You have to hand it to Acura.

At the launch of the Acura TLX on the eve of the New York auto show, they pretty much came clean and admitted it was time to inject a little life into their cars.

Sure; it’s great their MDX and RDX SUVs sell in droves, but for a company that once made a name for itself by delivering fun, somewhat affordable and good-looking sport coupes (remember the Integra Type-R?) it’s been a slow burn.

Enter the refreshed 2018 TLX sedan, which gets a much-needed shot of life courtesy of something called “A-Spec.”

We’ve seen the moniker before – it’s been offered as a trim package for the ILX – but never has it had such a comprehensive effect on a model.

For the TLX, the turn to A-Spec means more aggressive looks courtesy of special wheels, bumpers, and subtle body additions, as well as sport-tuned suspension bushings and springs. In short, it’s more than just a fancy graphics package and it’s added some nice flair to the package as a whole. Especially the wheels, which sport a tantalizing grey finish and stand a proud 19 inches tall.

There’s even dual tailpipes sprouting from a rear diffuser, which is not something I would ever picture fitting on a modern Acura sedan.

Inside, only two colours are offered in A-Spec trim: red leather and black leather. That’s all, and it shows that Acura is really sticking their neck out with this car.

Unfortunately, there isn’t that much more that’s been changed when it comes to beneath-the-skin stuff; two engines are offered (both are available with the A-Spec treatment) and while Acura hasn’t yet revealed the specs, that fact alone suggests they haven’t changed much since last year, meaning a likely 206 hp for the four-cylinder, and 290 hp for the V6.

Power will be transferred either to the fronts or all four wheels through the 9-speed auto that debuted on the pre-facelift car.

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As much as Acura talks about developing a sportier car, however, the lion’s share of sales are likely still going to lean towards luxury buyers.

In that light, Acura has ensured that the TLX remains well-equipped, offering an unparalleled suite of active safety features at base. Road-departure mitigation, low-speed follow, active lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise are all standard, which is not something that can be said for any other vehicle in the segment.

On the infotainment front, the TLX’s Multi-Use Display has also been updated, adding Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, as well as faster native interface.

The 2018 Acura TLX goes on sale later this summer, and we expect pricing to be announced next month.