The brand's performance models are making a return.
Back in 2020, we learned that Acura would bring back the Type S performance brand. The Japanese luxury automaker has since confirmed two upcoming Type S models, the first based on the 2022 Acura TLX sedan and a second one based on the 2022 Acura MDX crossover. Both will use a new 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine producing 355 horsepower. Before the TLX Type S arrives on the market, Acura wanted to remind enthusiasts what the Type S brand stands for.
To do so, Acura gathered four of its legendary Type S models for an epic photoshoot: the first-generation TL, second-generation TL, CL, and RSX. These Type S variants improved the power, handling, and braking of their base models without sacrificing comfort and daily drivability.
Though it is not pictured here alongside its successors, Acura's performance brand originated with the 1997 NSX Type S for the Japanese market. It was envisioned as a bridge between the standard NSX and the hardcore Type R model. Lessons learned from the NSX led Honda's engineers to develop a performance coupe prototype called the AC-R.
"The AC-R was basically a show car capable of 166 mph and 1.0g of grip on a skidpad, but its real value was getting everyone inside the company jazzed about creating this kind of model under the Acura brand," said Erik Berkman, former President, Honda R&D Americas, LLC and the development leader of the AC-R and the original Type S models. "Ultimately, we decided to bake all of that goodness into the Acura CL and the result was the 3.2CL Type S, the first Type S in North America."
An awesome 12-minute video from Acura gives a more in-depth look at how the original Type S models were developed. Acura originally set a goal that Type S models need 30 hp more than the standard models, but the engineers later changed that to a ratio to factor for smaller models like the RSX. Though each Type S model has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, each holds a special place in Acura's history.
We hope the upcoming TLX and MDX Type S models revive the brand's enthusiast passion that's been missing for over a decade. This current crop of Type S models won't punch into BMW M or Mercedes-AMG territory, but Acura says it is at least looking to match the Audi S4 with the TLX Type S.