It’s big, it’s bad, it’s back, and it has a new attitude
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Much has changed on the automotive scene since Acura first debuted a higher-performance (260-horsepower) Type S version of its mid-sized TL sedan back in 2002 — the second-generation front-wheel-drive TL a very popular model, as well as being one of my favourite affordable sport(y) four-doors during the initial years of the new century. Since 2014, the replacement TLX has carried the mid-sized sport sedan torch for Honda’s upscale brand and, at least with the A-Spec package, has demonstrated enough verve with its 272-hp turbo 2.0L four so as not to be an embarrassment.
For the 2021 model year, though, Acura has resurrected the Type S name after more than a decade, slapping it on the TLX and dragging a bunch of performance parts out of the warehouse to make sure it lives up to the rep. No less than “the best-performing sedan in Acura history” — proclaims the brand — the TLX Type S is powered by an exclusive 355-horsepower turbocharged 3.0L V6. Furthermore, the car gets a specially tuned double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, Brembo front brakes, and a new Sport+ driving mode for the Integrated Dynamics System.
For those desiring a spirited ride in a more practical four-door format, yet don’t want an SUV, this is the real deal — solid power, impressive handling, strong brakes, all-wheel-drive, and with enough tweaks and upgrades to the car inside and out for the TLX to say, “I’m big, I’m bad, I’m back, and I got a new attitude.”
Oh, there will be the motorheads who think 355 hp (at 5,500 rpm) is merely “adequate” for a mid-sized sedan. Keep in mind that the 4.94-metre-long Type S is all-in at $60,000, so it’s not the heavy-hitter, double-the-price M5 or AMG E 63 S that the Acura has as its main competition, but the middleweights such as the Infiniti Q60 3.0t Red Sport or Cadillac CT5-V. Want to throw a European sedan into the mix? You’re likely going to have to go down a size to the compact segment and take the hit in cabin space.
Acura says the TLX Type S is about 25 percent quicker to 100 km/h than the standard TLX, with a zero-to-100-km/h time around five seconds and a top end bumped up to 250 km/h (electronically limited). Given a serious prod of the gas pedal, the car hooks up immediately and leaps off the line, the sound of the V6 turning to a higher-pitched howl as it nears redline. An active exhaust system, adopted from the NSX sports car, opens a butterfly valve in each muffler to enhance the sound of the engine. In Sport mode, the valves are fully open at idle and at launch, but closed during cruising, and in Sport+ the valves are open at all times.
Working in concert is a sport-tuned, quick-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission, strengthened to handle the increased horsepower and torque (a generous 354 pound-feet from 1,400 to 5,000 rpm) of the V6. Upshifts, whether automatic or when working the paddle, are instantaneous and fluid. When using the paddles, the transmission uses Type S-exclusive programming for 40-per-cent quicker downshifts. In Sport+ mode, the transmission also upshifts 30 per cent faster by using a brief fuel cut during the gear change.
The TLX Type S weighs a solid 1,928 kilograms, which is felt during higher-speed cornering. That said, there’s a ton of grip available thanks to Acura’s highly regarded Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), a first for any Type S model. The system progressively distributes torque between the front and rear axles, and also between the left and right rear wheels. When cornering, SH-AWD distributes more torque to the outside rear wheel, creating a yaw moment to help turn the car, reducing understeer. Naturally, Sport and Sport+ modes have more aggressive SH-AWD programming that elevates handling performance. Throw in P255/35R20 Pirelli P Zero performance rubber, and the Type S excels in the fast sweepers. The car’s belt-driven electric power steering uses a unique variable gear ratio for a more responsive feel than the regular TLX, giving the sport sedan a more agile feel at low- to mid-range speeds.
Braking performance is elevated with the addition of larger, more powerful Brembo front brakes, four-piston calipers gripping 14.3-inch rotors. Stopping distances from 100 km/h, says Acura, are improved by 13 per cent, though the brakes can be a bit grabby at lower speeds.
Looks-wise, the Type S tester proved a visual standout thanks to its Tiger Eye Pearl paint job, a rich coppery hue. In general, the sedan distinguishes itself from the lesser TLXs with its “diamond pentagon” grille, quad exhaust outlets, a front splitter, and rear diffuser.
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Inside, what is clearly a driver-focused interior features an NSX-like flat-bottom steering wheel with the Type S logo, 16-way adjustable Milano leather seats with adjustable bolsters, and Type S-embossed headrests. Contrast French stitching and piping on the dash top and door armrests, and aluminum trim on the doors and dash, are welcomed touches. On the infotainment front, a 17-speaker ELS Studio 3D audio system takes care of the tunes. There’s a 10.2-inch screen above the centre stack, with a console-mounted touchpad handling a number of functions.
Surprisingly, considering the TLX’s length, is that rear-seat passenger accommodation is average at best, particularly legroom, which will be at a premium for those with longer dimensions.
