Time to party like it's 1999?
In some ways, Acura hasn't been the same ever since the Integra and its RSX direct successor left the market over a decade ago. Acura was one of the first to prove that a front-wheel-drive coupe can be extremely fun to drive, and the Integra Type R has earned sort of a legendary status. Knowing that and given the fact Acura wants younger buyers, shouldn't it at least consider the idea of a reborn Integra/RSX? We spoke with Acura RDX engineer Steve Hansen, who happens to be in the market for an Integra Type R, about this very question at Detroit.
"With the new RDX, Acura is going back to its roots of precision performance," Hansen explained. So naturally that made us wonder whether there's room in the lineup for a hot new coupe. Nope, and here's the reason(s) why: the Honda Civic Si and Civic Type R. "The Si, as we all know, is available as both a sedan and coupe, and it makes little to no sense, financially speaking, to re-body and restyle the Civic," Hansen said. In fact, the Acura ILX compact sedan is based on the previous generation Civic platform, and ILX sales haven't exactly been stellar. Another factor to consider is the significant push upmarket Honda did with the new Civic, and for the price point, performance and overall packaging, it's pretty hard to beat the Si.
However, Acura will be bringing back the Type S trim in the near future, but neither Hansen nor anyone else from Acura offered any specifics as to which model(s) will be involved. Our best guess is the TLX sedan. After spending some time with the car, we criticized it for simply not being sporty enough. The TLX is no serious threat to the likes of the BMW 3 Series, so clearly there's room for improvement. As for the RLX large sedan? Despite its recent makeover, we can't see how it can ever gain a true sporty flavor. The ILX? Word has it it's time is nearly up. Type S will also likely be applied to Acura's true strengths: SUVs such as the upcoming third-generation RDX.
We also wouldn't be surprised to see a subcompact SUV arrive at some point as well. Given all that, a new coupe seems pretty unlikely. So it's probably for the best to give up any hope of a reborn Integra/RSX. There's really no need to be sad because we now have the new Civic Si and Type R, unless the Acura badge is a must-have.