Seattle - Sept. 2003
It's been several years since Acura announced it was once again going to establish performance as a hallmark of the brand. While the Integra/RSX and NSX have always formed great bookends to a performance-oriented lineup, the sedan lineup has been rather uninspiring. The Type-S flavors of the CL and TL models were Acura's first shots at fixing this problem, but as it turns out, they were only stopgap measures designed to temporarily satiate enthusiasts' appetites for performance. With the brilliant TSX setting the tone for the new generation of Acura perfomance sedans, things are indeed looking up.
This renewed direction for Acura rests on a platform supported by three pillars: Dynamic Design, Exhilarating Performance, and Precision Craftsmanship. Compared to the outgoing model and its top competitors, the '04 TL certainly delivers on all three counts. Additionally, there seems to be an unmentioned fourth pillar: Class-leading Value. You can fiddle with the numbers all you want, but at a sticker price of $32,650 (+$545 destination, as of Oct. 2), there's really nothing that can touch the '04 TL in terms of performance, quality, refinement, technology, and overall value for the price. Go ahead and get in line to buy one now.
The 2004 TL is already trickling into showrooms, and last month we were afforded the opportunity to put some miles on several preproduction examples. I participated in a 2-day program hosted by Acura in the Seattle area, where I was drenched in details surrounding the 2004 TL. This program consisted of several hours of presentations, direct discussions with TL development engineers, and a good bit of seat time on the road and Pacific Raceway (formerly known as Seattle International Raceway)