Acura's Bringing Back the Type S Designation

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
acuras bringing back the type s designation

Acura is bringing a “Type S Concept” to Monterey Car Week later this month, claiming the model will set the stage for a return of legitimate performance variants adorned with the badge. Considering the company’s A-Spec models are little more than appearance packages, dealing with vehicular thrills in an purely philosophical manner, this is an extremely welcome change.

Enthusiasts don’t want to experience performance by meditating on how a car’s upgraded bodywork expresses the phenomenon though a piece of purchased plastic, they want to fling the car though a corner and feel the blood sloshing around inside their head.

Type S may not have the same marking clout as Honda’s Type R but it’s still meaningful. Acura cannot weasel out of performance this time or there will be a mob of former-RSX owners bearing down on its headquarters with torches. Although, it’ll be a small (but fierce) mob because none of the brand’s Type S models were particularly long lived. Between 2001 and 2008, Acura offered four Type S variants in the United States — and the only one that lasted more than a couple of years was the RSX.

Based on the fourth and final generation of the Honda Integra, the RSX wasn’t a bad little driver back in the day. The base model came with a 2.0-liter VTEC, K20A3 engine with an output of 160 horses but you could spice it up by going with the Type S. The performance trim initially incorporated a 200-hp K20A2, upgraded suspension, beefier sway bars, and improved brakes. However, by 2005, you could score one 210 hp K20Z1 and closer-ratio manual with a sixth gear.

Unfortunately, the RSX was dropped in 2006 — leaving the TL sedan to carry the Type S moniker until 2008. That model dumped the standard 3.2-liter V6 for a more powerful 3.5-liter unit. It also opened up the door for a manual option, which incorporated a limited-slip differential, better brakes, bolstered seating, and more.

The point is that these cars, transformed by the badge, offered something more than the standard models. Torque steer for sure, but also a tangible sense of engagement and a bit of notoriety. That stupid little S said something about the person driving the car and that’s a feeling Acura should absolutely want to instill within its customers right now.

While we don’t know much about the concept the automaker plans on bringing to Pebble Beach, it appears to preview the new TLX. We get a brief glimpse of the vehicle’s silhouette and nose in the teaser video and both seem to match the leaked materials Acura neglected to remove from the RDX’s user interface. We’ll find out for sure in a couple of weeks; the concept is scheduled to debut on August 15th before making the rounds at the Concours d’Elegance.

[Image: Acura]

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  • Sportyaccordy Sportyaccordy on Aug 05, 2019

    Acura hate is fun on the internet... but in real life I think the sedans are OK. Now I fully admit that I could be exhibiting choice supportive bias... but I recently bought a TLX SH-AWD, and I have been really enjoying it. For the money, new or used, it's either a bargain basement German with a nasal, dieselly turbo 4 cylinder, and most likely open differentials all around... or my TLX's throaty, revvy, torquey V6, torque vectoring, nearly 30MPG on a mostly highway commute, and Honda reliability. Seriously, compare a $45K BMW/Audi/MB to a loaded TLX... if you'd get the German car I question your sanity. Especially after punching the throttle in a turn with SH-AWD. Underrated tech. People slam it for being a fancy Accord like that's a bad thing. The Accord has been near luxury since 2013 and in 9th gen trim was one of the most reliable cars on the road, with good powertrains too. TLX SH-AWD just addresses its FWD related dynamic flaws. I'm hoping they kill the RLX and make an ILX/TLX based on the current Civic/Accord. Type-S versions would both have SH-AWD and DCTs, and the existing 2.0T/new 3.0T V6, respectively. I'm going to hold on a little bit longer and continue to enjoy the naturally aspirated VTEC snarl of my J35Y6 as long as I can though :)

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Aug 05, 2019

    Agreed. SH-AWD can be bought at the Porsche store (torque vectoring !!) for a lot more money. My MDX once had a minor transmission bobble, and the AWD cut off the back. For a few days it was FWD only, and I became very aware of the SH AWD. It is so good you don't notice it unless you leave on the display showing it working. Likewise, as loaners for two weeks, or so, I had the TL with the SH AWD, and it was a great sleeper, and sure footed. The FWD version was none of those things, but the SH AWD car was tuned tight and sport, and the FWD was tuned for the classic Buick intender.

  • Del My father bought GM cars in the 60's, but in 1971 he gave me a used Datsun (as they were called back then), and I'm now in my 70's and am happy to say that GM has been absent from my entire adult life. This article makes me gladder than ever.
  • TheEndlessEnigma That's right GM, just keep adding to that list of reasons why I will never buy your products. This, I think, becomes reason number 69, right after OnStar-Cannot-Be-Disabled-And-It-Comes-Standard-Whether-Or-Not-You-Want-It and Screw-You-American-Car-Buyer-We-Only-Make-Trucks-And-SUVs.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic Does this not sound and feel like the dawn of ICE automobiles in the early 20th century, but at double or triple speed speed!!There were a bunch of independent car markers by the late 1910’s. By the mid 20’s, we were dropping down to 10 or 15 producers as Henry was slashing the price of the Model T. The Great Depression hit, and we are down to the big three and several independents. For EVs, Tesla bolted out of the gate, the small three are in a mad dash to keep up. Europe was caught flat footed due to the VW scandal. Lucid, Lordstown, & Rivian are scrambling to up production to generate cash. Now the EV leader has taken a page from the Model T and is slashing prices putting the rest of the EV market in a tail spin. Deja vu……
  • Michael Eck With those mods, I wonder if it's tuned...
  • Mike-NB2 I'm not a Jeep guy, but I really, really like the 1978 Jeep Cherokee 4xe concept.