2018 Acura TLX

2018 Acura TLX

Episode 3645
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Just 3 years ago, Acura pared down their sedan lineup by replacing both the TL and TSX with the single TLX. Reviews certainly weren’t bad, as its luxurious blend of technology and performance fit right in with flagship RLX. However, most would say it was not as exciting as it could be, and even Acura agreed with that. So let’s see if a revised 2018 TLX is the right answer.  

Adding a new dose of excitement to the 2018 Acura TLX starts with an updated look. Front fascia, fenders, and hood are all new; and the Jewel Eye headlights are re-designed. But, best of all, Acura has replaced the awkward “shield-like” grille with the much more attractive “diamond pentagon” first seen on their Precision concept. 

V6 models take it a smaller step further with freshened rear fascia and new exhaust tips. 

All in all, it makes for a more dynamic take on what was already there.

No radical changes to the inside either, other than updated software for the twin-screen infotainment system, which we were happy to see. We’re still not fans of the overall design, but it’s much more responsive than before. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are now in play, but we found it odd that the apps show up in the upper screen which uses a central controller, not the lower touchscreen. 

A carryover 206-horsepower 2.4-liter I4 engine is still standard; with an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. 

Upgrade to the 3.5-liter V6; and in addition to 290-horsepower, 267 lb-ft. of torque, and a revised 9-speed automatic transmission, you can get mechanical Super Handling all-wheel-drive. Those without all-wheel-drive come with Acura’s rear-toe adjusting Precision All-Wheel Steer.   

Our early drive time came in the rolling hills around Louisville, Kentucky; the majority spent with the V6. The 9-speed transmission is very smooth, and with both drive systems, ride quality is equally compliant. 

Putting the Integrated Dynamics System in Sport+ increases steering feel and throttle response, adds some engine noise, initiates more aggressive programming for the transmission and SH-AWD, and even cuts the HVAC system out temporarily when at full throttle.   

It certainly wakes things up a bit, but not to full-alert status. So, where’s the real excitement coming from?

Well, that’s what the new TLX A-Spec is for. Available with V6 only, the A-Spec gets retuned electric power steering; and when combined with SH-AWD, adds stiffer springs as well as a rear stabilizer bar that keeps things much flatter and confidence inspiring in corners.  

SH-AWD worked as great as always, torque vectoring us around corners even in the rain. And while we still don’t think the best handlers in the luxury sport sedan category have anything to worry about, the TLX has certainly moved up the list, and more importantly without losing any of Acura’s luxury feel.

And speaking of feel, we love the thicker steering wheel that comes with the A-Spec. Other interior highlights are more heavily-bolstered seats, red trim for the gauges, and brushed aluminum trim.

A-Spec exteriors are also set apart with their own unique blacked-out front fascia, round fog lamps, pronounced sill extensions, 19-inch wheels with high performance Michelin Primacy tires, rear diffuser with round exhaust outlets, as well as gloss black rear spoiler and trim. 

A host of AcuraWatch safety systems are available, but Collision Mitigation Braking is standard on all models. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings range from the 2.4-liter’s 23-City, 33-Highway, and 27-Combined; to the 3.5-liter SH-AWD A-Spec’s 20-City, 29-Highway, and 23-Combined. 

Some shuffling of prices and more standard features, results in a slight increase in base price, now at $33,950. Stepping up to all-wheel-drive or A-Spec will have you around $40,000, though you no longer have to opt for Technology or Advance packages to get SH-AWD. 

They say competition brings out the best in people, and surely that sentiment applies to the automotive world. The 2018 Acura TLX is certainly the best it’s ever been, but also still unique in that it’s not trying to be a BMW; rather a whole lot more exciting TLX. And that’s good news to Acura fans, and us! 

Specifications

  • Engine: 3.5 liter
  • Horsepower: 290
  • Torque: 267 lb-ft.
  • EPA: 20 mpg city / 29 mpg highway
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35

Goldilocks Approved: It Does Everything Just Right

Episode 4332
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

These days, you don’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to get some real-deal AMG performance from Mercedes-Benz, as they’ve spread their high-performance love throughout their lineup. So, let’s go for some high-speed bargain hunting in the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35.

