Acura Bringing New TLX to Pikes Peak Hill Climb

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
acura bringing new tlx to pikes peak hill climb

With the historic Pikes Peak International Hill Climb delayed — but miraculously uncancelled — this year, Acura has decided to showboat its updated TLX sedan. While the Type S everyone wants to see take a whack at the course will sit out the competition to serve as the event’s pace car, two gently modified sedans from the 2021 model year will be on hand to dazzle prospective customers.

They may even perk up a few disenfranchised Acura enthusiasts who’ve strayed from the brand.

The prototype TLX Type S comes with the much discussed 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 (355 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque) while the more pedestrian racers come with modified 2.0-liter inline-four engine. Those units would have made 272 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque unmolested, but Acura has assured us they aren’t factory spec anymore — giving them an air of mystery, albeit slight.

None of the vehicles previewed seem any more hardcore than the specially modified MDX and RDX racers the company has sent to Pikes Peak for the last couple of years, however. We’re not seeing any hyper-aggressive aerodynamics or roll cages fitted to the TLXs. That may have been the result of the pandemic obliterating any prep time for the cars, or simply the result of Acura wanting to keep the vehicles more grounded. There’s also a part of us that desperately wants to believe that Acura is trying to show do-it-yourselfers what’s possible with a handful of modifications and a tune.

The pair are base TLX SH-AWD sedans running a larger turbocharger and an upgraded intercooler. Brakes have been ripped off the Type S, supported by 19-inch HRE wheels wrapped in Pirelli rubber and an improved suspension system that’s been dialed-in for the Hill Climb. How that all stacks up in terms of overall power and road holding has been left to our imaginations, though. Acura doesn’t want us to know more than we need to, preferring the vehicles speak for themselves next month when the event finally takes place.

What is known is that the duo will race in the exhibition class with slightly different states of tune in regard to both powertrain and aerodynamics. One of the cars will also be running slicks instead of performance-focused street tires and will have a slightly different suspension setup — which Acura wouldn’t elaborate upon further. Jordan Guitar, who saw previous seat time in the RDX and MDX modified for the peak, will pilot the more hardcore of the two. Engineer Justin Lumbard will take the wheel of the other.

We don’t think Acura will top any of its existing Pikes Peak records with the cars, but this should help them garner more attention — and maybe even boost sales a bit. The 2021 TLX goes on sales in the fall, with Type S variants arriving early next year.

And, if you want to see something a little more extreme, Acura has James Robinson coming back to take the Time Attack NSX up the mountain against a stopwatch. Considering the garbage track conditions and delayed launch that torpedoed his 2019 attempt, we’re betting he’s looking for a little payback. Robinson’s previously used the NSX to set a hybrid production car record in 2018 and announced he wanted to take another whack at the event following last year’s run using the model.

[Images: Acura]

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4 of 12 comments
  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jul 30, 2020

    I stopped reading article after seeing the first photo of TLX. They have to hire better stylists before asking that amount of money for something that may pass for clown car.

    • See 1 previous
    • Flipper35 Flipper35 on Jul 31, 2020

      I would take the looks of these over a new Toyota any day.

  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Jul 31, 2020

    So is the 4 cyl turbo going to be available with SH-AWD? Asking for a friend. ;-) (Killing the manual in the 2.0T Accord could sway some buyers to Acura with the right price/performance delta.)

  • Luke42 Manual transmissions are a workaround for the weaknesses of ICE engines.Electric motors don't have these weaknesses, so why reintroduce the workaround?P.S. My first 250k miles were in manual transmission ICE vehicles. I can probably outshift all y'all, and I can definitely drive a manual smoother than some automatics. While I'm proud of my obsolete skills, there's just no reason to pretend I'm driving an obsolete vehicle. An EV should drive like an EV.
  • SCE to AUX Lexus: "Let's add unnecessary complexity to an EV so it is harder to drive and breaks more often. After all, our parent Toyota hates EVs, and is hopelessly late to market with them, so this will be a fun diversion for a while until we figure out how to beat Mazda's sales numbers."
  • Roadscholar I like emotive shifts.
  • Dwford What's next, your blender only spins slow unless you spend $5.99/month for the "Puree Package?"
  • Jeff S We have had so many article about gas wars. A lighter subject on gas wars might be the scene from Blazing Saddles where the cowboys were around the campfire and how their gas contributed to global warming or was it just natural gas.