The 2024 Acura TLX Type S Fades Away Next to the Integra Type S

front three quarter view of a gray 2024 acura tlx type s sedan parked on a boat ramp
Does the Acura TLX Type S Lack Purpose?Will Sabel Courtney

I'll admit it: I feel sorry for the Acura TLX Type S.

Recently enough, I could make a case for the flagship sedan of Honda's U.S. luxury family. There's a turbocharged V-6 under the hood spitting out 355 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. The torque-vectoring "Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive" (SH-AWD) system not only does wonders at giving a front-wheel-drive platform grip, but it's also blessed with one of the best names in the automotive realm. Last fall, a 2024 model-year refresh brought improved looks (no more shiny grille window for the active cruise's radar system), better screens, and a remapped Sport+ drive mode.

All of which was appreciated... but all of which was too little, too late.


Because for all the ire that the TLX Type S has (rightly or wrongly) inspired, those who claim it inferior to machines like the BMW M340i, the existential threat to the TLX Type S sits across the showroom floor: the incredible Acura Integra Type S.

gray 2024 acura tlx type s
Will Sabel Courtney

Despite packing more power and a higher price, the TLX Type S is both smaller inside and less fun than its Integra sibling. The measuring tape tells the first tale: While the $58,195 TLX (a four-door sedan) is a couple inches larger in every exterior dimension, the $52,995 Integra (a five-door hatchback) has more headroom, more rear legroom, and nearly twice the cargo room—23.4 cubic feet versus 13.5.

Yet in spite of its tinier interior, and though it's barely larger outside, the pricier Type S significantly outweighs the cheaper one. Car and Driver put both on the scales, uncovering that the TLX Type S weighs precisely 1000 pounds more than the Integra Type S—4212 pounds versus 3212. The TLX's added power and the grip that comes with SH-AWD mean it manages to outrun the hot Integra, but not by much; the TLX-S is about a half-second quicker in the 0-to-60-mph sprint and the quarter-mile alike, with both cars netting the same trap speed at the end of the run.

On the street, the TLX Type S is refined and comfortable, but it doesn't involve the driver the way the Integra Type S does. None of those ponies or pound-feet go to waste thanks to all of that grip, but the car often feels reluctant to use all its power unless spurred. Left in default Normal mode, the 10-speed auto seeks out the high ground like Buford at Gettysburg, and it takes a deep stab of the gas pedal to prod it back to full potential. Extracting the most from the TLX requires making the most of that new Sport+ mode, engaged by twisting the dashboard's central rheostat. What car never seeks high gear too early? The Integra Type S, because it only comes with a delectable six-speed stick.

gray 2024 acura tlx type s
Will Sabel Courtney

Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive includes an active torque-vectoring rear axle, giving the TLX more bite in curves. Pitch the car into a cloverleaf on-ramp or other tight turn, lean on the throttle, and the car goes just a little harder than expected; the overdriven outer rear wheel pushing to cinch up the line and inspiring confidence in the driver during the process.

Yet as impressive as SH-AWD is, there are simpler (and less heavy) ways to make a vehicle designed around sending power forward entertaining. Honda must have hired some engineers straight out of the School of Limited-Slip Helical Differentials and Wizardry, because the Civic Type R and Integra Type S drive with a neutrality, grace, and lack of torque steer that defy logic for a front-wheel-drive car. It shows in the objective facts as well as the subjective feels: the front-wheel-drive Integra outgrips the all-wheel-drive Acura with both on comparable tires, albeit by just 0.03 g.

After a week with the TLX Type S, it was the size issues, not the driving, that clogged up my notebook. The rear seat is crippled by not only its dimensions but also by the tight footwell and the aggressive curve of the back of the front thrones. I had to apologize before, during, and after asking my in-laws, both of whom stand within a couple inches of six feet tall, to clamber into the rear bench. My mother-in-law couldn't extricate her feet without me moving the driver's seat plenty far forward.

gray 2024 acura tlx type s
The front seats, delightful. The rear seats, not so much.Will Sabel Courtney

And neither the rear seat nor trunk proved conducive for carrying objects. Everything from the highly sculpted seat bolsters to the gun-slit opening to the trunk conspire against such utility. Being in the midst of moving while testing the TLX, I was perturbed that I could only fit two medium-size cardboard boxes from Lowe's in the back seat and zero in the trunk. The whole affair left me longing for the TSX station wagon of yore and its far more rectilinear cargo bay.

Yet there is plenty to like about the TLX Type S. It's handsome, with an aggressive-yet-friendly face and sculpted haunches. The front seats are wonderfully comfortable. There are hard buttons with pleasant finger-feel to control the functions adjusted most (entertainment volume to climate controls). But Acura's "True Touchpad Interface" for the other infotainment options is odd, especially since using Apple CarPlay turns it into a MacBook-style trackpad—and the ELS sound quality is among the best found in any new car at any price.

Of course, about all those things are true of the Integra Type S as well. The Integra manages the feat of being both a better car for the rear world and a more entertaining plaything than its TLX relation. The fact that it does so while also being more affordable makes it hard to justify buying the dreadnought-class model besides front-wheel-drive phobia or a lack of commitment to the #SaveTheManuals creed.

Indeed, the overlap between the Types S is great enough that I wonder if Acura should rethink the TLX. As much as I admire Honda's decision to build this quasi-bespoke sedan for its luxury badge in this day and age, would Acura have been better off heaping leather and sound insulation into the current Accord, then cramming SH-AWD inside—kind of along the lines of what Acura used to do with the old TL. But hey, Honda has vowed to sell only electric cars by 2040, which means we have roughly a decade and a half left of delightful gas-powered Hondas and Acuras left; there's still time for them to give the TLX a second chance.

gray 2024 acura tlx type s
Will Sabel Courtney

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