1999 Acura TL Press Kit

New Class-Leading 3.2-Liter, V-6 Engine

The heart of the new TL is a compact, new 3.2-liter, 225-horsepower VTEC V-6. With more low-end torque and peak power than its predecessor, this new 24-valve, V-6-drives the TL to class-leading performance times, sets a new standard for refinement and smoothness, and delivers excellent fuel economy. Its first tune-up isn't required until 100,000 miles. The electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission offers the driver a sequential SportShift semi-manual mode, sophisticated Grade Logic Control, and the security of a standard traction control system.

Acura's Newest Front-Drive Platform

With significant advances in torsional and bending rigidity, the TL's new unit-body is based on a new platform that reorients the front drive powertrain in a transverse position, to create more usable interior volume, while retaining in optimum weight distribution. To advance NVH control, the front and rear suspension are carried on isolated subframes, resulting in marked reductions in interior noise level. A newly drafted version of the TL's full independent double wishbone suspension fitted with larger wheels and tires nets a substantial advance in handling performance. A more compact multi-link rear suspension also contributes to the TL's increased interior room.

Enlarged Midsized Interior

Though only 30 mm longer overall than its predecessor, the new TL has more useful interior space, both for passengers and luggage. The added interior volume, a total of 110.8 cu. ft., moves the TL into the EPA's Midsize class, while most of the TL's competitiors are classifed as compact cars.

Higher Content of Luxury Featres and Amenities

The TL is already known for its high level of standard luxury equipment; the new generation TL takes the approach a step further. Offered in just one trim level, the TL comes with standard features that are often listed as options.

Dramatic New Styling Inside and Out

Gracefully athletic proportions reflect the TL's new focus on delivering personal driving satisfaction. Now more distinctive and refined in its lines, the TL's extrior makes a strong stylistic statement, echoed by the sweeping cockpit-type feel of its leather-lined interior.


The new 1999 TL mid-luxury sedan has been reengineered front to back, all the way from its elegant new grille, to the finely chiseled lines of its rear deck.

With new levels of performance, refinement, handling and comfort - coupled with remarkable value - the new TL takes command of the mid-luxury segment, and furthers Acura's position as a premier luxury/performance nameplate in the U.S. market.

To create a new benchmark in the performance luxury category, everything about the 1999 TL has changed. Offered exclusively with a new 3.2-liter, 24-valve, VTEC V-6 engine, this dramatic new luxury sedan combines the most powerful engine in its class with a completely new platform that elevates handling responsiveness, quietness, roominess and luxury. Now manufactured, exclusively in America, the new TL is designed to exceed buyer expectations with a remarkably high level of standard equipment, yet is priced significantly lower than its V-6 predecessor, and most important, well below its prime competittion.

Available in just one trim level with a compmrehensive list of standard features, the TL is now considered a Midsize car by the EPA. It has a roomy, new interior that's more spacious than those of its mid-luxury competition, cars like the Lexus ES 300, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and BMW 3 Series.

Concepts and Goals

The new TL is designed to provide:

  • An involving driving experience
  • Class-leading engine performance and operating smoothness
  • Secure and refined dynamic characteristics at all road speeds
  • Sophisticated styling with a vibrant sporting spirit
  • An unusually spacious and accommodating interior with ergonomically designed controls, fine materials and an impeccable level of fit and finish
  • A comprehensive approach to safety engineering that combines accident avoidance technologies with advanced impact-energy management engineering
  • A new level of value in the mid-luxury segment

1999 Acura TL - Structure


The new TL body is a significant departure from the previous generation TL. Based on a lengthened version of the Acura/Honda Midsize Global Platform, the new TL unit-body is 70% stronger in torsion, 80% stronger in bending, longer overall, has a wider track and more interior room than its predecessor. The front drive powertrain is now transversely mounted, in the interest of improved packaging efficiency.

The lines of the new TL, which were designed by Honda R&D in Torrance, California, have a more aggressive, athletic edge, complementedby improvements in aerodynamic performance. The new TL has a six percent better Cd than the '98 TL. Designed and engineered in America and assembled at Honda's Marysville Ohio plant.

Here are some of the highlights of the TL's new body and its related systems:


  • Dynamic, dimensional lines reflect a more y outhful, aggressive spirit
  • Cabin-forward silhouette
  • Higher beltline and pronounced wedge shape

Quality and Refinement

  • Reduced noise and vibration
  • Heat-rejecting green glass
  • Full frame windows for improved sealing and reduced wind noise
  • Gas spring hood supports and new low-effort multilink trunk hinges provide easy operation
  • Rigid door structures with improved closing sound
  • Jointless front and rear windshield molding

NVH control

  • Foam sound barriers in all body pillars
  • Extensive asphalt-based sandwhich melt sheet used in rear wheel-house regions
  • Fiberglass hood insulator
  • Triple door seals
  • Increased density dashboard insulator
  • Extensive use of asphalt melt sheets with resin applied to floor and dashboard lower Additional engine room dash board insulator


  • Midsize car total interior volume (110.8 cu. ft.)
  • Larger 14.3 cu. ft. trunk
  • Significatnly more interior head, leg, shoulder and hip room
  • Enlarged step-in room for rear passengers

Ride and handling

  • Torsional rigidity has increased by 70% with only a five percent increase in the weight of the body-in-white
  • Four-point strut-tower bar


