2002 Acura 3.2 TL -- Introduction

With the introduction of an all-new model in 1999, the Acura TL sedan earned glowing praise from the public and the automotive press alike, quickly establishing itself as a sales leader in the highly competitive near-luxury segment. For 2002, Acura reaffirms its position as a premier luxury nameplate with the release of an impressively updated 3.2 TL and the introduction of a new, high-performance 3.2 TL Type-S model.

Designed to thrill even the most demanding driving enthusiasts, the new TL Type-S combines class-leading technology and power with uncompromising luxury -- setting an exciting new standard in the luxury performance segment. Incorporating 24 valves, Variable Valve Timing and Electronic Lift Control (VTEC), and an innovative, dual-stage induction system, the 3.2-liter Type-S engine produces 260 horsepower. The 3.2 TL uses a 225-horsepower version of the 3.2-liter engine.

In addition to its impressive horsepower, the new TL Type-S also adds a sport-tuned suspension; V-rated all-season, high-performance tires on 17-inch alloy wheels; a standard Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system and a sporty cockpit treatment.

The TL features numerous other enhancements for 2002. A completely redesigned front end offers a leaner, more aggressive appearance while incorporating standard fog lights. The TL's taillights have also been redesigned for a cleaner look. Noise and vibration have been significantly reduced with improved door seals and new insulation in the doors.

Music aficionados will appreciate the new, in-dash 6-disc CD changer, which is standard in both TL models and replaces the previous single-disc player.

The improvements for 2002 build upon many of the TL's existing strengths. In addition to an interior more spacious than those in such competitors as the Lexus ES300 and BMW 3 Series, the TL provides a level of standard luxury, convenience, and safety features that is second to none. The result: for 2002, the Acura TL continues as the best-equipped, highest-value sedan in its class.

The 2002 model year TL is designed to provide:

  • A thrilling and refined driving experience
  • Large amounts of horsepower with superb engine smoothness
  • Athletic handling with solid, secure road feel and control
  • Clean, contemporary styling with a strong sporting flavor
  • An exceptionally spacious and luxurious interior crafted with the finest materials and featuring a broad array of standard conveniences
  • Outstanding safety features and engineering that blends accident-avoidance technologies with advanced impact-energy management and class-leading front and side air bag systems
  • Unparalleled value in the near-luxury segment

Under the rakish hood of the 2002 TL are two variants of Acura's 3.2-liter, 24-valve VTEC V-6 powerplant. The 3.2 TL's engine delivers 225 horsepower at 5600 rpm and a broad torque curve with peak output of 216 lb-ft. at 4700 rpm. The high-performance TL Type-S engine uses a dual-stage induction system and numerous other performance enhancements to boost horsepower to 260 at 6100 rpm. The Type-S engine's maximum 232 lb-ft. of torque is available between 3500 rpm and 5500 rpm.

Both engines in the 2002 TL feed their power to an electronically controlled 5-speed automatic transmission equipped with the Sequential SportShift' system. Similar to the transmission first unveiled in the exotic Acura NSX sports car, the 3.2 TL Sequential SportShift allows the driver to shift gears semi-manually simply by moving the shift lever fore or aft in a special SportShift gate. If the driver prefers, the transmission also offers the shifting convenience of a conventional automatic. Additionally, the transmission is equipped with Grade Logic Control programming for enhanced shifting smoothness and reduced gear "hunting" when climbing or descending steep grades.

Notably, the TL powertrain's impressive horsepower output does not come at the expense of vehicle emissions. Both the 3.2 TL and TL Type-S meet stringent Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) standards, while California models (3.2 TL only) comply with Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) standards.

The unit-body of the '02 TL is based on the Acura Global Midsize Platform (the same platform as the Acura CL coupe), which positions the front-drive powertrain in a transverse orientation for maximum cabin volume and optimum weight distribution. To reduce Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH), the front and rear suspension is carried on isolated subframes -- resulting in exceedingly low interior noise levels. New insulation materials in the doors provide additional noise isolation. Gap-filling foam in the side pillars helps seal the pillar cavities from further noise intrusions. Computer-designed cabin reinforcements and specially designed crumple zones in the front and rear help protect the passenger cabin in the event of an impact. The TL's fully independent, double-wishbone suspension system includes large wheels and tires (16 inches on the TL; 17 inches on the TL Type-S) for reassuringly secure handling. The compact, multi-link, double-wishbone rear suspension contributes to the exceptional spaciousness of the TL cabin and trunk.

The 2002 Acura TL provides plenty of room for both passengers and their cargo, thanks in part to a generous 108.1-inch wheelbase. With an interior totaling 110.8 cubic feet in volume, the TL is officially classified by the EPA in the midsize class. Most of the TL's competitors, in contrast, are classified as compact cars.

The automotive press and the public have praised the TL for its exceptionally high level of standard luxury equipment, and the 2002 edition continues in this class-leading tradition. From power, heated front seats to a power-glass moonroof, keyless entry system, and an in-dash, 6-disc CD changer, the TL is designed to provide a truly comprehensive array of fine amenities as standard equipment. The only factory option is the DVD-based Acura Satellite-Linked Navigation System.

The sporty, athletic demeanor of the TL has been enhanced for 2002 with a redesigned front end -- including a more aggressive grille, new headlights, and revised badging. Fog lights are now standard. The taillights have also been redesigned to enhance the already fluid, graceful lines of the TL. For 2002, the TL is available in an array of colors including Noble Green Pearl, Firepepper Red Pearl, Laguna Green Metallic, Monterey Blue Pearl, Naples Gold Metallic, Nighthawk Black Pearl, Satin Silver Metallic, Taffeta White, White Diamond Pearl, Anthracite Metallic, Aegean Blue Pearl, and Eternal Blue Pearl.

Large analog gauges and important switches are grouped around the driver for intuitive operation. A generous greenhouse provides superb visibility. Rich, hand-selected leather graces the seats and interior trim, while the cabin is further refined with elegant wood-patterned accents. Befitting its sportier role, the 3.2 TL Type-S cockpit is equipped with racy perforated-leather sport seats, a perforated-leather steering wheel and shifter, ebony wood-patterned trim, a Type-S emblem on the shift knob, and metallic-face gauges.

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