Acura's been keen to make the most of its mid-engined supercar, and it's been featuring the hybrid sports coupe in its recent print, television and digital ads alongside its more affordable offerings. The NSX's rub-off will finally become a bit more literal at next week's New York Auto Show, however, when the Japanese automaker unveils the 2020 Acura TLX PMC Edition seen here.
Looking like a particularly vibrant, the Valencia Red Pearl-painted PMC Edition takes its name from the brand's Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio, where final assembly of the model will be completed. (Regular TLX models are assembled at the nearby Marysville Auto Plant.) Just 360 examples of this special model we be built over six months starting this summer, with pricing estimated to be "around $50,000," according to a statement released Thursday.
Beyond the crazy-rich nano-pigment paint borrowed from the NSX, you might be wondering: What makes the 2020 Acura TLX PMC Edition so special? Starting with a conventional A-Spec all-wheel-drive model's body-in-white, master technicians will hand assemble each example at PMC away from the regular production line, including adding all of the driveline, chassis and electrical components. In fact, so much of the assembly work on these models will take place at PMC that the facility will be its manufacturing location of origin.
Each sedan then receives PMC-specific gloss-black 19-inch wheels with matching lug nuts, along with model-specific exterior finishes including a body-colored grille surround and 4-inch dual exhaust tips rendered in dark chrome. In an effort to add a bit more contrast and menace, the roof panel and door handles are finished in gloss black, as well.
Inside, TLX PMC Edition models are treated to black Milano leather seats incorporating black piping, red stitching and Alcantara faux-suede inserts. There's matching red stitching on elsewhere in the cabin, along with a serialized PMC dash plaque.
Uniquely, each TLX PMC Edition will be subjected to the same battery of quality-control tests as the NSX, which Acura says includes "dyno check, final paint inspection, rough-road simulation and water leak test." Once the ink is dry on that checklist, completed models will be wrapped in a unique PMC car cover and shipped to dealers via enclosed car carrier.
Interestingly, Acura has declined to make performance modifications to the TLX's V6 drivetrain, meaning that the PMC Edition relies on the same 3.5-liter direct-injected unit and nine-speed automatic that many ordinary TLX models come equipped with. In conventional TLX guise, at least, that combination is good for 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, and those same numbers will almost certainly apply here. (According to reports, Acura will exhume its Type S higher-performance model family soon, but it has yet to reveal which vehicle in its line will get the treatment first.)
If around $50,000 sounds a bit rich for a TLX with special paint and trimmings, know that it's not that far off the regular model's pricing. While a base, front-wheel-drive TLX with Acura's 2.4-liter I4 starts at an affordable $33,000 plus $995 for delivery, a comparable AWD A-Spec model with the optional V6 and Tech Package runs a shade over $46,000 before accessories. In other words, given the extra TLC and wicked paint job, the 2020 TLX PMC Edition may prove to be a sought-after upgrade for the brand's faithful. As it is, the TLX is quietly outselling higher-profile sport sedans like the and in the US.
Acura spokesman Chris Naughton confirms to Roadshow that the company won't have any sort of special reservation or ordering process for the new model; customers can simply go to their local dealer and express their interest.
If a sport sedan isn't your speed, Acura is already confirming that this special-edition TLX will be followed up by a PMC Edition of the company's popularcrossover SUV, and other models could be coming, too. "We designed the PMC not only to build NSX, but to give Acura the flexibility to explore handcrafted production of limited edition models. The TLX and MDX PMC Edition are the first to take advantage of this unique capability, and we intend to explore additional options," said Jon Ikeda, Acura brand officer, in the official release.
According to Acura spokesperson Chris Naughton, "The plan from the beginning was for PMC to be flexible... [to be] kind of a test bed for technology or processes... and also try new things that may not work well in a mass-production environment." Indeed, in an interview with Roadshow, Naughton pointed to theas a further example of PMC's flexibility -- each race car's body structure starts life at the plant.
In the case of the TLX PMC, Marysville Auto Plant's paint shop simply isn't set up to handle the car's time- and process-intensive Valencia Red Pearl application process. Painting a normal TLX Advance or A-Spec is a one-day job, and it takes five days to fully bake the TLX PMC's nano-pigment finish.
If nothing else, these special models may serve to keep the master technicians at Acura's Performance Manufacturing Center busy, and ensure their expensive tooling and paint shop remain active, too. Despite rave reviews, slow sales mean that NSX production volumes may not be sufficient to keep PMC humming. Last year, Acura sold just 581 examples of its six-figure gas-electric sports car. So far this year, the NSX is faring a bit better, with 67 units sold through March, a 17.9% improvement year over year.