Looking forward to the 2021 Acura TLX Type S, we remember some of Acura's hottest models.
As a brand, Acura has held a strange spot in the automotive world. Launched in 1986 with the introduction of the Integra and Legend, Honda positioned Acura as the first Japanese luxury marque available in America. While the Integra and NSX were wildly successful at both ends of the automotive spectrum, the brand has struggled to build an enthusiastic base for the middle of its lineup. The highlights, though, have been good. The Acura Type S concept of improving on existing models has produced a few cars worth remembering.
Second Gen TL Type S
Based on the second generation TL, Acura’s first Type S model saw a 35 hp increase over the stock sedan, bringing the total power to 260hp.
Other improvements included larger 17-inch wheels, stiffer seats and suspension, and some interesting interior appointments.
Unfortunately, this TL was never offered with a manual transmission, and its automatic was problematic, just as many of Honda’s V6 transmissions were during that era.
CL Type S
The TL’s mechanical twin, the CL coupe, fixed all of the issues from its 4 door brother. Available with a six-speed and limited slip differential, the CL was really the genesis of the Type S spirit.
Nevertheless, the manual CL Type S remains a bit of a unicorn, with only 3,511 models sold.
In 2002, Honda Access partnered with tuner Comptech to offer a complete package for the CL Type S that added a supercharger, upgraded suspension components, Brembo brakes, custom wheels, and Michelin Pilot Sport tires. These cars cost a whopping $22,412 to the $31,000 base price.
RSX Type S
Following the Integra Type R was never going to be an easy task, but the RSX Type S was certainly a contender in the early 2000s sport compact car explosion.
The car featured the hottest version of Honda’s legendary K20 engine making 201 hp for ‘02-’04, and 210hp for the facelifted version making the RSX Type S engine a popular choice for engine swaps.
The car was only offered with a six-speed manual and the interior featured red interior lighting and black leather. Upgraded brakes and a larger sway bar rounded out the performance upgrades.
3rd Gen TL Type S
After a 3 year hiatus, the third generation of the TL received the Type-S treatment with the 2007 Acura TL Type-S.
Available with either a paddle-shifter equipped automatic or a six-speed, the Acura’s mid-size sedan was equipped with a Honda J series engine making 286hp.
Other additions included Brembo brakes, a limited-slip differential, a restyled exterior, and red lighting inside. The TL Type S wheels have become a popular swap for other 5-lug Hondas with their dark gunmetal spokes.
CSX Type S
Although it was never sold in America, the Acura CSX Type S deserves a mention.
Essentially a USDM Civic Si with a JDM Civic exterior, the compact sedan featured the same 197hp K20 as the 8th generation Civic. Discontinued in 2011, the CSX Type S was the sad ending to the Type S marque until the 2020 TLX Type S makes its debut.