  • Side impact door beams
  • Upper door panel stiffener structure
  • Door lining pads
  • Reinforced side-siills with added bulkheads for improved off-set and side impact protection
  • Streghtened front pillars and roof side rail sections
  • Thicker, larger floor cross members for increased side impact protection
  • Reinforced center pillars reduce body deformation during side impact
  • Rear door catcher reduces rear door intrusion into interior during side impact
  • HID headlights


  • Special shielding protects door locking mechanisms and latches to make break-in more difficult
  • Standard immobilizer security system disables ignition system in the event of tampering
  • Automatic on/off headlights

Corrosion resistance

  • Double-sided galvannealed steel panels in all high-corrosion areas
  • Anti-chipping primer applied to leading edges of hood and fenders
  • PVC and wax sealer applied to underbody
  • Anti-acid-etch clear coat protects paint from acid rain


Concept work on the new TL started in 1995,when the driving ideas behind the TL's styling were just beginning to take shape. The inspiration for the spirit of the new car is San Francisco's exclusive Nob Hill area. Known for its fashionable international flair, upscale ambience and a uniquely youthful blending of fonnaland active lifestyles, Nob Hill sets the tone for the TL. A design team visited Nob Hill in 1995, and stayed in the famous Fainnont Hotel before beginning initial styling drawings of the new TL.

Carefully orchestrated styling elements lend the TL dynamic new elegance. In bold strokes, it has a crisper, higher beltline and more wedge-like, with the cabin positioned 95-mm farther forward.

To foster a personal feel, the greenhouse is visually distinct from the powerful lines of the body, purposely not blended into a single amorphous shape. A more pronounced shoulder to the upper body complements this feeling. High-gloss black accents on the B-pillars add a subtle upscale touch. Front end styling is mqre dimensional with the bumper and fenders swept back (in plan view) from the new grill. Reflector-type High Intensity Discharge headlights lend a technical feel to the front end. The rear styling is uncluttered, with the license plate repositioned from the middle of the rear panel, down into the rear bumper. A crisp break at the top of the rear panel lends a sporting edge, while the chrome logo and letters of the Acura name individually mounted across the rear panel make the car's luxury status apparent.

Precise Fit and Finish

Fine attention to detail is evident in the TL's fit and finish. A far-reaching effort upgraded the TL in many ways. Stiffened door structures, laser-welded blank door panels, special plastic-encapsulated door checkers and latches, and added sound damping materials all combine to improve the closing sound of the TL's doors. New power window motors increase window speed and reduce noise. Window sealing has improved as well, with the move to sash-type door structures that seal more reliably.

Many improvements are very subtle:

  • Jointless front and rear windshield moldings have a more finished look
  • The windshield wiper stopping position has been lowered to improve visibility
  • A new Pearl White color, which will be offered late in model year '99

Unit Body Structure

To achieve significant improvements in ride, handling and noise reduction, the engineering goals for the new TL unit body centered around maximizing torsional and bending rigidity of the body without adding unnecessary weight.

Significant advances in design efficiency make the TL's body-in-white 70% stronger in torsion, with only a five percent increase in weight. Bending strength has been increased by 80% as well.


Throughout the body, features like foam roof pillar separators, wheel arch extension melt sheets and even vacuum-controlled hydraulic engine mounts are used to minimize noise intrusion into the car's interior. A total of 41.3 kg of noise attenuation material is used throughout the TL.

HID Headlights

Typically an extra-cost option (if offered at all) on competitive cars, the TL comes standard with reflector-type High Intensity Discharge low beam headlights. Three times as efficient as conventional halogen lamps, the TL's HID system uses less electrical energy, yet produces almost twice the illumination with more than double the bulb life. The useful range of illumination on low beam increases 45%. This eliminates the need for separate fog lights. The TL's high beams use conventional halogen bulbs. An auto-off feature turns off the headlights 15 seconds after the driver's door is closed or the doors are locked.

Keyless Trunk Latch

For greater security and a more cleanly styled rear view appearance, the TL's trunk has no key cylinder. The trunk lid can be released by the keyless remote, by a button on the driver's door panel, or by a backup manual release accessible through the pass-through in the rear seatback.

Gas-Filled Hood Dampers/Link-Style Trunk Hinges

In keeping with the TL' s attention to detail, the hood is supported when open by gasfilled dampers. The trunk lid mechanism has been specially engineered with a link-style hinge that provides a more unifonn opening and closing action and is less intrusive into the storage area within the trunk.

New Material Technology

A wide range of new materials and technologies are used in the new TL. Here is a listing of the more significant advances:

  • Laser-welded inner door panel balnks increase strength while minimizing weight
  • High-gloss B-pillars with improved scratch resistance
  • High-strength steel door panels for great dent resistance
  • Side door protectors, front chin spoiler, and side still garnishes use new body-color film manufacturing technology
  • Body-color roof molding
  • Lightweight fiberglass hood insulator
  • Anti-acid-etch clear coat
  • Chrome-plated injection molded door handles
  • Low modulus material applied to front spoiler for improved curb impact resistance
  • 57.5% of plastic materials are polypropylene or polyethylene and high recyclable

Wind Noise Performance

Wind noise targets for the TL were set at a remarkably quiet level, which required an extensive amount of research and development to attain. All causes of wind noise were investigated, including crosswind components and their effect on total noise level. The work began on a computer simulation in early phases of development, then moved on to a full-scale wind tunnel later in the project. Besides the refined subtleties of the TL's body panel and folding side mirror shapes, many different new wind-sealing strategies were brought into play in the final car. The result is interior wind noise that is competitive with many far more expensive cars.

