The Acura TL has a new look for 2012, with more sophistication and less drama on the front end. In this case, less is more. This new TL is stunning.

Responding to suggestions that the front end of the TL was a bit overpowering, Acura designers went to work to come up with an “increased level of sophistication” rather than so much “passion” in the front end design. Like the man says on the History Channel’s “Top Shot,” the designers “hit their target.”

The new 2012 Acura has a redesigned front bumper, a revised grille, updated headlights and turn signals, new fog lights and a shorter front overhang. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but in my eyes, many more eyes will find the new TL design a winner.

Also new for 2012 on all TL models is a new 6-speed sequential shifting automatic transmission that helps the TL get three additional highway miles per gallon over the 2011 model. The TL SH-AWD model gets an additional 1 mpg in both city and highway driving.

What hasn’t changed for 2012 is Acura’s penchant for producing luxurious, technologically superior vehicles. The cabin of the TL is designed to make sure the driver and passenger each have their own individual, comfortable space. Acura calls it a “dual personal” design, and it features individual switches for climate control and heated seats. A new 2012 option is the “Advance Package,” which adds 19- inch alloy wheels, ventilated seats (a definite plus for south Louisiana) and a blind spot warning system.

The test TL SH-AWD comes with the advance and technology packages, giving the car a wide range of features like XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth, heated and cooled leather memory seats, a leather steering wheel with controls, voice-activated navigation, real-time traffic and weather, a 10-speaker audio system with surround sound, dual-zone air and19-inch alloy wheels.

The TL has two engines for 2012: a 280- horsepower V-6 plant that that sends power to the front wheels, and a 3.7-liter V-6 that cranks out 305 horsepower to all four wheels of the TL SH-AWD. The transmission is a new 6-speed automatic, and a performance-minded 6MT manual will continue to be offered in 2012.

With a full complement of airbags including side curtains, enhanced anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control systems and the blind spot warning system, the TL achieves “Good” safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It’s the top grade available.

Behind the wheel, the TL SHAWD is absolutely confident on the road, with sure-footed and flat cornering. The “drive-by-wire” throttle response is instantaneous, and braking is excellent.

There’s just not a whole lot of fault to be found with this superb vehicle, other than maybe its price. The base price of the 2012 TL SHAWD is a hefty $45,085. Add in shipping and you are at $45, 970. It’s not a bad price for what you get, however.

Assembled in Acura’s Marysville, Ohio, plant, 60 percent of the TL’s parts are made in the U.S. or Canada. The engine is built in the U.S. and the transmission is built in Japan.