The 2011 Acura TL is once again a top pick in the midsize luxury sedan segment thanks to its excellent build quality, elegant cabin, premium features, capable engines, advanced all-wheel drive system and plush drive.
Available in two models, each attracts a different kind of carbuyer. The base TL appeals most to drivers who value its refined ride, roomy interior and long feature list, while competing with luxury sedans such as the Buick LaCrosse, Lincoln MKZ, Genesis Sedan and Lexus ES 350. The more sport-biased TL SH-AWD, with its sophisticated Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system, appeals to drivers seeking higher levels of performance and handling, while competing with sport sedans such as the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series and Infiniti G37.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2011 Acura TL is classified as a midsize luxury sedan and is offered in two trims: TL and TL SH-AWD.
Standard features on the well-equipped base TL include leather upholstery, a sunroof, 17-inch wheels, heated front seats, full power accessories, 8-way power front seats with driver lumbar adjustment, driver memory settings, dual-zone automatic climate control, foglamps, automatic xenon headlamps, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and an 8-speaker audio system with a 6-disc CD changer, satellite radio, an iPod/USB audio interface and an auxiliary audio jack.
The more performance-oriented TL SH-AWD adds all-wheel drive, a more powerful engine, sportier suspension and steering tunings, 18-inch wheels, upgraded brakes and more deeply bolstered front seats with contrasting leather stitching.
The optional Technology package, available on both models, adds a navigation system, real-time traffic and weather, voice controls, a rearview camera, GPS-linked and solar-sensing climate control, a 10-speaker Acura/ELS surround-sound system with digital music storage, keyless entry/ignition, upgraded leather upholstery, upgraded interior metal trim accents, upgraded tires and a rear spoiler. Also available with this package is access to 18-inch wheels on the base model or 19-inch on the SH-AWD.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering the front-wheel drive base Acura TL is a 3.5-liter V6 engine that outputs a healthy 280 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. It's mated with a 5-speed automatic transmission. In performance tests, the base TL was timed from a standstill to 60 mph in a quick 6.7 seconds. The EPA-estimated gas mileage for this engine is 18 mpg city and 26 mpg on the highway.
The TL SH-AWD is outfitted with Acura's Super Handling-All-Wheel-Drive system, which directs different amounts of power to individual wheels to optimize traction and grip when cornering and in poor weather conditions. It's equipped with a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 305 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. While the 5-speed automatic tansmission is standard, also offered is a optional 6-speed manual which includes hill start assist.
In performance testing, the TL SH-AWD was timed in the 0-60 mph sprint in a very quick 5.6 seconds with the manual and 6.7 seconds with the automatic. The EPA-estimated gas mileage for this engine dips only slightly to 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway with either transmission.
Standard safety features on both 2011 Acura TLs include traction control, stability control, antilock disc brakes (ABS) with brake assist, front-seat side airbags, active front restraints and side curtain airbags.
The 2011 Acura TL had not yet been rated in government crash tests at the time of this writing. However, the 2010 TL was awarded the highest possible rating of five stars across the board in all front- and side-impact passenger protection categories.
The 2011 Acura TL's cabin is attractive, refined and solidly constructed with high quality materials. Those opting for the Technology package will likely be particularly pleased with all the high-tech goodies as well as the upgraded metallic trim.
The seating is roomy, comfortable and supportive both front and rear, while ample noise insulation provides a very quiet environment. The driver seat is very accommodating thanks to plenty of adjustments as well as appropriate side bolstering, while the rear quarters are spacious enough to accommodate taller passengers. There's also flip-up headrests in the rear that provide additional comfort and protection. When not being used, they slide down to provide a clear view for the driver.
The trunk's storage capacity of 13.1 cubic feet is a little below average for the segment, but it also has a wide opening making for easier loading and unloading.
The drive of the base TL will likely be most valued by drivers seeking comfort and luxury. It's ride quality is exceptionally smooth and quiet, easily absorbing various bumps and road imperfections. Power from the 3.5-liter V6, at 280-hp, is more than up to the task both around town and passing on the highway.
For those who place a higher value on sportier driving, the SH-AWD provides significantly more grip and cornering athleticism, as well as the boost in power. Acura's sophisticated all-wheel-drive system improves the car's handling dynamics by transfering additional power to the outside wheels when needed. The overall driving experience is also enhanced by its more well-weighted and responsive steering.
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Price: 2011 Acura TL:
Base, FWD: list price: $35,305, invoice price: $32,857
SH-AWD: list price: $38,855, invoice price: $36,112
Technology Pkg.: list price: $3,730, invoice price: $3,420