Acura Body Accessories

A full line of custom-designed and engineered accessories will be available for the TL through Acura dealers. Exterior accessories include a full aero kit that utilizes existing factory attachment points and preset locations, a trunk spoiler with integrated L.E.D. high-mounted brake light and comes with heavy duty trunk lid springs. Uniquely styled, chrome-plated cast aluminum wheels are also offered, as is a gold plating package.

1999 Acura TL - Powertrain


For 1998, a single potent, powertrain drives the TL. The new 3.2 liter VTEC-equipped engine is substantially lighter than its predecessor, develops more horsepower and torque, delivers improved acceleration and superior fuel economy. Relative to its prime competition, the new TL develops more power and accelerates faster, while delivering competitive fuel economy. The new 60-degree, 24-valve, V-6 engine is mounted transversely in the chassis, improving packaging efficiency. (The previous engine had a 90-degree V-angle, and was positioned longitudinally in the chassis.) It is coupled with a sequential SportShift four-speed automatic transmission with Grade Logic Control that drives the front wheels, with the assistance of a standard traction control system. The complete TL powertrain is manufactured at Honda of America's plant in Anna, Ohio.


  • 225 hp (a 25-hp, or 11% increase compared to previous V-6)
  • Torque is increased from 209 lb.-ft to 216 lb.-ft
  • Equipped with VTEC cynlinder heads with roller cam-follower rocker arms
  • Compression ratio raised from 9.6:1 to 9.8:1
  • Compact, lightweight drivetrain is 18% lighter than its predecessor
  • Improved fuel economy 19/27 mpg (unofficial, estimated City/Hwy), up from 19/24 mpg
  • Acceleration from 0-60 mpg has been improved from 8.5 seconds to 8.2 seconds

Emissions/Fuel Economy

  • TLEV emission level (California models only)
  • Electronically controlled EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation)
  • Improved engine startability system
  • VTEC


  • Smooth running 60-degree V-angle
  • Full floating piston pins eliminate piston slap during warm-up
  • Elimination of seperate camshaft holders allows for a more compact, rigid cylinder head
  • Lightweight pistons connecting rods
  • Three hydraulic engine mounts
  • Cast aluminum oil pan
  • Transmission gear noise improvement through tighter gear teeth mesh contact ratio


  • Quick-response sequential SportShift allows semi-manual operation
  • Direct-control automatic transmission is managed by the PCM (Powertrain Control Module) for smoother shifting
  • Grade Logic Control provides "smart" shift scheduling in hilly driving
  • Simplified, more compact transmission design incroporates improved clutch engagement control
  • Smoother Cruise Control operation and reduced shift shock through Cruise Control ECU control of downshifting

Engine Architecture

The TL is powered by a new-generation 3.2-liter, 225-hp, 24-valve V-6 engine. Remarkably compact and lightweight, the TL powerplant and transmission incorporate a wide variety of advanced technologies. Relative to the 1998 TL, total powertrain weight has been reduced by 18%. The engine alone accounts for eight percent of that weight reduction, no small feat in light of the engine's improved power output, refined NVH characteristics, and high fuel economy.

Engine Block

Die-cast and heat treated, the compact TL aluminum block is extremely rigid, with a high natural frequency and minimal resonant vibration. Similar to the powerplant in the 3.0CL, the new TL V-6's iron cylinder liners have their bore pitch set at a close 98-mm spacing to reduce overall engine size. The free-revving TL engine is oversquare with a bore of 89 mm and a stroke of 86 mm to give the engine a total displacement of 3210 cc. The TL engine's V-angle is the same 60-degrees, a departure from the 90-degree V-angle used in the previous-generation TL.

The narrower angle improves smoothness and reduces bulk and weight. Designed to work with special compact pistons, the block has an unusually short deck height, resulting in an overall reduction in the height and width of the assembled engine.

Crankshaft/Connecting Rods

The pursuit of compact over all engine dimensions coupled with Acura's high durability standards drove the design of the TL crankshaft and connecting rods. A rigid, forged crankshaft and narrow 19-mm connecting rods allow for a reduction in overall engine length, and are a contributing factor in making the TL powerplant (as installed in the car) narrower than its competition from Lexus or Infiniti, even though it offers more displacement and power. The TL's rods don't use conventional nut-and-bolt type fasteners, but instead employ lighter bolts (without nuts) called plastic-region fasteners. These bolts are designed to operate in the plastic, not elastic, region of the steel material, unlike conventional fasteners. This allows a downsizing of the rod bolts, while maintaining the proper clamping force and strength margins.

Cylinder Head/Low-Friction VTEC Valvetrain

With four-valve combustion chambers and a 9.8:1 compression ratio, the TL pressure-cast aluminum alloy cylinder heads reflect Acura's latest thinking in engine design. The single camshaft in each cylinder head is installed from the side, eliminating the need for bolt-on cam caps- a savings of weight and complexity. Driven by the crankshaft via a glass-fiber reinforced toothed belt, the cams actuate the valves via friction-reducing roller followers.

The VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) valvetrain is a major contributing factor to the TL's remarkable combination of high power delivery and fuel economy. With the lift and opening duration ofthe intake valves altered automatically based on engine rpm, the engine develops strong low speed torque without sacrificing high rpm power. Conventional fixed intake valve timing can't equal this broad-range flexibility. Relative to the engine it replaces, the VTEC TL delivers comparable power characteristics at middle engine speeds, but substantially more horsepower from 4600 rpm through the 6300 rpm redline, coupled with considerable torque increases both at low rpm, and at high engine speed.

