By on August 1, 2019

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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31 Comments on “Acura’s Bringing Back the Type S Designation...”

  • avatar

    The proportions on that silhouette have me sleeping already. Look at those front wheels pushed all the way back with a mile of overhang ahead of them.

  • avatar

    Sales wise probably won’t help much unless they apply it to their SUVs. Marketing wise it’s probably a good idea, but without a manual they will still hear dismay from the internet.

  • avatar

    This will be great paired with the return of manual transmissions to Acura. Oh, you say that’s not happening? Good thing I added Acura to my shopping list with a pencil. Now for the eraser…

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think ANY “sport” sedan will come with a manual transmission in 2020, so it doesn’t seem fair to single Acura out for something everyone else is doing.

  • avatar

    Hey WD, there’s an article on LLN about Subaru selling its 2 millionth Forester and it’s killing me not being able to comment.

  • avatar

    I’m skeptical, meaning I doubt anything tangible will be done in terms of power, torque and transmissions. Maybe just some stiffer suspension to make owners who never plan on going to the track and deal with bad roads day to day wish they hadn’t bought it.

  • avatar

    bah. Type S is where they go during the last year of the model, to try to move iron. It’s a mix of trim plus light performance mods.

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

  • avatar

    As a two-time owner of my very much missed RSX Type-S (had first and last model year), I will be part of that small, but fierce, mob if Acura screws this up. I still miss that 8,000 rpm wail in tunnels, the short, direct throws of the 6-speed, the 30+ mpg in mixed driving, and it was just a very fun and practical car. I think Acura’s last bit of soul died when the RSX vanished and it kills me to say that because I like Honda/Acura products! I can’t count the new NSX – too expensive and from what I understand, it’s bolted to dealer floors.

    Bring back the manual, if a new RSX is out of the question, make the next-gen TSX have a Type-S edition, and bring the fun back!

    • 0 avatar

      The car I think they should build, but know they won’t- because they lost any sense of enthusiasm- is a new ILX Type-S based on the current Civic Type R. Take the CTR, re-style it as an ILX should look, equip the model with the 8-speed DCT with torque converter. I would buy this car. A semi-luxury, practical, reliable, efficient hatchback with 300 HP that I can daily drive on my commute? Yes, please!

      • 0 avatar

        I have that already with my Golf R, except I went with a manual over the dsg.

        • 0 avatar

          I did mention “reliable”, though I am sure you read that part and felt that- because your experience regarding VW reliability has been positive- the Golf R still met all my listed criteria. My experience with VW and Audi have been mixed- more mixed than they have with Honda, Toyota, and Mazda products. While a VW product has not left me on the side of the road, many things have gone bad on them at much lower mileage than I have experienced in other brands (i.e. broken cruise control, bad HID ballasts, failing window switch regulators, failed air conditioning, electrical gremlins causing the moon roof to open/close on its own, etc.).

          I like very much how VW products drive and feel, but I am less inclined to own one again, unless I were able to budget for calamity.

        • 0 avatar

          The Golf R’s back seat is an afterthought compared to the Civic

          As the dad of a toddler and hopefully another one soon that’s a dealbreaker. Civic on the other hand can accommodate a rear facing seat and a normal height adult no problem.

      • 0 avatar

        My Acura hopes of the RSX caused an accidental typing of TSX, not TLX. Who can keep track of the alphabet soup anyway?

        Pinkslip – 100% agree. Show the buyer who wants something with a bit of bite in it, yet practical that they have something for them, and looks a little more serious. The CTR is getting refreshed soon, and probably having its looks toned down a little bit. Now’s the chance to bug Honda for an Acura version! Plus, I don’t think this version would step on Honda’s CTR toes at all – I think they’d be two different kinds of buyers.

      • 0 avatar

        @pinkslip putting an automatic in there would ruin everything Honda and Acura has ever stood for. Look at how people disregard the second gen “nsx.”

        • 0 avatar

          I disagree. I think most people who want a manual will consider the CTR first. For people like me, who already have a manual transmission sports car, the 8-speed DCT offers more as a daily driven sports sedan. And having the Civic only available in manual, and the ILX only auto, would help keep them from cannibalizing each other’s sales.

      • 0 avatar

        @pinkslip I would at least go test drive that. Which is more than I can say for the rest of the Acura lineup.

  • avatar

    A new RSX is exactly what Acura needs right now. The ILX is rather embarrassing given that it’s the last gen Civic platform with some new skin stretched over it.

    Make a new ILX from the current Civic platform and give it a Type-S edition. Equip it with a smart LSD, bigger brakes, wider (exclusive alloy) wheels and an interior with Recaro-type seats, drilled pedals and oh yeah, a six speed MT would be the clincher.

  • avatar

    Acura is a dead man walking. Just convert the stores to Honda and move on. Same thing with Infiniti. Lexus won the Jap Luxe battle coming out of the gate and will be the last one alive. All the dough spent on differentiating product and maintaining separate organizations surely overwhelms any potential profit.

    • 0 avatar

      Their product lineup is weak, but the RDX and MDX still do pretty well; it’s their sedans that nobody wants. It doesn’t help that they put that garbage 9-speed ZF in the TLX and still haven’t replaced it with either the 8 or 10-speeds they have available. I think if they came out with Acura versions of the HR-V, current-gen Civic, and Accord, things would be more promising.

      But the real issue with the brand is that it attracts all the moochiest of moochy buyers: people who want to be seen parking a ‘luxury’ car in their driveway, but can’t afford a Lexus or any of the German brands. Same issue with Infiniti.

      Acura really needs to turn their product into something people who can afford Lexus and BMW would want to cross-shop, not just something that appeals to the archetypal middle-class American- someone who thinks they are a temporarily embarrassed millionaire in the making.

    • 0 avatar

      Interestingly lexus is the only Japanese brand that is in Japan Acura and infinity do not exist there

  • avatar

    Agreed on Acura. It’s literally surviving on MDX and RDX.

    It’s sedans are every bit as re-badged Hondas as anything from any of the Guangzhou Motors (GM) divisions are of each other, which is as about as sad as can be.

    Acura has had an astonishing fall.

    When the continuing/ongoing glut of CUVs starts to take a toll on almost all automakers, Acura will be one of the particularly vulnerable brands.

  • avatar

    Already five comments with my “yah but zero mechanicals” comments.
    Remember the Prelude ?
    OG Accord ?
    The Integra ?
    CRX Si ?
    OG NSX

    Honda CAN do it. Unlike some companies that can’t do it unless forced….Honda has the secret sauce. Acura is what happens when AOR guys get ahold of cars….sorry to mix the metaphors, but Acura needs to be disbanded yesterday. They are a pox upon Honda. A bunch of useless-ass marketers destroying an engineering based company.

    The only reason my MDX doesn’t suck is because it is the first one they tuned on the ring, and the marketers hadn’t yet got full control. The next few years it became a Lexus competitor and the BMW aspects fell by the wayside…ok, even BMW has lost some of the plot, but….

    Wow….fancy thread in the dashboard…I can hardly wait.

    They choose not to use it.

  • avatar

    Too little too late for Acura. Enthusiasts have been starved for anything from the brand for more than 10 years. It is now a crossover brand that people purchase when they can’t or won’t afford the payments on the equivalent Audi or BMW crossover. Nobody aspires to Acura anymore. They let too much time pass.

  • avatar

    Most of these assessments are fairly Acura.

  • avatar

    Here’s Acura’s future. They just need to make their cars like this right from the factory:

  • avatar

    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 :)

  • avatar

    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.

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