2008 Acura TL Type-S Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Acura TL Type-S

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Acura TL Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 286 hp @ 6200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Acura TL

  • If getting lots of bang for your buck is important, it's hard to beat the 2008 Acura TL, as few entry-level luxury cars pack its level of standard equipment. Well-built, reliable and exceedingly easy to live with as an everyday companion, the TL is a superb choice.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Roomy and well-crafted interior, impressive handling for a relatively large front-drive sedan, sweet V6 engines matched to excellent transmissions, fantastic surround-sound system, lots of standard high-tech features, top crash test scores.

  • Cons

    Not as traditionally luxurious as other models in its class, front-wheel-drive handling limitations are apparent when driven hard, lack of low-end torque in some situations.

  • What's New for 2008

    After big changes last year, including the return of the Type-S model, the 2008 Acura TL receives no significant changes.

Full 2008 Acura TL Review

What's New for 2008

After big changes last year, including the return of the Type-S model, the 2008 Acura TL receives no significant changes.


The 2008 Acura TL is increasingly becoming an oddball. While there are a handful of front-wheel-drive, entry-level luxury sedans, a scant few can claim to be truly sporty. A real high-performance driving experience can usually only be had when the power is sent to the rear wheels and occasionally all of them. The TL, particularly the Type-S model, sets itself apart by being a front driver that can keep up with (although still not surpass) such rear-drive thoroughbreds as the Infiniti G35. Yet despite this sporty nature, the TL still provides a wonderfully smooth ride and luxury appointments that will make comfort-minded customers happy.

After substantial changes last year, including the return of the Type-S model, the TL carries over unchanged for 2008. That's certainly OK, as Acura's best-selling car has always stood out from the pack since being redesigned for 2004. The TL's wedge-like shape is still attractive as ever, and its spacious interior remains a model of craftsmanship and ergonomics. The base engine operates with utter serenity but still manages to have an engaging character, while the suspension is well-controlled without being a rough rider. Its surround-sound stereo is so good, it's almost enough to justify buying the car alone.

If the TL has a particular forte, it's value. A package that bundles a voice-activated navigation system (with real-time traffic information) and a rearview camera is the lone option on the base car (standard on the Type-S), while features like Bluetooth, leather seating, power front seats, sunroof and that surround-sound system are included on all TLs. Those features are usually options on rivals that typically start at a higher base price.

For a front-wheel-drive, entry-level luxury sedan with sporting tendencies, the 2008 Acura TL is the best choice around. Its mix of driving fun, comfort, quality and value can't be beat. But if maximum handling and performance are priorities, the BMW 328i, Infiniti G35 and Lexus IS 350 are better choices. In the end, it could very well hinge on how you feel about oddballs.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Acura TL is a midsize entry-level luxury sport sedan available in two incredibly well-equipped trim levels. The base TL comes standard with 17-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlights, foglights, sunroof, leather upholstery, eight-way driver and four-way passenger power/heated seats, driver memory functions, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker surround-sound system with in-dash six-CD/DVD audio changer, auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio. The lone factory option is a navigation system that comes with a voice command interface, real-time traffic updates and a rearview camera.

The TL Type-S is the more performance-oriented trim level, adding a more powerful engine, a sport-tuned suspension and more powerful brakes. The exterior is also treated to more aggressively styled fascias and side skirts, along with a deck lid spoiler, quad exhausts and special 17-inch wheels. The navigation system and its accompanying features are standard on the Type-S, which also gets sport seats, special interior trim and different lighting. High-performance tires are the Type-S model's lone option.

Powertrains and Performance

All TL are front-wheel drive. The base TL is powered by 3.2-liter V6 that produces 258 horsepower and 233 pound-feet of torque. Unlike in the past, a five-speed automatic is the lone transmission available. Despite this being the "base" engine, it's still capable of bringing the TL from zero to 60 mph in around 6 seconds. For an even quicker experience, the Type-S is motivated by a 3.5-liter V6 good for 286 hp and 256 lb-ft of torque. Buyers have a choice of either a slick-shifting six-speed manual with a limited-slip differential, or a five-speed automatic that features paddle shifters. Expect either combination to deliver a 0-60-mph time in the mid to high 5-second range.

Fuel economy for the base 2008 TL is 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. The manual-equipped Type-S actually returns better mileage at 18 city and 27 highway, while the five-speed automatic gets 17/26.


The 2008 Acura TL comes standard with stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length curtain airbags. A rearview camera comes along with the available navigation system. In crash tests, the TL gets five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for both frontal impact protection and rear side impact protection. Front side impact testing resulted in four out of five stars. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's side and frontal-offset crash tests, the TL received top scores of "Good."

Interior Design and Special Features

For those who define "luxury" as prominent swaths of wood trim and chrome accents, the TL is likely to disappoint. Subtle wood trim can be found on the base model's center console, but otherwise, this Acura goes for more of a sporting motif with dominant alloy trim, and in the Type-S, faux carbon fiber. Both TL models are beautifully crafted, and that's where this luxury sedan really shines, with near bulletproof build quality and top-notch materials. The Type-S differentiates itself with more aggressively bolstered seats, red instrument lighting (versus cobalt blue) and two-tone leather.

