Let’s Compare The New Acura TLX Type S With Its Legendary TL Type S Predecessor

The corner of the internet that’s obsessed with cars has been alight with praise for the 2021 Acura TLX Type S design all day. Indeed, it’s a huge step up in style from the automaker’s post-2009 sedans. But let’s chat: Is the new Type S prettier than the legendary Type S from the end of the 2000s?

The third-generation Acura TL, which ran from model years 2004 to 2008, was and is widely regarded as one of the best looking Hondas with an “A” badge of all time. I think the fact that the 2009 model replacing it, with its infamous chrome beak, was particularly ghastly help solidify the third-gen as a darling but the fact remains: The last Acura Type S sedan is still a great-looking car.

The new one is too, I’m pleased to report. And it will probably be a whole lot faster than the non-turbo 2007 model. But we can’t drive it yet, so for now, we’ll just have to pontificate about the look and what’s available of the spec sheet.

Since I found a whole bunch of images and the people who pay me keep telling me to make slideshows, you can click through for a little comparison I put together. Or just click through real fast to leave a comment, because you can’t do that until the end. (Sorry.)

But first: A few posted specs:

Annoyingly, the power and weight figures, which is of course what everyone’s wondering about and will give us a sense of how hard the new Type S hauls, are being reserved for a later announcement. But the fact that the 2021 TLX Type S will have a unique engine (the regular 2021 TLX runs a 2.0-litre turbo) is a good sign that Acura’s taking performance seriously.

According to Acura, the new base TLX will have 272 HP and 127 kg-ft of torque, an overall edge on the old Type S. Acura is also stating that the new Type S’s all-wheel drive system will be able to send 70 per cent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels, and all these factors have me optimistic that the car will, in fact, be a performer.

But like I said–nobody will know until the cars start to hit the streets. So while we wait, let’s see how the design compares to the car’s epic predecessor.

Photo: Acura
Photo: Acura


Hmm. This is going to be harder than I thought. I’m conflicted because part of me wants to say I like the old car better because I own one, and part of me wants to say I like the old car better because it is better.

Kidding! The new car looks good. It certainly looks newer, there’s no doubt about that.

Photo: Acura
Photo: Acura


The rear-end comparison is harder than the front. I really do prefer the old car’s face design if I’m being honest, but the back of the new Type S is fierce. That little tail spoiler is very tidy.

The old Type S’s signature quad-exit exhausts is great, though. Who knows if the new car’s exhaust tips are even real. (They’re often just pieces of plastic on the rear bumper in new cars.)

Photo: Acura
Photo: Acura


Acura stopped offering navigation updates for the third-gen TL in 2014. I know that because I actually coughed up $140 for the 2014 update on my 2005, like an idiot, because I wanted my car to be as fresh as possible. Dumb? Yeah, it was a total waste of money.

As for comparing and contrasting the new from old, the 2021 Type S is clearly 14 years fresher than the old car. (Though, once again, the new-for-’04 design in that 2007 picture still isn’t bad!)

Photo: Acura
Photo: Acura
Photo: Acura


The new TLX Type S has two wheel options so far. The slim BBS-looking option is lovely, and then there’s one with too many spokes. As for the old car, it sure looks like a lot of sidewall compared to the new hotness doesn’t it! (Also, wow, that old TL tire must have been hard to balance!)

Who ya got?