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Winding Road | Quick Drive: 2013 Acura ILX 2.4

The Acura ILX’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is a hoot to use. It pulls nice and hard, but doesn’t ever feel rough. It’s just slightly peaky, and changes in both physical and aural sensation as it climbs the rev ladder. The sound is usually pretty mild, but it will come to life when running it flat-out to the redline. Its tone is almost vocal as the pitch increases, and can really evoke a bit of emotion from the occupants. When driven civilly, though, it is easy to be smooth, and the noise, though always present, doesn’t intrude too much into the interior.

The 2.4 comes with a six speed manual transmission, and it’s the only one to feature this gearbox—the 2.0 is only available with a five-speed automatic, and the Hybrid features a continuously variable transmission. This stick shift is very familiar to us; it’s very similar to the one we’ve heaped much praise upon in the Acura TL SH-AWD, Honda Civic Si, and Honda CR-Z. It is very short of throw, and travels very smoothly and easily from gear to gear. When it lands in a gate, you can feel it sort of click into place in a way that allows you to confidently feed in power as you let out the clutch. The leftmost pedal itself does feel a bit springy, though, and can be a bit fatiguing if you haven’t dialed in just the right seating position. Perfect that, and using the clutch can be very quick and natural-feeling.
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