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Acura teams with Galpin to sport-up the 2015 TLX

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 14:30:00 EST

Acura used the SEMA Show this week to remind enthusiasts that it still considers itself a performance brand, teaming with Galpin Auto Sports to build a TLX that highlights Acura's sporting and racing heritage.

The TLX is painted a deep shade of blue, called Andaro, and the color will be used on the NSX supercar when it returns to the United States in 2015. It rolls on custom gray wheels with gunmetal and "liquid smoke" pieces, and they're wrapped in Pirelli P Zero rubber. The exterior design is punched up with a body kit that adds side skirts, a rear spoiler and new bumpers to create a more sinister look.

The TLX has a sport suspension kit with coilovers with 36-way adjustable damping. There's also brake upgrades and custom exhaust outlets.

It was complemented on the stand by Acura's Pirelli World Challenge TLX GT race car and another custom TLX loaded with extras from Acura's accessory catalog.

"We need to say that Acura's a performance brand." – Dave Marek

"We need to say that Acura's a performance brand," Dave Marek, global creative director of Acura design, told Autoblog.

Still, he realizes his brand struggles to stand out in the luxury segment, which is filled with V8-powered, rear-wheel drive sedans. But that doesn't stop him from being a little frustrated over Acura's perceived lack of performance.

"We have a legendary performance car, and we have another one coming. How can people not get this?" he said in reference to the NSX, which was built from 1990-2005 and returns to the US market next year.

This seeming lack-of-respect was the impetus for building and displaying the sporty TLX at the SEMA show. The project came together quickly, as Acura broached the idea of the car with the Galpin crew in September. They exchanged sketches and conjured a plan to create something that combines luxury and performance styling.

The TLX launched earlier this year as the replacement for the TSX and TL, and Acura is counting on it to attract new customers to its fold while replacing sedans that were less than compelling. And for Marek, a noted enthusiast, that meant bringing something to SEMA.

"We have this car – it's brand new – so let's do something with it!" he said. And with guys like him steering Acura, its future in performance looks promising.

By Greg Migliore

See also: Motorweek goes retro with '80s hot hatch shootout, Acura NSX prototype gets back on track, Honda discontinuing Euro Accord, no replacement in sight.