I tested a $50,000 Acura TLX A-Spec PMC Edition to check out the limited-run sedan and decide if it’s worth the price

Now that's a red car.

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Now that’s a red car.
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Matthew DeBord/BI

  • The Acura TLX A-Spec PMC Edition is a limited-run, hand-built version of the excellent TLX A-Spec sedan.
  • For a vehicle of which just 360 will be produced, the Acura TLX A-Spec PMC Edition is a genuine bargain.
  • The PMC Edition doesn’t drive any differently than the regular TLX A-Spec, but it has all the features Acura can throw into it, and it’s also available in a stunning “Valencia Red Pearl” paint job.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The 2018 Acura TLX A-Spec was a sleeper hit for Business Insider’s 2017 Car of the Year award. We named the compact sedan from Honda’s luxury brand our runner-up and unidentified it as a viable rival for Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Lexus, but at a tasty, feature-packed price.

More recently, Acura decided to do a special edition TLX A-Spec, building 360 examples by hand in Ohio, where the company also manufactures its NSX supercar.

These cars get the PMC treatment – “Performance Manufacturing Center” – but they aren’t way more expensive than the regular A-Specs. But the rare birds do have a standout lineage, and can be painted “Valencia Red Pearl,” one of the more gorgeous automotive colors currently available on planet Earth. (The car goes on sale later this year, by the way.)

Acura put car number 000/360 on the floor of the New York auto show for a few weeks earlier this year, and when the show wrapped, they asked us if we wanted to borrow the vehicle for a few days. We said, “Heck yes!”

The big question was, “Would car 000 be something special?”

Cut to the chase: It was – and it’s still a great bargain!

Read on to find out why.


The 2020 Acura TLX A-Spec PMC Edition arrived in dashing “Valencia Red Pearl” paint job.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

The TLX A-Spec was a Business Insider Car of the Year runner-up in 2017.

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Hollis Johnson

Read the review.


The Acura TLX A-Spec PMC Edition is the only other Acura that can share a color scheme with the NSX supercar. Both vehicles are built in Ohio. American made!

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Acura’s NSX supercar.
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Hollis Johnson

I have nothing against Ferrari red, but THIS Acura red is stunning.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

A special package includes TLX A-Spec PMC specific features, including black 19-inch wheels.

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The car’s fascia is, to be honest, sort of awkward and beaky. But it grows on you.

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A set of “Jewel Eye” LED headlights would define the TLX A-Spec PMC’s front end, if not for that brash, angular, blacked-out grille.

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The Acura TLX A-Spec PMC, like the nearly (but not quite) identical TLX A-Spec, has a subtle-but-impressive road presence. The car has pretty much everything on offer for the TLX, to go along with the hand-built PMC Edition coolness.

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The rear end is beautifully carved, with a sweet decklid spoiler and blacked-out exhaust pipes.

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SH-AWD stands for “super handling all-wheel-drive” — translated, that means the TLX can send traction to the wheel that needs it most.

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And of course “A-Spec” is Acura’s name for the more intensely sporty exterior and interior treatment.

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The car has a fastback roofline, but it isn’t a hatchback: the truck lid opens to reveal a capacious cargo area, large enough to swallow up three of four suitcases.

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At the other end, we have the TLX’s superb engine …

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… A 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 — no turbocharger, just motor! And it’s exactly the same powerplant as on the non-PMC TLX A-Spec.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

It’s fantastic. “We’re being compelled to deal with more and more turbocharging on luxury vehicles, but the TLX’s mill is all motor, and it punches above spec, at least in the feel department,” I wrote in my original TLX A-Spec review.

“I thought I had more than 300 horses the entire time, testament to how that V6 in combination with a 9-speed automatic does a passable imitation of a small V8. The 0-60 mph run can be achieved in about six seconds, which isn’t bonkers fast, but the TLX A-Spec comes into its own when you call on it to pass or want to cleanly access the power while modulating speed.”


There are a few reminders that this Acura TLX is more special than the non-A-Spec version …

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… including a shout-out on the floor mats.

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So let’s slip inside and sample the TLX A-Spec PMC’s interior.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

The front seats are wonderful: in the case of our tester, black leather combined with suave Alcantara, and just enough bolstering to grip you when the driving gets frisky. They’re also heated and cooled.

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The rear seats are less purposeful, but they’re perfectly comfortable. Legroom is about what you’d expect in a compact sedan: not bad, but not great, either.

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Overall, the TLX A-Spec PMC’s interior is more than up to par for the sport-luxury segment.

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A moonroof floods the cabin with light.

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The leather-wrapped steering wheel gets some snazzy red topstitching and a tiny A-Spec logo. The numerous buttons and knobs enable the driver to operate the infotainment system without taking their hands off the wheel. The steering wheel is heated, and the instrument cluster is old-school analog.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

So the Acura TLX A-Spec PMC is a hand-built machine, and that fact is commemorated by a small plaque in the center console. “PMC” is for “Performance Manufacturing Center,” located Ohio. Our tester car was number 000 of 360 — the very first example, fresh off the floor of the New Your auto show.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

The hand-building process involves unpainted bodies going from Honda/Acura’s Ohio factory to the PMC studio, where the engine, transmission, and suspension are added. The cars are then painted, seats are installed, the rest of interior is completed, and the vehicle is ready to go.


The selector for the transmission has a learning curve, but it isn’t steep. The drive can also access the drive modes with this setup and activate the brake-hold feature for stop-and-go-driving or waiting at traffic lights.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

Wireless charging is always a plus!

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Acura’s two-screen infotainment system works well if you’re running Apple CarPlay on one screen. Otherwise, it seems sort of redundant.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

The system is effective, however. It isn’t as modern-feeling as some other systems we’ve tested, but the GPS navigation works fine, Bluetooth integration is excellent, there are USB/AUX ports for mobile devices, and a reasonably good set of cameras.

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The Acura TLX A-Spec PMC’s key fob is also quite nice, enabling remote start — a great feature on hot or cold days.

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So how does the limited-edition Acura TLX A-Spec PMC stack up against the car we sampled in 2017?

Now that's a red car.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

As I wrote in my review of the TLX A-Spec, “Acuras are more fun to drive than Lexuses, less fun than BMWs, different from Audis (I tend to find Acuras to be better for daily driving duty), more youthful than Mercedes, and less juicy than Cadillacs.”

They are, in other words, their own thing. And the PMC Edition is its own thing. The TLX A-Spec we tested in 2017 stickered at about $46,000, and the PMC version isn’t expected to much costlier: probably $50,000.

The driving experience was the same, which is to say wonderful. The engine delivers a 0-60 mph run of six seconds, not crazy fast but fast enough, and the power from that V6 is smooth – you appreciate this car’s virtues on the freeway.

And while all the PMC trim does for the spec sheet is add a few thousand dollars worth of goodies, the hand-built aspect of that package is genuinely compelling. For about 50 grand, you get to own one of just 360 cars.

I sort of expect all 360 to be “Valencia Red Pearl” in color – because it is just about the most beautiful red currently on the market, and you previously had to buy an NSX to get it. It’s hypnotically lovely. Trust me. I would honestly never get tired of looking at this car.

And hey, it’s an Acura and therefore built (by hand!) to last for decades. So you could look forward to years and years of happy, you know – looking!