Image credits: © Acura.

2011 Acura TL

6-Speed Manual and SH-AWD® Team for Segment Leading Performance

Since inception, the Acura TL performance luxury sedan has set lofty standards for styling, performance, comfort and technology. Available for 2011 in two different models (TL and TL SH-AWD®), the fourth-generation Acura TL is the most diverse in the vehicle's history offering more performance capabilities and luxury appeal than ever before— all wrapped in evocative style.

TL customers can choose between two potent V-6 powertrains along wîth two interior trim levels that abound wîth technology. For 2011, two distinct versions of Acura's performance luxury sedan are offered: a luxurious 280 horsepower, front-wheel-drive TL and a powerful 305 hp TL SH-AWD® paired wîth Acura's exclusive Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) system. The TL SH-AWD® takes performance to the next level wîth the availability of a special 6MT model that pairs Acura's acclaimed Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ system. Eighty six pounds lighter than the Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission model, the 6MT further enhances the TL's acceleration, braking and cornering.

'The 2011 TL is the quintessential sports sedan, combining equal parts technology, luxury and exciting performance,' said Jeff Conrad, vice president of Acura sales, 'Moreover, not only is the 6-speed manual transmission model the best performing Acura TL ever, it is the top handling performer among every vehicle in its class.'

The TL employs a double-wishbone independent front suspension and a multi-link independent rear suspension system. On the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) model, more performance-minded dampers and coil springs, revised brake tuning, larger wheels/tires and specially-tuned Electric Power Steering (EPS) take the driving experience to an even higher level.

Each TL model is available wîth the Technology Package which adds navigation, a rear view camera, an Acura/ELS Surround® 410-watt Premium Audio System, and a host of cutting edge electronic technologies such as AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic wîth Traffic Rerouting™ and AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™.

Vital Stats
Engine : 3.5 L., 6-cylinder
Power: 280 hp
Torque: 254 ft-lbs

Engine : 3.7 L., 6-cylinder
Power: 305 hp
Torque: 273 ft-lbs

5-speed Automatic, 6-speed Manual
In addition to the powertrain and technology choices, buyers can further customize the TL wîth tire and wheel upgrades. The 2011 TL comes standard wîth 17-inch aluminum wheels or optional 18-inch aluminum wheels wîth all-season tires. The TL SH-AWD® features standard 18-inch wheels or optional 19-inch wheels wîth high-performance tires that further add to the sedan's performance capabilities.

With optimized suspension, two performance transmission choices, and an available Technology Package, the 2011 TL offers more appeal than ever before. The combination of dramatic styling, exhilarating performance and an extensive array of electronics ensures Acura's best selling sedan will appeal to a sophisticated, technology-savvy audience.

A choice of two different VTEC® V-6 engines enables the TL to satisfy a wide range of customers. Standard wîth the 2011 TL is a 3.5-liter SOHC V-6 producing 280 horsepower and 254 lb-ft of torque that sends power to the front wheels through Acura's sophisticated Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission. (posted on Though powerful, the 3.5L engine is also fuel efficient, wîth EPA fuel economy ratings of 18/26/21 mpg* (city/highway/combined).The engine meets California's tough CARB LEV II ÚLEV emissions certification standards, thanks to features such as a Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system, Computer-Controlled Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) and Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC®) for the intake valves.

Serious performance sedan enthusiasts will choose the TL SH-AWD® to make winding roads their own. Its 3.7-liter SOHC V-6 engine produces 305 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque courtesy of high-performance features like VTEC® on both the intake and exhaust valves and a special high-flow dual exhaust system. With EPA fuel economy ratings of 17/25/20 mpg (city/highway/combined), the 3.7L V-6 also meets California's CARB LEV II ÚLEV emissions certification.

The performance oriented TL SH-AWD® not only distributes engine torque front to rear, but also right to left. Furthermore, SH-AWD® generates torque vectoring that seamlessly distributes more power to a single outside rear wheel to create a 'yaw moment' to help the TL turn in more quickly and precisely. The result is a remarkably balanced and precise all-wheel-drive performance sedan that excels year-round, not just during inclement weather.

The standard transmission for the 2011 TL and TL SH-AWD® is a Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic featuring racing-inspired §teering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and Grade Logic Control System. Driving enthusiasts will appreciate the greater performance potential delivered by the TL SH-AWD® 6MT model.

The TL SH-AWD® 6MT features a 6-speed manual transmission that is substantially stronger than the previous generation TL manual transmission. (posted on In addition to using a more rigid aluminum case and heavier-duty internals, the transmission employs precisely selected gear ratios based on the characteristics of the TL's 3.7L V-6 engine. New gear synchronizers deliver improved shift accuracy and a short-throw shifter generates confident gear changes combined wîth low shift effort. Engineers also designed an entirely new clutch system for the 6-speed manual transmission to withstand the TL's robust power output while also improving modulation for noticeably easier use.

