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what's everyone/anyone think of acura tl

2145 Views 33 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  ___lk___
type s or not...

a friend of mine is dead set on getting it, but know nothing about the car past the horsepower.... (he's not into cars mechanically, just wants a nice car that goes fast)
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My uncle has a 3.2 TL, bought new, now has 80,000 miles on it. He says it is by far the best car he has ever owned, and he has owned more than 30 cars in his driving career. I drove it when he first bought it - very fast, very comfortable, will cruise at illegal speeds all day in comfort, every option is standard except the nav. system, steering is nicely weighted, it has a steptronic - type transmission that is easy and fun to shift, brakes are ok, handling is tuned for a sporty feel - but it is front wheel drive, so it understeers. The only problem he's had are warped brake rotors and a transmission seal leak - both fixed under warranty. He likes the Acura so much that he is going to keep it, and he has never kept a car over 2 years. I think the 3.2 TL is a great value, probably for 90% of the target market, it is perfect. However, it is no BMW.
jw said:
Absolutely no comparison in the ride and handling between the two cars. Acura handles like a typical Honda (like crap) and the BMW handles like... well.. we all know how much fun it is!

I gave serious consideration to the TL-S and was ready to buy before discovering the BMW. Very happy I went with the bimmer.

The Acura TL is an entry level near luxury car that is nothing more than a juiced up Honda. This is reflected in the price.
As someone who has owned many Honda products, I completely disagree with you regarding your opinion of Honda's prowess in the handling department. Honda is an engineering - based company, and even their mainstream products are known for their balanced handling and fun-to-drive nature. The early Civics from the mid 1970's were excellent handling, almost go-kart like. I had a 1978 Civic, and a friend of mine who had a Mini back in the 70's drove my car and could not believe how well my Civic handled once I put a decent set of Michelins on it.

Back in the mid-90's, Car and Driver, after extensive comparison testing, declared that the previous generation Honda Prelude was the best handling car sold in America under $30K (they also voted the previous generation M3 to be the best handling car over $30K). My father owns a pristine 1995 Prelude, and I can assure you that it will run rings around an E46 in the handling department. The current generation Prelude handles even better.

My last Honda was a 1995 Accord EX. It would out corner a non-sport package E46, with less body roll and better turn in. However, the E36 will out handle the Accord, no question.

Finally, both the Honda S2000 and the Acura Integra (and RSX) are well known for their handling expertise. The Integra regularly beats the E46 in the road-racing events on Speedvision, and the S2000 will out handle any of the BMW Z cars, including the M roadster.
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IMO, handling is much more than just the raw numbers generated on the skid pad or the slalom. The subjective part of handling is what makes cornering so much fun for me - the feel of the car as you corner, feedback from the wheel, pedals and shifter, your confidence level while cornering fast, the feeling of oneness between driver and machine, etc, etc. I have driven cars that post great numbers but don't feel great going around corners, and visa-versa. My comments about the Prelude are the results of my seat-of-the-pants observations, comparing my seat time in the 1995 Prelude Si with my time spent in a number of E46s, and I stand by them. The Prelude, with its combination of a lower center of gravity, heavier steering than the horrible 2000 and 2001 mistake by BMW, more precise transmission (Honda's shifters and clutches are subjectively more precise IMO) and double wishbone suspension just feels better in the twisties to me.

Some of my favorite cars in the handling department don't generate world-class numbers, but they put a world-class grin on my face while ripping through the twisties. If you have ever had a spirited drive on a winding road in a Triumph Spitfire, MGB, Miata, Porsche 944, or Jaguar E-type, you know what I'm talking about.
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