At low rpm, the VTEC intake valves follow a set of low-lift, short-duration cam lobes with timing that optimizes cylinder filling. Additionally, the timing of the intake valves is staggered and their lift is asymmetric, creating a swirl effect within the combustion chambers. This increases bum speed, and improves combustion stability and EGR rate. As the engine accelerates through 3500 rpm, the intake rocker arms transition to actuation by high-lift, long duration cam lobes designed to optimize high rpm output.

Induction System/PGM-FI

Controlled by a 16-bit, 32 mhz Central Processor Unit (CPU) the TL's Programmed Fuel Injection monitors throttle position, engine temperature, intake manifold pressure, atmospheric pressure, exhaust gas oxygen content, intake air temperature and tracks the operation of the engine with position sensors on the crankshaft and both camshafts. The PGM-FI is in constant communication with a similar CPU that controls the four-speed automatic transmission. It controls fuel delivery to six injectors mounted in a three-piece, cast aluminum tuned-length intake manifold. To enhance the TL's sporting feel, special attention was paia to the engine sound. Key in this effort is the intake runner design, which is tuned to give the engine sound a sporting edge above 3500 rpm.

New startability and cold climate enhancements are built into the TL's induction system. To promote fuel atomization when the engine is less than completely warmed up, a secondary air circuit is opened to the TL's air-assist fuel injection nozzles. This makes the car easier to cold start at high altitude and in cold weather conditions, and results in a reduction in hydrocarbons in tailpipe emissions. Drivability during warm-up is also improved.

Exhaust System

The TL high-flow dual exhaust system was designed to offer light weight, minimal noise and vibration, and excellent emissions control. Not only does the dual exhaust design provide greater performance, it's compact design reduces intrusion into the cabin and trunk areas.

New Generation Direct Ignition System/Knock Control

Proper ignition spark timing is critical to engine performance and emission control. Unfortunately, the correct ignition timing is a moving target, changing from one instant to the next depending on a multitude of factors. Too little spark advance for the conditions and efficiency suffers; too much and the onset of knocking (or pinging) can result in overheating and engine damage. To ensure properly timed spark, the TL relies on a new generation knock control system. Based on a centrally positioned sensor in the block that "hears" the first traces of knocking, the ignition timing is advanced to the point of peak efficiency, but not beyond, even if fuel quality is less than the specified unleaded Premium. This fine spark control allows the TL to operate safely--and more efficiently--with greater spark advance than its predecessor.

Another refinement to the ignition system is the adoption of improved direct ignition coil units which are positioned directly in the spark plug access bores. Less than half the weight of the units used on the previous-generation TL, the new direct coil units are more compact and more reliable.

Control Of Noise, Vibration and Harshness

During development of the new Acura V-6 powertrain, special effort was devoted to attaining higher standards of Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) control. Key competitive engines were analyzed to develop engineeringtargets for smoothness and noise control. The engineering exhibited in the TL reflects this effort with features like the compact, rigid aluminum block and its unusually high resonant frequency, rigid forged crankshaft, die-cast accessory mounts, and stiff cast aluminum oil pan.

100,000-Mile Tune-Up Intervals

The TL's first scheduled tune-up is required at 100,000 miles; during that time only routine inspections and fluid changes are required. The roller-follower design of the VTEC valvetrain cuts friction and wear to the point that the screw-type tappet clearance adjusters need not be checked until 100,000 miles, at which point the platinum-tipped spark plugs are also due for replacement.

Direct-Acting Cruise Control

When the cruise control is engaged, the cruise control Electronic Control Unit directly commands downshifts to the transmission ECU as required, allowing the TL to more closely maintain the set road speed even in hilly driving conditions. The convenient steering wheel-mounted cruise control buttons allow the driver to adjust speed in 1 mph increments or disengage the cruise control without touching the brake pedal.

Traction Control System

Giventhe TL's increased power output and the need for all weather drivabi1ity,a new Traction Control System (TCS) is standard equipment.This low speed system operates at vehicle speeds below about 25 mph, by applying one or both front brakes to control wheel spin.This independent wheel control provides a limited-slip differential effect that substantially improves performance on surfaces with split traction coefficients. Relative to the previous generation TL, which used throttle control only to limit wheel spin, the new TL in start-up split-traction situations delivers up to 30% better acceleration and climbs hills much more easily.

4-Speed Automatic Transmission

The TL's transmission offers tremendous weight savings over the previous-generation TL transmission. Almost a third lighter, the Direct Control AT is the most significant factor in the new TL's reduced drivetrain weight. More important to the TL's driver is the new transmission's refined feel and quick response. With a 16-bit, 20 mhz Electronic Control Unit (ECU) directly controlling transmission operation in concert with the engine management system, linear solenoids provide precise, real-time control of the clutch on/off pressure in the TL's transmission. With superior clutch engagement accuracy, the sophisticated control logic system operates smoothly under all conditions.

Working in concert with this new system is a canceler mechanism built into the first and second gear clutches that "cancels" out the detrimental effects of rising fluid pressure caused by centrifugal force--assisting in more precise clutch control. The gear train structure has been simplified by eliminating the low-one-way and low-hold clutches. To reduce noise, a bearing to better support the idle shaft has been added, and refinements to the gear-mesh contact ratio have been made.

