Honda’s luxury division has always been very deliberate with the Type S line-up, taking its time before the announcement of each new release. In fact, before 2020, the last Acura Type S was the 2008 Acura TL Type S. Now, the 13-year hiatus is over with a big bang, following the unveiling of 3 new ones in less than a year. It is enough to make curious gearheads like us take notice.
The Type S Returns
The ‘Type S’ badge has traditionally been reserved for the high-performance variants of Acura models, dating back to the 1997 NSX Type S that was exclusively sold in Japan. Then in 2001, the performance line was introduced to the North American market with the 2001 Acura 3.2CL Type S. It is celebrated as the purest form of driving experience offered by the carmaker, a performance legacy that the brand intends to uphold with current-generation Type S cars.
Acura TLX Type S
The recent roll-out began with the 2021 TLX Type S, a sports sedan packing 355 horses under the hood to complement Acura’s acclaimed Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD) system. Performance-wise, it still lags behind the established German rivals like the Audi RS4 but initial market response has been encouraging. Online pre-sale orders were sold out within 8 hours of initial announcement back in March, and this was before Acura had even announced a price tag for the car.
Acura MDX Type S
Acura followed that up with the 2022 MDX Type S. It marks the first time ever that an Acura SUV will be elevated to the rank of Type S elite. The performance SUV gets the same engine as the one its sedan sibling which translates to an identical 355-hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. It is still a hefty 65 hp and 87 lb-ft of torque over the base MDX though, so you can expect it to be significantly quicker off the line.
The MDX Type S also gets the usual performance enhancements like reworked suspension, exclusive 10-speed automatic, upgraded brakes and an extra ‘Sports +’ driving mode that should firm up steering responses and throttle feel. The MDX is expected to hit dealerships before the end of this year.
Acura NSX Type S
Another one that’s expected to go on sale before the end of the year is the 2022 Acura NSX Type S though you might want to move fast if you want one as a production run of only 350 units is planned, with 300 headed for the United States market. In a way, it is the most significant of the triple-header launch as it marks the end of the second-generation NSX and there’s no telling when, or if ever, there will be a third generation.
The Type S revival does not end there and this is just the first phase of a bigger plan, indicative of a new direction within the company. According to Jon Ikeda, Acura’s Brand Manager, every Acura model going forward will get its own souped-up Type S variant. These are early days yet and there is insufficient data to accurately predict a future outlook. However, Acura will be hoping the Type S revival, ignited by the launch of the first three, will help flesh out its existing lineup and reposition the brand as it seeks to consolidate its market share in a hotly contested space.