Looking at the Acura TL/TL-S

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Peter Yee, Aug 17, 2001.

  1. Peter Yee

    Peter Yee Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm seriously considering getting an Acura TL or TL-S. Looks like one heck of a lot of car for the money. Anyone else here have any experiences with either of these cars that they would care to share? I'm looking for both good and bad experiences. Heck, I would even be interested in alternatives in approximately the same price range that you liked better.
    Thanks!
    -Peter
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  2. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I think the Audi A4 is in that price range. When I was shopping I had "all wheel drive" and "5 speed" as requirements on my checklist so I didn't consider the Acura. I love my A4 though. Fantastic car. With sport package and 5 speed it's sportier than the Acura for sure. The Acura is a nice car.
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    Philip Hamm
    AIM: PhilBiker
    [Edited last by Philip Hamm on August 17, 2001 at 07:27 AM]
     
  3. CarlS

    CarlS Stunt Coordinator

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    I had a 98 A4 and agree that it is an excellent sports sedan and a good value relative to it's German competition.
    Another option would be a 2002 Nissan Maxima/Infinity I35 with the new 260hp engine. Nissan has massaged the exterior of these cars and they look much better than the 01 version.
    However, if the Acura really appeals to you, it is a great choice. The Type-S model is a lot of car for the money. Someone I work with has one and loves it.
     
  4. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    One of my friends has the A4 with the sport package. It's a 1.8T with 5 speed auto trans. Too underpowered for me. It handles OK, but I don't like the look of the dash. Too...abrupt, I guess is the word.
    I bought a TL-S a few months ago, and I'm loving it. 260hp and a good 5 speed auto, along with the wide powerband (courtesy of a dual stage intake and VTEC), make you totally forget about a manual transmission. Although, if they made one with a 6-speed manual, I would have bought that. I would call the ride firm, while I would characterize the Audi as harsh. Plus, the Audi interior is a bit cramped, to me.
    Plus, the TL-S comes one way- loaded. A CD player is an option in the Audi. At this price point, that seems ridiculous to me. The only option is the DVD navigation system. A neat toy, but for most, it's just that- a toy. I'd buy a DVD laptop with a GPS box for less money.
    I like to call the car my "Four door NSX." For a family car, it is a sweet performer, and IMO, the best value at $30K or so.
    Todd
    [Edited last by Todd Hochard on August 17, 2001 at 12:13 PM]
     
  5. Tom Meyer

    Tom Meyer Second Unit

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    Take a look at the Volvo S60 T5, which will run about $35k. I think it's much better styled than any of the competitors (A4, TL-S, 328-330, IS300, C240/320) and packs a punch at about 260HP.
     
  6. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    Or at the same price point you could get a Lexus IS300. I got my 2001 at about the same price as the Acura and love it!!! The 2002's are available for test drive right now with the 5-speed manual tranny if that's a necessity for you. *shrug*
    Just another option and my two cents... Mmmmmm... the passionate pursuit of perfection. [​IMG]
    Scott.
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    Scott's DVD List
     
  7. Tom Reed

    Tom Reed Agent

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    I believe in the new Motor Trend it says that the Acura CL/TL-S will get an optional 6-speed from the RSX type S. This should make everyone happy and maybe start beating those Bavarian snobs on the road.
    Tom Reed
     
  8. Peter Yee

    Peter Yee Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I took a test drive in both the TL and the TL-S today. The TL-S was definitely firmer than the TL. Firm, but not harsh. Given that I don't need the extra sportiness of the TL-S and I sometimes drive my cars long distances, I would probably prefer the TL.
    Then I made the mistake of trying out a BMW 325i. Much less car (features, room, horsepower, etc.) for the money, but the ride and handling were sweet. Now I have a dilemma. Do I want a ride I like better or more features. Not that I'm objecting to the ride of the Acuras, but the BMW was outstanding. Well, anything's better than my current clunker.
    I might try out an A4, although neither AWD nor manual transmission are on my list of must have features. I live the SF Bay Area, so the weather isn't sufficiently inclement and I have to live through upto 50 miles of stop-n-go traffic each workday. Yeah, I know, I can get the A4 without the Quattro and with the automatic. Reliability, though, ranks high on my list of features. My current car (a Chevy) breaks down with alarming frequency. And given my commute, the ride has to be reasonable.
    Not sure about the Maxima -- I might have to try that too, although the editors at Automobile didn't like the handling as much as they liked that of the new Altima. Which isn't too shabby at 240 HP.
    I looked at the reliability ratings on the Volvos and they were pretty abyssmal. I guess that surprised me, given the otherwise good reputation of Volvo engineering.
    I'll also take a look at the IS300. If I was looking for a Lexus, I would probably be thinking more along the lines of the ES300, but the 2002 is getting quite pricey.
    Thanks for the input, folks!
    -Peter
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    [Edited last by Peter Yee on August 18, 2001 at 08:03 PM]
    [Edited last by Peter Yee on August 19, 2001 at 03:23 AM]
     
