Acura Adds Six-Speed Manual Gearbox to 2010 TL SH-AWD Lineup, Priced from $42,385

Nearly a year after making the announcement on the development of a new six-speed manual gearbox option for its 2010 Acura TL lineup, Honda has finally launched the vehicle onto the U.S. market. The new manual transmission is available exclusively on the range-topping SH-AWD model that pairs Acura's all-wheel drive system with a 3.7-liter V6 engine producing 305HP and 273 lb-ft of peak torque, instead of the entry-level, front-wheel drive model's 280HP 3.5-liter V6.

"The new manual transmission equipped TL SH-AWD allows the enthusiast driver to take full advantage of the performance of Acura's SH-AWD system," said Jeff Conrad, vice president of Acura sales, "Not only is the new 6-speed manual transmission model the best performing Acura TL ever, it is the top handling performer among every vehicle in its class."

The newly developed close-ratio 6-speed manual gearbox is said to be approximately 110 lbs lighter than the five-speed Sequential SportShift automatic transmission.

And since the manual model is aimed at enthusiasts, Acura tweaked the TL SH-AWD's chassis by upgrading the suspension and steering wheel system.

Along with the specially tuned coil spring and shock absorber rates for flatter cornering with reduced pitching motions under acceleration and braking -or so Acura claims, the front dampers on the manual model incorporate 5-percent more compression damping to improve turn-in feel and generate 14-percent less high speed compression damping better ride quality.

Other improvements for the manual model include the modified Electronic Power Steering (EPS) and EPS system as well as the firmer engine and transmission bushings.

While Acura has yet to disclose performance figures, the automaker did announce that the TL SH-AWD with the 6-speed manual gearbox returns an EPA estimated 18mpg city and 26mpg highway, which is 1mpg better in both cases than the automatic version.

The manual model keeps the same pricing as the five-speed automatic SH-AWD at $42,385 when combined with the Technology Package and at $43,385 with the Technology pack and high performance tires. Just so you know, the above prices do not include taxes, license or an $810 destination and handling charge.

*Aside from the manual gearbox details, all other images are of the TL SH-AWD with the automatic transmission