2013 Acura TL SH-AWD Advance Test Drive

?2013 Acura TL: Continues its refinement?

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The 2013?Acura TL ?is changed little from last year?s visual modifications that incorporated new front and rear styling treatments. The grille bar, though still instantly recognizable as belonging to the Acura family was reduced in size, which should find favor with those who were not a fan of the predecessor?s bolder ?in-your-face? grille bar treatment. The refined new look included a redesigned front bumper with improved aerodynamics, the revised grille, updated headlights and turn signals, a new fog light design and a shorter front overhang. Aft, a new rear bumper incorporated a significantly repositioned license plate opening and smaller rear reflectors, with updated taillights and a thinner rear trunk edge trim contributing to the new, more appealing appearance. The interior also received several enhancements. The look grew considerably in sophistication over its predecessors.

The 2013 Acura TL serves up a refined look including a front bumper with improved aerodynamics, a stylish grille, sleek headlights and turn signals, and a short front overhang. The TL?s styling aligns it with the overall design direction of Acura as, for example, the TL?s new lower front fascia openings are similar in design direction as those seen on Acura’s popular SUV models (ZDX, MDX and RDX). ?With the 2009 TL, the exterior design was a lot about passion,? said Damon Schell, Acura Project Lead Designer. ?With the 2013 TL, we pushed for an increased level of sophistication.?

Other significant changes included: a new Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission delivering improved performance and fuel economy. All TL models now feature body colored door handles and rear window trim along with numerous NVH improvements making for a quieter cabin.

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Out back, the bumper incorporates small rear reflectors, while a thin rear trunk edge trim and angular taillight design combine for a sophisticated modern look. Also adding to the exterior appeal are 17- and 18-inch aluminum wheels fitted with a center cap featuring a raised-style, chrome-plated Acura ?A? mark. Just as with the 2011 TL, the 2013 TL exterior utilizes luxury cues such as genuine stainless-steel trim, LED taillights and dynamic surface lines that are pleasing to the eye.

In order to increase performance, a Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission is used with all TL models. In addition to incorporating engineering enhancements aimed at improving efficiency, a sport-minded double-kick-down feature lets the driver command a double downshift? such as from Fifth to Third gear. The Drive-by-Wire? throttle system also creates a ?blip? of the throttle to help match gear speeds while downshifting.

The transmission teams with a new multi-clutch torque converter that reduces heat build-up during operation, also allowing for lock-up activation during a much wider range of driving conditions?helping to generate improved fuel economy. To further improve operating efficiency, the TL?s 3.5L V-6 engine receives a host of friction-reduction technologies while a revised air inlet system provides cooler air for both the 3.5L and 3.7L engines.

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The 2013 TL is available in numerous configurations including a choice between front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive. The performance-minded 6MT model will continue to be offered in the 2013 TL lineup, helping to broaden the TL?s appeal among luxury performance sedan buyers. There are 6 different models based on engine choice and equipment packages. There are 2 engine variants: a 3.5-liter V6 and a 3.7-ilter V6. The first makes 280 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 254 pound feet of torque at 5,000 rpm, while the larger displacement engine delivers 305 horsepower at 6,300 rpm, while generating 273 pound feet of torque at 6,700 rpm. A Sequential SportShift feature is applied on all TL models fitted with the automatic transmission, which also now includes an external transmission cooler. The six-speed manual gearbox is available with a sport shifter and Hill Start Assist on the TL SH-AWD model.

The smaller engine version starts at $35,905. There?s also a TL with the Tech Package and one with the Advance Package that tops out at $41,835. ? all three versions are Front-wheel drive. The larger displacement engine models are all Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive models (SH-AWD) with the same three trim levels of equipment: Base, Tech and Advance. SH-AWD models begin at $39,455 and climb to $45,385 on the upper end ? add $895 to all models for Destination and Handling.

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In keeping with its mission as a driver’s car, the TL interior features a “dual personal” design that provides both the driver and front passenger with their own personal space. Inside, the 2012 TL benefits from an even further refined cabin that includes instrument cluster changes, new surface finishes for many interior appointments and available ventilated front seats. Technology improvements abound with refinement of Bluetooth? Audio (now with artists name, song title, etc.), new “active pairing” functionality for Bluetooth? enabled cellular telephones, Dial-By-Number and dial-by-voice tags, and much faster connection speed for the USB port. ??Both the TL and TL SH-AWD? models offer an available Technology Package which includes the Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition?, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting?, AcuraLink Real-Time Weather? and an Acura/ELS Surround? 440-watt Premium Audio System. The hard disk drive (HDD) based navigation system increased in size last year to 60 gigabytes, map coverage became more expansive, and the full VGA monitor increased in brightness with even richer colors and a new backlit LED display. With the revised HDD system, there was an increase to 15 GB of dedicated space for the storage of up to 3,500 songs. Also new was Song By Voice? allowing the driver to choose music by artist, album, song title, genre, playlist and even composer.

