Deal With It: Cass Farrell’s 2010 Acura TL Advance
Acura’s third generation TL was admittedly a tough act to follow. Signaling the model’s first departure from a platform share with the JDM Honda Inspire, the 3.2 L V6 equipped four door quickly became the brand’s best selling sedan, edging out the popular TSX and more luxurious RL. And while the car made waves in the mid-size commuter segment, the model’s A-Spec package provided serious goods to brand enthusiasts. The 2007 model even offered the RL’s 286 hp V6 mated to a 6 speed manual transmission, making it the fastest Honda/Acura available with the death of the NSX in 2005. In 2008, however, enthusiasts first began to get wind of a newly re-designed TL. The numbers sounded good: a FWD model with 280hp, and a 305hp version featuring Acura’s SH-AWD system. The internet was hopeful and optimistic. And then, almost without warning, we were introduced to the beak.
The infamous beak is officially known as the Power Plenum, and it is the most obvious design aspect in Acura’s Keen Edge Design philosophy. What was meant to be a representation of the combination of technology and emotion, however, has become the de facto criticism for this car, and many of Acura’s latest designs; and frankly, that’s a real disappointment. The 4th generation TL, in the right hands, is a gorgeous car that has a real presence that the previous generations lacked.
Luckily, Cass Farrell has taken charge in turning the aesthetic of this car around. Most obviously, the controversial grill has been tamed down with a fresh coat of Crystal Black Pearl. A one-off front lip designed at Jacksonville’s Auto Techniques and customized headlights complete the front end alterations. The rest of the car makes do with OEM pieces and a set of red-out tailights, both of which improve on the OEM design while still maintaining the identity of the sedan. The set of 20×10.5″ Work Varianza A6S’s, framed by the lowered sculpted fenders, give this car a VIP-esque presence, though the growl of the ATLP exhaust ensure on-lookers that this car is much more than a show queen.
Cass’s transformation of this car finally elevates it to where it should have been in the first place. With a 6 speed, SH-AWD, and a 305 HP VTEC engine, this is the car that Honda/Acura enthusiasts should be lusting for. Instead, many people try to single this car out as the poster child of Acura’s recent misdirection. I hope that the automotive community can get past the “beak” and consider this car for what it is; a serious sports tourer for the grown up Honda kid. Cass has proved that this car is more than capable in the right hands, and has a legitimate place in the luxury crowd. Deal with it.
Editor: Andy Carter