Acura Automobiles: 2012 Acura TSX

The TSX has long been one of Acura’s most popular models. As an all-new, clean sheet design for 2009, the automotive media was immediately impressed and TSX sales were strong. Thanks to a great mix of styling, sporty performance, luxury appointments, good fuel efficiency and outstanding value, the TSX has remained the volume leader within its segment according to Global Insight.

Rather than resting on its laurels, for 2011 Acura debuted an all-new TSX variant— the TSX Sport Wagon. With crisp styling and added utility, the TSX Sport Wagon was a smart alternative for those considering a compact SUV. Besides offering better fuel economy, the TSX Sport Wagon provides cargo area comparable to that of many CUVs. Plus, the TSX Sport Wagon offers an available power actuated tailgate, a multi-configurable rear cargo area (with numerous hidden storage areas) and a low lift-over height allowing for easy loading. In today’s tough economic environment, the time is perfect to offer a smarter choice for buyers— one without sacrifice or that is a compromise for the needs of today’s savvy buyer.

Once again, Acura has not left well-enough alone as for 2012 is yet another new TSX variant— the TSX Special Edition. Designed to evoke the fun-to-drive 4-cylinder Acuras of the past, the TSX Special Edition will add even more sportiness to the TSX lineup thanks to numerous exterior and interior upgrades for Acura’s entry-level sedan.

The 2012 TSX Special Edition package consists of numerous upgrades to the exterior including a more aggressive front spoiler, a new rear bumper fascia, unique side sills and an exclusive “Special Edition” badge on the trunklid. In addition, the TSX’s 17×7.5-inch, 5-spoke aluminum wheels feature a polished finish with dark grey background, unique to the Special Edition model. The TSX Special Edition package makes use of Acura’s acclaimed K24 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and will be available with either the close-ratio 6-speed manual or Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmissions.

Inside, the TSX Special Edition makes use of sport-minded appointments including exclusive seating surfaces with perforated black Lux Suede® inserts with red backing. Unique red stitching (used for the seats, steering wheel and the shift knob) combines with red lighting for the instrument cluster gauges, overhead lighting and footwell lighting. Adding more appeal to the driver’s footwell are aluminum pedal covers with a race-inspired look. Rounding out the Special Edition’s interior upgrades is the use of bright silver plating for the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters along with black headliner material (standard TSX have grey headliner material).

Other TSX updates for 2012 include even more rear cargo space for the Sport Wagon model. Replacing the safety spare tire with a new tire repair kit allows the under-floor storage area to be significantly enlarged. As a result, the total rear cargo area increases to 66.2 cubic feet— a gain of 5.7 cubic feet. Consequently, the TSX Sport Wagon is now the leader in rear cargo area as compared to the competitors in its class.

The 2012 TSX remains fun to drive thanks to two powerful engine choices; a spirited 2.4L inline four cylinder (available on TSX Sedan, Sport Wagon and Special Edition) and a torquey 3.5L V-6 (available on TSX Sedan). Both engines recently received numerous improvements to reduce internal operating friction which help improve fuel economy. As a result, the friction reduction measures are a significant element to improve fuel economy as (for example) there are improvements in city, highway and combined fuel economy for both the 2.4L I-4 and the 3.5L V-6 versus the earlier designs of the TSX engines.


With a price point typically in the high $20,000 to mid $30,000 range, the “entry premium” segment represents the gateway to luxury for over a dozen automakers. Customers will find the Acura TSX positioned alongside the Audi A4, BMW 3-series, Infiniti G, Lexus IS, Mercedes-Benz C-class and Saab 9-3. With the entry to a luxury brand comes high expectations, and the TSX – together with the award-winning Acura dealership experience – is ready to meet all of them. For 2012, with the new Special Edition model the TSX further improves its appeal for those looking for additional sportiness.

