that it was track time!! We got to test both the TLX 4cyl PAWS Tech and the TLX V6 SH-AWD Elite against its competitors. Up against the TLX 4cyl was the 2014 Lexus IS250 RWD and the 2014 BMW 320i. Against the TLX V6 SH-AWD Elite was the 2014 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro and the 2014 Infiniti Q50 AWD.

First I got to drive the BMW 320i which I thought drove really well. It was very sporty and felt like it was a solid heavy built vehicle, not very much flexibility in the frame, very flat cornering. It was the most underpowered of the 4cyl models but handled very well when put to its limit. One thing I noticed was that this was the only car equipped with summer tires while all the other vehicles had OEM all seasons. The BMW had a good transmission and solid engine but the lack of usable power on the track did make this vehicle seem a bit slow.

The Lexus IS250 ran into problems after it's first 3 laps around the track, which goes to say about Lexus. I have heard the IS250 has lots of engine issues compared to the IS350 and it was evident here. The IS250 does not seem track trial tested.

Finally I got behind the wheel of the TLX 4cyl PAWS Tech with the 8 speed DCT. This is my favourite TLX of the line up. After the first corner I could feel the PAWS system helping me stay on my desired line. Unlike the BMW which required a lil finesse, the TLX was much easier to drive on its limit. The TLX had the most usable power on the track thanks to the new 8 speed DCT transmission. This transmission is a dream to drive! Absolutely amazingly smooth, instant shifts. Also, thanks to the Integrated Dynamics System (IDS), switching it into SPORT+ made the TLX a complete animal! It would shift at red line and hold on to gears keeping the revs high for accessible power. It was so easy to catch up to the person in front. The TLX was easier to drive making you more confident to push the car around on its limit.

The TLX 4cyl did not have the solid heavy built feeling like the BMW did but it was a much better driving experience. The TLX was just much easier to drive on its limit, much faster, lighter and overall a lot more fun!

Next was the AWD vehicles. Here I drove the Audi A4 2.0T Quattro next. I really liked the way the Audi performed because it felt like a light vehicle and had really good low end pickup, and a really good AWD system. But it felt like a VW Jetta. Sure it performed better and had more premium options then a Jetta but the driving dynamics felt similar. Putting the Audi to its limit was very easy to do, and power was adequate however a little more would not hurt. The Quattro system is very good however it seemed that there was a delay from reading the road to adjusting where the power should go. It just seemed to be a bit delayed. Being so front nose heavy, the Audi lacked balance. The second on my list was a toss up between the Audi and the Infiniti.

The Infiniti Q50 was the most powerful in this segment, with 30+HP more then the TLX V6 SH-AWD and nearly 100HP more then the Audi A4. It was also the most sluggish around corners. The drive systems in the Infiniti kept interfering with letting the vehicle perform to the drivers inputs. Constantly fighting back with the driver, the Infiniti almost refused to do what you wanted it to. It had the most power but cornering capabilities were not so great. The body roll and sway would make the Infiniti slide all over the place. Being such a big heavy sedan, the Infiniti would throw itself into a corner, try to catch its balance and end up sliding away from the desired line. It was very hard to push this car to its limit without losing confidence because you did not know where you would end up. Overall the fit and finish of the Infiniti was very nice, however I thought the driving dynamics would be a lot better considering the car was partially designed by Infiniti F1 driver Sebastian Vettel.

In first place was obviously the Acura TLX SH-AWD. Super Handling All Wheel Drive. What more do I need to say? It's the second generation SH-AWD which is 25% lighter then the previous. This car was absolutely amazing on the track. SH-AWD really is a true all wheel drive system. You can feel the rear wheels push you forward and the front wheels pulling you. When cornering you can feel the rear outside wheel pushing you around the corner making it much easier to trace your desired line. The torque vectoring capabilities of the TLX are second to none and evident on the track. Pushing the TLX to its limit (and I really pushed it) was brisk and easy. You just feel confident behind the wheel of the TLX. Never felt like I was guessing where the power was going like I did with the Audi. Power was always available and never seemed to run out in the TLX. The only downside to the TLX SH-AWD was the steering was a little too light for my liking, however that is what made this car so easy to drive.

Overall it was an amazing track day! The TLX proved itself to be better then the competition not only in the way that it drove but the overall package. Confidence inspired driving, amazing transmissions & drive systems makes the TLX the best on the track in this segment.

If anybody else has had any track experience with the TLX please share!!

I am waiting to take mine again this summer coming up, see you on the track!


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Very good write up. I'm guessing there may be some comments or questions from the others. ;)

I went to the RLX and MDX experience last fall in Mirabel. It's a great chance to test out the cars.
I never had a chance to go for the RLX and MDX experience but I am sure it must have been great! I think both of those were done at Cayuga Race Track (Toronto Motorsports Park). How was your experience with both of those vehicles

The TLX was an awesome experience on an awesome track, I loved that Acura was confident enough to put us in the competitor vehicles. And Acura truly shined through and smashed it, they truly have a winner.

"It's that kind of thrill!"

The RLX was set up more to show off the PAWS and the other tech that is in the TLX now. They didn't have a track where you could open it up. It handles very well and is very comfortable.

The MDX was set up on the track. I was surprised it handled for an SUV. I really like d the MDX.
Wow, great write up and what a great way to experience the TLX.
Hey how does someone get am invite to an event like this?
I think mine came from me requesting more info on Acuras at the Ottawa Car show.
Thanks hugely for the great write up and fine pics. We envy you as the most some of us can do is push it a bit on freeway ramps.