  9. Tony Woods

    Tony Woods Extra

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    Take a look at a 95-96 Acura Legend Coupe or Sedan GS. With 3.2 V6 and 6 speed manual, they are one helluva car. I own a 92 Legend with a 5 speed and it is great. It may not be new, but 6spd Legend would easily beat a TL for my money.
     
  10. Tim Markley

    Tim Markley Screenwriter

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    Peter - Go for the BMW. I've driven all of the cars listed here and IMO nothing compares to the BMW for ride/handling. I love the way it feels on the road and it's one of the safest cars made. What more do you need out of a car? [​IMG]
     
  11. andrew markworthy

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    I'd go with Tom here - have a look at the Volvo turbos - either the S60 T5 or the S40 T4. The Brit police elite units (i.e. not the common or garden patrol units) almost solely use Volvo turbos, and for good reason. The BMWs are also a good car, I agree, but they're very cramped.
     
  12. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    quote: One of my friends has the A4 with the sport package. It's a 1.8T with 5 speed auto trans. Too underpowered for me. It handles OK, but I don't like the look of the dash. Too...abrupt, I guess is the word.[/quote]If it is a pre-2001 without a chip that 1.8T is a 150hp motor. With an automatic it is definitely underpowered I completely agree. Chips can get you 190+ hp on that car, but I can understand that most people would not want to chip the motor. There may be warrantee and reliability issues there. However, starting in 2001 the factory A4s with the 1.8 motor are 170hp.
    This is for sure: the 150hp 1.8 turbo slushbox you tried and my 190 hp 2.8 V6 5 speed would be VERY different experiences. [​IMG] That would be true for the current 170hp 1.8 also I believe.quote: I would call the ride firm, while I would characterize the Audi as harsh. Plus, the Audi interior is a bit cramped, to me.[/quote]It reads to me that "harsh" to you is what the Germans call "sporty". It's no secret that at this point any Japanese hiline car other than the Lexus IS300 is softly suspended compared to BMW and Audi. It comes down to individual preference. I do not find my A4 sport to be "harsh" at all. However, I was shopping for a significantly sportier car than the TL. Once again, individual preference and opinion mean everything.quote: Plus, the TL-S comes one way- loaded. A CD player is an option in the Audi. At this price point, that seems ridiculous to me. [/quote]It is ridiculous. That's why a very nice stock combination CD player with casette has been standard equipment on the A4 since the 99.5 model. A very nice CD player is definitely standard on the A4. Also the head unit can control an optional CD changer. Have no doubt: A4s are -very- nicely appointed in stock form.
    Peter, If you liked the BMW (a very nice car) you should definitely test drive an Audi. Like the Beemer, it is significantly smaller than the TL, and also sigificantly sportier. Also, if you like the Beemer another car to check out is the Lexus IS300. It targets the Bimmer but is even smaller.
    quote: I might try out an A4, although neither AWD nor manual transmission are on my list of must have features. I live the SF Bay Area, so the weather isn't sufficiently inclement and I have to live through upto 50 miles of stop-n-go traffic each workday. Yeah, I know, I can get the A4 without the Quattro and with the automatic. Reliability, though, ranks high on my list of features. [/quote]AWD isn't just for inclement weather. Does it rain where you live? It's amazing how planted my quattro is on wet roads. Very confidence inspiring. I don't know anything about the auto in the Audis. The FrontTracks are nice, but they seem to depreciate more than the quattros. As for reliability, the Audi is solid - check CU and other sources. I would guess better than Bimmer (as is build quality - which is apparent if you look closely), probably not as good as the top Japanese models. Also, if reliability is a concern forget Volvo. Their current models have a terrible reputation, once again, check Consumer Reports and other sources.
    quote: I don't need the extra sportiness of the TL-S and I sometimes drive my cars long distances, I would probably prefer the TL.[/quote]If you don't like the firm ride you may want to consider the non-sport package A4. Plusher ride than Beemer, but still sportier than the TL. Also, the take a good look at the Saab 93, Infinity I30, VW Passat, or maybe a slightly used Mercedes C-Class.
    Personally in that price range I would buy German before I buy Japanese. The fake wood paneling that the Japanese use so often does nothing for me. I'd prefer the aluminum or real wood of the Germans. The German styling (inside and out) to my eyes is much much nicer than the typically derivative Japanese marquis. And frankly a fine German logo like Audi's four rings or the BMW propeller logo have a hell of a lot more of that intangible "exclusivity" or fashion value than any of the Japanese ones. Sorry if it sounds "elitist" or snobbish or something but it's how I feel (and I don't think I'm alone - ask yourself what's your first impression when you think "BMW" or "Audi" compared to "Acura" or "Lexux")?. Also, and probably because of this last point, resale of the German cars seems to be much better than the Japanaese ones. However, that said, the Japanese make great cars that definitely deserve your attention.
    Above all, take your time and enjoy the process of buying a car! In the range you're shopping for you should be able to find a car you'll be happy with for many years to come. Remember car shopping should be fun!
    Take a look at My A4 if you'd like.
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    Philip Hamm
    AIM: PhilBiker
    [Edited last by Philip Hamm on August 20, 2001 at 10:34 AM]
     
