2007 Acura TL


$5,223 - $8,362

2007 Acura TL Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2007 Acura TL was new.


Performance: 8.7

Most agree with Road and Track that the 2007 Acura TL is an "excellent performer." While the base 3.2-liter V6 is powerful in its own right, the new Type S model offers what the Boston Globe calls "crazy power."

However, one recurring knock against the TL's performance is that its front-wheel-drive configuration can't stand up to some of the rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive competition. The most frequent complaint about the front-wheel drive is that it causes "torque steer" - a tug of the steering wheel that occurs when accelerating.

But despite complaints, reviewers still view the TL as an exemplary performer, with Kelley Blue Book raving, "Without question, no other manufacturer has ever combined this much horsepower and front-wheel-drive running gear with such satisfying results. Rounding out the TL's impeccable behavior are its pleasant around-town demeanor and reactive but comfortable highway manner."

Acceleration and Power

Under the hood, the 2007 Acura TL base model boasts a 3.2-liter aluminum-alloy SOHC VTEC V6 engine that puts out 258 horsepower and 233 pound-feet of torque. The Type-S model, which Road and Track calls "a base TL wired on Red Bull," bumps it up to a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 286 horsepower and 256 pound-feet of torque. Reviewers have mostly good things to say about both engines. New Car Test Drive says the V6 engines "are truly works of art. As you'd expect from Honda-derived engineering, they have a surprising number of features to maximize both power and efficiency."

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel economy for the base 3.2-liter TL at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The 3.5-liter Type-S model gets 18/27 city/highway with the manual transmission and 17/26 with the optional automatic. Most reviewers find fuel economy impressive, with BusinessWeek noting "exemplary gas mileage." The Sacramento Bee notes, "my readings during testing were about 2 mpg short of what the feds estimated," and Motor Week says, "Our tester managed a combined loop of 22 miles-per-gallon on Premium gas." Premium fuel is recommended.

The Boston Globe finds even the base TL's engine "to have the kind of oomph that not long ago would have been labeled high performance ... In fact, it was powerful enough to make me wonder if the extra few thousand for the Type-S is necessary, except for those who want crazy power instead of just superb performance." Automobile Magazine echoes, "the new TL's 270-horsepower, 3.2-liter V-6 pulled us irresistibly forward."

Reviewers are even more complimentary of the 3.5-liter V6 in the Type-S. "The engine is, far and away, the best thing about the Acura TL Type-S," raves Autosite. "This is a terrific V6, pulling hard at any rpm, sounding great the entire time ... and proving to be a great performer." The Family Car says the Type-S has "one of the sweetest sounding V6 engines we have ever heard. This engine is so smooth, it almost seems like the sound you hear is coming from the stereo speakers, not the engine itself."

Autofieldguide.com reports the Type-S "handily outperformed" both the Infiniti G and BMW 330 during internal tests of acceleration from 0 to 60 mph, through the quarter mile, and from 50 to 75 mph. However, Road and Track is a bit disappointed with the Type-S, noting, "when it comes to acceleration, power is the name of the game, and the lack of it hurt the Type-S at the test track. It ranked last to 60 mph and through the quarter mile (5.7 and 14.3 sec., respectively)."

The 3.2-liter engine in the base model is paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift, Grade Logic Control, and Shift-Hold Control. The Type-S comes optional with either the automatic or a 6-speed close-ratio manual transmission with limited-slip differential - with no price difference between the two.

AutoWeek finds the automatic transmission works well, praising, "With the SportShift left in auto mode, gear changes are almost imperceptible, slicker and smoother than in some cars costing more than twice the TL's price of entry." Consumer Guide notes the "Automatic transmission shifts smoothly in [the] base model, more aggressively in Type-S; downshifts in both suffer slight delay." The automatic in the Type-S comes with wheel-mounted paddle shifters to allow manual-like gear changes. BusinessWeek finds the manual-shift system "solid," but says it's "still not quite as slick as the industry's best, made by Audi. Nor does it provide the complete control of a real manual." But the Boston Globe has an opposite opinion, commenting, "It is a transmission that truly lets you be in charge when you opt to go manual -something many automatics with manual option do not allow."

Edmunds calls the optional manual transmission - available only in the Type-S - "the type we've all admired from Honda. In the tradition of the S2000, but more like that found in the recent Civic Si, the light shifter finds its home with a reassuring clickity-thump." Consumer Guide finds the manual "has silky, short-throw shift action, but clutch engagement can be abrupt." But New Car Test Drive finds the automatic transmission "a far more sensible choice for the Type-S," citing the fact that the manual transmission "makes it more likely that clumsy throttle inputs can upset the car's balance, especially as the TL is distinctly nose heavy, with 61.4 percent of its weight resting on the front tires."

