The 2009 TL enters the competitive luxury market at an ideal time as the segment in which it competes is expected to remain strong into the next decade. The new TL is forecast to share substantially in this success with a projected sales increase to about 70,000 units per year, an increase of 5.8-percent through 2012. Available with the largest and most powerful engine in TL history, along with the sport-driving focused SH-AWD® system (the world’s first torque-vectoring AWD system when introduced in 2000), the new TL arrives ready to compete with vehicles like the Audi A4 and A6, BMW 3-Series and 5-Series, Infiniti G35 and M35, Lexus ES, GS and IS sedans, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and E-Class.
For the first time ever in an Acura vehicle, the 2009 TL is available in a choice of front-wheel-drive TL or all-wheel-drive TL SH-AWD® configurations. The new TL is a powerful and precise performance luxury sedan that is as confident and composed on a mountain road as it is in the city center. Replacing the previous TL Type-S is the TL SH-AWD® model, built exclusively for the enthusiast driver and featuring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™, special suspension and steering tuning, and the most powerful engine from Acura ever.
Unlike some competitors, who add all-wheel drive to their vehicles primarily to help in winter conditions, the TL’s available SH-AWD® was designed to dramatically enhance sporty handling in addition to further enhancing the vehicle’s winter-driving capability.
Under the hood there will be the most powerful Acura engine ever, probably same 3,7 liter engine used in the RL that develops 300 hp.
The new 2009 TL’s dynamic and bold styling was designed at the Acura Design Studio in Torrance, California. The design team wanted the TL’s exterior styling to not only be emotional, but to reflect the exhilarating driving experience that would be realized behind the wheel. The new TL also uses the latest materials and technologies to help reduce weight, increase strength and enhance aerodynamic performance.
The exterior design of the TL uses a principal that the design team refers to as “Motion Surface.” Simply put, this term expresses the feeling of motion in the surface of the vehicle even when the TL is at rest. The body uses artfully crafted character lines that divide the TL’s sides into lower, middle and upper areas, with each catching the light differently while presenting a dynamic and strong athletic shape. As well, the character lines lead the eye along the body side from front to rear, enticing the viewer to take in the whole car and explore and discover its many design details.
One intriguing detail is the Acura “power plenum” grille, whose platinum-like finisher appears to be cut from solid billet that “floats” in front of the car. Beneath the finisher is a diamond-pattern black grille opening that adds an aggressive sports-car look. A satin grille surround further accentuates the opening. Below the bumper, two large openings on the front fascia house fog lamps, turn signals (and on the SH-AWD® model) front brake cooling ducts. The 2009 TL is the third sedan in the Acura lineup to receive the new Acura signature grille, after the 2009 TSX and 2009 RL.
Aggressive front wheel arches and dramatic character lines set a confident and muscular tone for the TL’s body side. In addition, the headlight and taillight arrays, which sweep aggressively around each corner of the body, further add character. Below the taillight array are large red reflectors that add style as well as safety. Below the trunk lid is a satin finisher with stylized cues echoing the front finisher.
NEW LARGER SIZE
In keeping with its mission of providing even more performance, agility and comfort, the 2009 Acura TL increases in size compared to the previous-generation TL. For improved interior roominess, handling stability and ride quality, the 2009 TL has a longer wheelbase and a wider track. Wheelbase is up 1.4 inches (to 109.3 inches from 107.9 inches), while the track increases 1.1 inches (to 63.2 inches in front and 1.8 inches to 63.8 inches at the rear). Overall length is up 6.2 inches (to 195.5 inches), overall width is up 1.8 inches (to 74.0 inches), and height rises 0.5-inch (to 57.2 inches). The wider track pays dividends in both cornering ability and interior roominess, while the longer wheelbase increases ride comfort as well as interior roominess. The new TL offers more interior volume (111.4 cu-ft vs. 110.2 cu-ft) than the outgoing model. Like the previous-generation TL, the 2009 TL is classified by the EPA as a Midsize car.
WEIGHT REDUCTION STRATEGIES
Despite its larger size and higher overall content level, at 3,708 lbs. the base 2009 Acura TL increases just 85 pounds in curb weight compared to the previous model. The new TL SH-AWD® has a curb weight of 3,970 lbs. Part of the reason for the minimal increase in weight is due to the widespread use of high-strength steel in key structural areas, lightweight yet ultra high-strength hot-stamped steel for the B-pillars and doorsills, as well as an aluminum hood, front suspension subframe, rear suspension knuckles and steering hanger beam. Over 18 pounds were saved in the TL’s unit-body construction alone.
FRAME RAIL SYSTEM
The 2009 TL is the second Acura (along with the TSX) to use an advanced new unit-body frame rail system. With this new system, the stamped steel frame rails are positioned above and inside the body structure floor (rather than underneath it) to create a nearly flat body underside. This design results in improved structural strength for safety, reduced interior noise from turbulent air flowing underneath the car, and better aerodynamic efficiency for improved fuel mileage and more interior space. The new frame rail design does not compromise interior room and improves crash safety. (Please see Safety section for more information.)
ADVANCED COMPATIBILITY ENGINEERING™ (ACE™) BODY STRUCTURE
Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) represents a groundbreaking change in the way Acura unit-bodies are constructed. Now a standard feature on every new Acura, ACE™ maximizes the body’s ability to disperse crash energy in a frontal collision by directing collision forces along predetermined load pathways. One of most important benefits of the design is that crash energy can be dispersed with less affect on the structural integrity of the passenger cabin. Another important ACE™ characteristic is how it allows the TL to interface better with larger or smaller vehicles in a frontal collision, further protecting both the TL passengers as well as those in the other vehicle. (Please see Safety section for more information.)
Based on internal testing, the 2009 Acura TL is projected to earn top crash ratings. These include 5-Star ratings* for frontal NCAP and side SINCAP tests from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and GOOD ratings for offset frontal, side and headrest tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). (Please see Safety section for more information.)
*Government star ratings are part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Program (www.safercar.gov). Model Tested with side-impact air bags (SABs).
HIGH-STRENGTH SHEET STEEL
Along with new engineering techniques, the 2009 TL also has widespread use of high-strength sheet steel, which provides benefits in ride, handling and overall durability. The new TL uses five different types of high-strength steel, including ultra high-strength hot-stamp steel that is heated before it is stamped into shape for the front unit-body rails, doorsills, B-pillar and side roof rails. A total of 47.6-percent of the steel used in the new TL is high-strength steel. Hot-stamp steel and 980 grade high-strength steel, two premium types of steel, are used by Acura for the first time in the 2009 TL.
The 2009 Acura TL is 15-percent more rigid overall than its predecessor in key areas, which directly improves handling agility, ride quality, interior quietness and overall durability. Specific rigidity advancements include:
* 41-percent greater rear vertical rigidity
* 17-percent greater front lateral rigidity
Aluminum front and rear bumper beams help the 2009 TL meet the most rigid crash test standards, while also helping to reduce vehicle mass for improved performance and fuel economy. In front, the bumper beam is tied into an ACE™ beam structure that helps equalize the height disparity between large and small cars, resulting in better attenuation of crash energy during a frontal collision. Stylized plastic bumper fascias are an integral part of the TL styling and are rated to withstand 2.5-mph front and rear impacts without substantial damage.
The TL SH-AWD® receives a unique front bumper fascia that incorporates special vent openings and ducts to cool the front disc brakes. In addition, the TL SH-AWD® employs the 3.7L V-6’s dual-exhaust system capped with quad stainless-steel tips (the TL with 3.5-liter V-6 has two exhaust tips).