While the TSX sedan with 2.4L I-4 competes with vehicles such as the Audi A4 2.0T, BMW 328i, Infinity G25, Lexus IS 250, and the Mercedes C300, the TSX V-6 targets even more performance minded entry luxury sedans. The TSX V-6 is a strong consideration for customers who will shop the BMW 335i, Lexus IS 350 and Mercedes C350. And with the availability of the TSX Sport Wagon, it also competes with the Audi A3 and A4 Avant, BMW 328i Sports Wagon, Saab 9-3 SportCombi and Volvo V50.


The 2012 TSX is designed to appeal to young professionals who are previous TSX owners, conquests from other luxury brands such as Audi, BMW and Lexus, as well as to customers whose income and tastes are moving upscale. Demographically, TSX buyers are expected to range in age from 28 to 34 years old and hold a college degree. These customers are split nearly evenly between male and female, and slightly less than half are married. They are image seekers and will appreciate the styling, technical allure and total performance that the TSX offers – while also valuing the outstanding customer treatment that owners have come to enjoy at Acura dealerships.

The buyer for the TSX V-6 is expected to be older (approximately 38 years old) than the TSX buyer, 80-percent male, 60-percent married, with a household income of about $110,000. However, remaining the same is that the TSX V-6 buyer will be extremely brand conscious and eclectic in their tastes and interests.

Buyers for the TSX Sport Wagon are expected to be Gen X individuals, slightly older than TSX Sedan owners who have young families. A secondary buyer for the TSX Sport Wagon will likely be active lifestyle empty nesters.



TSX Sedan and TSX Sport Wagon

  • 2.4-liter, DOHC, i-VTEC® inline four-cylinder engine
  • 201 horsepower at 7,000 rpm
  • 170 lb-ft of torque at 4,300 rpm (5 AT); 172 lb-ft of torque at 4,300 rpm (6 MT)
  • i-VTEC® “intelligent” valve-control system combines Variable Timing Control™ (VTC™) with VTEC®
  • Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system
  • Computer-controlled Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI)
  • Direct ignition system
  • Lightweight aluminum pistons and high-strength connecting rods
  • EPA TIER 2 – BIN 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV emissions compliance
  • Cylinder-head integrated rear-facing exhaust ports, close-coupled catalytic converter
  • EPA estimated mileage: 21/29/24 mpg* (city/highway/combined, 6 MT, sedan)
  • EPA estimated mileage: 22/31/26 mpg* (city/highway/combined, 5 AT, sedan)
  • EPA estimated mileage: 22/30/25 mpg* (city/highway/combined, 5 AT, wagon)
  • Maintenance Minder™ system
  • 100,000 mile tune-up interval**

TSX V-6 (Sedan only)

  • 3.5-liter, SOHC, VTEC® V-6 aluminum engine
  • 280 hp at 6,200 rpm and 254 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm
  • 11.2:1 compression ratio
  • Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC®)
  • Dual-Stage induction system with lightweight magnesium intake manifold
  • Cold-air intake system
  • Integrated exhaust manifolds cast directly into the cylinder heads
  • High-flow exhaust system with dual tips
  • Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system
  • Computer-Controlled Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI)
  • Direct Ignition System
  • Detonation/knock control system
  • High-flow close-coupled catalytic converters plus under floor catalytic converter
  • High-capacity 32-bit RISC processor emissions control unit
  • Meets EPA TIER 2 – BIN 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV emissions standards
  • EPA estimated mileage: 19/28/23 mpg* (city/highway/combined, 5AT)
  • Maintenance Minder™ system
  • 100,000 mile tune-up intervals**

*Based on 2012 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.
**Does not apply to fluid and filter changes.