Handling and Braking

Reviewers generally find the 2007 Acura TL's handling to be sharp and well-controlled, but agile enough for a sporty feel. The TL rests on a unit-body shell that is stiffer than previous models and includes four-wheel independent double-wishbone front suspension and independent multi-link double-wishbone rear suspension. "Collectively, the effect is a crisper and more controlled car without the harshness usually associated with sport tuning," says Edmunds. "The Type-S is just slightly edgier but still within the acceptable range. However, dedicated driving enthusiasts will likely be a little disappointed with the front-drive layout, as it prevents the car from being as fun to drive as other sport sedans like the BMW 3-Series and Infiniti G."

AutoMedia.com calls handling "the biggest bonus. Each Type-S grasps the pavement with tenacity, through one twisty narrow two-lane after another, never wavering in its ability to provide entertaining and enjoyable road experiences." The Family Car also offers high praise, commenting, "This car will make a person driving it for the first time feel almost giddy. That is what happens when a car is so good, it seems to read your mind and respond almost before your brain can tell your limbs to move."

Reviewers have mixed opinions of the TL's torque-sensing, variable power-assist rack-and-pinion steering. MSN says, "Steering of a Type-S I drove was precise, with good road feel. Some may feel it's rather heavy because the power steering has been retuned for increased effort." Edmunds is pleased, noting, "the power steering fluid flows through a new aluminum cooler and is kept in check through one-way kick-back damper valve to minimize the possibility of road irregularities making their way to your hands. This is as good as front-wheel drive gets." AutoMedia.com says, "This performance-package sedan follows steering-wheel inputs religiously, reacting quickly and positively under all conditions."

However, several reviewers are less pleased, largely due to "torque steer," a tendency for the wheel to tug during hard acceleration. Road and Track says, "Torque steer is present when mashing the throttle pedal coming out of turns, but it's so slight, it's hardly an issue. Turn-in response is crisp and body roll is minimal." MarketWatch comments, "The one bugaboo was a bit of torque steer when the TL-S is pressed, but it's quite controllable. In short, it's a blast to drive." The Family Car calls the torque steer "simply an annoyance on an otherwise stellar machine."

But a small minority of reviewers finds the torque steer to be a deal breaker, most notably Automobile.com, which notes "Sadly, as much as the everyday TL was a fulfillment of all my expectations for a sporting luxury sedan, the Type-S was one of the biggest disappointments I have yet to experience in my brief career as an automotive journalist." The reviewer says, "the TL Type-S is a shining example of that demon [torque steer]," adding, "I was getting lane-changing levels of torque steer taking off in second gear, and that without showing any particular rush."

The Automobile.com reviewer later brings up an incident that was particularly troublesome, explaining: "The worst was one time when I approached a turn with some hard braking, a hard downshift, and tried to catch hell coming out of the corner hard on the throttle - that's when the steering wheel felt like it buckled in my hands. For a second I thought each wheel was going to take a different route around the corner, but only a half-lane over and thankfully no traffic to object, I came out straight, but it's quite possibly the worst and most dangerous incident of torque steer I've ever experienced."

Autosite is another reviewer who finds the torque steer "definitely cause for re-consideration, and the suspension float in the front end is not confidence inspiring." Cars.com reports a final steering downside - the TL's "wide turning circle of 39.7 feet. The Audi A6 is only slightly better at 39.0 feet, but the Lexus ES 350 turns a 36.7-foot circle. Rear-wheel-drive competitors tend to require still less space."

The TL's front and rear disc brakes have a 4-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and brake assist. The Type-S also features front four-piston Brembo calipers. Cars.com notes "In addition to more stopping power, the shiny black calipers add a slick cosmetic element in place of the homely standard grippers. In the end, the brakes do their job well." Motor Week describes halts as "smooth, straight," with stopping distances averaging "a fairly short 129 feet from 60 to 0." MSN finds "Braking power is especially strong with the Type-S and its Brembo front brake calipers, also used for exotic cars. But the brake pedal has a somewhat touchy feel." The Sacramento Bee calls the ventilated Brembo brakes on the front end "fabulous."

Performance Options

Base model

The Acura TL base model features a 3.2-liter V6 engine that delivers 258 horsepower and 233 pound-feet of torque. It includes an Acura Drive-by-Wire Throttle System that allows smoother throttle input and integration with the TL's safety systems.

The engine is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission with Grade Logic Control, which instructs the transmission to hold a lower gear for better climbing or increased downhill engine braking. Shift Hold Control delays upshifting for as long as possible to avoid disrupting the power delivery.


The TL's performance model features a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 286 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Its extra power is derived from a combination of increased displacement, larger intake valves for enhanced breathing, and a high-flow exhaust system that reduces exhaust back pressure.

The engine is paired either with a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission. The automatic comes with a SportShift function that allows the driver to use steering wheel-mounted fingertip-controlled paddle shifters to upshift or downshift. The Type-S differs from the base model in that it features a stiffer suspension with larger-diameter front- and rear- stabilizer bars. It also includes upgraded four-piston Brembo calipers in the front.

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