Overall, though, with many automakers giving up on mid-sized sedans, it’s good to see Acura not only finds value in the segment, but also finds value once again in offering genuine performance. The Type S has the bona fides to be an unapologetic sport sedan, one that’s a truly entertaining ride without a truly frightening price tag.
In the world of Porsche, attention is currently focused on upcoming 911 models for the 992-series generation. Oh how quickly we forget about the cars that came before, but this recent drag racing video from Cars With Pilot Tseno on YouTube reminds us just how good the 991.2 911s still are.
This three-way drag race sees the previous-generation Porsche 911 GT3 RS and 911 Turbo S challenge a Mercedes-AMG GT R, but it’s not just a simple line-em-up format. No less than six races are held on this empty runway, representing real-world conditions. That’s important, because we know the 911 Turbo S is easily the quickest of the bunch on paper. But when it comes to an unprepped surface, can it properly use all its 580 horsepower (433 kilowatts) to defend itself?
Before answering that question, four races are held between the contenders. You probably know the stats but just in case, here’s a refresher. The 991.2 911 GT3 RS runs a rev-happy 4.0-liter flat-six pumping out 520 naturally aspirated hp (388 kW), while the AMG GT R uses a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 making 577 hp (430 kW). It seems like an unfair fight at first, but the GT3 RS is considerably lighter and it carries the majority of its mass over the rear tires. That translates to a significant traction advantage which carries the GT3 RS to an early lead in each race. The Merc comes on strong at the other end, but is it enough?
We’d love to build these preliminary contests into something extraordinary for the final two three-way races with the Turbo S, but neither challenger has a prayer against the boosted 911. In both races, the distance to second place is bus lengths, which means the real drama in this competition is between the GT3 RS and the AMG GT R. Which one takes the overall second-place crown? Out of six races, both the GT R and the GT3 RS score victories over the other but one holds a clear advantage. Any guesses on the victor in this GT R-versus-GT3 RS battle before you click the video?
Corning has unveiled a new Gorilla Glass set, but it’s not for phone displays — it’s for smartphone camera lenses.
According to Corning’s announcement video, traditional smartphone lenses have an anti-reflective coating on the inside that allow light to enter and hit the sensor, producing an image, but these traditional coatings still lose on some of the light that reflects back, never registering on the sensor.
Corning’s new product, the DX and DX+ for camera lenses, reportedly can capture 98 percent of incoming light (in comparison to 90-92 percent with traditional camera glass), allowing for a more detailed and crisp image, all while protecting your smartphone lens from scratching or cracking.
While this sounds wonderful, Corning points out that the glass isn’t something new. DX and DX+ have been used in smartwatches since 2018, but the design has now been modified to meet the demands of a smartphone camera lens, i.e., letting in as much light as possible.
Additionally, Corning demonstrated how the new DX and DX+ hold up durability-wise when put against a standard AR coating and Corning’s regular Gorilla Glass and also claims that the DX+ is near sapphire, which is known for its immense durability.
Although no particular phones with Gorilla Glass DX/DX+ have been revealed, Corning said in its press release that Samsung will be the first client to employ a Gorilla Glass DX lens cover on a future smartphone.
After weeks of different rumors and leaks, the Dead Space remake was officially confirmed at EA Play 2021.
The Dead Space remake wasn’t given any kind of release window, but it is in development for next-gen systems only, meaning PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. The game is being built with the Frostbite Engine and is handled by EA Motive, who is best known as the developer of the recent Star Wars Squadrons. The original trilogy was developed by Visceral Games, which was shuttered by EA in 2017.
The announcement didn’t show much at all but presented fans with a short teaser trailer showing a grisly space station as the iconic sounds of Necromorphs echoed in the background. As the camera zooms in Isaac Clarke’s backpack lights up and reveals the words Dead Space. A press release from EA says fans will “experience an improved story, characters, gameplay mechanics.” Phillippe Ducharme, Senior Producer of Dead Space, says the team at Motive has invited fans to give their feedback on the remake ever since the early days of development. With that in mind, it’s not exactly clear how far along in development the Dead Space remake actually is. You can watch the reveal trailer yourself down below.
One of the most prolific survival-horror series of all time, it’s been eight years since the release of the last game in the series, Dead Space 3. The franchise was always known for its nail-biting horror and inventive combat, requiring players to hack off the limbs of enemies in order to both slow them down and kill them. Here’s EA’s description of the first game and remake,
“In Dead Space, Isaac Clarke is an everyman engineer on a mission to repair a vast, sprawling starship, the USG Ishimura, only to discover something has gone horribly wrong. The ship’s crew has been slaughtered and infected by some alien scourge…and Isaac’s beloved partner, Nicole, is lost somewhere on board. Now Isaac is alone with only his tools and engineering skills as he attempts to uncover the nightmarish mystery of what happened aboard the Ishimura. Trapped with hostile creatures called “necromorphs”, Isaac faces a battle for survival, not only against the escalating terrors of the ship, but his own crumbling sanity.”
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