LOS ANGELES – Acura debuts the refreshed ’16 ILX sedan, with more consumer-requested power and premium content, today at the 2014 Los Angeles auto show.

“(The updates) taken together put the ILX in a much stronger position in the critical entry-luxury segment,” Gary Robinson, manager-Acura product planning, says in a webcast last week ahead of the L.A. show debut.

Robinson says the changes made to the entry-luxury compact are “just another example of how serious we are about the Acura brand and our commitment to sharpening both the focus of the product and execution of the products.”

Acura has discontinued the slow-selling hybrid variant of the car and with the ’16 refresh further pares down the vehicle’s powertrain lineup, nixing the 150-hp 2.0L 4-cyl. and retaining just the 201-hp 2.4L 4-cyl., giving the car the type of “lightning-quick gratification” its targeted younger demographic craves.

The 2.4L, receiving the same performance enhancements as it has in the ’15 TLX midsize sedan, gets a bump in peak torque, from 170 lb.-ft. (230 Nm) in the ’15 ILX to 180 lb.-ft. (244 Nm) for ’16.

Torque arrives sooner, as well, at 3,600 rpm compared with 4,400 in the outgoing ’15 model.

Acura majorly upgrades the ILX’s transmission, installing the TLX’s rev-matching 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox in lieu of the ’15 ILX’s 5-speed automatic and 6-speed manual offerings.

While Robinson says ILX buyers liked the car’s styling, Acura nevertheless tweaks the front and rear fascias, and updates the grille design. It also adds its JewelEye front LED headlights, as well as rear LED combination lights, as standard across all six ’16 grades.

The 17-in. 10-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels have been restyled, and inside the car now has contrast stitching on the steering wheel, parking-brake lever and shift knob.

Also dressing up the cabin is high-intensity silver trim, added to the passenger-side instrument panel.

New for the ’16 ILX is an A-Spec package which features sporty additions such as a trunk spoiler, 18-in. machined alloy wheels with glossy black insets, black interior fabrics, including Lux Suede seat inserts, gray stitching, red-illuminated gauges and aluminum brake and throttle pedals.

The added technology, for Premium and higher grades, includes 2-position-memory driver’s seat and 4-way power passenger seat, as well as an upper display screen and lower touchscreen on the center stack, with the touchscreen connectivity and media system getting more than 50 design changes for easier operation, Acura says.

A new tethered navigation system is available for the ILX Premium, which runs off a user’s iPhone and data plan once the AcuraLink navigation app is downloaded.

Standard safety additions include blindspot and rear-cross-traffic systems on Premium and higher grades.

The Tech Plus grade of the ILX has the AcuraWatch suite of technologies (lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, collision-mitigation braking) as standard. AcuraWatch is optional on other grades of the ILX.

Tech Plus buyers also snag embedded navigation, a color multi-information display between gauges, Siri Eyes Free, ELS premium audio system and AcuraLink connected-car technology.

A new Catalina Blue Pearl paint is available on Premium and higher grades.

Acura says it has made the ILX quieter inside thanks to thicker front-side door glass, noise attenuating wheels, more noise-insulating materials strategically located and Active Noise Control.

The brand claims steering responsiveness and linearity is improved through changes to the suspension and “a multitude of chassis design enhancements.”

The ILX, which went on sale in the U.S. in spring 2012, has delivered underwhelming sales for the Honda brand, with deliveries through October down 16.2% to 14,472 units, WardsAuto data shows.

Acura targeted 30,000 annual sales at the car’s 2012 launch.

While the ILX is falling shy of that expectation, Robinson claims a victory in having the greatest percentage of under 35-year-old buyers in the near-luxury segment.

However, it is unclear as to how Acura defines the segment, as Robinson claims the ILX was the first entry-luxury sedan.

Many industry watchers consider the 4-door Buick Verano a direct competitor to the ILX. The Verano went on sale in 2011 as a ’12 model.

ILX pricing is expected to increase slightly for ’16 due to the added content, Robinson says.

For ’15, the ILX begins at $27,050 for the soon-to-be-discontinued 2.0L model and $29,350 for the 2.4L sedan.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com