Acura TL

From Honda press:

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 with two interior trim levels that abound with 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 with Acura's exclusive Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) system. The TL SH-AWD® takes performance to the next level with 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 with 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 with Traffic Rerouting™ and AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™.

In addition to the powertrain and technology choices, buyers can further customize the TL with tire and wheel upgrades. The 2011 TL comes standard with 17-inch aluminum wheels or optional 18-inch aluminum wheels with all-season tires. The TL SH-AWD® features standard 18-inch wheels or optional 19-inch wheels with 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 with 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. Though powerful, the 3.5L engine is also fuel efficient, with EPA fuel economy ratings of 18/26/21 mpg* (city/highway/combined).The engine meets California's tough CARB LEV II ULEV 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 ULEV 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 steering-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. 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 with 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 with unique damper tuning to improve handling performance. Moreover, on the SH-AWD® model special brake tuning teams with 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 with 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 with more heavy-duty CV joints.
The TL's chassis makes use of Electronic Power Steering (EPS) that delivers low steering 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 with traditional hydraulic power steering pumps.

The TL SH-AWD® model has unique EPS tuning, featuring more pronounced steering 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.

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