PROJECTOR-BEAM HID HEADLIGHTS
The new 2009 TL has Xenon high intensity discharge (HID) projector-style low-beam headlights as standard equipment. The primary operational benefit of projector headlights is a bright and precisely focused light beam for confident nighttime driving, but they also provide an aggressive and technical appearance. Halogen high beams are mounted inboard of the projector beams, and offer further nighttime driving confidence with a crisp, bright and focused beam. The halogen high-beams serve double duty as the daytime running lights (DRL) by operating at a lower voltage. The headlight arrays are protected by flush impact-resistant covers that blend sleekly into the TL’s front fascia, hood and fenders, and include wraparound amber side reflectors that are visible from both the front and sides of the vehicle. Fog lamps are integrated into an opening below the front bumper that also includes air inlet ducts for additional front brake cooling on the SH-AWD® model. LED lighting is used for the taillights, center high-mounted stop light (CHMSL) and the exterior mirror-mounted auxiliary turn signals.
ALUMINUM ALLOY WHEELS
Standard on the TL are 17x8-inch cast aluminum alloy wheels with 10 crisply designed spokes, a silver paint finish and black Acura emblem showcased in a composite center cap. The TL SH-AWD® features unique 18x8-inch 5-spoke aluminum alloy wheels finished in dramatic and exclusive silver finish and featuring a premium spun-aluminum center cap replete with black Acura emblem. Optional for the TL SH-AWD® with the Technology Package are 19x8-inch aluminum-alloy wheels featuring a 10-spoke design finished in silver with a spun-aluminum center cap and a chrome Acura emblem.
POWER TILT/SLIDE MOONROOF
The 2009 TL comes with a standard power moonroof that tilts or slides via a one-touch control. To tilt or slide the moonroof fully open or closed, simply press the ceiling-mounted switch once (rather than pushing for several seconds). Partially opening or closing the moonroof to achieve partial ventilation simply requires a lighter touch. A built-in auto-reverse system helps ensure that the moonroof will not close forcefully if a hand or arm is in the way. If an obstruction is detected, the moonroof mechanism is designed to automatically reopen the moonroof.
Special acoustic windshield glass is used on the TL to help reduce wind noise. Tuned specifically to attenuate wind-noise frequencies, the windshield uses two layers of 2 mm safety glass with an inner layer of a transparent elastic acoustic membrane for a total thickness of 4.5 mm. The acoustic windshield in conjunction with 5 mm thick side windows helps position the TL at the top of its class in wind-noise performance. The windshield, like the side windows and 3.1 mm thick rear window, is UV light absorbing.
The TL’s windshield wipers nest below the hood line, where they are out of the driver’s line of sight and away from the direct airflow that can cause turbulence, aerodynamic drag and noise. The driver’s side wiper measures 25.5 inches in length to clean a broad section of the windshield, while the passenger-side wiper measures 18.75 inches long. A 2.5-liter capacity windshield-washer system helps clear dirt from the windshield as necessary.
Above the beltline of the car, the side windows are surrounded by luxurious stainless steel trim. Showing the level of detail that has gone into the new TL, its surface shape is actually slightly concave, which effectively eliminates "hot spots" in the reflection caused by direct sunlight. Additional stainless trim along the roofline joins the windshield, roof and rear window together in one smoothly flowing curve. This roofline trim finishes dramatically in the form of a mini bulkhead along each side of the subtly recessed window. The treatment does not impede outward visibility but rather creates a look of strength and solidity at the rear of the TL. So too does a subtle "negative break" running from front to rear along the trunk lid. Matching the pronounced break at the front of the car, the bisected trunk lid and the matching rear bumper and fascia further define the TL as a strong, aggressive sport sedan.
All of the vertical roof pillars and two areas of the front unit-body bulkhead are filled with closed-cell expansion foam that significantly reduces the transmission of road noise from the lower part of the unit-body up into the passenger compartment. The foam is installed prior to the unit body’s assembly and welding process, and it expands to tightly fit the pillar openings when the body is later baked after the electro deposition of protective coatings.
The 2009 TL has power windows as standard equipment, including a one-touch auto up/down feature that simplifies the lowering or raising process for the driver and front passenger-side windows. As with the power tilt and slide moonroof, the driver and front passenger-side power windows include a pinch-protection feature, and all four windows as well as the moonroof may be opened via the TL’s Keyless Access Remote. Turning the key twice in the driver’s door lock or pressing and holding the lock button on the remote Keyless Access Remote closes the windows and moonroof simultaneously.
To help reduce wind and road noise, the 2009 TL features 5 mm thick glass for all four side windows. The added thickness (beyond typical auto glass) provides a superior acoustic barrier that makes the interior more quiet and luxurious.
The broad door handles are formed to comfortably fit a wide range of hand sizes as well as to accommodate gloved hands in winter driving conditions. The handles feature painted surfaces on the base TL and a painted and chromed finish on the Technology Package. The 2009 TL with Technology Package uses a Keyless Access System that unlocks the driver’s door or all doors (programmable as the owner wishes) when grabbing either the driver or front passenger door handle. A button, located on the driver’s door handle, locks all doors with a light touch-and a reassuring audible tone confirms that the vehicle is indeed locked. An emergency lock cylinder, located on the rear edge the driver’s door handle, permits locking and unlocking the vehicle in the event the battery becomes discharged.
Satin door sill plates greet the driver and front passenger when the front doors are opened. Centered in a durable black composite surround, the metal door sill plates feature the Acura logo. As well, dual 360-degree seals in all four door openings provide outstanding sealing capability to help keep wind, road and traffic noise, water and dirt out of the interior.
POWER EXTERIOR MIRRORS
Aerodynamically shaped power-adjustable mirrors make use of tinted glass that reduces glare. Mounted flush with the mirror nacelle are bright turn-signal diodes that provide an extra margin of safety in traffic—without interrupting the TL’s dramatic bodylines. In addition, the side mirrors are heated and memory linked to driver preference.
FUEL FILLER DOOR
The Acura TL uses a new electric fuel-filler door release system. Instead of a traditional floor-mounted cable release, the 2009 TL’s fuel-filler door opens with a push of a button located on the driver’s door next to the trunk-release button. When the button is pushed the filler door pops open 1.2 inches and is held open by a secondary spring. The fuel door may then be opened fully to access the fuel filler.
A large array of light emitting diodes (LEDs) serves as the taillights on the new TL. Used here as well as in the turn signals located in the outside rearview mirrors and Center High-Mounted Stop Lamp (CHMSL), the LEDs illuminate almost instantly, provide exceptionally high-visibility lighting and draw less energy than comparable incandescent bulbs. The LEDs also provide a highly technical look that compliments the TL body design and are projected to have a far longer service life.
Included in the available Technology Package is a rear spoiler that contains a trunk release touch button as well as a rearview camera that’s image is displayed on the Navigation screen when the transmission is shifted to Reverse. The composite spoiler is painted body color and smoothly integrated into the bodylines. To date, none of the TL’s European competitors offer the rearview camera as an option.
Bright finish dual exhaust tips give the TL a powerful presence when viewed from the rear. The 3.7-liter SH-AWD® model takes this further with quad exhausts featuring twin "D" shaped outlets that add further strength and appeal to the rear of the vehicle.
Fuel capacity on the 2009 TL has increased to 18.5 gallons from 17.1 gallons on the previous TL, an increase in volume that helps extend cruising range between fill-ups. Manufactured of high-density polypropylene resin, the tank is also located farther forward than in the past, helping to improve mass centralization for better ride and handling as well as rear-seat roominess.
Further reducing wind noise inside the new TL was essential to making the vehicle a top performer in the premium sport sedan market. Designers used many different strategies, including the use of an acoustic windshield, thicker side glass, special insulators, and precise aerodynamic tailoring of the body and the vehicle’s underside. The result is that the TL more smoothly moves through the air, benefiting interior quietness and fuel economy.
