2015 Acura TLX, Safe, Lean, Luxurious

2015 Acura TLX

2015 Acura TLX

The 2015 Acura TLX is an all-new midsize sports sedan, the successor to the TL, and the third vehicle in Acura’s re-envisioned performance-luxury sedan lineup, positioned between the ILX entry-luxury sedan and the RLX flagship Acura sedan.

Developed under the theme of ‘Red Carpet Athlete,’ the all-new TLX is designed to deliver a unique and compelling blend of sports-sedan athleticism and premium (red-carpet) luxury refinement, while delivering on Acura’s ‘Synergy Between Man and Machine’ product direction – characterized by vehicles that perform “at the will of the driver” with intuitive, exhilarating and confidence-inspiring driving dynamics.

Optimized, safe body supports comfort & performance, protects passengers.

Optimized, safe body

Solid Platform: improved fitting point stiffness

Solid Platform: improved fitting point stiffness

Acoustic spray foam & floor plane sealing, luxury comfort & quiet

Acoustic spray foam & floor plane sealing, luxury comfort & quiet

The TLX employs Acura’s next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, along with advanced supplemental restraint systems – including front, side, side-curtain and driver’s knee airbags – to provide a high level of occupant protection in a wide spectrum of collision scenarios. The TLX is anticipated to earn a five-star Overall Vehicle Score in the NHTSA’s NCAP safety ratings, and a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

All-New TLX Body and Chassis

The TLX is built on an all-new platform (body and chassis) that was designed from the ground up to support and enhance the vehicle’s outstanding driving dynamics, luxury-sedan refinement, class-leading fuel efficiency and high-level collision safety performance.

The chassis features a newly designed four-wheel independent suspension system – McPherson Strut front and multi-link rear – with revised geometry and new Amplitude Reactive Dampers for improved ride comfort and handling performance. New Motion-Adaptive Electronic Power Steering delivers a high level of steering precision and responsiveness while aiding fuel efficiency. It also works cooperatively with the vehicle’s Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) traction-control system to help the driver maintain vehicle control in slippery road conditions.

The TLX’s unit body utilizes advanced lightweight materials, including ultra-high-strength steels, aluminum (hood, bumper beams and front subframe) and magnesium (steering hangar beam), to minimize weight while providing for a high degree of rigidity that benefits both dynamic performance and occupant safety. Also incorporated into the body is the next generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) frontal body structure, and a new one-piece, hot-stamped-steel door stiffener ring, similar to the design first applied on the 2014 Acura MDX. The new, sleeker body design is also optimized for class-leading aerodynamic efficiency and boasts a 15 percent improvement in CdA versus the outgoing TL.

KeyBodyStructureOptimizationPoints_TableKey KeyBodyStructureOptimizationPoints

In their effort to significantly reduce the intrusion of wind, road and engine noise into the cabin, Acura engineers paid special attention to body sealing, reducing open air paths by 50 percent compared to the outgoing TL. The TLX is also the first Acura to utilize acoustic spray foam, which is applied in10 critical location throughout the body. Additional noise-reduction features include triple door seals, the expanded application of body sealing and sound absorptive materials, an acoustic glass windshield, and electronic Active Noise Control (ANC).

Rigid Lightweight Body

Light weight and rigidity are the twin foundations for TLX comfort, handling and safety performance. Light weight is achieved by a combination of advanced engineering and the use of high-strength steel, magnesium and aluminum unit-body components. TLX body rigidity is enhanced by precise engineering, particularly in optimizing key component fitting points (up to 25 percent stiffer) for superior bending stiffness, and the unit-body structure’s torsional rigidity is up 21-percent vs. the previous TL.

To achieve the high rigidity that promotes a smooth and quiet ride, crisp steering and handling, safety performance and long-term durability, the TLX utilizes six different grades of high-strength steel (HSS) in 52% of its body structure by weight. This high-grade, high-tensile strength steel adds the required rigidity for these positive traits without adding excessive weight, which in turn enhances fuel efficiency and lowers emissions. Altogether, 59-percent of the TLX body is created from a combination of high-strength steel, aluminum and magnesium.

High strength steel uses include:

Hot-Stamp HSS – Used for the TLX’s door opening rings, for 5% of the unit body.

Hot Stamp door ring

Hot Stamp  door ring

  • 980 grade HSS – Used in certain key structural points such as the front edges of the door sills, and in the A-pillars and B-pillars, for 2% of the unit body.
  • 780 grade HSS – Used for most structural load paths for ACE™, including the side sills and forward spars of unit body, for 2% of the unit body.
  • 590 grade HSS – Used for the front frame spars, floor and roof supports, for 35% of the unit body.
  • 440 grade HSS – Used in the front bulkhead, and in front and rear energy-absorbing structures, for 5% of the unit body.
  • 340 grade HSS – Sheet steel is used in the roof, for 3% of the unit body.

TLX Materials by %

60% Advanced High-Strength Materials, including 52% High- and Advanced High-Strength Steels

Noise Mitigation

The TLX was designed to deliver vault-like quietness in all driving conditions, with major improvements achieved through enhancements in body stiffness, body and door sealing, and widespread sound insulation.

Close-up, acoustics spray foam

Close-up, acoustics spray foam

Acoustic Spray Foam
Applied to the unit body in 10 crucial locations around the door openings, acoustic spray foam helps create a solid foundation for a quieter cabin. The application process is automated and computer controlled, with the foam curing in 7 to 11 seconds after application for a highly precise and effective process.

Additional Materials and Sealing
Additional sound-absorptive materials are used throughout the unit body and interior, each dedicated to blocking a particular noise type and frequency. The materials include Thinsulate insulation, body sealers, noise-absorbing carpeting, and a high-density and dual density melt sheets. Liquid Applied Sound Deadening (LASD) is used in the trunk. Key areas of attention include the TLX’s dashboard lower and floor area. Total body leakage is reduced 50 percent vs. the outgoing TL. The end result is reduced road noise and drumming on both concrete and asphalt surfaces, along with lower engine noise, for a more relaxing and pleasant driving experience.

Wind Noise
Significant improvements in both high-frequency and mid-frequency noise heard in the cabin were achieved by lowering the windshield-wiper height and optimizing the shape of the side mirrors. Special sealing methods in the B-pillars and C-pillars, and between the door gaps, further reduce audible wind noise.

Improved Door Sealing
The new TLX adopts the previous TL’s 360-degree double seals that completely surround each passenger door. In addition, the TLX uses a third set of gap seals, positioned at the front, center, rear and bottom edges of each door, that help eliminate potential noise source caused by turbulent airflow in the cavities around the door hinges and latches. The doors’ internal steel stampings receive further sound insulation in the form of large acoustic hole seals, internal foam sound barriers, and specially targeted B-pillar plugs.

Sources:  Acura Media Room; Materials photos and information courtesy of Steel Market Development Institute

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