2012 Acura TL

Acura's middleweight four-door hits hard with a fist wrapped in luxury.

rides cars michael roselli 2012_Acura_TL_011

Story: Michael Roselli

Model Tested: SH-AWD

Rating: 5 out of 6

Rarely in the automotive world can you have your cake and eat it, too—there’s always some sort of compromise between luxury and performance. Well, bring your appetite, because the TL is serving up healthy doses of all the good stuff.

Acura offers a 3.7-liter VTEC mill that churns out enough power to get you going in a hurry. All that sound produced courses through a high-flow exhaust, where noise is subtle at reasonable speeds but grows as the revs climb. The power is handled through one of two transmissions, usually uncommon for luxury sedans, especially an Acura. A sequential SportShift auto­matic comes standard with flappy paddles, but a true six-speed manual is the one to purchase when seeking the ultimate relationship between car and driver.

Throughout the TL model years, Acura has maintained a tight driving feel, and the 2012 is no exception. Acura developed a rigid body structure to strengthen driver inputs, as well as torque-sensitive steering, which makes steering easy during low speeds and firms up for dippin’ at high speeds.

If you opt for the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (and you should), the system continuously directs engine power to the appropriate wheel based on weight distribution and driving conditions, keeping you glued to the road even when the throttle is mashed through a corner. The result is a nimble yet powerful combination that’s light on its feet, perfect for dodging a rogue taxicab or great for just eating up miles.

Once inside, the driver and passengers are fitted better than a Yankees cap. The buttons are within reach, there’s ample legroom for all, the seats are comfortable enough to sleep in, and the driving position is spot on. Aggression in its most elegant form? Go put Acura’s claim to the test.

Specs:

Damage: $43,770

Power: 305hp, 273 lb.-ft.

0-60: 5.3 secs.

Gas Cash: 18 city, 26 hwy

Miles Driven: 278

Interior: Acura didn’t skimp on quality for their materials. The seats provide more support than a guidance counselor and look damn good wearing the Umber (brown) coat.

Exterior: Smooth, subtle lines make for a look that speaks luxury whether you’re pushin’ triple digits down the highway or parked amongst the competition.

Floss Factor: Red push-button start, 19-inch five-blades and a remote function that lowers the windows and opens the sunroof—score one for Acura.

Flaw Factor: Looking at all the buttons on the dash and steering wheel can be overwhelming, and the air-cooled seats could’ve provided more “brrr.”