The underside of the TL has significant aerodynamic advancements. At the front of the vehicle, a precisely shaped deflector directs part of the airflow from underneath the front fascia and up through the radiator to provide a steady supply of cooling air at speed. The aerodynamic tailoring continues with another deflector that guides remaining airflow smoothly underneath the engine. Racecar-inspired deflectors located ahead of the front tires also help steer air around them more efficiently. The inside frame rails (described in the Body section) allow air to flow more smoothly underneath the car. The TL also has a mid-floor cover that smoothly transitions air from the underside of the body to the underside of the fuel tank. The dual muffler undersides are likewise flat, and the vehicle’s underbody is also coated with a sound-absorbing PVC coating.
INCREASED TRUNK CAPACITY
Offering 13.1 cu. ft. of storage volume, the 2009 Acura TL has 0.8 cu. ft. (6.5-percent) more trunk capacity than the previous generation TL. The SH-AWD® model has 12.5 cu. ft. of storage due to the space requirements of the rear differential-yet as a result of intelligent packaging it still offers an increase of 0.2 cu. ft. or 1.6-percent compared to the previous TL. The TL’s trunk is spacious enough to hold four golf bags, four 22-in. Pullman-style suitcases or a family-sized cooler.
For the first time in the Acura TL, the fuel door is opened from inside the car via an electrical switch instead of a cable release as used on the previous-generation TL. The switch is conveniently located on the driver’s door panel instead of on the floor. When equipped with the Technology Package, the Keyless Access System allows the trunk to be opened by simply pressing a "smart button" on the rear spoiler. As long as the Keyless Access Remote transponder is in their possession the TL’s Keyless Access System will recognize the presence of the driver and allow the trunk to be opened.
Fully Lined Trunk
The trunk is fully lined to protect the cargo as well as for improved visual appeal. The hinges are likewise concealed. Several improvements give the trunk a more finished overall appearance. These include a spring-loaded cover that hides the latch striker, a unified look and feel for the lined trunk sides and floor, a convenient strap for lifting the spare-tire cover, a garnish where the hinge arms slide into the body, and a neatly finished edge to the trunk lining material. More substantial hinges also create a more rigid overall trunk-lid assembly.
Underneath the floor of the trunk is a T135/80D17 temporary spare tire mounted on a steel wheel, along with a jack, lug-nut wrench, and an eyelet that screws into a locating point on the front bumper in the event the TL ever needs to be transported on a flatbed truck. The trunk also features six anchor points for attaching a cargo net, along with a fold-down pass-through to accommodate long items such as snow skis.
The 2009 Acura TL offers a total of nine available exterior colors-the most ever available for the TL model. Five out of the nine available colors are new for 2009, and include a mix of five pearl colors and four metallic colors. The new colors include Basque Red, Borealis Blue, Crystal Black, Grigio, and Palladium. Specifically chosen to mirror the TL’s "emotion unleashed" character, the new colors look particularly dramatic in bright sunlight, where the TL’s strong character lines present different facets of the body to the light differently, creating a highly evocative and dynamic 3-D appearance. All exterior colors feature a durable, hard clear coat that resists damage from industrial pollution, acid rain and fog, as well as organic contaminants such as bird droppings. The exterior colors were also selected to compliment the TL’s four available interior colors including Ebony, Parchment, Taupe and Umber Tan.
The 2009 Acura TL and TL SH-AWD® are each fitted with a transversely mounted V-6 powertrain that has been painstakingly engineered to meet the specific requirements of each TL model. The TL features an all-aluminum 3.5-liter V-6 with single overhead camshaft cylinder heads and 24 valves, with all intake valves actuated by the Acura VTEC® (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control®) system. This compact and efficient engine produces 280 horsepower and 254 lbs-ft of torque. Compared to the previous generation TL’s 3.2-liter engine, the 3.5-liter V-6 delivers 22 additional horsepower and 21 additional lbs-ft of torque.
The TL SH-AWD® is powered by a new 3.7-liter V-6 that shares many features with the 3.5-liter engine, but gains displacement through larger cylinder bores and increased stroke. With 305 horsepower and 273 lbs-ft of torque, the 3.7-liter engine is as powerful as some V-8s, and is the most powerful engine ever offered in an Acura. Compared to the previous generation TL Type-S 3.5-liter engine, the 2009 TL’s 3.7-liter V-6 has gained 19 horsepower and 17 lbs-ft of torque. Similar to the 3.7-liter engine that now powers the 2009 RL sedan, the new TL SH-AWD® engine features a new VTEC® system which varies the exhaust valves as well as the intakes to contribute to elevated power output. The engine is even lighter than the 3.5-liter powerplant it replaces, due in part to the use of aluminum rather than iron cylinder liners.
Both engines reflect Acura’s unwavering commitment to the environment with good fuel economy given their power output. All TL engines meet strict EPA TIER 2 - BIN 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV standards, and have close-coupled catalytic converters to ensure efficient cold-start emissions control.
The transmission in all versions is a new Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission with a new straight-gate style console-mounted shifter. For more spirited driving, a new "smart" F1-style steering wheel paddle shifter system is standard and now works when the transmission is in "Drive" rather than only in "Manual" mode as in the past. Grade Logic Control and revised shift programming refine driving feel and improve performance.
Since its original introduction, the TL has been exclusively a front-wheel-drive vehicle. Beginning with the fourth-generation 2009 model, an all-wheel-drive version joins the TL lineup. The 2009 TL SH-AWD® features Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™, Acura’s advanced drivetrain system that delivers quick, precise all-wheel-drive response. SH-AWD® made its debut on the 2005 RL, and at its introduction it was the first all-wheel-drive system to distribute the optimum amount of torque not only between the front and rear axles, but also between the left and right rear wheels. The system’s unique torque vectoring direct yaw control feature makes the 2009 TL SH-AWD® exceptionally neutral under power, for greater handling precision and control.
The TL’s 3.5-liter V-6 engine uses an inherently smooth-running 60-degree V-angle. The cylinder block is constructed of aluminum and has cast-in iron cylinder liners. The cylinder heads are cast of lightweight aluminum and feature four valves per cylinder along with a unique 2-rocker VTEC® variable valve timing system, with variable lift for the intake valves. Power is enhanced with an 11.2:1 compression ratio, high-output port shapes, intake airflow enhancements, and a sport-tuned exhaust system. While torque numbers are equivalent to the 3.5L in the outgoing Type-S, when compared to the previous 3.2L engine, the 3.5L produces 9- to 13-percent more torque between 2,000 and 4,000 rpm-the engine speed most commonly used in day-to-day driving. In addition to a high specific power output, the 3.5-liter V-6 delivers exceptional refinement and low emissions.
The 3.7-liter engine in the TL SH-AWD® is an enhanced version of the powerplant in the 2009 Acura RL, and it is the most powerful engine ever fitted to an Acura sedan. While dimensionally similar to the compact 3.5-liter TL engine, the 3.7-liter employs aluminum (rather than iron) cylinder liners for weight savings and improved cooling. Its VTEC® variable valve timing system features variable lift and timing for both intake and exhaust valves. Increases in intake airflow and compression ratio, combined with a high-flow exhaust system using close-coupled catalytic converters and dual exhaust pipes with four exits, help make the TL SH-AWD® engine the most powerful engine that Acura has ever offered.
Both the 3.5-liter TL engine block and that of the 3.7-liter TL SH-AWD® are constructed of lightweight die-cast aluminum. The 3.5-liter engine has thin-wall iron liners that are made in a centrifugal spin-casting process that ensures high strength and low porosity. The rough outer surface of these liners makes an effective bond with the aluminum block, enhancing block stiffness and heat transfer from the liners to the block.
