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The 2021 Acura TLX Has an Underrated Standout Feature

The Acura TLX is a fairly average luxury car, so it doesn’t get a lot of attention. However, the new TLX does have one notable feature that shouldn’t be ignored. Motor1 recently went over the highlights of the available 3D audio system and it’s really impressive.

Of course, the Acura TLX still suffers from an unintuitive infotainment system. You have to control it with a small touchpad, the system frequently crashes, and it’s slow to recognize user inputs. Still, drivers might be able to forgive this flaw when they get an earful of the 3D audio system.

The 2021 Acura TLX’s enhanced audio

The ELS 3D audio system is available through a technology package, which usually costs around $3,700. This year’s 3D audio setup features 17 speakers, while the outgoing model only had 10. The system was mixed by Panasonic as well as Elliot Scheiner, a producer who has won many Grammy awards. 

It comes with a 710-watt amplifier equipped with Acoustic Motion Control, which makes the audio crystal clear and cuts out any reverb. Many of the speakers are ultra-slim Highlines, visible in the doors and roof of the TLX. Near the back of the car sit Twin Telford subwoofers to produce a satisfying bass rumble.

How well it works

Acura provided Motor1 with a USB stick filled with songs in 5.1 surround sound to test the TLX’s audio setup. Motor1’s tester only spent 45 minutes inside the car, but even that was enough to make a big impression. The listener found themselves picking up on small details they’d never heard before thanks to the surround effect.

Even better is that you don’t have to have perfectly mixed audio to enjoy the TLX’s 3D audio system. Drivers can queue up their own songs from their personal audio devices using standard smartphone integration. There’s a slight loss in quality thanks to the compression, but it still enhances the audio to some degree. Musically trained ears will be able to detect a loss of detail mid-range and some piercing high notes.

Why is a good audio system important?

Even if your car doesn’t produce a lot of engine noise, certain things can drown out your car’s stereo. This is especially true if you’re driving in noisy cities or cruising down the highway with your windows rolled down. Running your air conditioner or heater at a high setting can also muffle the audio.

In general, it’s better to have an audio system that plays music with the clearest quality. Unrefined audio can be hard to understand, and turning it up to unsafe levels could damage your hearing.

What other unique features does the Acura TLX have?

Along with the AcuraWatch safety suite, the Acura TLX also comes with another innovative feature. The automaker has developed the first “multi-stage” airbag, which cradles the driver’s head similar to a catcher’s mitt. This prevents the driver’s head from snapping sharply to one side, which can cause serious injuries.

Is the Acura TLX worth buying?

RELATED: The Honda Accord Is Just as Luxurious as the 2020 Acura TLX

The 2021 Acura TLX has a few flaws that hold it back from greatness. Its base engine isn’t very powerful, and the optional V6 suffers from a clunky transmission. It also doesn’t have that much space for passengers, despite being a midsized sedan. Cargo capacity is also limited compared to its rivals.

However, the ELS sound system itself makes the 2021 Acura TLX a must-have, especially if you’re an audiophile. Aftermarket speakers can get pricey and often aren’t mixed by a professional music producer. In addition to the 3D audio setup, the Technology bundle also includes leather seats, more safety features, and built-in navigation.