Acura TLX Type S: Better than an Audi S4?

Acura’s Type S badge is back with a vengeance, targeting established German competitors in the market like Audi’s S4. It’s been quite a while since the Type S badge was on the scene, last appearing on the Acura RSX and Tl models back in the early 2010s. Competition in this segment is stiff, and the Japanese brand needs to make an impression with its newest offering after the lukewarm A-Spec TLX from last year.

Acura’s TLX Type S hits back

A gold Acura TLX Type S sits on tarmac at sunset
2021 TLX Type S | Acura

However, on paper, the Type S makes a strong statement. For around $53,000 you get a V6 motor making a healthy 355 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque via a twin-scroll turbo. This engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission operated either with the driver’s right foot or steering wheel-mounted paddles. Propulsion of all four wheels is handled Acura’s newest model is handled by their brilliant SH-AWD system. Larger brakes and suspension changes and have also been made to give the Type S that sporty feel.

Not a bad start from a company that hasn’t made a real sports sedan in the last decade or so. Acura has put real effort into the Type S, at least on the surface. It’s not just skin deep, as MotorTrend reports. Additionally, the Type S gets some creature comforts that are otherwise optional on the TLX. After all, a good sports sedan has to strike a balance between speed, comfort, and price.

The Audi S4 is hard to beat

A grey 2021 Audi S4 in the desert at sunset
2021 Audi S4 | Audi

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It’s harder to find a better example of a car that strikes that balance better than the Audi S4. It’s a storied badge to be sure and has a dedicated enthusiast following. For 2021 the Audi also looks promising on paper. It also carries a turbocharged V6 motor, producing 349 hp. Sitting just behind this V6 is Audi’s fantastic dual-clutch automatic transmission. Like the TLX, the S4 is moved by all four wheels using Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system.

Moreover, the Audi has one of the best interiors in the business, bar none. The German brand has been on their A-game with the interiors as of late, and the S4 really benefits from that. Perhaps that fantastic interior is why the Audi is at a premium over the Acura. New S4s range from $50,000-$64,000 according to MotorTrend. But are you really getting that much more car for the money?

The TLX Type S upsets the status quo

A gold TLX Type S flies by with a blurred foreground and background
2021 TLX Type S | Acura

In theory, that answer is no. That answer gives testament to what a fantastic job Acura has done with the TSX Type S. The Japanese brand has made a car to compete with the S4 on all fronts, from performance to driveability. Not only does the TSX compete with the Audi, but it also demolishes it in the looks department.

No timeline exists where Audi would sell you a car with “Tiger Eye Pearl” paint. Speaking of paint, visual cues to Acura’s NSX are present throughout the bodylines, including the headlights and tail lights. All this to say nothing of the price. The TSX undercuts the Audi there too. Options are plentiful, and it’s certain you’ll get more for your money with the Acura. The question is, how will Audi respond?