The TL employs a double-wishbone independent front suspension and a multi-link independent rear suspension. Further improving ride quality and road-holding are dual-stage 'blow off' style hydraulic suspension dampers, hydro-compliant bushings (used to mount the transmission and key suspension components) and a 'smart' engine mount design. On the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) model, special rate coil springs are paired wîth unique damper tuning to improve handling performance. Moreover, on the SH-AWD® model special brake tuning teams wîth racing-inspired front brake cooling ducts to provide more performance-minded braking.

The TL SH-AWD® 6MT retains the TL's fully-independent suspension, but has exclusive suspension tuning via special coil spring and shock absorber rates for even flatter cornering wîth reduced pitching motions under hard acceleration and braking. The front dampers incorporate 5-percent more compression damping to generate improved turn-in feel. In addition, the front dampers generate 14-percent less high speed compression damping which helps improve ride quality. The TL SH-AWD® 6MT also employs firmer engine and transmission bushings that better resist engine and transmission movement during spirited driving.

For 6-speed manual transmission applications, special heavy-duty front driveshafts are used. In addition to being 2-percent larger in diameter, the driveshafts have a larger inboard spline size and team wîth more heavy-duty CV joints.

The TL's chassis makes use of Electronic Power Steering (EPS) that delivers low §teering effort for slow speed parking maneuvers that progressively firms up as road speed increases. In addition, EPS helps improve fuel economy via the elimination of parasitic losses associated wîth traditional hydraulic power §teering pumps.

The TL SH-AWD® model has unique EPS tuning, featuring more pronounced §teering effort build up at high speed. With the TL SH-AWD® 6MT, the EPS system is further tuned to deliver an even heavier feel as speed increases thus generating more confident mid- to high-speed driving dynamics.

The structural engineering for the TL's unit-body includes locating the frame rails inside (rather than underneath) the vehicle's floor pan, resulting in a nearly flat body underside. Benefits of this frame design include improved crash safety, a significant reduction in interior noise levels and reduced aerodynamic drag that helps enhance fuel efficiency. Another notable engineering feature is the significant use of high-strength steel, which simultaneously improves strength of the unit-body while helping to reduce overall weight. For additional weight savings, aluminum is used for the hood, the front suspension subframe and rear suspension knuckles.

An evocative and powerful exterior body design dramatically advances the TL's image as a performance luxury sedan. (concept carz) Designed by Acura in Southern California, the TL utilizes an array of styling techniques to express motion – and emotion – even when the car is at rest. Featuring Acura's signature front grille, body sides defined by strong character lines, sweeping C-pillars and LED taillights, the 2011 TL is simultaneously Acura and yet wholly unique. Plentiful use of luxury and performance features add visual appeal– including bright HID projector-beam front headlights, pronounced wheel arches and genuine stainless-steel body trim.

Wheels are as expressive as the exterior styling. Standard on the TL are 17-inch 10-spoke aluminum wheels wîth P245/50R17 all-season tires for confident year-round performance. Available for the TL are 18-inch aluminum wheels wîth all-season tires.

The TL SH-AWD® comes standard wîth 18-inch 5-spoke aluminum wheels wîth low-profile P245/45R18 tires for agile handling. Finally, the TL SH-AWD® offers available 19-inch split-5-spoke aluminum wheels wîth P245/40ZR19 high-performance summer tires for the ultimate TL performance experience.

In keeping wîth its mission as a driver's car, the TL interior features a 'dual personal' design that provides both the driver and front passenger wîth their own personal space. Thanks to its large exterior dimensions, the fourth generation TL has 1.3 inches more rear legroom and 0.5-inch of added rear shoulder room compared to the previous generation TL.

Acura's commitment to luxury and technology are apparent from the first moment the driver's door is opened. With sweeping shapes, generous use of premium materials and passionate attention to detail, the TL rewards the discriminating eye. The design and execution of the interior is an artful combination of leather surfaces, accented by metallic and wood-pattern trim. An impressive array of standard features includes a power moonroof, dual-zone adaptive climate control, 10-way power adjustable driver seat, 8-way power adjustable passenger front seat, and §teering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for the Sequential SportShift automatic transmission. (posted on An 8-speaker, 276-watt audio system is standard and includes a 6-disc CD changer, AM/FM tuner, XM® Radio, Bluetooth® Audio, ÚSB port and AÚX jack connectivity, and HandsFreeLink® wireless telephone interface.

