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CHICAGO _ Acura promised that its 3.2 TL sedan was designed to deliver luxury as well as performance.
Luxury it delivered _ not in large doses, more along the lines of just enough amenities to pamper you sufficiently that you wouldn't think you had just bought a Honda Accord sedan. But it delivered.
As for performance, let's just say the 3.2 TL seemed to react quite well to pedal input, but it wasn't until the new 3.2 TL Type-S was added for the 2002 model year that you realize just how spirited the sedan derived from the Accord platform could be.
We tested the new `02 3.2 TL Type-S, which comes with a livelier, 260-horsepower rendition of the 3.2-liter, 225-h.p. V-6 in the regular TL. The 3.2-liter in the Type-S is teamed with a 5-speed automatic with SportShift, which allows you to shift through the gears without playing with a clutch pedal. The 19 mpg city/29 mpg highway rating is impressive, especially with gas prices rising.
The 3.2 in the Type-S is alert and quick. Nearly beat the young lady off the line in the Mitsubishi Eclipse with Wisconsin plates at the coin basket on the Tri-State Tollway. Would have taken her if she didn't have a rolling start by failing to stop to pay the 25-cent toll. Not the TL's fault. Hmm. She "won" a quarter.
But we digress.
The 3.2 TL Type-S (Horrible name, by the way, since in addition to being too long and confusing, it sounds much too clinical and more apropos for a prescription drug) not only benefits from a livelier engine, but also from inheriting the Acura Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system from the Acura CL Type-S coupe, which got it in the 2001 model year.
In the muscle car days of the industry, horsepower took precedence over handling. Thankfully, engineers have put more of a premium on systems that keep the wheels on the road.
VSA provides control in …