Acura has heard our prayers and answered with an announcement that it will be offering the 2010 TL SH-AWD with a new six-speed manual transmission for "the enthusiast driver."
The all-new transmission is a proper three-pedal deal featuring uprated internals and a stiffer case, along with a new clutch system. Acura claims new gear synchronizers and a short-throw shifter assembly generate more accurate shifting with low shift effort. With Acura/Honda's history of sweet manual transmissions, we're inclined to believe the claims.
Aside from netting an 88 pounds weight reduction and a better weight distribution, the manually shifted TL will also receive a few upgrades in other areas over the Sequential SportShift automatic version. A Hill Start Assist system should keep owners of the luxury sedan out of awkward, and potentially damaging, rollbacks by holding the brakes until the accelerator is depressed when stopped on steep inclines of 8 degrees or more.
Sportier--read stiffer--suspension tuning should keep the body flatter in the turns, while a retuned power steering system should result in heavier, more communicative steering. Engine and transmission bushings that have been stiffened by 50 and 100 percent, respectively, should reduce drivetrain movement and increase responsiveness--hopefully without too much of an increase in NVH.
There's no word on how the new transmission option will affect the 2010 TL SH-AWD's expected MSRP of $38,505.