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The available Advance Package incorporates ventilated front seats (as well as heated), larger wheels and a blind spot information system that alerts the driver when another vehicle is detected behind the driver in an adjacent lane.

The 2013 TL uses a host of advanced safety features including: dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags; dual-chamber front seat side airbags with front passenger seat Occupant Position Detection System; and side-curtain airbags for front and outboard rear seating positions.?? Additional passive safety features include: 3-point seatbelts for all seating positions, driver and front passenger seatbelt load-limiters with an automatic tensioning system; and a Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) system; ABS, Electronic Brake Distribution?and Brake Assist in conjunction with the 4-wheel disc brakes, Vehicle Stability Assist?, Tire Pressure Monitoring System and daytime running lights.

My test TL SH-AWD TECH sedan featured a deep Silver Moon metallic exterior coat with the interior done in Camel and Charcoal tones complemented by satin finish metal trim elements. The base price was set at $45,385, which was bumped up to $46,280. after adding the Destination and Handling charge.

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Acura’s commitment to luxury and technology becomes apparent from the moment the driver’s door is opened. With sweeping shapes, generous use of premium materials and infinite attention to detail, the design and execution of the interior is an artful combination of leather surfaces, accented by metallic and wood-pattern trim.

 

SUMMARY: The 2013 TL SH-AWD Advance model is not only more attractive than ever, but is exceptionally nimble, quick and comfortable. The ride quality is firm yet compliant. The 6-speed SportShift? automatic transmission is outstanding in all of its modes. Performance is responsive with a balanced feeling and pleasing exhaust note from this luxury sport sedan ? emitting a healthy snarl when full throttle is applied. The car responds well to spirited behavior on the part of the driver, but its full potential should probably only be released on a proper closed course for obvious reasons. The throttle-by-wire is undetectable, delivering rapid acceleration while maintaining efficient fuel economy and lowering emissions. As for its official EPA status, the TL and TL SH-SWD are technically in the near-luxury category, while featuring a stellar and superior audio system experience. Think of the TL as a rapid transit concert hall if you?re not in the mood to drive ? you might even want to convert your living room into a garage for the full effect as sitting in the TL with your favorite tunes cranked up is a suitable option.

 

The Tech Package provides more than enough features to satisfy a ravenous Techno-Geek, while going for the Advance Package should prove even more rewarding. Effectively utilizing all the features cannot be mastered in a short introductory period. Curling up with the owner?s manual with the ELS Surround Sound filling the interior would be a favorable way to spend a day, and even then, I probably wouldn?t be totally adept at maximizing the full potential of all the gadgetry.

Bottom-line, the 2013 Acura TL SH-AWD Advance is a premium, high-performance, sport/luxury sedan that is bigger, better and more powerful than ever. Is it possible to improve even further?

 
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?[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2013 Acura TL SH-AWD Advance [/wptabtitle]
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Base Price: $45,385.
Price as Tested: $46,280.
Engine Type and Size: 3.7-liter, SOHC V6 with VTEC and programmed multi-point fuel injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 305 @ 6,300 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 273 @ 5,000 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic with Sequential SportShift, paddle shifters and Grade Logic Control.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Super Handling AWD®.
Suspension: Front – Independent double-wishbone with twin tube, gas-charged shock absorbers and solid 31 mm stabilizer bar.
Rear – Independent Multi-link with twin tube, gas-charged shock absorbers and solid 20 mm hollow stabilizer bar.

Brakes: Dual-diagonal, power-assisted, 4-wheel disc brakes with Anti-lock Braking System, Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist.
Tires: Goodyear Eagle RS-A P245/40R19 94V M+S (TL w/ Advance Package) mounted on 5”geo-spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 109.3 inches
Length Overall: 194.0 inches
Width: 74.0 inches
Height: 57.2 inches
Curb Weight: 4,001 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 18.5 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 18 mpg city / 26 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed.
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.

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