Or should you wait for the new TLX?
As a final send-off for the current-generation TLX, Acura introduced a new PMC Edition with a special paint job from the NSX supercar. The 2020 Acura TLX has effectively been replaced with an all-new 2021 model that will arrive later this fall but there are still plenty of 2020 leftovers, including a handful of PMC Editions, sitting on dealership lots. As a reminder of what the first-generation TLX had to offer, Acura sent us number 47 of the 360 PMC Edition cars to review for a week.
It may be a lame-duck car, but there are a few elements of the 2020 TLX PMC Edition that we thoroughly enjoyed. We have little doubt that the 360 limited production PMC Edition cars will command a premium on the used market in a few years but we must still answer an important question - at $48,950, should you consider a brand-new TLX PMC Edition?
The PMC Edition is the top-of-the-line model, bundling the A-Spec and Advanced Packages to create a TLX with more features than any other. This means PMC Edition owners will enjoy the luxury features of the Advanced Package such as heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, wireless charger, and surround-view camera plus the visual exterior modifications and sportier interior trim of the A-Spec.
Acura has added a few PMC Edition-specific touches including black 19-inch wheels, body-color accents, black piping, red stitching, perforated leather steering wheel, black roof, black door handles, A-Spec floor mats, and an individually numbered plaque. All of these changes help the PMC Edition stand out a bit more than a standard TLX but the biggest addition comes in the form of Valencia Red Pearl nano pigment paint. This is the same stuff used on the NSX supercar and it is hand-applied at Acura's Performance manufacturing center where the NSX is also built. In total, the paint takes five days to apply with curing. Other luxury cars boast special paint jobs but we have to see another one with the deepness and allure of Valencia Red.
The next-generation TLX will bring back the Type S moniker with a new twin-turbocharged V6 engine while base models will be powered by the RDX's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 280 horsepower. While this four-cylinder engine sounds great in the RDX and the Honda Civic Type R, we will miss the smooth engine note of the current TLX's 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V6. This engine makes a wonderful wail as it hits VTEC, rewarding the driver's ears when the accelerator is mashed. Acura's naturally aspirated V6 is not long for this world and once the current MDX is replaced, it will likely be gone from the lineup forever.
If there is one upside of the V6's demise, it is that the ZF nine-speed automatic transmission will be taken to the grave with it. We've hated this transmission since it was introduced due to its slow response and propensity to hunt for gears, though we will give Acura credit for tuning it better than other automakers. Acura's 10-speed automatic transmission that will appear in the new TLX is a massive improvement. It would have been great to see Acura give the TLX a truly collectible send-off with a special manual transmission option on the PMC Edition that would have made it feel more one-of-a-kind.
The TLX PMC Edition includes pretty much all of the luxury and driver assistance features you could possibly want in a modern car. Since the Technology and Advanced Packages are included in the PMC Edition, it has all of Acura's best features, albeit from several years ago. The TLX's dual-screen infotainment system hasn't received a major overhaul in several years, leaving the graphics looking like a Nintendo Wii in a Switch's world.
We've never been fans of Acura's confusing dual-screen layout and will be happy to see it phased out with the new TLX. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are included now but since they only use the top, non-touchscreen, they are more tricky to use than in other cars.
The outgoing TLX did not do everything right but like the TL that proceeded it, it bundles a perfectly-sized sedan with a lovely balance between comfort and sport. It may not rival cars like the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Genesis G70 in terms of handling prowess but the Acura TLX still feels comparable to an Audi S4, comfortable first and sporty second. Ride comfort is great and through the corners, body lean is manageable.
Acura's Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive can send up to 70 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels and divert up to 100 percent of that power between the left and right wheels. This means, despite the TLX's front-wheel-drive architecture, it actually drives like an all-wheel-drive vehicle with a rear bias under duress. Taking control of the transmission in manual mode and revving out that VTEC V6 is a surprisingly rewarding experience.
As of this writing, there are more than 26 of the 360 PMC Edition TLX models still available on the market along with plenty of other leftover 2020 TLX models. Acura is offering incentives from the factory that should make those leftovers quite affordable but unfortunately, the PMC Editions are still being sold at MSRP. To get an Audi S4, BMW M340i, or Mercedes-AMG C43 with the same equipment as the TLX will cost considerably more, though you will get more performance and a more premium interior for the price.
This means the TLX PMC Edition is still a relatively strong bargain in its segment but the introduction of a more powerful Type S version next year means you might want to wait for that instead. While we can't strongly recommend a new TLX PMC Edition now that a new TLX is just around the corner, we do think this beautiful special edition could be a cool used purchased a few years down the line.