Home Car Reviews 2008 Acura TL Features, Problems, Specs and Configurations

2008 Acura TL Features, Problems, Specs and Configurations

by Frank

If getting a lot of bang for your used car dollar is essential, it’s difficult to beat the 2008 Acura TL, as few entry-level luxury automobiles pack this amount of standard equipment. Well-built, trustworthy and extremely easy to live with as a daily driver, the 2008 Acura TL is a superb used car value.

Acura’s response to superior performance sedans such as the BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G35, Audi A4 and Lexus IS is the TL, the only car in that class offered only with front-wheel drive. Nevertheless, the TL is comfy, roomy and packed with standard features and a lineup of stout engines and even a manual transmission. The 2008 Acura TL yields around 27 mpg on the highway and can be priced substantially below its rivals.

The Acura TL was completely redesigned in 2009, so changes for 2008 are minimal. Acura enlarged the real-time capabilities of its own AcuraLink satellite navigation system. Beyond this, a tire-pressure monitoring-system warning light and two brand-new exterior colors are the only changes for 2008.

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2008 Acura TL Configurations

2008 acura tl configurations

The 2008 Acura TL is a midsize luxury sport sedan available in two configurations. The entry-level model TL comes standard with 17-inch wheels and tires, bi-xenon headlights, fog lights, sunroof, leather upholstery, eight-way driver and four-way passenger power/heated seats, driver memory capabilities, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker surround-sound system with in-dash six-CD/DVD sound changer, auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio. The only factory option is a navigation system which includes a voice control port, real-time traffic upgrades and a rearview camera.

The TL Type-S is the more performance-oriented configuration level, including a more powerful motor, a sport-tuned suspension and stronger brakes. The exterior can be treated to more aggressively styled fascias and side skirts, along with a deck lid spoiler, quad exhausts and unique 17-inch wheels and tires. The navigation system and its accompanying features are standard on the Type-S, which also gets sport seats, special interior configuration and different headlights. High-performance tires are the Type-S version’s lone alternative.

2008 TL Options

A navigation system is the only option that can be found on the base model 2008 Acura TL. The top trim-level Type-S includes navigation, a plethora of performance-oriented cosmetic and hardware updates, a much more reactive five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission and upgraded high-speed tires.

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2008 Acura TL Engines and Fuel Economy

2008 acura tl

The base model TL is powered by 3.2-liter V6 that generates 258 horsepower and 233 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic is the only transmission available. Despite this being the base model engine, it is still capable of bringing the TL from zero to 60 mph in about 6 seconds. For an even faster encounter, the Type-S is inspired by a 3.5-liter V6 good for 286 hp and 256 lb-ft of torque. Buyers have a choice of either a slick-shifting six-speed manual using a limited-slip differential, or a five-speed automatic which features paddle shifters. Expect either transmission to provide a 0-60-mph time in the mid to high 5-second range.

3.2L V6 Specs

  • 258 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
  • 233 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm
  • EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26

3.5L V6 Specs

  • 286 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
  • 256 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm
  • EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 (manual), 17/26 (automatic)

The 2008 Acura TL 3.2L automatic gets 18/26 mpg city/highway on premium gasoline. On one 17.1-gallon tank, the 3.2L TL can go around 408 miles with mostly highway driving. The 2008 3.5L TL Type-S is rated at 17/26 mpg on premium gasoline.

2008 Acura TL Interior Features

2008 tl interior

If your idea ofย  a luxury automobile includes an interior with wood and chrome accents, the 2008 Acura TL is very likely to disappoint. That said, the TL’s interior is still one of the roomiest, most comfortable cabins in the group (particularly for rear-seat passengers). The DVD-Audio Surround Sound system gives a sublime listening experience, and an upgraded voice-activated navigation system offers real-time traffic information and includes an integrated rear-view camera.

Type-S versions have sportier seats with contrasting stitching, stainless-steel pedals, red (not blue) instrument lighting, dark aluminum and carbon fiber trim and an active noise canceling system which generates sound waves to counteract the larger engine’s additional noise at cruising speeds.

