Sedan: Acura TL

The 2008 Acura TL is the finest production front-wheel-drive sedan on the market.  Perhaps because the platform is due for a redesign next year, dealers are letting them go at manufacturer invoice — which also makes this the best bargain in premium sedans right now.

The base model is sporty and has been admirably tuned to handle like the best German cars.  The Type-S is an even sportier trim with a more powerful engine and tighter suspension.  The trade-off in upgrading to the Type-S is a slightly harsher ride, heavier steering, and heavily bolstered seats that may not appeal to all drivers.  (The steering weight may be a consequence of the amount of torque the 3.5-liter engine puts out: Barring some new torque-steer countermeasure both of these cars are at the upper limit of the amount of power that can be sent through steering wheels.)

As is the custom, Acura offers very few options.  In the base model you should definitely pay for the navigation system (which is included on all Type-S variants).  With a 7″ touch screen, voice controls, and XM real-time traffic, this is the finest navigation system available on any car.

Although its shifting program is among the smoothest and most responsive I have experienced, the TL automatic transmission has only 5 forward ratios.   (This will almost surely be increased in the next design.)  Nevertheless, those ratios span a good range, giving it excellent mileage at (real) freeway speeds and still keeping ample torque on tap at all speeds.

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