If you’re in a car that you don’t connect with, everyday routine can be even more arduous than it has to be…

Bryan Hourt, Acura’s Assistant Large Project Leader – Vehicle Performance tells of his upbringing on a ranch in Northwest Nebraska.

Appropriately, he talks about horsepower.

He explains that when you connect with the animal, getting on with life’s daily tasks is so much easier. If you’re out of sync with your horse, you have to work twice as hard at what you’re doing since you have to think for both yourself and it.

In one situation, you enjoy yourself and get more done without having to micromanage. In another, it’s just exhausting.

The latter of the two can be likened to driving. If you’re in a car that you don’t connect with, everyday routine can be even more arduous than it has to be. Its quirks rub you the wrong way. All the time.

But, if you love your car, if you know exactly what it’s going to do in any given situation, and you trust it, life on the road is so much better.

Enter the 2015 Acura TLX. It blends another type of horsepower, with grace and poise.

When I slipped inside the cabin of the all-new TLX, pushed the start button, then selected the “D” button on the centre console, and drove off, confidence was apparent from the get go.

It’s a vehicle that was designed with performance in mind from the ground up. Furthermore, its chassis features a newly designed four-wheel independent suspension system, a great system to help you enjoy the country roads in Middleburg, Virginia, or in the chaos of urban life.

It’s tame at slower speeds – it has very good table manners – but has the ability to take on higher speed challenges without breaking a sweat.

I might have taken a corner or two relatively swiftly, but the steering feel, and its ability to maintain composure in a turn was quite impressive.

Not to mention, each model comes with what’s called IDS, or Acura’s Integrated Dynamics System.

This feature allows drivers to customize their driving experience through four selectable modes – ECON, Normal, Sport and Sport+.  Depending on which setting you’re using, Acura says, “IDS will adjust power-steering effort, throttle response, transmission shift logic, HVAC system operation, and the control logic for either the P-AWS or SH-AWD systems.  The new Sport+ mode, a first for Acura, unlocks the full performance potential of the TLX with the most aggressive settings in all areas.”

Whether you want that extra bit of gusto, or you are driving around town, the TLX has a mode for you!

Three TLX models will be offered. The first comes with a 2.4-litre, i-VTEC inline-4 engine with an 8-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (8DCT) with torque converter, and Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS). It has an output of 206 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque.

Then there’s a trim with a 3.5-litre, i-VTEC V6 engine with a 9-speed automatic transmission and P-AWS. That produces 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque, and gets 10 more horsepower and 13 more lb-ft of torque versus the 2014 TL 3.5-litre engine.

Lastly, there’s the TLX SH-AWD with next-generation Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive, available only with the 3.5-litre, 290 horsepower V6 and 9-speed automatic.

Eventually, both the TSX and TL will be succeeded by the TLX. It makes sense. Dimensionally, the TLX will be positioned between the ILX entry-luxury sedan and the RLX flagship Acura sedan. There’s room for five, 405L of cargo room around back and many places to store your personal items.

Sure there are sportier offerings in the segment. The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is one of them. So is the Audi A4. But what works for the TLX is its understated elegance. It’s very pleasant to drive, and with a centre stack that’s been stripped of unnecessary buttons, it’s a lot more user friendly to work with.

Granted, I’m still not a fan of its front-end styling. Yes, the signature Jewel Eye headlights are a very nice touch, but the grille just doesn’t do it for me.

Front-end looks aside, I’d describe my experience in both the 4 and 6 cylinder TLXs to be pleasant. Not the bad pleasant, the kind of adjective you use to describe a mother in-law or awkward coworker. But pleasant in the way that it’s quiet, does the job well and is a pleasure to drive.

The 2015 TLX has a starting MSRP for the 4-cylinder engine at $34,990.

Visit www.acura.ca for more info.

Contact: alexandra [dot] straub [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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