Sequential SportShift 5-Speed Automatic Transmission

  • Sequential SportShift operation via steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters
  • 5-position straight-style shift gate mounted within center console
  • Grade Logic Control System
  • Drive-by-Wire™ cooperative control
  • Lock-up torque converter

6-Speed Manual Transmission

  • Close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission
  • Compact, highly rigid, lightweight aluminum transmission case and bellhousing
  • Multi-cone gear synchronizers
  • Short–throw shifter linkage
  • Compact, low-inertia clutch assembly
  • Short-stroke clutch pedal


Design Styling

  • Keen-Edge design featuring recently revised (2010 model) front fascia, updated version of Acura’s signature grille, crisp body lines and unique rear body design for Sport Wagon model
  • Projector-style Xenon HID low beam and halogen high beam front headlights with integrated front fog lamps
  • Thin A-pillars for excellent forward visibility
  • Advanced aerodynamics with underbody covers
  • Wide trunk opening with low lift-over height (TSX sedan)
  • Large rear cargo area with power-operated rear tailgate (TSX Sport Wagon with Technology Package)


  • Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure
  • Frame rails positioned inside of floor pan for improved aerodynamics
  • Closed-channel cross-braced roof structure
  • A, B C-pillar separators
  • Rear bulkhead safety-cage structure (TSX sedan)
  • Continuous connection roof structure, hoop-style tailgate structure and one-piece rear frame structure (TSX Sport Wagon)

Wheels Tires

  • Five-spoke, 17×7.5-inch diameter aluminum wheels with Michelin Pilot P225/50R17 93V all-season tires (TSX sedan,TSX Sport Wagon and TSX Special Edition) with 2.4L I-4)
  • Split five-spoke, 18×8.0-inch diameter aluminum wheels with Michelin Pilot P235/45R18 94V all-season tires (TSX sedan with 3.5L V-6)

Steering, Suspension Brakes

  • Electric Power Steering (EPS)
  • Dual-mode suspension dampers
  • Double-wishbone front suspension; multi-link rear suspension
  • 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS and Brake Assist


  • Interior seating for five
  • Driver-oriented cockpit
  • Automatic headlight activation
  • Large, easy-to-read LED backlit analog instruments
  • Multi-Information Display (MID)
  • Dash-mounted electronic compass
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with fingertip controls
  • Tilt and telescopic steering column
  • Sport style seats with perforated leather-trimmed interior with contrast color stitching
  • 8-way power driver’s seat with adjustable lumbar support and 2-position memory
  • 4-way power adjustable passenger seat
  • Heated front seats
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control with air-filtration system
  • Climate controlled center console
  • Auto-dimming day/night rearview mirror
  • Keyless entry system with “quick vent” moonroof and window controls
  • Premium 7-speaker audio system with AM/FM tuner, CD player and XM® Radio
  • Active Sound Control noise cancellation system (TSX V-6)
  • Bluetooth® Audio
  • Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® cellular telephone interface
  • USB port connectivity (for iPod®, iPhone®, or removable mass storage device)
  • Auxiliary jack interface (for MP3 music players)
  • HomeLink® remote control system

Technology Package features

  • Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™, Zagat® restaurant information and rearview camera with gridlines
  • Full VGA color navigation screen
  • AcuraLink® Satellite Communication System
  • AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting™ (in available areas)
  • AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™ (in available areas)
  • Acura/ELS® Surround 415-watt Premium Audio System with 10-speakers, DVD-Audio, CD, DTS™, AM/FM radio, XM® Radio with Note function, 15 GB hard disk drive memory media storage, Song By Voice™ and Dolby® Pro Logic® II
  • GPS-linked, solar-sensing, dual-zone automatic climate control system
  • Remote operated power tailgate (TSX Sport Wagon)

Comfort Convenience

  • Power moonroof with one-touch operation
  • Reverse-gear linked passenger-side door mirror
  • Auto up/down front windows
  • Door-mounted electric trunk release button (TSX sedan)
  • Auto-locking fuel door


The 2012 Acura TSX features the following safety technologies as standard equipment:

Active safety systems

  • 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
  • Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control (Electronic Stability Control)
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with individual location and pressure indicators

Passive safety systems

  • Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure
  • 3-point seatbelts for all seating positions
  • Automatic tensioning system with integrated load limiters for front seatbelts
  • Dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags
  • Dual-chamber front seat side airbags
  • Side curtain airbags for all outboard seating positions
  • Active head restraints for front seats
  • Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) mounting system for rear seats


With the availability of a V-6 powered TSX, Acura filled a niche in its lineup between the four-cylinder TSX sport sedan and the TL performance luxury sedan.