You may think of big cars and bigger horsepower when you hear AMG, but this updated 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4-door Coupe is certainly not a big car, yet there’s no doubt it packs a serious performance punch. The CLA is not the least expensive Mercedes you can currently buy in the U.S., but it is their lowest priced car, and it feels more right-size than small-size behind the wheel.

It’s a fun, enjoyable ride that lets you know what you’re in for right away with a nice raspy exhaust note at start up. Standard engine in the base CLA 250 is of course a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo, but it is ‘Benz’s latest with mild-hybrid assistance and a rating of 221-horsepower.

This CLA 35 is one of two AMG versions which cranks the turbo up to boost output to 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque; the CLA 45 S, goes even further with a full rebuild to crank it up to 416 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. The CLA is front-wheel-drive based but is sending power to all four wheels by the time it leaves the AMG shop with performance-tuned AMG 4MATIC.

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Grille
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Profile
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Wheel
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Rear
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Rear
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge 2
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Grille2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Profile2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Wheel2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Rear2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Rear2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge 2

AMG has done serious suspension tuning as well, and the great feedback that it provides through the AMG Performance steering wheel is a big part of this car’s fun-factor. But our test car came equipped with winter tires, which did hold us back a little bit through the cones at our Mason Dixon test track. Still, it felt both agile and fun and body roll was minimal. Not until we pushed hard could we really feel the lack of dry pavement grip from those tires. On the other hand, a few days after track day, we actually did have some winter weather to drive through and then we were very appreciative of the grip those winter tires provided.

With some assistance from AMG’s sweet launch control, which not only allowed us to launch at 3500 RPM with no wheel slip at all, but made sure the turbos were feeding full power, as we felt no turbo lag whatsoever on our quick 4.5-second trip to 60. AMG’s Speedshift eight-speed DCT lived up to its name, delivering quick and hard hits throughout the 13.1-second, 104 mph quarter-mile.

It’s a fun, enjoyable ride that lets you know what you’re in for right away with a nice raspy exhaust note at start up.

When it came time to remove speed in a hurry in our panic runs from 60 mph, those winter tires again played a factor, as the brakes felt very strong and there was very little nosedive but stops took a longer than expected 125 feet.

Now this 2nd generation CLA arrived for 2020, and for ’24 gets a subtle restyling at both ends. At the front, the grille has been redesigned, AMGs getting their own unique version with big vertical slats, prominent Mercedes star and subtle AMG badge. LED headlights are new, now labeled as High-Performance headlights, joined by upgraded rear taillights and a very aggressive looking AMG diffuser with big exhaust outlets. The back-up camera is smoothly hidden in a flip-out Mercedes badge. Multiple new wheel designs are available with sizes up to 19-inches.

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Passenger Side Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dashboard
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Center Display 2
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Rear Seat
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trunk
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Passenger Side Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dashboard2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Center Display 22024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Rear Seat2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trunk2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine

Inside the CLA’s cabin, additional standard content includes a leather steering wheel and 10-inch media display. Both of which were already part of the AMG transformation, though AMG Line buyers can now add some heat elements to their sport steering wheel.

As we’ve seen with most Mercedes updates, both the virtual gauge cluster and the central touchscreen reside in a single housing mounted on top of the dash, upgraded with the latest MBUX software.

Pricing for the CLA 35 starts at $56,100, with the more powerful 45 S coming in at $66,550.

Bottom line, the folks in Stuttgart have given us a 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 that’s clearly better without messing it up. That’s certainly good news to us, as these days we seem to be getting less and paying more for just about everything. So, while you might not think the new CLA 35 sounds like a bargain, there is no better gateway into the amazing world of AMG performance.

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo
  • Horsepower: 416
  • 0-60 mph: 4.5 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 125 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 28.2 MPG (Premium)
  • Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Torque: 369 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.1 seconds at 104 mph
  • EPA: 22 City / 29 Highway / 25 Combined