2008 Acura TL - Body

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OVERVIEW

For 2008, the Acura TL's exterior is both emotional and athletic. With the Type-S, visual cues were incorporated to distinguish it from other TLs. All the updates were done while maintaining the high build quality, durability and resale value that Acura buyers expect.

DESIGN CONCEPT

The TL was designed to embody aggressiveness and power, agility and endurance. Designers began with the stance of the vehicle-how it looks and sits on its suspension. They worked towards a look of poise, with a promise of agility and power. The contrast of muscular tension and angular lines flows through the sheet metal, with its long wheelbase, short front and rear overhangs, and wide track setting the tone.

The TL design team was, in part, influenced by "Bauhaus" styling themes. Founded in 1919, Bauhaus was the first and most famous German design house. Bauhaus set a template for European design with the now-famous maxim, "Form follows function." That classic design logic meshes well with already established Acura design philosophies.

After receiving updates last year, the TL style could more accurately be called "Bauhaus with attitude." Careful attention was paid to give the Type-S its own distinctive and even more aggressive look. Black chrome trim used around the car is an excellent example of the difference between the TL and the Type-S. TL design features include:

Front

  • Aggressive front end
  • Wide stance
  • Short, dramatic bumper offset
  • Raked windshield
  • Strong style lines at the outer edges of the hood

Side

  • Minimized wheel arch to tire distance
  • Concave style line links front and rear marker lights
  • Mirror integrated turn signal lights
  • Sporty wheel designs
  • Integrated body color door handles

Rear

  • Wide stance
  • High, short rear deck lid
  • Short dramatic bumper offset
  • Generous roof span for wide moonroof and maximum head clearance
  • Highly efficient trunk room
  • Minimal gap between exhaust finishers and rear valence

Type-S Exclusive Features

  • Black chrome grille trim (satin chrome on TL)
  • Bumper with black chrome crossbar and horizontal mesh trim
  • Pronounced "splitter" lip on lower front valance
  • 10-spoke alloy wheels in Dark Euro Silver
  • Smoked rear side marker lights
  • Wider, aggressive side sill moldings
  • Exclusive rear bumper with trunk lid spoiler diffuser
  • Unique lower valance
  • Large diameter quad exhaust tips
  • Black chrome taillight trim
  • Type-S logo

RIGIDITY

Although adding stiffness to a vehicle's unit body improves road holding and makes the driver feel more connected to the car, it also can add weight. In the 2008 TL, ample use of high-tensile steel accounts for a strong unit body structure that is also light. A front shock tower brace, a rigid front bulkhead, a roof stiffener that extends to the C-pillar and a rear speaker shelf box section also contribute to stiffness.

HIGH-TENSILE STEEL

High-tensile steel was used for 48-percent of the TL's body. Even though the forming process is similar to that used for standard steel, the molecular composition of high-tensile steel allows it to be stronger after forming. Parts can therefore be made thinner and lighter while maintaining strength.

AERODYNAMICS

Design and engineering objectives for the TL required aerodynamic creativity. The challenge was to allow stylists to craft the TL front end as powerfully and emotionally as they wanted, without impeding the airflow essential for engine operation. Moreover, crash safety, high-speed stability, reduced wind noise, and high fuel economy were essential.

Achieving the desired exterior styling required that most of the cooling air come from under the front of the car. Several different polypropylene panels enhance underbody aerodynamic performance. These lightweight and durable panels include a curved valance below the front fascia. Air attaches to its smooth radius at highway speeds and is directed into the radiator. The center section of the valance bends out of the way if the TL encounters a curb or other obstruction. Improved brake cooling strakes were introduced into the front valance as well.

Other aerodynamic elements include a sleek A-pillar shape, front and rear deflectors, an engine undercover, and a rear floor cover. These improvements benefit fuel economy, reduce wind noise, and improve high-speed stability. Additionally, the TL Type-S trunk lid spoiler helps reduce lift to promote enhanced high speed stability.

WHEEL ARCH GAPS

Minimizing the visual gap between the edges of the tires and the wheel arches was an important design goal. To retain a wide wheel track with these narrow gaps, the TL has a special fender flange design that allows the tires to sweep up and inside without making contact during suspension movement.

MASS REDUCTION

Reducing the TL curb weight was a matter of high priority for Acura. Despite a comprehensive array of technology and the use of insulating materials to promote an even quieter and more luxurious cabin, strict control over component weight has kept the TL to 3623 pounds. The TL Type-S with the Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic weighs 3674 pounds, with the 6-speed model coming in at only 3559 pounds.

