Still one of the brand's best-looking sedans. Ever.
The Acura TL launched way back for the 1996 model year and was ultimately succeeded by the TLX for 2014. The second-generation Acura TLX has just arrived and, without question, it's the best-looking sedan the luxury Japanese brand has built since, well, the third-gen TL. Made from 2004 until 2008, this Marysville, Ohio-built, Jon Ikeda-designed performance sedan received instant attention because it looked so damn good. It still does today.
Although it was derived from the seventh-gen Honda Accord, this was the first TL generation not sold in Japan, meaning it was developed specifically for North America with the goal of taking on the BMW 3 Series segment benchmark. Just one problem with that: the front-wheel-drive platform. Its German rivals, including the Mercedes C-Class, were rear-wheel-drive-based. The TL didn't receive Acura's excellent Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system until the fourth-gen (hello, chrome mustache!) in 2009.
The fact that its predecessor lacked AWD was, perhaps, its biggest drawback. Power came from a 3.2-liter naturally aspirated VTEC V6, rated at 258 horsepower and 233 lb-ft of torque. Power went to the front wheels through a "Sportshift" five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual. Of course, the manual models were the ones to get since they also came equipped with Brembo four-piston front brake calipers, a limited-slip differential, and stiffer anti-roll bars front and rear.
With its equally attractive interior design, this TL became Acura's best-selling model in its debut year with over 79,000 units sold. It also scored highly in crash tests. Acura continued to revise the TL's packaging over the next few model years and received some exterior and interior styling tweaks in 2007.
That was also the year the Type-S was reintroduced. Instead of the 3.2 V6, it received the Acura RL's more powerful 3.5-liter V6 (J35A8) with 286 hp and 256 lb-ft. A six-speed remained standard while a five-speed auto with paddle shifters was optional, but again, the manual was the one to get because of the limited-slip diff. Other upgrades included quad exhaust pipes, a uniquely styled front fascia and taillights, a lip spoiler, wider side sills, Brembo brakes, and 10-spoke wheels. The TL Type-S continued for the model's final 2008 year.
If you're looking for an affordable and fun-to-drive sports sedan, then the 2007-08 TL Type-S has your name on it. This one-owner example for sale at BMW of Mamaroneck in New York has just 82,593 miles with an asking price of $11,950. The only downside? It's an automatic but is otherwise fully-loaded and in overall great condition.