When it was introduced in 2003, the TSX featured exterior styling that set a course that was later reflected in both the 2004 TL and the 2005 RL sedans. Familiar Acura cues were echoed in the TSX sheet metal, but in an emotional, evocative way that gave the TSX an aggressive, sporting appearance. The cleanly distinctive body form of the TSX also conveyed a strong commitment to aerodynamics.
Underneath the exterior shape is an extremely rigid unit body structure that serves as the foundation for the car's spirited driving demeanor. The use of special high-strength materials and advanced computer modeling provide the TSX driver with a performance experience that fully lives up to the car's visual promise.
In total, the TSX embodies stylish performance and craftsmanship, while bringing substantial added excitement to the Acura line.
The rigid and aerodynamic body of the TSX is styled to emphasize performance. Its 105.1-inch wheelbase pushes the wheels to the corners of the body to allow more interior space, while the rounded cabin serves as an efficient aerodynamic shape. The result is a European-style exterior appearance and maximum interior space.
Overall lines are crisp and taut, with a muscular tension that promises performance in a clear but understated way. In front, the TSX features a sporty headlight treatment with thin, angular turn signals, and a low, powerful looking bumper, with integrated oval fog lamps. Above the signature Acura grille, a distinct style line runs back along the hood. Large air openings beneath the front bumper guide airflow to the radiator.
The body sides have a crisp style line starting at the top of the front fender flare and gradually rising to the rear. Thick C-pillars offer a high level of structural strength and rollover protection while advancing the car's muscular appearance. Chrome-plated door pulls are luxurious in appearance, feel and operation. Exceptionally narrow body gaps speak of precision engineering and attention to detail. Additionally, the substantial side sills curl outward along the cabin and accent the 17 x 7-inch nine-spoke alloy wheels.
In back, the rear window slopes at a shallow angle to meet a short/high trunk lid. The trunk lid terminates sharply to help air separate cleanly off the back of the car at high speeds, reducing turbulence and improving stability and fuel economy. The rear bumper and taillights have a low, aggressive appearance.
The all-glass windshield reflects UV rays to help keep the interior cool.
STATIC AND DYNAMIC STIFFNESS
The cornerstone for any sports sedan is its structural stiffness. An immensely strong unit body is required to provide a quiet and squeak-free interior, to allow the suspension to be tuned both for road holding and for a comfortable ride, and to provide the greatest possible crash safety. The Acura TSX unit body was computer engineered and modeled to give the car precisely these traits.
From the very beginning, the goal for TSX stiffness was one of Europe's most successful and respected four-door sedans, the Audi A4. The TSX surpasses this car in both bending and torsional rigidity.
Achieving superior rigidity and balance of front/rear stiffness required special attention to the front bulkhead and the area in front of the radiator, below the front fender edges, at the bottom of the B-pillars and the area in and around the C-pillars. But the results were worth the effort, as the TSX offers maximum strength with minimum weight, a body structure highly resistant to squeaks and rattles, extremely sharp handling characteristics, and minimal levels of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).
Outstanding aerodynamic performance was a primary focus of TSX designers. This pursuit of airflow control paid off on many levels, including interior quietness from wind noise, a low Cd for superior efficiency, and handling stability at high speeds. The aerodynamic drag coefficient of the TSX is among the top in the class, according to internal testing.
The concept behind the tapered front end and rounded cabin of the TSX is to let air flow smoothly around the front bumper side and body sides. Engineers worked to remove the gap between each wheel arch and tire to reduce airflow disturbance. To better control airflow around each wheel and tire, minimizing turbulence, the TSX also has polypropylene inner fenders, engine undercover, mid-floor and a rear floor covers, and air dams located underneath the body at the forward edge of each wheel well.
In simple terms, aerodynamic turbulence causes noise and drag. Therefore, the same methodology that improves aerodynamic performance also lowers wind noise inside the passenger cabin. In the TSX, one significant gain comes from the shape of the A-pillars and the outside mirrors. The mirrors incorporate a modest V-angle that helps separate the air over and under the mirror, reducing turbulence and noise.
By studying the airflow through the channel between the mirror and the A-pillar, engineers learned that the speed of the passing air stream through the channel had a pronounced effect on noise levels inside the car. When air accelerates through this channel, it creates high-frequency wind noise. However, shaping this channel as an expanding V-shaped passage opening toward the rear (along with carefully shaping the A-pillar, and contouring and precisely positioning the mirror housing) helps keep air from "peeling" or tumbling across the glass. Eliminating this vortex substantially reduces both mid- and high frequency noises-a reduction of as much as 1.4 decibels at some speeds. Mid- and high-frequency wind noises are very low in the Acura TSX compared to its competitors. Occupants hear the advantage on every drive, but it is particularly beneficial at highway speeds or when side winds are present.
WHEELS, TIRES AND TIGHT FITTING WHEEL ARCHES
The Acura TSX has generously sized P215/50R17 tires that fill out the wheel arches nicely, giving the car a distinguished, muscular appearance. In addition, close tolerances between the tires and the wheel arches improve both appearance and aerodynamic performance. The TSX features nine-spoke alloy wheels to complement the car's overall aggressive appearance.
The TSX comes standard with High Intensity Discharge (HID) low beams and halogen high beams. With their wider beam pattern and roughly 100-foot greater range than ordinary halogen lamps, HID headlights are an effective safety feature. The "color" of the light appears to be somewhat blue compared to conventional headlights with their yellow tinge, but HID headlamps reveal truer colors and provide better clarity than halogen lights. They are three times as efficient as conventional halogen lamps (using less electrical energy) and produce nearly twice the illumination and more than double the bulb life. In front, the angular rectangular turn signal is integrated into the headlight housing. In the rear, separate round brake and turn-signal lamps, tail lamps, and back-up lamps lend a performance-car appearance.
