For the first time in more than a decade, Type S returns to Acura showrooms with the debut of the 2021 Acura TLX Type S. The new TLX Type S is powered by the Type S Turbo V6, a new Acura-exclusive 355-horsepower turbocharged 3.0-liter engine. It also features a specially tuned double-wishbone front and multilink rear suspension, Brembo® front brakes and new Sport+ driving mode for the Integrated Dynamics System. Previewed by the Type S Concept in 2019, Acura’s engineers have created an emotional and exciting premium performance sedan without sacrificing the everyday usability and comfort of the critically acclaimed second-generation TLX. The new Acura TLX Type S is about 25-percent quicker to 60 mph than the standard TLX with a 0-60 time around 5 seconds and has a significantly higher top speed, increasing from 130 mph to 155 mph (electronically limited). Braking performance is also improved and with standard SH-AWDÒ with torque vectoring, 20-inch wheels and available summer tires, it’s the best performing Acura sedan ever. Acura’s Type S performance brand is recognized by driving enthusiasts seeking a more dynamic driving experience with additional power, improved handling and stronger braking.
An all-new, 24-valve, DOHC 3.0-liter with direct-injection and a single twin-scroll turbocharger developing up to 15.1 psi of boost, the Type S Turbo V6 features all-aluminum construction and compact dimensions. Its block is unique, sharing only bore spacing and a 60-degree architecture with the 3.5-liter V6 found in the MDX. Significant differences between the two include the 3.0-liter’s 6-bolt sintered main caps for increased crank rigidity and durability, and a fully square 86 mm bore and stroke. Fully assembled, the engine is 8 mm shorter than the naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6. The Type S Turbo V6 is also the same width as the 3.5-liter V6. The newly developed twin-scroll turbo features independent internal paths for the rear and front cylinder banks to feed exhaust pressure to the turbine, which helps improve turbo response. The engine’s rear bank of cylinders pressurize the smaller diameter scroll to rotate the smaller diameter part of the turbine, while the front bank feed the larger diameter scroll and turbine wheel. As a result, the engine’s peak torque of 354 lb.-ft. is available starting from an exceptionally low 1,400 rpm.
To meet the demands of extreme performance and durability, the Type S Turbo V6 also features a robust rotating assembly. Like the twin-turbo V6 in the NSX, it employs a high-strength forged steel crankshaft, while its connecting rods use the forged steel construction from Acura’s 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. To improve emissions, the turbo system’s heat management has been optimized to quickly activate the catalytic converter. This includes the use of a double pipe from the exhaust manifolds to the turbo itself that includes external bellows to dissipate extra heat. The catalytic converter connects to the exhaust outlet of the turbo using a V-band, which further reduces heat mass entering the catalyst. This is the first time this thermal management technology has been used in the Acura engine. To better manage overall engine temperatures an additional sub-radiator is employed and the open-surface Diamond Pentagon grille increases airflow to the engine compartment by 10 percent. Unique to the Type S Turbo V6 is the design of its pistons. The top piston ring carrier is a high-density Ni-resist cast iron, which features better wear characteristics and better sealing, helping to reduce emissions.
Reengineered to match the additional torque of the new engine, the 10-speed automatic transmission is now stronger and shifts more quickly. Also optimized for the performance demands of the Type S customer, the fourth generation of Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ with torque vectoring is standard. At the heart of the 2021 Acura TLX Type S is the Type S Turbo V6, an all-new, 24-valve, DOHC 3.0-liter V6 engine with direct-injection and a single twin-scroll turbocharger. Exclusive to Type S models, the engine was developed by some of the company’s most experienced powertrain engineers, including members of the team that developed the Civic Type R engine and the NSX’s bespoke twin-turbocharged V6 hybrid power unit. As a result, the engine benefits from multiple disciplines and learnings from the current 3.5-liter V6, the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the NSX engine itself to produce 355 horsepower and 354 lb.-ft. of torque.
The Active Exhaust system operation is dependent on the selected Integrated Dynamics System mode. In Comfort mode, the valves are closed at startup and at idle, and remain closed until 4,000 rpm. In Normal mode the engine starts and idles with the valves open for a more exciting startup experience. Once the transmission is shifted into gear, the valves close and remain closed until 4,000 rpm. Acura TLX Type S also features an Active Exhaust system, adapted from the NSX. The Active Exhaust opens a butterfly valve in each muffler to let more of the V6 engine’s natural sound enter the cabin for a distinct auditory experience. When fully opened, the exhaust sound is 5-7 decibels louder, as measured from about 20 inches (500mm) 45-degrees laterally from the exhaust tip. In addition, the exhaust system valve is used to vary the exhaust system flow rate, which helps reduce possible “booming” from the exhaust system, as well as helping with the gear-shift “pop” sound.
The new engine is exclusively paired with an enhanced version of Acura’s 10-speed automatic that has been updated to handle the considerable torque and power output of the Type S Turbo V6. Updated internal components include a new torque converter, stronger internal gears, improved internal clutches, and a Type S-exclusive transmission cooler mounted in front of the radiator designed to keep the transmission operating temperatures constant even at the vehicle’s 155-mph top speed. Internally, the 10-speed automatic underwent significant changes. The P1 and P3 pinion gears both use stronger materials, and the P2, P3, intermediate shaft, and P1 ring hub all benefit from a fine-particle peen (FPP) process. Similar to more conventional shot peening, FPP uses a much smaller media that increases surface hardness and wear resistance, but with an ultra-smooth finish that is ideal for the close-tolerance areas inside a transmission. Drivers can choose fully automatic operation or use steering-wheel mounted paddles to manually shift for themselves. When using the paddles, the transmission uses Type S-exclusive programming for 40-percent quicker downshifts. In Sport+ mode, the transmission also upshifts 30 percent faster by using a brief fuel cut during the gearchange.
Design, engineering and development of the 2021 Acura TLX Type S was conducted primarily in America, with styling led by Acura Design in Torrance, Calif., and full platform development led by engineers at Honda Development & Manufacturing of America, LLC, the company’s development center in Raymond, Ohio. Engineering development of the new 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 was led by the company’s R&D center in Tochigi, Japan. Inside the cabin, exclusive Type S features include 16-way power adjustable front seats with power adjustable bolsters, contrasting stitching and piping as well as the Type S logo embossed on the head restraint. Three interior colors are available: Ebony, Red, and the Type S-exclusive Orchid, all with Black Ultrasuede® inserts. Type S also features an NSX-inspired flat-bottom steering wheel with a prominent Type S logo, authentic aluminum trim on the doors and dash, Type S door sill trim and French stitching on the dash top and door armrests. The critically acclaimed and award-winning Acura ELS STUDIO 3D® 17-speaker premium audio system is standard, along with Acura’s innovative and driver-oriented True Touchpad Interface™, with its “Absolute Positioning” console-mounted touchpad and high-mounted 10.2-inch HD center display.
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