I would really appreciate seeing your nutshell views as to why the SHAWD version did so well.
HAx5 you have to work for Acura to be invited to this paticular event. They also have private invites for consumers and public ride and drives, but I did not hear of one for the TLX this year.
Flashlog, in my opinion the SH-AWD is a more performance orientated AWD system vs the competition. Torque Vectoring capabilities (outside rear wheel powering through corners) really gives the TLX an advantage over the competition, especially when pushed to the limit. The new SH-AWD system is 25% lighter then the previous generation and capabilities also improve from a 40/60 (front/rear) power split to now a 30/70 power split further improving the TLX torque vectoring capabilities.

When driving the TLX, you can actually feel the rear outside wheel powering you through the corner, and you have a great sense of confidence and control of the vehicle. The main thing when racing is not raw speed which most people tend to think. Racing on the limit is finding the correct line and having smooth transitions from cornering to hammering the throttle on the straights. Mastering the art of racing is a finesse. By the added confidence the TLX gives you when behind the wheel, it is much easier to trace and find the correct racing line. The car just goes where you want it to. TLX offers you so much control (thanks to SH-AWD) you can push the car harder and faster through the corners then the competitors. Infiniti was a bit of a pig while the Audi was really nose heavy, it was very easy to lose control and steer off the desired line, where as the TLX just went exactly where you want it to. I almost lost control of the TLX at one corner but with very little manoevering I was able to catch my grip and continue. With the competitors the grip was just not there so I never had the confidence to push them as hard as I did with the TLX.
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@Ben_Snaper, As other members have said, Thanks for the write-ups.
Ben_Snaper, how would you rate the TLX I4 vs the AWD? You seem really impressed with the SH-AWD but a lot of reviews say that the I4 with its DCT is a lot peppier.
willy18, I prefer the TLX I4 vs the AWD. And its all due to that 8speed DCT made in house by Honda Engineers. That transmission is bang on. I love the SH-AWD TLX but I am not a fan of the 9 speed automatics made by ZF. This transmission has issues and I have been a witness to them first hand. Customers have been coming back to the dealership with transmission problems and as a result Acura has sent out a recall on V6 model TLX with 9 speed automatic transmissions. This just goes to show that when Honda designs something and puts it to market, its trial tested and proven. I haven't seen a 4cyl TLX come back for any transmission issues. ZF on the other hand has had this 9 Speed Automatic in other applications such as Chrysler 200, Jeep Cherokee and Land Rover, all with similar issues. The 9 speed is a fuel efficient and good transmission but its not great like the 8 speed DCT made by Honda. And unfortunately the Honda 8 Speed DCT is only available with 4cyl FWD. Thats why I would prefer the 4cyl TLX over the V6 AWD TLX.

Power is better in the V6 AWD, thats a given. But the 4cyl feels more nimble, lighter on its feet, and more of a precision instrument. The V6 is an awesome engine and really can put out some power but the 9 speed automatic its mated too just doesn't cut it on the track. The 9 speed was made for more fuel economy and comfort. The 4cyl with 8 speed DCT is more of a drivers vehicle vs the V6 which feels more comfortable because the vehicle feels heavier. You can throw the 4cyl model much easier around corners then with the V6 model, but SH-AWD does a good job to keep you powering through corners. So really its a toss up between how you feel behind the wheel. Some people like feeling that the car is light and nimble such as myself. Some people like a more heavy planted feeling drive and thats where the V6 is for you.

Either way the TLX is awesome and I would throw my vote to the 4cyl 8 speed DCT with P-AWS w/Tech Package.
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Good reasons for liking and going with the TLX, and to imagine that this is only the beginning, who knows what else acura has in store for us in the coming years :D
I enjoyed reading this summary (the first post, and the rest of the thread) but, I'm disappointed that it's from someone who was working for Acura rather than just "one of us".

Do you think the comparisons he makes and his opinions presented here are legit, and not just marketing hype?
Hi, Chris:
Yes, I think he speaks for a number of us TLX i4 drivers. As for me, the 4 cylinder engine + 8 speed DCT + PAWS is indeed light and nimble; sometimes driving it seems like dancing, to borrow another reviewer's phrase.
Hi, Chris:
Yes, I think he speaks for a number of us TLX i4 drivers. As for me, the 4 cylinder engine + 8 speed DCT + PAWS is indeed light and nimble; sometimes driving it seems like dancing, to borrow another reviewer's phrase.
Oh, I don't doubt the legitimacy of that part of his post - I just wonder about the comparisons between TLX and BMW/Audi - I suspect that he was at least mostly sincere, but I wonder how much is hype? Since, after all, he is/was trying to sell these cars?

I should have taken more test drives before buying my car, at least to try one SH-AWD and one i4 P-AWS anyway.

I had always wanted a nice V6 car though, for many years, ever since I had my VW Golf GTi and couldn't quite afford the V6 version.

My last car was the Toyota Sienna with a fairly nice V6 engine in it, and I did like that car (van), but you and I know that's just not the same thing :laugh:

I'll appreciate my 3.5L V6 P-AWS TLX and look forward to being able to buy a future TLX with, perhaps, Honda's 2.0T engine paired with a more satisfying transmission than the ZF9? I guess I'm lucky that I did not get mine until the 2018 model when they'd worked out most of the problems finally.

It's been years since I'd driven a BMW - it was a fairly small one from around 1988 - 89. I remember it was excitingly nimble and peppy feeling. Your TLX i4 is probably a little closer to how that BMW felt than my TLX (which can be summed up by: "smooth refined power with good handling, not sloppy like a boat, but also not like light nimble track shoes, balanced, not edgily thrilling")
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