Multiple safety and control strategies use interaction between engine and transmission controllers to manage overall powertrain operation.By limiting engine output torque and/or transmission clutch pressure, sharp driveline shocks are eliminated, and the engine is prevented from exceeding 5000 rpm in Neutral and Park.

Grade Logic Control

By monitoring throttle position and vehicle speed and comparing these inputs with a map stored in the transmission computer, the TL Grade Logic Control System "knows" when the car is on a hill. The shift schedule is then adjusted automatically to hold the engine in a lower gear for better climbing power, increased downhill engine braking and decreased shift frequency.

Sequential Sportshift

To complement the TL's sporting nature, the standard automatic transmission features a SportShift mode similar to the one original introdueced in the NSX sports car. Although somewhat different in design, the SportShift mode puts gear selection in the hands of the driver, much like a manual transmission. By moving the console-mounted transmission selector handle to the left of the drive position into a special SportShift gate, individual shifts can be commanded with a quick fore or aft motion. Gear position is indicated by a display positioned prominently in the tachometer face.

1999 Acura TL - Manufacturing


The new TL is manufactured for markets worldwide exclusively in Ohio. It will be sold in the United States, Canada, Japan and other Asian countries. The vast majority of the TL's component parts are sourced and manufactured in the United States. As was the case with Acura's first domestically produced model, the CL coupe, local suppliers were brought in on the project as early as possible, to ensure the highest quality from the very beginning of mass production.

U.S.-Japan Collaboration

As part of Acura's ongoing effort to design and produce products where they will be sold, the move to produce the TL in Ohio was part of a natural progression. The TL is an international effort, combining Acura's resources in Japan with those of the Acura/American Honda product planning offices in Torrance, California, styling and engineering facilities completed at Honda R&D Americas - Ohio, the Anna engine plant and the Marysville, Ohio auto assembly plant.

Local Content

With in excess of 75% local content, the TL is expected to be classified as a domestic car by the EPA.

Supplier Involvement

With Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc. (HAM) already drawing on 408 different suppliers to support its manufacturing activities of Honda and Acura products, the launch of the TL will push that total to a new high of 414 suppliers.

Manufacturing Quality Development

In preparation for eventual production of the TL, manufacturing personnel reviewed competitive models, and the 199Tproduction start-up of the CL coupe. An extensive internal quality review of the RL and previous-generationTL was also undertaken. With quality targets locked in, work was begun to insure that the goals could be reliably met during the assembly process. Key areas targeted for new standards of excellence are:

  • Increased body accuracy
  • Paint appearance
  • Part fit and finish

Anna Engine Plant

Since producing its first engine in 1985, the Anna Engine Plant (AEP) has ramped up to a total production of 900,000 engines and related components per year. With 2700 associates and a total investment in facilities of $907 million, the Anna plant will achieve a pace of 1000 V-6 engines per day for model year 1999. To provide the manufacturing capacity required for the new TL, the factory's complement of two 3500-ton casting machines will be doubled to four by calender 1999. New equipment and manufacturing technologies are being put in place for the TL's crankshaft and braking system.

Marysville Auto Plant

With a start of production, dating back to 1982 and a total investment of $1.8 billion, and more than 5800 associates, the platinum award-winning Marysville Auto Plant (MAP) has stretched for a new quality standard with the production of the new TL. Capable of producing a total of 1800 cars per day, MAP's flexible manufacturing environment allows seamless production of the TL on the same line as the Honda Accord.

A variety of new manufacturing technologies are required to build the new TL:

  • New fluid-control paint system
  • New Acid Etch clear-coat paint system
  • Laser welding of inner door panels
  • Instrument panel modularization to increase consistency
  • Enhanced vehicle quality department

1999 Acura TL - Interior


The handsome new cockpit-style interior has an intimate, driver-oriented feel, resplendent in luxurious materials like the hand-stitched, leather-wrapped steering wheel- all assembled with great attention to detail. The TL has more usable space than its predecessor by every important measure, too. In all, the TL interior seamlessly satisfies the conflicting demands of both sport and luxury performance.


Three key words drove the TL's interior design: emotional, personal, and elegant. Emotional in its dramatic interior shapes, and the personal feeling of the interior space. Personal in the connected, tactile sporting feel of the controls. Elegant in the fit and quality of fine interior materials.

The TL's interior designers looked to the wrap-around cockpit design of powerful pacific coast cruiser power boats for inspiration. The flow of the TL's door panels into the instrument panel, then into the center console, echoes the same sort of personal, purposeful cockpit feel.

Interior Roominess

The TL's new interior capitalizes on the space efficiency afforded by the architecture of the car's completely new unit-body design. The redesigned five-link rear suspension allowed the rear passenger's hip-point to be moved 10-mm rearward, opening up legroom front and rear. With a 16-mm-lower cabin floor, but the same overall vehicle height, interior spaciousness has been enhanced, and specially engineered door structures allow increased interior space even though overall width of the new TL is actually 15 mm less than before.

Relative to its prime competition, the TL is significantly roomier, and offers more usable interior space, with room for five occupants.


To complement the TL's dual sporting/luxury mission, its standard power front seats have unique design features. Careful attention was paid to the stitching patterns in the upgraded, U.S.-sourced leather seating surfaces to ensure comfort over long periods of time. The supple, contoured seats with dual-density backrests provide an enveloping feel, but offer sufficient width for continuing comfort on long drives. To allow the driver to capitalize on the new TL's elevated handling limits, firm side bolsters provide solid support during high-lateral-g cornering.