POWER GLASS MOONROOF

The TL's 30.7-inch wide moonroof lends a tremendous open feeling to the car, and it features the convenience of one-touch opening and closing and an auto-reverse safety feature.

The overhang of the moonroof panel edge into the opening is a scant 1.6 inches when it is fully opened. The moonroof itself is virtually flush, reducing the chance of wind noise and a special flush-type seal further promotes quietness.

HID (HIGH-INTENSITY DISCHARGE) HEADLIGHTS

The TL headlights feature Xenon HID high and low beams, as well as daytime running lights (DRLs). These HID high/low function is made possible by a shutter device that mechanically controls the light output of the HID unit. When the driver selects high beam, an electric solenoid in the headlight moves a shutter forward, opening up a greater reflector area inside the headlight. When the lights are operated on low beam, the shutter repositions to act as a cut-off to keep the lighted area closer to the vehicle. The TL headlights dramatically increase the illuminated area versus non-HID beams, thus proving considerably more effective at long range. The fog lamps have been moved from the headlight assembly and are now integrated into the lower bumper.

LED LIGHTING

Extensive use of light emitting diodes (LEDs) provides a high-tech image for side and rear lighting. LEDs are used for the front side marker lights, Center High Mount Stop Lamp (CHMSL), taillights, and rear side marker lights.

LED arrays provide uniform lighting and a unique, modern look. They also have a quicker turn-on time and a projected service life four times longer than normal automotive bulbs. LED is also brighter, it uses less energy, and it produces less heat than incandescent bulbs.

The TL's rear taillights feature clear outer covers and red inner lenses. Standard TL models have the two elements separated with a red chrome extension, while the Type-S features a black chrome bar between the two.

5 MPH BUMPERS

The Acura TL uses a highly efficient Xenon thermoplastic energy absorber with a high-strength steel reinforcement beam that absorbs 80-percent of low-speed crash energy. This feature allowed designers to reduce the overhang of the bumper, while also reducing the weight and repair costs. Both the front and rear bumpers meet the federal government's 2.5 mph regulation, even when tested at 5 mph.

NOISE, VIBRATION & HARSHNESS (NVH) CONTROL

An assortment of NVH measures includes advanced aerodynamic design, the first U.S.-market use of automotive acoustic windshield glass with shade band, insulating panels under the hood as well as inside the trunk and the fenders.

Key NVH areas include:

Acoustically tuned glass windshield

Since its 2004 introduction, the TL's windshield has been made of 4.7 mm thick acoustic glass, which consists of two layers of safety glass, separated by a thin acoustic resin center. Representing the first time that acoustic glass with a shade band had been applied to a luxury vehicle in North America, the windshield reduces road noise on smooth asphalt significantly in higher frequency ranges. To reduce noise intrusion through the side glass, the front and rear movable door glass is 5 mm thick.

Thinsulate

Patented by 3M, Thinsulate™ insulation was developed for thermal applications but it is also ideal for noise reduction. Thinsulate™ is crushable and can be used in tight-clearance areas. In the TL it is used behind the door liners, rear seat side garnishes, center console, rear seatback, and front and rear pillar garnishes. It is also used under the instrument panel, under the parcel shelf, and inside the front and rear fenders.

Trunk

Engineers treated the trunk as an acoustic package, containing the speaker array and trunk hinges and springs in a rigid box structure. This design improves audio bass performance, reduces interior noise levels, enhances the appearance of the trunk interior, and eliminates the chance that belongings will be damaged by a speaker or hinge.

NVH reduction items

  • Aluminum-alloy front subframe
  • Outside mirrors with full seals
  • 5 mm side glass
  • Hood insulator
  • Door-handle sealing
  • Flush-mount moonroof

Aluminum-alloy front subframe

Besides its low mass, the TL aluminum-alloy front subframe reduces "starting boom" (resonance noise). The frame has been re-designed with new transmission mounts and bushings for a more comfortable ride.

Melt Sheet

The careful application of a high-density melt sheet makes a huge reduction in high-frequency sound. Testing results show that it reduces the vibration of the TL floor panels from approximately 500Hz and above, decreasing noise inside the vehicle.

Active Noise Cancellation™

To further reduce cabin noise, the TL Type-S uses Active Noise Cancellation. The system uses a pair of cabin-mounted microphones and the car's audio system to cancel out low-frequency noise, greatly reducing cabin "boom." More information about Active Noise Cancellation is available in the Interior section.