The 3.7-liter TL SH-AWD® cylinder liners are made of high-silicon aluminum and are cast directly into the aluminum block. The hard piston ring sealing surface of the liners is created during manufacturing with a mechanical etching process that exposes silicon particles embedded in the sleeves. The aluminum sleeves provide better cooling thus allowing closer piston-to-cylinder clearance than iron liners afford. The alloy liners also improve heat dissipation in the area between adjacent cylinder bores, allowing the SH-AWD® engine to have larger cylinder bores, even though its bore-center dimensions (the distance between the centers of adjacent bores) remain unchanged.
Both the 3.5-liter and the 3.7-liter cylinder blocks are heat-treated for strength and have deep-skirt designs with four bolts per bearing cap (providing excellent structural support for the crankshaft), thus minimizing engine noise and vibration.
The 3.5-liter engine of the TL and the 3.7-liter engine of the TL SH-AWD® both employ robust forged-steel crankshafts for high strength and minimum weight. On both engines, forged aluminum pistons are cooled with oil spray directed up to the underside of the piston crowns, making possible the high 11.2:1 compression ratio. The connecting rods are steel forgings for high strength, and are "crack separated," a unique process in which the bearing caps are broken away from the rod rather than machined separately. This process forms a lighter, stronger connecting rod with perfect mating surfaces.
Both the 3.5-liter and the 3.7-liter engines have lightweight aluminum cylinder heads that are pressure cast for high accuracy and low porosity. To save weight and reduce parts count, these cylinder heads have uniquely integrated exhaust-port castings that provide optimal positioning for close-coupled catalytic converters, one on each cylinder bank. This design results in more rapid "light off" of the catalytic converters on cold start-up for reduced start-up emissions. The cylinder heads are sealed against the block with a special 3-layer shim-type head gasket.
Each cylinder head uses a single camshaft, turned by an aramid-fiber reinforced toothed belt drive for long service life. Compared to the camshafts used in the 2009 MDX’s 3.7L V-6, the 2009 TL’s 3.7L camshaft lobes deliver more lift (4-percent more on intake, 10-percent more on exhaust), more valve opening duration (4-percent more on intake, 14-percent more on exhaust), and increased intake/exhaust valve overlap. Compared to the camshafts in the 2009 RL’s 3.7L V-6, valve timing has been optimized for the TL’s exclusive intake and exhaust systems.
Intake port design on the 3.7-liter SH-AWD® engine has been improved enough that the new ports alone add seven horsepower over earlier designs. Compared to the earlier 3.5-liter, intake valve weight has been reduced 13-percent due to removal of material from the valve head.
VTEC® (VARIABLE TIMING AND LIFT ELECTRONIC CONTROL)
The 3.5-liter TL engine uses the VTEC® system, providing strong low-speed torque, crisp throttle response, and enhanced high-rpm power. This is achieved by providing reduced intake valve lift and duration at low engine speeds for good torque, with increased valve lift and duration at higher speeds for optimum power. With the VTEC® system, both intake valves are controlled by a single low-speed camshaft lobe.
At 4,750 rpm the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) electronically triggers the opening of a spool valve that routes pressurized oil to small pistons within the intake valve rocker arms. Moved by this pressurized oil, these pistons lock together each cylinder’s intake rocker arms, which then follow in unison a single high-lift, long-duration cam lobe. Intake valve lift and opening duration are adjusted according to engine speed, resulting in the 3.5-liter TL having a broad torque curve as well as superior power at peak rpm.
The 3.7-liter engine in the TL SH-AWD® features a further refined version of the Acura VTEC® system, which made its sedan debut on the 2009 RL. This system provides two-mode control of the exhaust as well as the intake valves, so all 24 of the engine’s valves are VTEC® controlled. Moreover, operation of all the engine’s valves are controlled for optimal volumetric efficiency, air/fuel mixing, burn rate, and exhaust flow.
The big 3.7-liter engine has the same VTEC® intake valve control system as the 3.5-liter engine, but adds a unique new multi-arm VTEC® rocker arm system for the exhaust valves. Both exhaust valves follow a single low-lift, short-duration cam profile at low engine rpm. As the revs rise, pressurized oil (controlled by the PCM) activates small pistons that locks the exhaust valve rocker to a corresponding high-speed rocker arm, which then follows a single high-lift, long-duration cam lobe.
On the 3.7-liter engine, the transition to high-speed mode occurs at 4,700 rpm, where intake valve lift increases 28-percent and exhaust valve lift increases 10-percent. Valve opening duration increases 35-percent on the intake side and 11-percent on the exhaust side, increasing valve overlap by 47-percent over the intake-only VTEC® system. The new VTEC® system provides more power and torque, improved emissions and better fuel economy. Plus, the new VTEC® hardware offers greater durability and features roller cam followers to decrease frictional losses.
DRIVE-BY-WIRE™ THROTTLE SYSTEM
The TL and the TL SH-AWD® do not use conventional mechanical throttle linkages, but instead employ sophisticated electronics to provide the connection between the throttle pedal and the engine’s throttle-body. The result is more accurate and precise throttle control, along with less clutter and reduced weight under the hood. By programming such factors as "gain" and "tip-in" into the throttle actuation, engine response and drivability can be tailored to suit specific driving conditions. The 3.5- and 3.7-liter engines use different drive-by-wire throttle curves to suit the characteristics of each powertrain.
Acura’s high-tech Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system monitors pedal position, throttle-body opening, engine rpm, and road speed to establish driving conditions in real time, and this data is used to define the throttle control sensitivity necessary to provide the predictable and responsive feel corresponding to driver expectations.
The Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system also helps integrate engine functions with the Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) and traction control system. To smooth downshifts, the system is programmed to "blip" the throttle to help match engine speed to gear speed within the Sequential SportShift automatic transmission.
COLD AIR INDUCTION SYSTEM
The TL and TL SH-AWD® use new design cold air induction systems that pull intake air from the left side of the grill, ahead of the radiator, ensuring that incoming air is as much as 65 degrees F cooler than air in the engine compartment. Cool air is denser and contains more oxygen per volume than warmer air, allowing the engine to make more power. Carefully designed ducting routes fresh air to the air cleaner assembly and then to the throttle-body. The 3.5-liter engine has a 64 mm diameter throttle-body, while the 3.7-liter engine uses a new 69 mm diameter throttle-body for a 12-percent flow increase.
PROGRAMMED FUEL INJECTION (PGM-FI)
The Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) system continuously tracks many engine parameters including crankshaft and camshaft positions, throttle position, intake air temperature and mass flow rate, engine coolant temperature, and manifold pressure-and airflow volume-and then the system adjusts fuel delivery accordingly to deliver the best combination of power, fuel economy and low emissions.
MULTI-HOLE FUEL INJECTORS
Special multi-hole fuel injectors mounted in the lower intake manifold spray directly toward the intake ports. The multi-hole injector design means that fuel droplet size is reduced for better fuel atomization, resulting in improved cold weather start-up, better fuel economy and higher horsepower.
2-PIECE DUAL-STAGE INTAKE MANIFOLD
Both TL models feature a dual-stage intake manifold made from lightweight magnesium. The manifold works together with VTEC® to improve low-speed torque with no sacrifice in high-rpm power. Divided into two banks feeding three cylinders per bank, the manifold has two Powertrain Control Module-controlled butterfly valves located between each bank. These valves are closed at low engine speed, which reduces the operating volume of the plenum and increases the effective length of the inlet passages. The result is maximum resonance effect and amplification of pressure waves within each half of the manifold at lower engine speeds, significantly increasing cylinder filling and thus low rpm torque. The open ends of the intake runners are also flared into a "trumpet" shape, as on racing engines, to further improve airflow.