Both front seats have heated.bases and backrests; the driver's seat is eight-way power adjustable, and the passenger seat offers four-way power adjustment. All five seating positions in the TL are equipped with three-point safety belts.

Meter Cluster

A highly accurate micro-processor-controlled instrument cluster keeps the TL's driver informed via a complement of analog instrumentation with illuminated pointers. The large diameter tachometer face includes a bold LCD digital indicator to track gear position when the transmission is in its semi-manual SportShift mode.


Specially selected materials line the TL's interior, and lend the car an appropriately upscale ambiance. The instrument panel and door armrests are made with a special molding process that creates a softer-feeling surface with a uniform surface grain; the sides of the center console are backed with soft foam to cushion the passengers' legs. Wood grain accents on the door panel and edges of the console warm the look of the interior.

Air Conditioning and Heating

Careful analysis of the prime competition led to the development of a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) for the TL that offers significantly faster temperature correction of the total passenger cabin. The TL's automatic system has a new compressor and larger evaporator, and is assisted by solar glass which reduces the heat load on the interior. In tests under hot ambient conditions, relative to the Lexus ES 300, the TL's front passenger area cools to a comfortable target temperature 15% sooner. And with the improved flow afforded by the TL's adjustable rear seat vents positioned on the rear of the center console, the rear passenger compartment reaches a comfortable temperature a full 30% earlier than the Lexus.

With a new quieter blower unit, higher air-flow and an aluminum heater core, heater performance is similarly ahead of the prime competition. In cold ambient conditions the TL's front foot well temperature reaches the warmth target 15% sooner. The front to rear temperature differential is narrowed as well, meaning that rear seat passengers aren't left out in the cold.

A passenger compartment air filtration system traps dust and pollen particles down to eight microns.

Acura Navigation System

The latest generation of the Acura Navigation System is the only factory installed option available on the well-equipped TL. Like the system in the 3.5RL, the TL's unit uses Global Postitioning System (GPS) data recieved from satellites, as well as its own inertial guidance system, to precisely pinpoint the location and velocity of the TL. When asked to guide the driver from one location to another, the system provides both audio and visual cues, helping the driver to find the proper address quickly and easily, and with minimal distraction. Verbal instructions such as "keep right," or "Next exit on the right" give the driver the basic direction, and a visual LCD moving map with a directional arrow, located high on the center console, provides detailed information on street names, turning instructions and driving distances. Geographic data is stored on a hard disc, making it easy and economical to program the system for a new location, or to update mapping information. The navigation system also provides information and directions to local restaurants, theaters and points of interest.

The latest evolution of the Acura Navigation System, available only in the TL, incorporates many improvements to the system that make it even easier to use, and more versatile. The new larger, six-inch-wide color LCD display now has a picture-in-picture capability, so you can see the "big picture" map and get detailed turning instructions simultaneously. The new system will also display your current position at any time, and a balloon function instantly shows the address of any location you select on the map. You can also search for selected points of interest simply by inputting its phone number. The touch-screen display can also be used to provide manual control over the TL's automatic air conditioning operation. The voice guidance control now has 11 different volume settings and automatically mutes the adio entertainment system front speakers momentarily when direction commands are given.

All freeway networks and major metropolitan areas in the U.S. are mapped by the system, with highly detailed information on anyone of seven regions loaded into the Navigation System by Acura dealers. The TL' s on-board database is updated annually (or when the car relocates to a new region) at no charge to the owner for the first two years. For the third year and thereafter, the owner pays a minimal charge for annual updates.

Audio System

With 180 watts of clean sound, the TL's standard Bose audio system has the power and quality to satisfy critical listeners. Built by Alpine, the large-format head unit has intuitive rotary knobs to control the most-used functions. It has built-in CD, cassette and AM/FM functions, and can be coupled with a dealer-installed trunk-mounted 6-disc CD changer that's available as an option. A printed antenna mounted in the top area of the rear window, eliminates the need for a traditional mast antenna.

A total of five Bose-engineered, fixed equalized speakers are located throughout the interior. A 6.5-in. diameter speaker is positioned in each of the four doors, with a 9.0-in. neodymium woofer mounted in the parcel shelf, driven by a devoted 100-watt amplifier.

Power Glass Moonroof

Another standard feature on the highly equipped TL, a new, improved glass moonroof with tilt-up and sliding action can be used to increase interior ventilation, or open fully for open-air motoring. Its thin, efficient design is a contributing factor in the TL's abundant head room.

Multiplex Data Bus

CPU-controlled functions in the TL such as the various warning systems, illumination intensity, intermittent wipers, power windows, the remote control security system, auto headlight system and more are divided among three separate CPUs. Communication among the CPUs is via a multiplex data bus, which requires considerably less wiring.

Comfort and Convenience

Offered in just one trim level,with a remarkably short options list, the TL has a formidable roster of standard comfort and luxury features.