Available on both the TL and TL SH-AWD® is a Technology Package that includes items such as the Acura Navigation System wîth Voice Recognition™, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic wîth Traffic Rerouting™, AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™ wîth radar image maps, an Acura/ELS Surround® premium audio system and Keyless Access System wîth pushbutton ignition. The Navigation System features an 8-inch full VGA high-resolution color display for excellent clarity.
Audiophiles will appreciate the Acura/ELS Surround® 10-speaker, 440-watt premium sound system wîth DVD-Audio, CD, DTS™, AM/FM tuner, XM® Radio wîth Note function music reminder and 3,000-song** hard disk drive (HDD) media storage system.

An intuitive interface dial as well as sophisticated voice recognition capability simplifies control of this impressive technology. Full-grain perforated Premium Milano Leather seating surfaces included wîth the Technology Package further enhance comfort and visual appeal.

The 2011 TL makes use of a host of advanced safety features including Acura's acclaimed Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure. The ACE™ body design enhances occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal crashes by utilizing a network of connected structural elements to distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle. This enhanced frontal crash energy management helps to reduce the forces transferred to the passenger compartment and can help to more evenly disperse the forces transferred to other vehicles in a crash. Acura first introduced ACE™ wîth the 2005 RL, and currently every vehicle in the Acura model range now has this advanced safety engineering.

Six airbags and active head restraints for the driver and front passenger seats are just a few of the long list of passive safety features built into the TL. The array of airbags includes: dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags; dual-chamber front seat side airbags wîth 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 wîth an automatic tensioning system and a Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) system that permits quick, convenient attachment of up to two child seats at the outboard locations of the rear seating area.

The 2011 TL includes safety minded features such as 4-wheel disc brakes (with ABS, Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and daytime running lights (DRL).

Acura offers a full line of technologically advanced performance luxury vehicles through a network of 270 dealers within the Únited States. The 2011 Acura lineup features six distinctive models including the RL luxury performance sedan, the TL performance luxury sedan, the TSX sports sedan, the turbocharged RDX luxury crossover SÚV, the award-winning MDX luxury sport utility vehicle and the ZDX four-door sports coupe.

The 2011 Acura TL is assembled in Marysville, Ohio and is covered by a comprehensive 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty and a 6-year/70,000 mile powertrain limited warranty. Additional benefits of ownership include Acura Total Luxury Care® (TLC®), which provides free 24-hour roadside assistance, concierge service and trip routing.

For additional information, photos or videos of the 2011 TL (or information on any Acura vehicle), please visit

*Based on 2011 EPA mileage estimates. Úse for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.

**Approximate capacity based on an average size of 4.0 MB per song at a 128kbps bitrate

Source - Acura
Acura's best-selling model, the TL has ranked as the second best-selling luxury sedan in the U.S., right behind the BMW 3-Series. Introduced in 1995, the Acura TL debuted as a mid-size luxury sedan with front wheel drive that was produced to replace the Acura Vigor. Acura incorporated some of the most popular features from the Legend, while that vehicle was discontinued during the same year. The Acura was rebadged for the Japanese market in '96 as the Honda Aspire an as the Honda Saber from 1996 through 2004.

From 1996 until 1998 the TL was available in two engine sizes, a 5 cylinder 2.5 liter, a lavish sports car model and a 6 cylinder 3.2 liter luxury sedan. The first generation was assembled in Sayama, Japan and came with a 111.8 in wheelbase. Its 2.5L 176 HP engine came with a 4-speed automatic transmission. On March 28, 1995 the very first 1996 Acura TL rolled off the assembly line.

In 1999 the second generation was introduced and was available with only the more popular 3.2 liter engine. Much larger than the previous generation, the 1999 TL showcased sleeker updated styling along with a more powerful V6 engine. Acura was attempting to market to a younger generation, and in the Acura TL, it succeeded.

The second generation TL was also called the Honda Inspire and was assembled in Marysville, Ohio. The engine was the 3.2L 224 hp V6 and the 3.2L 260 HP. The transmission was a 4-speed automatic and after 2000 the 5-speed automatic was introduced. The second generation model featured a 108.1 inch wheelbase with an overall length of 192.9 inches.

Honda introduced the TL-X concept car in 1998, and this was a preview of the second-generation TL that would be unveiled in 1999. The newest TL was derived off the USDM Honda Accord platform and featured a newly-designed 3.2 L 225 hp SOHC VTEC J32 V6 that was joined to a four-speed electronic automatic transmission with SportShift.

The 2.5 was dropped for the second generation, and the 3.2 TL was built alongside the Honda Accord before being imported into Japan and sold as Honda Inspire at the Honda Clio dealer network, and as Honda Saber in the Honda Primo and Verno dealer networks. On August 4th, 1998 the very first 1999 Acura TL 2G rolled off of the assembly line. The only available option on the sedan was a hard drive-based navigation system.

