Automakers have culled sedans from their lineups over the last few years as sales stagnated and dwindled. What’s left are some outstanding vehicles that offer more than plain-ol’ sensible transportation. Performance-oriented models still grab headlines, and the Sam CarLegion YouTube channel pitted two – the Kia K5 GT and the Acura TLX Type S – in a fierce series of drag races.
The Acura has the larger, more powerful engine, though all that luxury the Acura brand brings adds weight. It’s significantly heavier than the Kia – 4,200 pounds (1,905 kilograms) to 3,571 lbs (1,619 kg). However, the TLX packs a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 355 horsepower (264 kilowatts) and 354 pound-feet (479 Newton-meters) of torque. The Acura has another advantage – all-wheel drive, which gets the engine’s power through a 10-speed automatic.
Gallery: 2021 Kia K5: First Drive
The Kia K5 has a smaller, turbo 2.5-liter making 290 hp (216) and 311 lb-ft (421 Nm) of torque. An eight-speed gearbox feeds the Kia’s power to the front wheels. The Kia’s lower curb weight is an advantage, though one that’s not readily noticeable in the first two races.
Both standing-start races have the Acura ferociously launching off the starting line, using its AWD to put an early and significant lead over the Kia, which can’t recover. The tides turn with the rolling-start races, which doesn’t allow the Acura to utilize its AWD efficiently. In these two races, the lighter, less-powerful Kia is much more competitive. It’s so much more competitive that the K5 wins both rolling races. It’s a pair of narrow victories, but victories nonetheless.
Gallery: 2021 Acura TLX Type S: First Drive
It’s a bit otherworldly to see a Kia keeping up with an Acura sport sedan, though automakers have inventive ways of making performance vehicles. Kia and Acura are not direct competitors, but the TLX might want to watch its taillights.