First available in 2010, the TSX could be ordered with a 3.5L SOHC V-6 that develops 280 horsepower and 254 lb-ft of torque. The V-6 features VTEC® valvetrain control, a high 11.2:1 compression ratio and a dual-stage induction system contained within a lightweight magnesium intake manifold. For TSX use, the V-6 is tuned to deliver a more linear torque curve with emphasis on the rpm range most commonly used for day-to-day driving.

The 3.5L V-6 meets California’s stringent CARB LEV II ULEV emissions certification and delivers an EPA estimated fuel economy of 19 mpg in city driving and 28 mpg on the highway**.

Sporty performance, good fuel efficiency and low emissions are the hallmarks of the TSX’s all-aluminum DOHC i-VTEC® inline four-cylinder engine. Displacing 2.4 liters and producing 201 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque (6MT), the “K24” inline engine produces its useable power across a wide rpm range, while a broad torque curve further strengthens the engine’s pulling power at middle rpm levels. This allows the TSX to be responsive off the line, out of corners and when overtaking other vehicles.

The performance and flexibility of the 2.4L I-4 is credited to a high compression ratio, precise valve timing, and a high flow intake and exhaust system. Further credit also goes to the TSX’s i-VTEC® “intelligent” valve control system. Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC®) combines with Variable Timing Control™ (VTC™) to deliver excellent power. Likewise, a rear-mounted exhaust manifold layout, a close-coupled catalytic converter design and a Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) system that team to substantially reduce emissions levels, enabling the 2012 TSX to meet the EPA TIER 2 – BIN 5 and CARB LEV II Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) standards. Thanks in great part to friction reducing measures recently applied to the I-4 engine, both the city and highway fuel economy improved by 1 mpg with city/highway combined fuel economy improving by 2 mph (versus the 2010 TSX’s I-4 engine).

TSX customers who choose the spirited four-cylinder engine have a choice of two transmission styles as standard equipment— a 6-speed close-ratio manual or a Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic. The manual transmission features a short-throw shifter with a precise, light action that makes it highly rewarding to use. The manual transmission uses an aluminum case to reduce vehicle mass thus improving all-around performance and efficiency.

For TSX drivers who prefer a more relaxed driving experience, available is a sophisticated Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission that can be operated manually via steering wheel mounted racing inspired paddle shifters. The smooth shifting automatic is also fitted with intelligent features such as Grade Logic Control and Shift Hold Control, which make driving the TSX on hilly or winding roads more enjoyable.


The 2012 TSX features a wide and muscular body which translates into outstanding handling and performance. A wide body (72.4 inches), long wheelbase (106.5 inches) and overall length (185.6 inches) give the TSX sedan excellent ride quality and ample interior space for passengers. The TSX Sport Wagon features a slightly longer overall length (189.2 inches) and taller height (57.9 inches), but still retains the sporty driving characteristics of the TSX sedan.

The TSX uses Showa dual-mode suspension dampers, which provide superior suspension damping characteristics at both lower and higher damper speeds. The TSX employs Electric Power Steering (EPS) that delivers precise input during performance driving, with slightly different tuning for the Sport Wagon model.

Advanced techniques in body design and construction, such as the use of cross-braced roof structure and a strong rear bulkhead, yield a very rigid and vibration-resistant structure. Aerodynamic tailoring included the use of inside frame rails, comprehensive aerodynamic tailoring underneath the car, and the use of A, B and C-pillar separators— all of which give the TSX a quiet cabin even when on rough roads or at high speeds. The TSX’s slippery aerodynamics also helps fuel efficiency as well as high-speed stability, all while lowering emissions.