At higher engine speeds (3,950 rpm with the 3.5-liter, and 4,000 rpm with the 3.7-liter) the butterfly valves open, connecting the two halves of the manifold, increasing its effective volume and increasing the mass of air rushing down each intake passage. The inertia of this increased air mass forces more charge into each cylinder for better cylinder filling, increasing torque at high rpm. The manifold’s two modes further complement the changes in low and high speed running made possible by the VTEC® system. Both the 3.5-liter and 3.7-liter intake manifolds are fitted with a specially-cast top plate featuring a machined Acura logo.
DIRECT IGNITION AND DETONATION-KNOCK CONTROL
Because accurate spark timing is crucial for best power and torque output as well as reduced emissions, the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) continually monitors several engine parameters to determine optimum spark timing in all conditions.
Additionally, a block-mounted acoustic detonation (knock) sensor "listens" to the engine, sending information about potentially damaging detonation to the PCM, which then incrementally retards ignition timing to help prevent damage. The ignition system is complemented by coil units positioned directly above each iridium alloy-tipped sparkplug, which require no scheduled service prior to 100,000 miles of use.
HIGH-FLOW EXHAUST SYSTEM WITH CLOSE-COUPLED CATALYTIC CONVERTERS
The TL 3.5-liter and TL SH-AWD® 3.7-liter engines both have exhaust manifolds that are cast directly into the cylinder heads for reduced weight, parts count and bulk. Attached directly to the cylinder heads are high-efficiency catalytic converters. The 3.5-liter engine has 900-cell/in2 converters, while the 3.7-liter engine has more free-flowing 600-cell/in2 converters. Due to closer-than-normal proximity to the exhaust ports, the close-coupled catalytic converters "light off" very quickly after the engine starts, reducing emissions in the critical start-up mode. To ensure optimum flow and low backpressure, a hydroformed two-into-one collector connects the close-coupled catalytic converters to the main 350-cell under-floor catalytic converter.
Downstream of the under-floor converter, the 3.5-liter engine has a single pipe that splits to a pair of resonators, each with a final high-performance muffler and rectangular exhaust tip. Exhaust flow has been increased by 1.5-percent compared to the previous TL 3.2-liter engine.
The 3.7-liter SH-AWD® engine has a special high-flow exhaust system that splits just past the under-floor catalytic converter. To provide clearance for the all-wheel-drive rear-mounted differential, one exhaust pipe is routed on each side of the driveshaft and feeds into a high-flow muffler on each side of the TL. Dual outlets on each side (a total of four) give the TL SH-AWD® a unique appearance. The SH-AWD® system has a substantial increase in flow of 17-percent versus the previous TL Type-S system. In keeping with its performance character, the 3.7-liter SH-AWD® system is also tuned to have a sportier, more aggressive exhaust note above 3,000 rpm than does the 3.5-liter TL.
Both the TL 3.5-liter engine and the TL SH-AWD® 3.7-liter engine have gained power and torque over their previous counterparts with no increase in emissions. Both meet stringent EPA TIER 2 - BIN 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV emission standards, and are certified to this standard for 120,000 miles of service.
Acura’s advanced technologies contributing to this performance are the close-coupled catalytic converters which light-off quickly on start-up, an increased amount of EGR gas recirculated into the engine, and an advanced 32-bit RISC microprocessor within the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) that boosts computing power to improve the precision of fuel and spark delivery at all engine speeds and conditions. Particularly in the critical post-startup mode, the high-efficiency multi-hole fuel injectors deliver better fuel atomization for lower emissions.
Both 2009 TL engines feature Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) that continually adjusts fuel delivery to achieve the best combination of power, fuel mileage, and low emissions.
ONE-TOUCH STARTER SYSTEM WITH HIGH-POWERED STARTER
The TL 3.5-liter and TL SH-AWD® 3.7-liter engines both feature a new starter with 18-percent more power to crank the engine. In addition, they features a one-touch system that automatically maintains starter engagement until the engine has started. For both TL models, the driver simply activates the starter switch once (or pushes the START/STOP button if it is equipped with the Technology Package) and needs not hold the switch in the Start position. The system starts the engine and disengages the starter automatically.
NOISE, VIBRATION AND HARSHNESS (NVH) CONTROL
The TL and TL SH-AWD® powertrains are designed to effectively control Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH). Cylinders with 60-degree V-angles, high-rigidity die-cast engine blocks, strong forged-steel crankshafts, die-cast accessory mounts and stiff cast aluminum engine oil pans, low engine NVH is ensured. The induction and exhaust systems have been designed to emit a refined and quiet tone at low speeds, with a sporty "growl" above 3,000 rpm.
Electronically Controlled Mounts (ECM) at the front and rear of the transversely oriented engine block have two firmness settings that are softer at low speeds and firmer as engine speed rises.
100,000 MILE TUNE-UP INTERVAL
All TL models are exceptionally low-maintenance automobiles. With features like Iridium alloy-tipped spark plugs and the space-saving, self-tensioning serpentine accessory drive belt, these engines require no scheduled maintenance until 100,000 miles, exclusive of periodic inspections and normal replacement of fluids and filters. The first scheduled service at 100,000 miles includes valve adjustment, timing belt replacement, and water-pump inspection. Note that 100,000-mile tune-up interval does not apply to fluid and filter changes. Exact mileage is determined by actual driving conditions.
ENGINE COMPARTMENT COVER
To provide a clean appearance while highlighting the engine, both the TL and TL SH-AWD® have integrated five-piece engine compartment covers that conceal accessory systems. The engine itself is visible, and is handsomely finished to eliminate the need for cosmetic covers.
The TL and TL SH-AWD® have Maintenance Minder™ systems to monitor operating conditions and to alert the driver should maintenance be required. When the ignition is first turned on, the Multi-Information Display (MID) located between the tachometer and speedometer shows maintenance information, if required. To avoid driver distraction, the display is not shown while driving. MID indicates the remaining percentage of engine oil life, and indicates when service is due with a "wrench" icon. A percentage-based countdown to the next service is displayed when the car is within 15-percent of the end of the service interval. The type of service required is shown in an alphanumeric code, and if a service is missed, the MID indicates its urgency by showing past-due mileage.
The owner-resettable system monitors all normal service parts and systems including oil, oil filter, tire rotation, air cleaner, automatic transmission fluid, rear differential fluid (on SH-AWD® model), spark plugs, timing belt, coolant and is designed to eliminate unnecessary maintenance, reduce environmental impact and expenses, and ensure long component and vehicle life.
To maximize driver control, acceleration and fuel economy, both the TL and the TL SH-AWD® are equipped with a 5-speed automatic transmissions featuring Sequential SportShift with F1®-style steering wheel mounted paddle shifters and Grade Logic Control.
The TL’s 5-speed automatic transmission now incorporates new low-drag clutches in Second through Fifth gears and has increased torque capacity.
Similar to the 2009 RL, the transmission in the TL SH-AWD® has a more robust case, larger shafts, larger gear clutches with low-drag friction material, and a new torque converter and lock-up assembly that contribute to low maintenance and high durability. An external transmission cooler is standard with SH-AWD®. There is no scheduled maintenance for the transmission until 120,000 miles. The Acura transmission has the widest gear-ratio spread of any 5-speed transmission in the class, providing strong acceleration in lower gears and relaxed, fuel-efficient cruising.