Crammed full of electronics, the TL is thankfully pretty easy to operate -- even for those who wouldn't know the difference between an iPod and an iPhone. As Acura and Honda slowly migrate to an iDrive-like electronics interface, the TL features the good-old touchscreen setup (bolstered by voice commands) for navigation-equipped models that's easy to figure out and operate. Enjoy it while you can.

Driving Impressions

It's a well-known fact that front-wheel-drive cars tend to only take so much power before torque steer takes over and the car darts off in whichever direction it chooses. Despite healthy doses of 258 hp and 286 hp, respectively, both the base TL and Type-S manage to feel no worse for wear. Its steering is incalculably precise, and the car's cornering is tack-sharp. The Type-S in particular is the best that front-drive gets. In fact, only when driven aggressively back to back with rear-wheel-drive competitors like the Infiniti G35 or Lexus IS does the TL start to suffer from its drivetrain. Yet for a majority of buyers, the TL provides a tremendously sporty driving experience that nevertheless is the smoothest operator in its segment. Even the edgier Type-S is well within the acceptable range of ride comfort. Whether on a straight slog from K.C. to Denver or on a high-speed tour of the Smoky Mountains, the 2008 TL delivers.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Italian styling + japanese reliability

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura TL Type-S 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

In addition to Honda's reliability, the other main reason why I bought this car is that I think Honda really did a great job styling the exterior of the TL. I really like the beautiful styling touches such as the character lines that run across the sides of the car. The 2008 TL styling is elegant and understated, unlike the new 2009 TL which I thought is too loud for my taste with the oversized grill in the front and chrome strip on the trunk. However, the sleek styling does result in poor rearward visibility for the TL. Having driven a Acura Integra for the last 20 years, this is probably the biggest thing I have to adopt in my new TL. Both the B and the C pillars on the TL are very wide!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Solid car

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura TL Type-S 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Basically bought this car from the inside out. Compared to 330i, Audi A4 and felt the TL was a better value and much more spacious. After a year there have been no defects to speak of, so quite satisfied with build quality. Performance is quite good although torque steer is evident under hard acceleration. Ergonomics are excellent and runs fantastic on the highway. Manual mode transmission is a little disappointing as it does not force the transmission into quicker gear shifts.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

08 tl type s

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura TL Type-S 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I have owned my TL-S for a year and a half and have 13K miles on it. Overall a great car. I get 19-20 in the city and 30-32 on the highway at 72 MPH. Good suspension and great surround sound. Minor issues: fold down rear seat would be good, the trunk is so well finished there is no point to tie it down. Rain rolls off the roof onto the driver's seat when you open the door. No good CD case holder in the car. Passenger seat height adjustment would be nice. As you can see my issues are minor. I got 86 more HP than my 01 Accord for the price of 91 octane and with no real mileage penalty. Had considered a G35 but did not want RWD in the snow and the MPG was much higher for the Acura.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Great value for the money

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura TL Type-S 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I purchased my TL-S in July 2008 after seeing the spy pictures of the 2009 models. So far I have 7,500 miles on the car and it has been flawless. The 3.5L makes this car a sleeper, it's plenty fast for me. I shopped the G35, Lexus IS350 and BMW 3 Series before buying the Acura. The nice part about the car is the value for the money, this car comes loaded. With Lexus, BMW and Infiniti the options are expensive and add up quickly. An IS350 with the same equipment as this car stickered at over $45k, same with BMW. I was able to purchase my TL-S for $33k, that was $5,800 off the sticker. Was able to get a good deal with the ugly 2009's ready to hit the market.

Stayed with the honda family

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura TL Type-S 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6M)

It came down to this car or a BMW 3-Series and I'm glad I chose the Acura. It has excellent performance and handles well. Interior features are great and the body style is sleek. Previously owned a Civic so I know this car is dependable.

Break it in

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura TL Type-S 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

When I first got my Type-S, I was disappointed: the transmission felt jerky, the tires squealed readily during cornering and hard acceleration, and to top it off I bought an AUTO, which was all they had left. About three months later, the car literally transformed: the transmission was silky smooth, the handling was snappy and nimble, and there wasn't any real torque steer or understeer to deal with. It was still an auto, but that went well with the enormous number of luxury features. I can cruise in comfort and in style, or I can rip through the woods and destroy a Mitsubishi Eclipse at a stoplight. Either way, I'm no longer disappointed.

Talk About The 2008 TL

2008 Acura TL Discussions See all Started By

Has anybody else out there noticed that the 2008 Honda Accord sedan has the same chassis as the Acura RL? It looks like Honda created the 2008 Accord sedan by taking an RL, slightly changing the exte...

Maybe Acura will also make the backseat fold down, make the telescoping wheel automatic, and put in rain sensetive wipers? Also a push start would not hurt either....

Hi, I noticed that most other car forums on edmunds have a specific discussion for interior squeak/rattle issues and that the TL forum currently doesn't have one and so I thought why not start one!...

Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

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