Functionality and refinement, luxury and style converge in the interior of the 2012 Acura TSX. Featuring a blend of sweeping shapes, a high level of standard comfort and convenience features, widespread use of premium materials and an available Technology Package, the TSX sports sedan offers an upscale, modern interior that customers have come to expect from Acura. For 2011, the interior received numerous improvements including revised styling for the center console, darker trim pieces, brightly finished door handles, an updated parking brake handle, new steering wheel garnishes along with contrasting-color stitching for the leather seats, door armrests and center console. Rear seat occupants will enjoy added comfort thanks to the addition of heating/cooling vents mounted at the rear of the center console.

First impressions are powerful, and an initial look inside the TSX reveals much about its character. From the precision crafted metal door sills to the satin-metal finish accents, from the leather-covered seats to the steering-wheel mounted controls, and from the premium 7-speaker audio system to the dual-zone automatic climate control, the TSX represents a merge of intelligent design and innovation. Bluetooth® connectivity is standard and includes HandsFreeLink® cellular telephone interface that makes communications easier while en route. The TSX’s Keen-Edgedesign blends perfectly with its range of electronic features in a way that makes the driving experience more satisfying.

Adding to the already impressive list of TSX standard equipment is the available Technology Package, which bristles with leading-edge electronics that make driving that much more efficient and enjoyable. The Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic™ and AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™, and the highly useful AcuraLink® Satellite Communication System are the centerpieces of the Technology Package. Also part of the Technology Package is a rear view camera that includes the availability of showing gridlines (driver can turn off function if desired) that help with alignment when backing up.

The navigation system features continuously updated traffic maps now covering 130 major metropolitan areas within the United States and Canada, and offers Traffic Rerouting™ to help navigate around slow-downs. A 60-gigabyte hard disk drive (HDD) for the navigation and audio systems offers impressive response time (much faster than the 2010 system) and the HDD offers the ability to download 15-gigabytes of personal music.

Also part of the available Technology Package is a 10-speaker premium audio system tuned by legendary recording engineer and producer Elliot Scheiner. The Acura/ELS Surround® Premium Audio System includes a Note function for XM® Radio that makes it easy to identify songs to recall at a later date. With push of a button, the Note function can capture 10 seconds each of up to 30 songs, along with text indicating song title, artist name and XM® Radio channel. The unique Song by Voice™ (SBV) feature allows the driver to select audio choices via voice activation, rather than having to remove a hand from the steering wheel.

Another benefit of the HDD navigation system is expanded Bluetooth functionality including more actions that can be made via interface dial rather than just using voice commands.

A TSX Sport Wagon with the available Technology Package is fitted with a power actuated tailgate that can be electronically activated using the key fob, by pressing a button on the driver’s door panel, or by pressing a button mounted on the bottom edge of the tailgate.

The TSX Sport Wagon features an even greater level of utility over the TSX sedan. Besides offering a generous 66.2  cu-ft of rear cargo area (making it the leader in its class), the wagon’s rear opening height of approximately 28-inches allows for the easy stowage of bulky items such as large boxes, furniture, bicycles, four full-size golf bags and even surfboards. And for 2012, thanks to a significant increase in the size (gaining 5.7 cubic feet additional space) of the under-floor storage area, even more cargo can be hidden out-of-site.


Providing an array of advanced safety features is among the highest priorities of the 2012 Acura TSX. Leading the way is the TSX’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure. ACE™ improves the dispersal of frontal crash energy via load-bearing frame structures that also better match the TSX with other vehicles of different sizes and with different bumper heights. In doing so, ACE™ helps reduce the frontal crash forces before they reach the passenger compartment.

Contributing to the safety performance of the TSX is a broad range of passive safety features, including six airbags (dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags, dual-chamber front seat side airbags, and side curtain airbags for outboard seating positions).

TSX driver and front passenger are further protected thanks to active front head restraints and front seatbelts with an integrated automatic tensioning system and load limiters. The rear seat features a Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) system with built-in lower anchors and ready-to-use tether attachment points that allow compatible child safety seats to be installed without using the vehicle’s seat belt system.

Exterior features designed to further improve safety include daytime running lights (DRL) along with pedestrian injury mitigation technologies such as a deformable hood panel, hood hinges and windshield-wiper pivots.

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