2023 Lexus ES 350 F Sport vs. Acura TLX A-Spec: A Real-World Sport Sedan Shootout
If you’re in the market for a luxury sports sedan and don’t want to consider any of the German brands, the 2023 Lexus ES 350 F Sport and Acura TLX are great choices. The Lexus ES 350 F Sport offers a plush interior, a lot of comfort, and a dash of sportiness. While the Acura TLX gets into the meat and potatoes of the sports sedan spectrum with its athletic driving dynamics. It’s also pretty luxurious too, but it’s not as soft as the Lexus.
I have spent time in both of these luxury sedans and noted their differences and similarities. Here is a quick comparison between them.
If you’re a driving enthusiast, the 2023 Acura TLX A-Spec is the way to go
Let’s get the driving dynamics out of the way first. To sum it up, if your idea of a good time after getting your errands done is ripping up a few canyon roads, the 2023 Acura TLX is the way to go. Acura gave the TLX a double wishbone setup in the front and a multi-link configuration in the rear. That may not mean much to most drivers, but to me, it means that the car rotated well in the tight turns while remaining soft and compliant over road imperfections.
However, it wasn’t as soft as the 2023 Lexus ES 350 F Sport. The Lexus ES has always been known as a softy in the luxury sedan category as its plush ride and cushy interior swaddle its occupants like a caring mother.
The added F Sport package, which includes stiffer springs and a beefed-up suspension, attempts to tune some sportiness into the car’s handling characteristics. But in my experience, the stiffness is minimal and doesn’t do much to make the ES 350 more engaging to drive.
Comparing their engines, the standard TLX is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that makes 272 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. The Lexus ES 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 302 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque.
Don’t let the numbers fool you. Ultimately, the Acura TLX wins in the sporty driving experience category for its more dynamic handling characteristics that were well-matched to its turbocharged engine.
The 2023 Lexus ES 350 has a softer interior
Those looking to err on the side of comfort may find a lot of love about the 2023 Lexus ES 350 F Sport. Despite its sportier suspension bits, it’s still an ES 350, which means that its interior is soft and it offers a quiet ride. That’s surprising, considering it rolls on large 19-inch wheels. The Acura TLX A-Spec I tested was equipped with similarly sized wheels, but I could detect more road noise than in the Lexus.
Additionally, when sitting inside the Lexus ES, it’s apparent that the automaker aims for a softer feel. The leather seats feel plusher, and its cabin feels more spacious than the TLX. Of course, it helps that the ES offers about an inch more leg headroom in both rows.
Anyone looking for a softer luxury experience may find it in the Lexus ES.
The Lexus’ infotainment system is easier to use
In addition to offering the softer side of luxury, the 2023 Lexus ES also has a more intuitive and easier-to-use infotainment system than the Acura TLX. My ES 350 test car came equipped with the optional 12.3-inch touchscreen. The interface was easy to navigate as there are only a few icons on the side of the screen to toggle through and get to the menu you want.
The Acura TLX, on the other hand, was equipped with a 10.2-inch screen that’s controlled by a True Touchpad Interface. This interface utilizes a small touchpad on the center console that mimics the cursor position on the screen. It’s not hard to use, but it proved to be cumbersome when driving. The infotainment screen was also not as easy to navigate as the one in the Lexus.
Both cars were also equipped with a premium sound system. There was a Mark Levinson system in the Lexus and an ELS system in the Acura. They both sounded great, but my ears liked the Mark Levinson system more due to its better assortment of highs and lows in every song.
The Lexus ES wins in the fuel economy category
Fuel efficiency is important when considering any car, especially when comparing sports sedans. During my time with the 2023 Lexus ES 350, I averaged 23 mpg in mixed driving conditions. In my time spent with the 2023 Acura TLX, I averaged about 20 mpg, which was mainly due to my heavy right foot. Did I mention that the TLX offers a more engaging drive?
2023 Lexus ES 350 F Sport versus Acura TLX A-Spec: Which car should you choose?
If you don’t care much about a specious cabin, a plush interior, and an intuitive infotainment system, I recommend the 2023 Acura TLX A-Spec. It’s the sportier sedan of the two and will make you smile whenever you floor the skinny pedal.
However, if you like the finer things in life and don’t care about ripping up the canyon roads, the Lexus ES 350 F Sport could be more your speed.