For the 2000 model year, the Acura TL was given slightly more features, including a 5-speed automatic transmission with SportShift. The new gear allowed for better fuel economy and acceleration when compared to the previous four-speed automatic transmission with SportShift. Other additional changes on the 2000 model included the addition of side impact airbags for front passengers and a change of format for the navigation system. The CD was also exchanged for a DVD-based navigation system.

The following year a brand new redesigned coupe version of the TL was unveiled; the 3.2CL. Though mechanically identical, the '01 model never reached the height of sales that it's sibling model reached. In May of 2003 this coupe model was discontinued. The 2001 model featured a new redesigned cupholder, a feature that the previous years model didn't have. The warranty of these models were also extended by the manufacturer due to recurring problems with the automatic transmission.

For 2002 the Acura TL received a minor makeover that resulted in a refreshed front fascia, redesigned taillights, a 6 CD in-dash changer along with several other features. For this same year a new Type-S model was also added to the lineup. The Type-S added 35 hp as well as 17-inch wheels, firmer seats and suspension.

Acura introduced an A-SPEC version of its popular TL Type-S model that was available only in Canada in 2003. This edition was limited to only 800 units produced. Cosmetic differences were the only variations between the A-SPEC and non A-SPEC versions.

On September 30, 2003 the first third generation Acura TL rolled off of the assembly line. The vehicle underwent a complete redesign in 2004, mainly due to the customers that wanted a more powerful vehicle along with a sportier exterior. The new '04 TL was introduced with a redefined chassis, a 270 horsepower 3.2 L V6 engine along with the enhancements such as Bluetooth wireless connectivity and a DVD-Audio surround sound system.

The third generation of the Acura TL was assembled in Marysville, Ohio from 2004 until 2008. The third generation Acura TL was released for sale in North America on October 6, 2003. Derived from the seventh generation USDM Honda Acorrd, the new TL was developed mainly in the Y.S. by a team led by Erik Berkman with bodywork by American Honda designer Jon Ikeda. Powered by a 270 hp, the third generation is based on the new SAE measurement standard for horsepower and 233 lb-ft of torque, 3.2 L 24 valve SOHC VTEC V6 engine joined to a 5-speed automatic with SportShift or 6-speed manual.

Honda offered a factory-sanctioned ‘tuner package' version of the TL in March of 2004 to the driving public. Featuring a suspension tuned by Makoto Tamamura, an indication of the TL A-SPEC's aggressive engineering. Other features included an underbody kit, spoiler, limited edition A-SPEC steering wheels, 'A-SPEC' badge on the back, and 18-inch wheels that are all standard features on the A-SPEC package.

The first car in the American market to include a 6 disc DVD-Audio system, the third generation TL featured output through an 8-speaker 225-watt system, engineered by
Panasonic and tuned by Elliot Scheiner. In 2004 the TL became Acura's best selling luxury sedan with more than 79,000 sold in that year.

For 2005 the Acura TL received minor updates that included a tire pressure monitoring gauge along with higher horse power rating that was determined through new testing procedures. A passenger airbag cutoff switch along with extra stitching on the front seats were some of the updates featured on the '05 model. Brembo 4 Piston brake calipers for the front wheels were also featured on manual transmission models.

For 2006 the TL received the Tire Pressure Monitoring System, an updated and improved weight ratio, along with a new engine management system that aided in reducing torque steer. Though the engine remained the same throughout 2007, a new horsepower rating of 258 hp is due to a change in testing procedures.

For 2007 the Acura TL was updated with a slightly revised exterior along with a revised interior that featured a new steering wheel, new gauges, and new colors for 07 models. To improve ride comfort, the 2007 model received suspension changes. LED signal blinkers were added on the side mirrors and fog lights on the bumper. A new rear view camera with image displayed on the navigation screen along with XM NavTraffic on the new navigation models. The sound system is now MP3/WMA compatible along with the new standard auxiliary audio jack. The base model dropped manual transmission due to extremely low sales.

The Type-S edition of the TL returned. The new Type-S received the Acura RL's 3.5-liter V6 engine that was tuned for 286 horsepower and 25 lb-ft of torque with either a 5-speed automatic with paddle shifters of a 6-speed manual transmission. Differences were mainly focused on the exterior with the addition of quad exhaust pipes, newly restyled taillights and front fascia. Additional updates were focused on the lip spoiler, LED lights, Brembo brakes, dark silver 10-spoke wheels, exclusive Type-S badging along with new exclusive color options. The interior of the Type S featured two-tone trim on the headrests and steering wheel, racing pedals, carbon fiber trim and red interior lighting. Standard now was the touch screen navigation along with a re-tuned suspension.

For 2008 the TL showcased an improved new immobilizer system, a separate Tire Pressure Monitoring System warning lamp, along with two new body colors. The navigation system was also updated to now work in Hawaii. There is a rumor that Acura will unveil an all-new special generation of the Acura TL in 2009.

By Jessica Donaldson
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