Both transmissions are controlled by the new straight-gate console-mounted shifter or by a new "smart" steering wheel paddle shifter system that now works whenever the transmission is in Drive. Formerly, the paddles on the TL Type-S worked only in the Manual mode. Grade Logic Control is paired with revised shift programming to provide improved performance and crisper driving feel.
In Manual shift mode, both transmissions deliver improved performance as a result of revised shift map programming. During upshifts, the transmissions hold Third and Fourth gears longer into the engine’s rpm range for improved acceleration. On downshifts, new shift logic generates up to 24-percent quicker response, with a racing-style "blip" of the throttle to help match gear speeds. Transmission-fluid line pressure releases the previous gear more quickly, and the next gear’s clutch pack line pressure is applied more aggressively for quicker engagement.
The Sequential SportShift transmissions in both the TL and TL SH-AWD® can be operated in a conventional fully automatic mode with the new console-mounted straight-gate shifter. In automatic mode, the transmission incorporates an advanced Grade Logic Control System and Shift Hold Control, both of which reduce unnecessary shifting and gear hunting.
Shift Hold Control keeps the transmission in its current (lower) gear ratio when the throttle is quickly released and the brakes are applied, as in the case of decelerating on corner entry. Such shift hold control leaves the chassis undisturbed by excess shifting and ensures that power will be immediately available (without a downshift) on corner exit.
While traveling up or down hills, Grade Logic Control alters the transmission’s shift schedule to reduce shift frequency and improve speed control. A shift map in the transmission computer continually measures throttle position, vehicle speed and acceleration/deceleration, and then determines when the car is on a hill. The shift schedule is then adjusted to hold the transmission in lower gears to boost climbing power or to provide engine braking when traveling downhill.
Whether in Sport or Drive, new "smart" logic programming allows the use of the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. When operated in Drive, the transmission returns to its normal fully automatic Drive mode if further paddle shift inputs are not made within a short time.
By moving the center console mounted selector lever rearward to a detent labeled "S," the transmission is shifted into Sport mode, where the transmission operates exclusively via F1®-style paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel. A digital display in the tachometer face indicates which gear the transmission is in. Heightening driver control and involvement, dedicated shift logic in Sport mode delivers quicker shifts than in fully automatic mode.
To prevent damage to the powertrain when the transmission is in Sport mode, special features in transmission and engine programming alter shift logic in Second, Third and Fourth gears. The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) can also cut off engine fuel flow to prevent over-revving.
If fuel cutoff alone is insufficient to prevent over-revving, as when the vehicle is on a steep downhill, the transmission will automatically upshift to prevent damage. On downshifts, the transmission will not execute a driver command that will over-rev the engine. For improved stop-and-go performance and to prevent "lugging" the engine, the new Sequential SportShift transmission will automatically downshift to First gear even though the transmission has been left in a higher gear as the vehicle comes to a stop, to prevent "lugging" the engine.
STRAIGHT-GATE SHIFTER ASSEMBLY
The new straight-gate shifter, located in the center console, is a more intuitive, easy-to-use design and takes up less console space. The shifter allows the driver to choose D, using First through Fifth gears, or D3, which activates the Sport mode and allows gear selection via F1®-style paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel.
COOPERATION BETWEEN TRANSMISSION AND DRIVE-BY-WIRE™ THROTTLE SYSTEM
Shift speed and smoothness are enhanced as a result of cooperation between the Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system and the electronically controlled Sequential SportShift transmission. During upshifts and downshifts, the engine can be throttled by the engine management system, reducing peak forces (shift shock) on transmission components, thus improving component reliability and decreasing driveline harshness.
SUPER HANDLING ALL-WHEEL DRIVE™ (SH-AWD®)
The 3.7-liter TL SH-AWD® features Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™, which progressively distributes optimum torque not only between the front and rear axles but also between the left and right rear wheels. The benefits of the system are not only superior all-weather traction but neutral, accurate steering under power that is unmatched by front drive, rear drive or conventional all-wheel-drive systems. The 2009 Acura TL SH-AWD® system is similar to the systems used in the RDX and MDX SUVs.
By utilizing torque vectoring, and by rotating the outside rear wheel faster than the front axle speed while cornering, SH-AWD® helps to turn the vehicle through the corner-thus reducing understeer and improving handling balance and controllability. With cornering forces more evenly distributed between front and rear tires, overall cornering grip is increased. Also, instead of using only the steering angle of the front tires to turn the vehicle, the TL SH-AWD® adds additional torque through the outside rear tire to create a "yaw moment" that reduces understeer.
Vehicles with high power ratings using conventional front or rear drive systems generally use a limited-slip differential to maintain traction under power. By linking inside and outside drive wheels, these systems tend to resist turning and to increase understeer-working against the front tires as they attempt to turn the vehicle. Conventional AWD systems similarly work to link the inboard and outboard tires and the front and rear axles and also create resistance to turning. Using torque vectoring to help turn the vehicle, SH-AWD® creates a more responsive, neutral and predictable platform while retaining the usual benefits of all-wheel drive.
Electronic Controls and Parameters
The control logic for SH-AWD® is integrated with the TL’s Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) ECU. The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) provides information on engine rpm, airflow, and transmission gear-ratio selection, while the VSA® ECU provides wheel-speed data. The SH-AWD® ECU also monitors steering angle, lateral G-forces, yaw rate, and electromagnetic clutch engagement for the right and left rear axle shafts. Drive torque is calculated from Powertrain Control Module (PCM) information, and then the acceleration situation, wheel spin, lateral G forces and steering angle are used to determine the front-to-rear torque distribution and the torque split between right and left rear wheels.
SH-AWD® operating parameters include:
- * Up to 90-percent of available torque can be transferred to the front wheels during normal cruising.
- * In hard cornering and under acceleration, up to 70-percent of available torque can be directed to the rear wheels to enhance vehicle dynamics.
- * Up to 100-percent of the torque sent to the rear axle can be applied to either rear wheel, depending on conditions.
SH-AWD® System Layout
The TL SH-AWD® is a full-time all-wheel-drive system that requires no driver interaction or monitoring. A torque-transfer unit is bolted directly to the front-mounted transaxle. The torque-transfer unit receives torque from a helical gear that is attached to the front differential’s ring gear, and a short horizontal shaft and hypoid gear set within the torque-transfer unit’s case send power to the rear propeller shaft, which in turn transfers power to the rear drive unit.
The TL SH-AWD® rear drive unit is constantly overdriven by 1.7-percent and the resulting overdrive effect is regulated by left and right electromagnetic clutch packs which independently control the power delivered to each rear wheel.
Direct Electromagnetic Clutch Systems
Two direct electromagnetic clutch systems mounted on either side of the hypoid gear that drives the rear axle control the amount of torque sent to each rear wheel and provide a limited-slip differential function when needed. The clutches can be controlled as a pair to alter front/rear torque split or they can be controlled independently to allow 100-percent of rear axle torque to go to just one rear wheel.
An electromagnetic coil modulates the pressure controlling each clutch pack, which changes the speed of the sun gear within a planetary gear set and controls the torque sent to the wheel. Electromagnetic control of the clutches permits torque delivery to each rear wheel to be proportioned in an exceptionally quick and precise manner, which reduces wheel-slip in low-traction conditions.
The clutch packs and their friction material are carefully designed to withstand the small amount of continuous slip between front and rear axles created by the 1.7-percent speed differential while delivering the durability expected of an Acura product. Through an oil-temperature sensor, the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) monitors the clutch-plate coefficient of friction (which changes with temperature) in each clutch pack and then adjusts the voltage to each electromagnetic coil to compensate. As miles accumulate, the PCM uses data from a feedback loop to adjust the voltage supplied to the electromagnetic coils to compensate for any clutch wear, ensuring optimal and consistent transmission of torque.
