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.
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