While only a little bit ofย  wood trim can be found on the entry-level TL’s center console, the two TL versions are superbly crafted, which is where this luxury sedan actually excels, with top-notch build quality and first-class materials. The 2008 Acura TL is also crammed full of electronic equipment and features a good touchscreen setup (augmented by voice controls) for navigation-equipped models that is easy to figure out and operate.

Exterior Features

Though the 2008 TL is basically unchanged from its 2007 predecessor. Thanks partly to its prominent grille and front and rear lower fascias, the more assertive Type-S is distinguished by a selection of darker configuration components, such as black chrome grille and lights, plus wider side sills, a rear spoiler, dual circular exhaust outlets, dark 17-inch wheels and tires and Type-S badges.

Exterior Paint Colors and Interior Trim Colors

Interior Colors

  • Ebony [Black]
  • Parchment [Beige]
  • Taupe [Beige]

Exterior Colors

  • Alabaster Silver Metallic [Silver]
  • Bold Beige Metallic [Beige]
  • Carbon Bronze Pearl [Brown]
  • Nighthawk Black Pearl [Black]
  • Polished Metal Metallic [Gray]
  • Royal Blue Pearl [Blue]
  • White Diamond Pearl [White]

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2008 Acura TL Safety Tech

safety features

The 2008 Acura TL comes standard with traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags and full size curtain airbags. A rearview camera comes alongside the navigation system that is available. In crash tests, the TL has five out of five stars in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for both frontal impact protection and rear side impact protection. Front side impact testing resulted in four out of five stars. From the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s side and frontal-offset crash tests, the TL received high scores of “Good.”

The TL’s standard safety features is comprehensive. Active elements include anti-lock braking, electronic brake force distribution, and traction and stability control. Passive features like dual-stage front airbags and side airbags, curtain airbags, and a collapsible steering column are included. It would be helpful to see rear side airbags, but it is only fair to remember that the TL reached a top rating (five stars) in national accident testing for its performance in frontal-offset and side-impact collisions.

2008 Acura TL Problems, Reliability and Maintenance

check engine light

The 2008 Acura TL is a rare sporty sedan. It supplies a solid V6 engine, sharp design and an upscale interior. The list of accessible attributes comprises HID headlights, Bluetooth and Navigation System with Voice Recognition. The TL scored well in the NHTSA frontal crash tests. The reliability isn’t poor, however there are a number of things to look out for.

Reliability and Problems

  • A failed engine oil pump seal may cause an oil leak in the oil filter area. The fix costs $450-$500. It’s a fantastic idea to combine this fix with the replacement of a timing belt and water pump, since the labor overlaps.
  • Many owners throughout forums have mentioned cracks in the dash. It appears like this issue is more prevalent in southern states. The dashboard replacement is expensive at over a thousand dollars.
  • Issues with the hands-free connection staying on and draining the battery are cited frequently. The Acura Service Bulletin 08-057 for the 05-08 TL describes the problem and advises replacing the HFL control unit. The repair costs around $360-$400.
  • Engine mounts can go bad. The replacement of engine mounts may cost around $1500. Aftermarket parts are cheaper.
  • The side mirror actuator can fail, causing it to not reset properly when using the memory settings. The part isn’t very costly, but taking the glass out ofย  the mirror housing is a delicate task. There are lots of YouTube videos on the topic.
  • Both the 3.2L and 3.5L V6 engines have a timing belt that has to be replaced at recommended intervals.


  • Routine oil changes can help keep your engine in good shape. Change the transmission fluid at recommended intervals; utilize just the fluid type listed in your owner’s guide. The owner’s manual calls for Honda ATF-Z1 (automatic transmission fluid)
  • If you hear a whining sound from the steering when the vehicle is started cold, there’s a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) with this issue describing a problem with the air going into the steering fluid through a failed O-ring in the pump; the fix is fairly simple: replace the O-ring.
  • To keep your car safe, have it inspected at least once every year at a repair shop. Keep all the fluids fresh and topped-up.

Final Thoughts

If the 2008 Acura TL has a specific strength, it is value. A package that combines a voice-activated navigation system (with real time traffic information) and a rearview camera is the only choice on the entry-level model TL (standard on the Type-S), while features such as Bluetooth, leather seats, electric front seats, sunroof and surround-sound system are included on all TLs. What that really means is a used Acura TL is a nicely equipped car in either trim level.

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