There was a time when Acura released special editions of their most sought-after cars, and visually, they were distinguished by the letter R. Back then, Acura designers took a functional approach to bettering the car, and improvements included massive weight reduction, sometimes a modest bump in power, and most always, a more aggressive suspension.
Today, however, America’s original Japanese luxury brand focuses on form to distinguish its special editions from regular models, and such is the case with the 2012 Acura TSX Special Edition.
To commemorate Acura’s 25th Anniversary, and to address a lack of sporty flair in its model lineup, the new TSX SE was “designed to evoke the fun-to-drive 4-cylinder Acuras of the past.” In addition to its already sweet-revving 4-cylinder engine, the TSX SE adds a new front spoiler, rear bumper, side sills, a “special edition” trunk badge, and two-toned, polished-finish rims. Inside, the TSX SE features suede-leather seats with red stitching, calling to mind the Type-R’s and Type-S’s of past, and a red-lit instrument panel and aluminum foot pedals.
“The Acura TSX has long been known for its high-revving 4-cylinder engines and sporty driving nature,” said Jeff Conrad, vice president of Acura sales. “With the new Special Edition, the TSX becomes even more youthful and sporty in character, furthering its appeal to performance-minded buyers.”
For 2012, the SE will be the only TSX offered with a manual transmission. This isn’t a big deal according to Acura, which says it only previously offered a manual with the base model, non-navigation equipped 4-cylinder. Acura hopes the SE will be more appealing to those who consider buying a manual-equipped sport sedan–an admittedly small population of consumers.
Acura has yet to release prices for the TSX SE, but it figures to do so around the time it is unveiled at the 2011 Orange County Auto Show on September 22.
Automotive.com’s take: We’ve long enjoyed the TSX’s spirited engine performance, reliable build quality, and Accord-like family space. In fact, the TSX is a great choice for an economical and moderately sporty, family sedan. Unfortunately, we’re not fond of shelling out extra cash for sport-flavored special editions featuring no extra “sport.” In addition to the sport-form, we’d love to have some extra sport-function bumped under the hood to go with that exclusive six-speed manual transmission.