At the Los Angeles International Auto Show, Honda’s upscale brand Acura showed they intend to get competitive again, revealing a significantly updated 2016 Acura ILX sedan. Three years after its debut, Acura adds more standard power, a new transmission and a new high-end trim grade.

Styling updates are evolutionary with fresh front and rear fascias. The ILX adopts the brands expensive looking Jewel Eye LED headlights as standard equipment and a new 17” ten-spoke alloy wheel rounds out the new look.

A new for 2016 A-SPEC package adds unique rocker trim, fog lights up front and a new rear-deck spoiler out back. The package also brings with it larger 18” machined alloy wheels with gloss black insets.

The big news is under the hood where the top-of-the-line 201 horsepower 2.4 liter directed-injected i-VTEC engine has now been made standard equipment across the board. The ILX also gets Acura’s all new torque converter equipped 8-speed dual-clutch transmission which just launched in the larger TLX.

The only transmission now available, the 8-speed dual clutch gearbox has paddle shifters and can deliver very quick and crisp shifts. It offers up rev-matching down shifts and better off-the-line torque with smoother launch behavior than dry clutch type transmissions.

Taking seriously the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety Top Safety Pick + rating requirements, the 2016 Acura ILX also received a number of structural engineering changes for better frontal collision safety and increased body stiffness.

These revisions are matched with an available driver assistance and safety system called AcuraWatch. The suite of systems includes adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation and collision mitigation braking.

The latter is now a requirement to achieve IIHS Top Safety Pick + status. We’ll see how the ILX stacks up soon when it gets its turn in the next round of testing.

Inside, the 2016 Acura ILX also gets a number of important upgrades starting with new stitched soft trims on key touch points and new silver accent trims on the dash.

The new A-SPEC package gets a premium black color scheme with black headliner, perforated suede seat inserts, red instrument lighting, gray accent stitching and aluminum pedals.

Additional adds for 2016 include driver’s seat memory and a 4-way power passenger seat The dash gets an 8” information screen and 7” touchscreen for Premium and above models. Acura says the new generation infotainment interface receives more than 50 design changes to make it easier to use.

We will bring you a more detailed review when we get our first chance to drive one very soon. The 2016 Acura ILX arrives at North American dealerships early in 2015.