Here are some of the more notable items:

  • Overhead sunglass storage compartment
  • Large cupholder in the console with a removable liner for easy cleaning
  • Illuminated two compartment center console, with internal power port and hidden storage area
  • Padded center armrest slides fore and aft for comfort
  • Soft-touch instrument panel and interior panels
  • Glove box has a damper-controlled door and interior light
  • 4-disc CD storage tray built into dash (when not equipped with navigation system)
  • Trunk opening switch on driver's door panel and main switch in glove compartment
  • Sliding sun visor extensions
  • Illuminated driver's power window switches
  • HomeLink ™ remote system operates three different devices
  • Speed-synchronized intermittent wipers
  • Dual cupholder built into rear fold-down armrest
  • Security system with remote keyless entry
  • Automatic day/night rearview mirror
  • Lockable trunk pass through
  • Amenity boxes for small items in front passenger-side door

Trunk Storage

With the more compact dimensions of the TL's new multi-link rear suspension, the trunk volume has increased in size from 13.8 cu. ft. to 14.3 cu. ft. A wide opening and low lift-over height eases loading and unloading. A lockable flip-down pass-through door to the passenger compartment expands utility further, when carrying long objects. A cargo net with multiple attach points makes it easy to restrain cargo. The jack is in a closed compartment on the right side of the trunk, with a tool box positioned nearby. A storage compartment is positioned on the left side of the trunk. A convenient hook just above allows plastic grocery bags to be secured in place. A tether with hook allows the trunk floor to be secured in the raised position for convenient access to the spare tire.

Acura Interior Accessories

Along with a full line of exterior accessories for the TL, Acura dealers also offer wood accents for the TL's interior. A genuine Burlwood shift knob and wood-grained meter panel complement the TL's standard woodgrain accents on the sides of the center console and door panels.



Omnidirectional Collision Safety

The TL is engineered as a total safety package with features designed to help in accident avoidance, to help protect the passengers in the event a collision is unavoidable, and to provide excellent security from theft or vandalism.

The best form of safety engineering is the type that prevents an accident from occurring in the first place. On that front, the TL brings a variety of technologies to bear.

The following safety features assist in accident avoidance:

  • Standard traction control
  • Standard ABS disc brakes
  • Improved steering linearity
  • Improved maximum lateral cornering adhesion
  • HID headlights for improved visibility
  • Automatic day/night rear view mirror
  • Electrically heated side-view mirrors
  • Speed-synchronized windshield wiper system
  • 298.3-degrees of outward visibility

Should an accident prove unavoidable, the TL protects its occupants with carefully orchestrated crash energy attenuation strategies developed on a super computer. The strength required to meet worldwide safety regulations was designed into the TL from the earliest stages of its development. In frontal impacts, straight-section frame box rails with large cross-sections feed impact energy directly into the main frame structure, without the need for stiffeners at changes in cross section. To exceed now 2002 Federal head-impact safety regulations, the TL's interior has energy absorbing roof-pillar garnishes and roof lining designed to help reduce injury to the occupants.

To better deal with offset-impact energy, reinforcements are placed at the roof side rails, side sills, A-pillars, and front and side frame members.

To protect against side impacts, the B-pillars are stiffened, a substantial cross member runs transversely across the floor pan, a tubular brace connects the two A-pillars inside the instrument panel, a bulkhead is positioned at the back of the passenger cabin, and the rear doors have special catcher mechanisms to restrict intrusion into the passenger compartment.

The doors have special reinforcements for side impact; twin side impact beams are placed in the front doors, with single beams in the rear doors. All four doors have a stamped steel stiffening structures at the tops of the door panels, as well as impact absorbing door lining pads positioned near the occupants.

The TL's key crash protection technologies are:

  • Dual airbag supplemental restraint system (SRS)
  • Side-impact protection
  • Rear door catchers to restrict intrusion
  • Door panel stiffening structure
  • Door lining pad structure
  • Highly efficient energy-absorbing roof pillar garnishes and roof lining that exceed 2003 Federal head-impact safety regulations
  • Built-in child seat top tether anchors
  • 5 mph bumpers

Personal security is another critical aspect of overall safety. With an immobilizer system that employs a special ignition key with a built in transponder, the fuel injection system is immobilized unless the proper key is inserted in the ignition switch.

Security technologies built into the TL are:

  • Immobilizer igntion lock
  • Theft-deterrent security system
  • Tamper-resistant door latches
  • Central door locking
  • Security system with remote keyless entry

1999 Acura TL - Chassis


Design goals for the TL chassis centered on enhancing its sporting performance while preserving its luxury feel. These seemingly contradictory needs required a clean sheet apporach to design, embodied by the Acura/Honda Midsize Global Platform. This new-generation front-drive platform combines the packaging efficiency and performance of a transversely-mounted front-drive powertrain with Acura's latest thinking on suspension and chassis architecture. Built on a unique underbody assembly 95 mm shorter than that of the previous TL, the new TL is 30 mm longer overall and larger inside by every significant measure than the car it replaces.

Chassis architecture of the TL reflects the pursuit of further luxury refinement while simultaneously advancing handling characteristics. The TL employs isolated front and rear subframes, and carries its engine on vacuum-controlled, front and rear hydraulic mounts. The newly designed double wishbone suspension has geometry refinements that significantly improve the TL's response to steering input, and its ultimate handling limits. Engineered to deliver a reduction in understeer at the limit of adhesion, the new chassis rewards the enthusiast driver with a more neutral, responsive sporting platfonn. Cornering grip is enhanced as well, with larger diameter 16-inch wheels that are stopped by a newly upgraded ABS disc brake system with larger front discs and more rigid front calipers.

The net effect of these far reaching changes is a substantial improvement in the car's handling and braking feel, and maximum cornering grip. The New TL delivers a more spirited driving experience and has higher ultimate limits than the car it replaces.