The 2009 TL is engineered to live up to the highest standards for a performance luxury sedan. With a wider track, larger tires (including newly available 18-inch and 19-inch sizes), and the availability of Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ and the largest engine ever in an Acura sedan, the TL SH-AWD® is fully equipped to perform its mission.
Both the TL and the TL SH-AWD® are rewarding and entertaining to drive, whether around town or on a long, winding road to adventure. The same goes for seasonal driving. When equipped with SH-AWD® the TL is as confidence inspiring on wet or snowy roads as it is on dry pavement, and standard Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA®) makes the drive even more secure.
Unlike some competitors, who add all-wheel drive to their vehicles primarily to help conquer winter conditions, the available SH-AWD® was designed to enhance sporty handling and the vehicle’s winter-driving capability. This means that the TL SH-AWD® is inspiring to drive year-round. Research showed that customers in this segment want overall driving character first-and that’s the priority the TL focuses on, while simultaneously maintaining all-season capability.
The SH-AWD® Advantage
Along with the larger engine, the TL SH-AWD® also gets suspension, brake and steering upgrades that further sharpen its performance. The SH-AWD® system is ideally positioned to lead the performance luxury sedan category where the TL competes, as 35-percent of all vehicles in the class have all-wheel drive. Priced competitively with AWD packages on competing vehicles, the TL SH-AWD® is expected to be a strong competitor in the segment.
While the TL offers satisfyingly quick turn-on, flat cornering, a high level of grip and highly neutral characteristics when driven aggressively, with its larger and more powerful engine, and more sporting suspension tuning and tires, the SH-AWD® model takes performance a step further to deliver racetrack-quality handling-without losing the composure required of a daily driver.
A lightweight unit-body is the basis for a great-handling sport sedan, with low mass allowing quick acceleration, cornering and braking capability. Meanwhile, structural stiffness provides maximum suspension and steering precision, an ultra-quiet interior and lasting durability. The 2009 TL meets all these objectives with sophisticated unit-body engineering that provides maximum stiffness as well as low weight through the use of the highest volume of high-strength steel in Acura history, as well as the use of key aluminum components.
As a result of the front-suspension strut bar and a pair of additional lateral stiffeners at the front of the vehicle, lateral body rigidity is up 15-percent compared to the previous generation TL. In fact the new TL’s unit-body is so rigid that six mass dampers formerly used to quell vibration have been deleted, for a weight savings of nearly 14 lbs.
The use of aluminum for the TL hood, front and rear bumper beams, and instrument-panel beam helps reduce overall weight for improved acceleration, cornering, braking and fuel economy. A total of 51.7 lbs. is saved by the use of aluminum body components.
The 2009 Acura TL front suspension is double-wishbone system with spring, damper and stabilizer-bar rates tuned for performance handling while retaining a flat, comfortable ride. Stamped-steel upper and cast-iron lower control arms hold a forged-steel steering knuckle, with the upper arms attaching to the unit-body via special low-vibration pivot bushings and the lower control arms attaching to an aluminum box-section subframe via specially tuned conventional pivot bushings and hydraulic compliance bushings. The subframe is in turn connected to the unit-body via special vibration-reducing mounts. Nitrogen-charged blow-off dampers, coil springs, a stabilizer bar and a tubular steel shock tower brace complete the front suspension system.
The 2009 TL suspension is engineered to have 8-percent less front-end lift under acceleration (to reduce torque steer) and 37-percent less dive under braking than the previous TL. In addition, 22-percent greater roll stiffness keeps the body flatter during aggressive cornering. Lowering the TL’s center of gravity and raising the front roll center by 1.7 inches also contributes to reduced body roll.
In back, the TL’s new multi-link rear suspension is similar to the system found in the 2009 Acura TSX. Like the front suspension, it features stamped steel upper A-arms with increased roll center height, while two steel tubular links and a single toe link provide the lower control. The lower links are mounted to a floating sub-frame that reduces the intrusion of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) into the TL’s cabin. A forged aluminum knuckle, nitrogen-charged blow-off dampers, coil springs and a 50-percent stiffer stabilizer bar complete the rear suspension.
The new rear-suspension geometry controls camber gain 40-percent better than the previous TL while the body is rolling in a corner, keeping a larger portion of the tire footprint on the ground for higher grip. Along with the new TL’s lower center of gravity, a 1.5-inch higher rear roll center contributes to reduced overall body roll.
SH-AWD® SUSPENSION TUNING
The TL SH-AWD® has unique suspension tuning including special coil spring, damping and stabilizer-bar rates, and even special subframe mounting dampers-all tuned for flatter cornering with reduced pitching motions under acceleration and braking. The system is also tuned specifically for the all-wheel drive vehicle dynamics, as well as for the unique P245/45R18 tires on the TL SH-AWD®. As a result the TL SH-AWD® feels even more nimble than the front-wheel-drive TL in aggressive cornering situations.
"BLOW-OFF" DAMPER BYPASS VALVE
The 2009 TL has new dual-stage hydraulic "blow-off" suspension dampers with specially integrated spring bypass valves. The purpose of this feature is to provide maximum damping for large inputs and reduce the damping for smaller inputs. This in turn gives the TL sharp handling performance while filtering out the unwanted road imperfections.
Another first for the 2009 TL is the use of hydro-compliant bushings on the lower front suspension wishbone. Rather than using a standard rubber bushing, the bushings are fluid filled, thereby significantly increasing the damping performance. This increased damping is particularly effective at improving ride quality and reducing brake judder vibration. Fluid-filled mounts are also used to isolate the TL transmission and engine.
HYDROFORMED STEEL REAR SUBFRAME
Road noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) is dramatically reduced through the use of floating rear subframe rails that carry the lower rear suspension links (and differential on the SH-AWD® model). The subframe is isolated from the body by specially tuned bushings, and uses hydroformed tubular steel side members for rigidity and a direct reduction of NVH in the passenger cabin. The hydroformed rails are created using hydraulic pressure that shapes steel tubing in a special mold. The result is light, strong and precisely shaped steel components that generate 17-percent reduction in rear chassis vibration.
NEW ENGINE MOUNT SYSTEM
The 2009 Acura TL engine features a new fluid-filled, hydro-compliant engine mount design that significantly reduces engine noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). The result is a 25-percent reduction in engine vibration, a substantial achievement that is noticeable and appreciated by the driver and passengers alike.
4-WHEEL DISC BRAKES WITH EBD AND BRAKE ASSIST
The 2009 TL has 4-wheel disc brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. While the previous TL used single-piston front brake calipers, the new TL employs dual-piston calipers in front with single-piston calipers handling braking duties in back. The calipers squeeze radially vented cast-iron front rotors and solid cast-iron rear rotors. The front rotors measure 12.6 inches in diameter (an increase of 0.8 inch over the previous TL) and the rear rotors measure 13.1 inches in diameter (an increase of 2.0 inches compared to the previous-generation TL). The new brakes generate a 21-percent increase in front brake pad contact area and 22-percent more brake-pad contact area in the rear.
SH-AWD® Brake Upgrades
In keeping with its mission as a premium performance sport sedan, the 2009 Acura TL SH-AWD® features special front fascia-mounted cooling ducts for the front brakes and proprietary vacuum booster specifications. The system upgrades allow even more confident and consistent braking in repeated high-use conditions such as during spirited mountain driving. Hill Start Assist (HSA) is also added to eliminate vehicle rollback when starting on a sloped surface.