  13. Tom Meyer

    Tom Meyer Second Unit

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    quote:
    I looked at the reliability ratings on the Volvos and they were pretty abyssmal. I guess that surprised me, given the otherwise good reputation of Volvo engineering.
    [/quote]
    Well, the S60 is a new model as of MY2001 so there really isn't a lot of data on the entire car itself. But, the engine has been proven for years in the V70, as have many other components. I do believe there were some problems with the initial S80s, but I've had my S60 since March and have no problems whatsoever and almost everyone at volvospy.com says the same thing.
    But, it's up to you. If you want to look like every other Tom, Dick & Harry, get a BMW or Audi or god forbid an Accord, I mean, Acura. If you want to look incredibly cool in a unique car w/ a kick-ass engine, get the Volvo [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [Edited last by Tom Meyer on August 20, 2001 at 12:58 PM]
    [Edited last by Tom Meyer on August 20, 2001 at 01:03 PM]
     
  14. Aurel Savin

    Aurel Savin Supporting Actor

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    Well, I am not in the market for a new car, but there is a reason why all the Japanese companies try to copy all the European cars ...
    You might pay the extra bucks up front, but the comfort, performance and the resale value can't be beat in the long run.
    Just ask my friend who bought a Lexus GS300 and already wanted to trade it for a Mercedes in 3 months. He said the car was rather "uninspiring".
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    RIGHT ... CHEERS!
    The Hole
     
  15. Aurel Savin

    Aurel Savin Supporting Actor

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    Well, I am not in the market for a new car, but there is a reason why all the Japanese companies try to copy all the European cars ...
    You might pay the extra bucks up front, but the comfort, performance and the resale value can't be beat in the long run.
    Just ask my friend who bought a Lexus GS300 and already wanted to trade it for a Mercedes in 3 months. He said the car was rather "uninspiring" in the long run.
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    RIGHT ... CHEERS!
    The Hole
     
  16. Jason Reich

    Jason Reich Stunt Coordinator

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    I too am an Audi A4 driver, I love my Audi and would not trade it for anything(accept for an Audi RS4). This is my second A4, the first I had was the 1.8, and yes it was a dog. My new Audi is a 2.8 and has the triptronic tranny, I simply love it! Its got auto for when I feel laid back, but if I need too(or just want to ) I can slide it over and shift it myself, not quite like a manual, but close enough considering having the auto when I don't feel like shiftiing. My allwheel A4 is surefooted in the snow, but even if you don't see the white stuff it still improves cornering on both wet and dry roads. Yes it has little firmer ride this makes for less body roll at high speed turns. Beleive me when I say it is a comfortible ride, I drove mine to Florida from upstate New York with my wife and two kids. The interior is a bit smaller than the Acura, but look at its trunk!!! Before I bought my Audis I drove Acuras I had 2 integras and they were real good cars. In my opinion you can not go wrong buying German cars(BMW, Audi, VW, *Porsche*). I too like the look and reveiws of the new Acura. It looks to be a great car and as with all of the Acura family you can get great aftermarket parts for them. Be sure and let us know what you decide on!
     
