Who says it can’t be fixed if it ain’t broke?

When the new 2009 Acura TSX debuted, it delivered on the promise of a bigger and better TSX.

And those two qualities don’t always go together.

In fact, when the original TSX was unveiled in 2003, I remember Acura making much of the fact that the car was based on the European Accord platform, not Honda’s domestic version.

The European version of the Accord was smaller, lighter and tighter, with a platform tuned for the sporty character, taut suspension and handling engendered by the narrower, twisty roads of the Old World.

So designers had to be careful not to mess with the TSX’s persona and strategic positioning within the lineup, while still trying to make the second-generation car roomier, more agile and more responsive.

The 2009 TSX evolution starts with a wider, more aggressive stance. Overall body-width has increased 78 mm and the track dimensions are 65 mm wider than the outgoing model. The TSX has also been stretched in the other direction, riding on a 35 mm longer wheelbase and the car itself is 66 mm longer. That translates into a larger platform with smoother, more planted handling feel along with a corresponding increase in exterior dimensions and interior space.

Acura has tweaked the performance and emissions of the 2.4-litre all-aluminum DOHC i-VTEC in-line 4-cylinder engine that produces 201 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque. That doesn’t sound like much of an improvement at first — the horsepower is actually down from the 205 hp rating of the 2008 model. Torque is up 8.0 lb/ft (170 lb/ft in the automatic), but more importantly, the useable power is available across a much wider rpm range, while the five percent increase in torque is designed to strengthen the engine’s pulling power at middle rpm levels.

Fuel economy is rated at 9.6/6.5/8.2L/100 km (city/ hwy/comb), in the automatic, as tested.

Two transmissions are available‚ a standard six-speed close-ratio manual with new (more performance oriented) ratios for second through sixth gears or a Sequential SportShift five-speed automatic with a new lock-up assembly.

The manual tranny was designed with the sport driver in mind, featuring a short-throw shifter and mounted in a lightweight magnesium case — a rarity in the industry.

Any Acura comes well loaded but bumping the TSX up to Premium adds leather seats, XM Satellite Radio, USB connector, front fog lights, automatic headlight activation, High Intensity Discharge low-beam headlights and a two-position driver memory seat. And all this button-happy gadgetry is set into a high-quality interior.

2009 Acura TSX

Type: Entry-level luxury sedan
Price: from $37,650
Engine: 2.4-litre DOHC i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine (201 hp / 172 lb-ft)
Fuel economy: 9.6/6.5/8.2L/ 100km (city/hwy/combined)

Highlights
• High-quality looks
• Loaded with features