2014 Acura TL Performance

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Performance

The 2014 TL can go one of two ways: front-wheel-drive with comfortable luxury sedan feel and relatively crisp handling, or all-wheel-drive (Acura calls it SH-AWD) as a full-fledged sport sedan.

 

More athletic than its size might imply, the Acura TL can be an edgy performer.

The TL and the Honda Accord have the same 3.5-liter V-6 in common; it produces 280 horsepower in the TL, and it paired with an automatic transmission to power the front wheels. The front-wheel-drive TL's driving dynamics could almost be confused for the V-6 Accord's, although we much prefer the Acura's steering. It's not terribly sporty, but it is agreeable, responsive and all-around refined.

 

If you choose the TL with SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive), you get a legitimate sport sedan. Its 3.7-liter V-6 produces 305 horsepower, pushing all four wheels through an overtly sporty all-wheel-drive system that eliminates torque steer and promises traction in every conceivable situation. This version of the TL feels surprisingly nimble, and it's nearly as sharp in the corners as some of sportiest rear-wheel-drive sedans. The system also displays how it's working though a display in the instrument cluster.

 

A 6-speed manual is available on the top SH-AWD model, a true sign of Acura's sport-sedan intent here. With that and the all-wheel-drive setup, the top TL is fluster-free whether it's in the middle of an emergency maneuver or needling through a favorite canyon. It's complemented by the excellent electric power steering, which weights up neatly, centers quickly, and lets in lots of road feel.

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