POWER WINDOWS

The TL's driver and front passenger windows feature an auto-open and auto-close feature. It also incorporates an anti-pinch safety feature. The glass is 5 mm thick to reduce cabin noise.

EXTERIOR SIDE MIRRORS

A side mirror housing needs to be small and aerodynamic to reduce turbulence-without compromising mirror area. To reduce the housing size, engineers devised a way to hold the mirror element from behind instead of at the sides, and carefully controlled the gap between the mirror element and housing to further reduce turbulence. Blue-tinted mirrors also reduce eyestrain in bright conditions. In addition, the mirror housing incorporates the turn signals.

Engineers also measured the airflow traveling through the channel between the A-pillar and the side mirror. By designing this channel in an expanding V-shape, the air actually decelerates (rather than accelerates) as it moves across the glass. This concept helps keep the air from tumbling across the side glass, reducing high- and mid-frequency noise.

The mirrors have been positioned forward, away from the window glass, to further reduce wind noise while increasing the driver's side view. A reverse tilt function automatically tilts down either the left or right side mirror when the transmission is shifted into reverse. This is a driver-selectable function may be turned on or off via the mirror adjuster control if desired.

DOORS & LATCHES

To resist parking lot dings and dents, the TL door skins are made from special 340H high-tensile steel. This bake-hardened steel has much greater resistance to bending and a higher work-hardening threshold than conventional steel, making the door skins much more resistant to dents and dings. The door skins are 10- to 15-percent stronger with 50-percent better permanent deform resistance than conventional steel.

Door fit is a matter of extraordinary precision on the TL. The gap is just 3.5 mm at the leading edge of the front doors, 4 mm between the doors, and 3.5 mm at the trailing edge of the rear doors.

Acura precisely refined the door closing sound on the TL. A door sash structure, manufactured with a laser-welded blank, increases the rigidity of the door sashes and reduces objectionable high frequency noise as the doors are closed. A unique door lock structure absorbs sounds caused by the latch, eliminating objectionable noise.

BODY TRIM

The aggressive and sporty styling is subtly enhanced on the TL, and aggressively enhanced on the Type-S. Satin chrome trim graces the new, larger grille on the TL, while black chrome trim is found on the Type-S. The B-pillar and roof seam trim are high gloss black, while aluminum door sill plates garnished with "TL" or "Type-S" laser-etched on them provide a finished appearance.

EXHAUST TIPS

The TL's exhaust has bright trapezoidal finisher tips integrated into the rear styling. The tips are inset far enough to allow adequate bumper movement in the event of a low-speed collision, but are positioned far enough back to allow exhaust gases to pass beyond the bumper. Special multi-axis rubber mounts control the exhaust tip placement, allowing a gap of only 0.8-inch between the tip and fascia. A high heat-resistance polypropylene garnish is clipped to the bumper to protect it from heat.

On the Type-S, the trapezoidal exhaust tips are replaced with two round chrome tips on each side, emphasizing the sporty role the Type-S plays.

EXTERIOR PAINT

The 2008 TL is available in six pearl and three metallic exterior colors. Two new metallic colors debut for 2008: Polished Metal Metallic and Bold Beige Metallic. The exterior painting process begins when the steel body receives a phosphate bath to completely clean it of oils and film after welding is complete. This is followed by an electrodeposition (ED) primer bath, where the unit body is electrically charged to better attract the primer. After baking the primer, the color coat is applied, followed by a protective clear coat.

ACCESSORIES

The TL and TL Type-S have a wide range of dealer installed exterior accessories available through Acura dealers. The accessories are factory warranted for 4 years/50,000 miles when purchased with the vehicle.

Individual exterior accessories include:

  • A-Spec performance package
  • 17-inch and 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
  • Wheel locks
  • Sport shocks and springs
  • Back-up sensor
  • Door edge guards
  • Bodyside protectors
  • Front and rear splash guards
  • Car cover
  • Nose mask
  • Door window visor
  • Moonroof visor
  • Engine block heater
  • Front under spoiler
  • Side under spoiler
  • Rear under spoiler
  • Type-S rear decklid spoiler (only for standard TL, not Type-S)
  • Unique rear spoiler wing (not available for Type-S)
  • Gold emblem kit

Accessories are also available in the following dealer-installed packages:

Aero Kit
Includes front, side and rear under body spoilers

Protection Package
Includes wheel locks, splashguards, and trunk tray

Wheel Package
Includes 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and tires

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