ELECTRIC POWER STEERING (EPS)
Taking a cue from Acura’s famed NSX supercar, the new 2009 TL uses an advanced form of Electric Power Steering (EPS). The system is designed to provide outstanding steering feel and optimally calibrated steering assist for performance driving. In addition, the EPS helps improve TL fuel mileage by 0.7 mpg in the city and 0.8 mpg on the highway by eliminating parasitic power losses associated with a traditional hydraulic power steering pump. Principal components of the EPS system are a torque-sensing steering box, the electronic boost motor located as an integral part of the steering rack, and a dedicated electronic control unit.
The biggest advantage for EPS is the ability to specifically tune the steering to suit the enthusiast driver. Computer algorithms recognize the vehicle speed and provide low steering effort for parking maneuvers, then begin to firm up as speed increases to increasingly provide a solid feel and linear response at higher speeds. The EPS tuning is unique for the SH-AWD®, featuring more pronounced steering effort build up at high speed.
The EPS system on the new TL requires 2.65 turns lock-to-lock vs. 2.8 turns on the previous Acura TL. Curb-to-curb turning is also improved, with the new TL achieving a 37.6 ft. turning radius versus 39.8 ft. on the previous TL-a significant accomplishment considering the new vehicle’s longer wheelbase.
WHEELS AND TIRES
Large-diameter aluminum-alloy wheels and wide tires further complement the TL’s dynamic and energetic body design. Their design and finish are formulated to go with the TL’s emotional body design, and TL customers can choose between three different wheel sizes, designs and finishes. The TL and TL with Technology Package come with 17x8-inch 10-spoke wheels, the TL SH-AWD® and TL SH-AWD® with Technology Package have 18x8-inch 5-spoke wheels and available 19x8-inch 10-spoke wheels for the TL SH-AWD® with Technology Package.
2009 Acura TL tire choices include:
- * Bridgestone Turanza EL400 P245/50R17 98V M+S (TL)
- * Michelin Pilot HX MXM4 P245/50R17 98V M+S (TL with Technology Package)
- * Michelin Pilot HX MXM4 P245/45R18 96V M+S (TL SH-AWD® and TL SH-AWD® with Technology Package)
- * Michelin Pilot Sport S2 245/40ZR19 94Y (optional summer tire for TL SH-AWD®)
The spare tire is a space- and weight-saving T135/80D17 temporary unit located under the carpeted floor in the trunk.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
Every 2009 Acura model includes a Tire Pressure Monitoring System. (Please see Safety section for more information.)
HILL START ASSIST
The TL SH-AWD® model has standard hill start assist that helps prevent the vehicle from rolling backwards when the driver switches from the brake to the accelerator while the vehicle is stopped on a hill. When the road incline exceeds an 8-degree threshold and the vehicle is fully stopped in any forward or reverse gear (with engine torque holding the vehicle), hill start assist automatically self activates. The hydraulic brake modulator is controlled by a longitudinal G-force sensor along with a wheel speed sensor and steering angle sensor. When hill start assist is active, the brakes automatically hold for two seconds as the driver’s foot lifts off the brake. The brakes are automatically released when the driver presses the throttle to make the vehicle move and sufficient drive torque is applied.
The 2009 TL is designed to be one of the quietest cars in its class. Both the front-drive and SH-AWD® versions offer significant reductions in NVH compared to the previous generation TL. But because many enthusiast drivers like to hear the engine and exhaust note when they’re aggressively on the throttle, the TL SH-AWD® exhaust system is tuned to have a sportier note to satisfy performance drivers.
Apart from a specific exhaust note on the TL SH-AWD®, Acura engineers focused intently on eliminating undesirable road noise. A highly rigid unit-body, special suspension and subframe bushings, precisely tailored spring and damper rates, and even details such as PVC undercoating and foam filled A-, B- and C-pillars, dramatically reduce unwanted noise. Additional noise-attenuation features include heat-molded felt inner liners for the rear fenders.
Acura conducted extensive validation testing of TL prototypes literally around the world. SH-AWD® tuning was conducted in New Zealand, testing on city streets was done in Southern California, corrosion performance evaluations were conducted in Nova Scotia, and snow and cold-weather testing was done in Minnesota as well as in Alaska. In addition, cooling and brake tests were performed in Death Valley, high-altitude testing was done in the Colorado Rockies, and performance tuning was conducted in Japan, at the famed Nürburgring circuit in Germany and at Virginia International Raceway, where the TL SH-AWD® proved highly competitive with its premium class competitors.
Standard active safety features on the 2009 TL include an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. VSA® is an electronic stability control system that continuously monitors lateral acceleration, steering wheel angle, and wheel speed and yaw rate-and then applies individual brakes and/or reduces engine power to help the driver retain directional control of the vehicle. (Please see Safety section for more information.)
Acura today announced pricing for the all-new 2009 TL performance luxury sedan that will go on sale at Acura dealerships nationwide on September 24th, with all-wheel-drive models planned for sale in November.
For the first time ever in an Acura vehicle, the newly redesigned TL will be available with a choice of two different VTEC® engines while also offering both front wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive (TL SH-AWD®) models. MSRP pricing for the 3.5-liter V-6 equipped TL is $34,955 and the TL with Technology Package is $38,685. For TL models equipped with Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ system, MSRP pricing for the 3.7-liter V-6 powered TL SH-AWD® is $38,505, while the TL SH-AWD® with Technology Package is $42,235. In addition, the TL SH-AWD® with Technology Package is also available with an exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels and high-performance summer tire package for an MSRP of $43,235. Destination and Handling of $760 remains unchanged and is not included in the MSRP.
"The completely re-designed TL’s performance, sophistication and styling have been dramatically elevated to satisfy both luxury sedan buyers and enthusiast drivers," said Dick Colliver, executive vice president of sales. "Its introduction marks a new and exciting era for the TL and for Acura."
The 2009 TL SH-AWD® is the most powerful Acura ever and all TL models feature an impressive combination of eye-catching exterior design and premium interior detail. An emotional and powerful exterior conveys a sense of motion via the use of strong character lines, pronounced wheel arches and jewel-like HID and LED lighting. Inside, the TL is packed with premium standard features such as a power moonroof, dual-zone adaptive climate control, 10-way adjustable (8-way power seat with 2-way power lumbar support) driver seat, 8-way adjustable power front passenger seat and steering-wheel-mounted F1®-style paddle shifters for the Sequential SportShift automatic transmission. In addition, an 8-speaker 276-watt audio system with 6-disc CD changer, AM/FM radio, XM® Satellite Radio, Bluetooth® Audio, USB port and AUX jack connectivity and HandsFreeLink® wireless telephone interface are standard.
Available on both the TL and TL SH-AWD® is a Technology Package that includes the most comprehensive array of advanced electronic features ever offered by Acura. The Technology Package includes the Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™, AcuraLink® real-time traffic, AcuraLink® weather radar mapping, an Acura/ELS Surround® premium audio system, Keyless Access System with pushbutton ignition and interior upgrades. The included Navigation System also features a new 8-inch full VGA high-resolution color display for improved visibility and a back-up camera.
Further enhancing the TL’s Technology Package is the new Acura/ELS Surround® 10-speaker, 440-watt premium sound system with DVD-Audio, CD, DTS™, AM/FM radio, XM® Satellite Radio and 12.7 GB hard disk drive (HDD) media storage. An intuitive interface dial as well as advanced voice recognition capability simplifies control of this impressive technology. Premium Milano Leather seating surfaces included in the Technology Package further enhance the vehicle’s comfort and visual appeal.
Acura offers a full line of technologically advanced performance luxury vehicles through a network of 270 dealers within the United States. The 2009 Acura lineup features five distinctive models including the RL luxury performance sedan, the TL performance luxury sedan, the TSX sports sedan, the turbocharged RDX crossover SUV and the award-winning MDX luxury sport utility vehicle.