In addition, the TSX features standard fog lights integrated into the lower bumper. These fog lights provide enhanced visibility in combination with the HID headlights.
GLASS AREA AND VISIBILITY
Safety and driving enjoyment are both dependent on good outside visibility. The Acura TSX offers 284 degrees of outward visibility. Engineers worked especially hard on making the rear 3/4 view expansive for safety in traffic and to ease parking.
The windshield, backlight and side glass all reduce the penetration of ultraviolet (UV) light into the cabin, creating a more relaxed driving environment and helping to prolong the interior material finishes. The TSX is also equipped with flat wipers, further enhancing visibility.
POWER GLASS MOONROOF
The moonroof of the TSX is a point of pride for the Acura engineering team. It starts with a rigid roof structure that permits a solid mounting position for the glass panel and mechanism. The tinted glass panel fits flush with the roof exterior and features a flush seal that reduces the chance of wind noise while improving appearance.
A special linkage and motor are designed to operate quietly. Together with a pop-up air deflector, this makes the moonroof quiet to operate and quiet in operation. A sliding interior sunshade helps keep the interior cool and shade the passengers from unwanted sunlight when the moonroof is closed.
To simplify wiring and to add functionality to the electrical system, the TSX has multiplexed wiring. With multiplexing, a single wire can carry multiple command signals simultaneously. Each signal carries a unique binary code that is only recognized by the intended target location.
Multiplex wiring makes features like the programmed instrument and interior illumination and keyed and keyless power window control possible. It also dramatically reduces wiring complexity, cost and weight, while improving electrical-system reliability and durability.
DOOR CLOSING SOUND
Some of the most powerful luxury cues a car can give its owner are almost completely subconscious. One example is the sound of a door closing. Acura engineers methodically refined the design of the door sashes of the TSX (the surrounding door structure) to reduce high-frequency resonance excited when the doors are closed.
The door latches themselves are carefully engineered to latch securely with a light closing pressure, and to emit a quality sound. Acura engineers also designed a special "bumping door seal" that purposefully transmits a certain low-frequency vibration to the door itself. This desirable vibration is heard as a substantial sound as the door closes, evoking the impression of substance and quality.
Even tiny details like a door checker-the mechanism that limits the door's maximum opening-play a part in perceptions of quality. That's why the TSX doors use a type of checker that lets the door open more fluidly, yet has a pronounced detent at intermediate, partially open positions.
The TSX is available in the following colors for 2007: Alabaster Silver Metallic, Glacier Blue Metallic, and Deep Green Pearl, and Royal Blue Pearl, Premium White Pearl, Nighthawk Black Pearl, Arctic Blue Metallic, Milano Red and Carbon Gray Pearl.
Engineers attacked noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) from all quarters when designing the TSX. In front, the engine/suspension subframe uses a vibration-canceling structure and highly rigid aluminum engine mounts to help keep engine and road vibration from entering the passenger cabin. The rear suspension subframe uses stiff construction and beefy box-section dimensions to reduce the transmission of road shock and vibration. Acura has reduced road noise by 0.5 dB by adding two reinforcements to each upper control arm, providing increased strength and resulting in less vibration being transmitted to the cabin.
Interior quietness is also enhanced through the use of a special sound-absorbing roof lining and urethane molded floor liner, instrument panel and rear wheelhouse insulators. Additional measures include an under-hood insulator, special noise insulation in the front fender bulkheads, a rear tray (parcel shelf) insulator, and a "melt sheet" sandwich panel in the dashboard. An array of polypropylene underbody panels reduces road noise as well as direct airflow.
ENGINE MOUNT SYSTEM
Since the engine is the heaviest concentrated component in a vehicle, and the source of significant vibration, the mounting system that supports it has a profound effect on interior noise levels, handling and overall driving characteristics. Isolating the engine from the body with "soft" mounts can make for good NVH characteristics, but wreak havoc on handling and driveline performance as the engine moves on its mounts. Conversely, locking the engine in place (like in a racing machine) is the best from a handling standpoint, but guarantees unbearable NVH performance. For the TSX, neither extreme was appropriate. The TSX uses a carefully orchestrated system of six mounts to combine impressively high levels of isolation with stable engine placement for precise handling.
Two mounts are placed below the TSX engine's center of gravity, and attach the engine to the front subframe, which itself is isolated from the car's body by bolted rubber mounts. The forward-most of these two "center of gravity" engine mounts is an electronically controlled hydraulic unit with variable dual-mode stiffness. It switches between a setting optimized for damping vibration at idle, and another firmer setting for higher speeds and rougher roads. The rear most of the center of gravity mounts is a non-adjusting hydraulic unit.
To keep the engine properly positioned during severe maneuvering, another electronically controlled dual-mode mount is placed high on the right side of the engine to tie it to the body structure. Finally, to carry the weight of the transmission and limit powertrain movement, a series of three mounts position the transmission.
The Acura TSX is built from the unit body up to resist corrosion over the years and miles. This process begins with the use of galvanized steel throughout the unit body, which provides excellent resistance to corrosion. Once assembled, the galvanized unit body assembly is immersed in an electroplating bath, seams are filled with highly durable sealants and key underbody areas receive anti-chipping coatings. Only then is the body primed and painted with the top coats.
The Acura TSX body is covered by a 5-year/unlimited-mile limited warranty for outer body rust-through.