  17. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    The resale value thing seems a non-issue to me. I intend on keeping the car for 10 years, minimum, so resale is irrelevant. Still, on Acuras and Hondas, it's fairly decent here in FL. I can still get $10K for my '95 EX, that cost $22K new, with 106K miles on it. Not bad, and not likely to be bested (assuming similar conditions) by any German brand (speaking % of initial price here). I don't know what the rest of the market is like.
    The reliability issue- you will be hard pressed to find a more reliable brand than Honda/Acura. Those are the facts, supported by many, many years of data. They throw in a 4yr/50000 warranty, just in case. [​IMG]
    The sporty factor- I don't get this. Have you guys seen and driven the TL-S? It is a much more exhilarating ride, particularly the "pass on the back country road" maneuver, than my friend's A4, or for that matter, an "associate's" S4. The 260hp is the real deal. I traded a Corvette for this, so I have a good feel for REAL power. [​IMG]
    Having recently taken another ride in the A4, I think I've figured out the crux of the A4's "Harsh" ride. The wheelbase is too short for a sedan. It gives it a front-to-back bouncy feel on the bumps, like a Jeep.
    Todd
     
  18. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Once again, your definition of the A4's ride as "harsh" is one man's opinion. I don't find the ride in my A4 "harsh" at all, I find it quite comfortable. You're right about the shorter wheelbase though, it is a little shorter than competing BMWs. This is to accomodate the front/all wheel drive system. It's smaller than the TL also, but the whole car is smaller so it's an apples and oranges comparison. However, comparing the ride to a Jeep is ludicrous. BTW, the S4 is a full on sports car with 17" wheels. The ride is supposed to be extremely taught. Maybe the non sport model would ride better for you. I know when my girlfriend was test driving she greatly preferred the non-sport model.
    The TL, as great a car as I know it is, looks like just another Accord on the road to me. Completely uninspiring. And the cheeze factor of the plastic wood on the dash just drives me crazy (there's lots of beautifully finished real figured wood in my 2.8). I can't get past that. Again, that's just one man's opinion, take it as you will.
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    Philip Hamm
    AIM: PhilBiker
    [Edited last by Philip Hamm on August 21, 2001 at 08:20 AM]
     
  19. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    quote: And the cheeze factor of the plastic wood on the dash just drives me crazy[/quote]The cheeze factor of the straight-across Audi console drives me crazy.
    Interesting, though- my friend's '99 A4 with the Sport suspension does have 17" wheels. I noticed the quattros have a smaller wheel, with higher profile tires (you don't see too many quattros in FL. Perhaps that explains the harshness.
    I've noticed a trend here in Orlando, and perhaps this explains the preference- Most of the software guys I know drive Audis or Volkswagen. The A4 and Jetta seem to be the internet geek chic car of the year. I work on the hardware side (semiconductor engineering), and in our lot, the preference runs strong to Hondas, Porsches, and Corvettes. So, in fact, we may be bound by our profession to purchase certain types of automobiles. [​IMG]
    When I see Audi, I think overpriced Volkswagen. I also think unreliable. I also think body style that doesn't age well. You are correct, though, it's just one man's opinion, and mine is no more valid than your's. I'll leave it at that.
    Todd
    P.S. I'd prefer no wood on the interior- real or otherwise. I'd rather replace the wood trim with brushed aluminum. A car is a machine, after all, not a piece of furniture.
    [Edited last by Todd Hochard on August 21, 2001 at 08:44 AM]
     
  20. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    quote: my friend's '99 A4 with the Sport suspension does have 17" wheels. [/quote]The 99 sport package had 16" wheels. Your friend's wheels are either aftermarket or a later model year. The '01 sport package is also a 17" wheel. Makes me wonder if the suspension hasn't been replaced also. If there's an aftermarket sport suspension in that car that and the low profile tires would explain the harsh ride (which the S4 suffers from also). The 1.8 crowd on www.audiworld.com tend to go crazy with large diameter wheels and aftermarket uptrastiff suspension. I have no idea why, as that super-taught ride is not what I was after at all.
    Personally on a car this size I think a 16" wheel is more than enough. I like a nice compromise between highway comfort and backroad handling myself. The 2.8 delivers nicely.
     

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