Here are the key areas of advancement to the 1999 TL chassis:

Ride and handling

  • Refined geometry double-wishbone front suspension
  • New 5-link double-wishbone rear suspension with refined geometry
  • Straightened rear suspension toe curve
  • Tire and wheel diameter increased from 15 to 16 inches
  • Rear suspension pillow joints added for better control of side-force steer (stability) and smoothness (ride comfort)
  • Lower roll center geometry and steering enhancements improve linearity of steering feel
  • Rubber-bushing isolated box-section front subframe
  • Rubber-bushing isolated rear subframe
  • Vacuum-controlled, hydraulic front and rear engine mounts


  • Enlarged front discs along with a drum-in-disc rear design allow separation of service and parking brake systems for superior linearity of brake action


  • Vehicle-speed sensitive power steering with improved feel
  • Rubber coupling in steering column improves shock isolation and maintains linearity


  • Standard traction control
  • Standard anti-lock disc brakes
  • Improved steering linearity
  • Improved maximum lateral cornering adhesion

Front Suspension

All Acura passenger cars employ double wishbone suspension for the precise control of wheel motion it affords. For the new TL, Acura engineers have redrafted the layout ofthe front suspension to take advantage of the
stiffness of the new front subframe. The repositioned suspension anns deliver altered suspension geometry; the TL's roll center has been lowered by 36 mm, to 57 mm, a contributing factor to the car's more responsive handling and improved handling linearity. A strut tower bar also helps maintain precise suspension geometry during cornering. Relative to the previous generation TL, the new car rides on firmer coil springs and retuned dampers with higher compression and rebound damping rates.

Rear Suspension

To satisfy the conflicting demands placed on the TL's rear suspension, which includes offering sporty handling yet a smooth ride without intruding on interior trunk space, Acura designers completely redesigned the car's rear suspension.The new five-link system is much more compact, a factor that accounts for a significant amount of the TL's newfound interior and trunk space.

The compact high-tension steel suspension links reduce weight, and carry the rear wheels through a wheel path that's angled rearward to improve bump compliance. The new geometry also provides a much straighter toe curve, meaning that during suspension motion, there's controlled "rear steer" taking place. Pillow joints are also applied to better control side-force steer while reducing component friction to improve ride comfort. The rear suspension's roll center has also been lowered slightly relative to the previous TL. As in the front suspension, rear spring rates have been increased and dampers recalibrated to improve the TL' s handling during aggressive maneuvering.

Front and Rear Subframes

The TL's chassis rigidity and NVH benefits from its new front and rear subframes. In front, a perimeter frame consisting of a front member, side members and a rear bulkhead beam, is used to form a very strong structure that contributes greatly to overall chassis stiffness and frontal impact crush resistance.

Like the front subframe, the new rear subframe forms a large perimeter frame and is made up of large cross section members and smaller stringerswhich locate the rear suspension and also house the fuel tank. Both subframes are mounted to the body with rubber isolators that help dampen vibration by as much as 5 dB in the low- and mid-frequency ranges.

Hydraulic Engine Mount

To further isolate the cabin from vibration, the new 3.2-liter engine is mounted to the subframe with two electronically controlled, hydraulic engine mounts and a side stopper mount. The hydraulic mounts are tuned to help minimize vibration throughout the operating range by controlling fluid transfer between two hydraulic chambers in the mount, thereby changing the damping frequency of the mount to help counter any engine vibration.


Given the TL's lofty design goals, its steering must strike a balance between the isolation expected of a fine luxury car, and the immediate, intuitive response of an accomplished sports sedan. Both ends are served by the TL's speed-sensitive power steering. With the assist modulation based on vehicle speed, the effort is light during low speed maneuvering, then gets progressively heavier as speed builds to foster a feeling of accuracy and security.

To insulate the driver from road harshness without degrading steering precision, a rubber coupling is positioned in the bottom end of the steering column.

Upgraded ABS Braking System

With the upgrade to 16-inch wheels, the TL has also received larger-diameter ventilated front disc brakes. Measuring out at 11.8 inch (300 mm), the new discs make a significant improvement in braking power and fade resistance. New front calipers are 15% more rigid than their predecessors, resulting in a marked imrpovement in braking crispness and pedal feel. With system-wide tuning of the brake components, the new TL has significantly more linear brake pedal action, with a more predictable effort gradient as the pedal is applied.

By separating the service and parking brakes on the rear wheels, further improvements in brake performance were realized. The new drum-in-disc brake dsign employs the disc portion of the unit for braking while underway, while the drum is used only for the parking brake function. The parking brake is now operated with a push on/off type floor pedal.

Wheels and Tires

Given the new TL's enhanced sporting side, upgraded wheels and tires are a natural advancement. Though tire width has remained constant at 205 mm, tire aspect ratio has been reduced to 60%, while tire and wheel diameter has been increased to 16 inches. The width of the cast aluminum wheels remains 6.5 inches, though the wheel styling has been changed to a new seven spoke dsign. The new tire and wheel fittment, combined with the far reaching benefits of the TL's new platform and suspension have increased maximum skid-pad adhesion substantially, from 0.72 to 0.77 lateral g.

1999 Acura TL - Accessories

  • 16-inch mesh-style alloy wheels
  • CD changer
  • Full nose mask
  • Half nose mask
  • Floor mats
  • Cargo mat
  • Moonroof visor
  • Splash guards
  • Fenderwell trim
  • Rear wing spoiler
  • Car cover
  • Ski sleeve
  • Gold emblem kit
  • Wood shift knob
  • Performance body kit