A new Acura TLX Type S and at least one other Type S model have been promised for the near future, and today Acura’s trotting out the Type S concept to get us hyped and hint at what its next practical-performance cars should look like.
One of the moldiest car-enthusiasts clichés is that Acura’s heyday of design ended around 2009; essentially when “the beak” took over as the brand’s unifying styling language replacing years of smooth-but-staunch lines and accessible performance.
This is one cliché I have to admit I sort of agree with. But Acura’s more recent looks have edged away from the silliness of the turn of the 2010s, and now, it seems like the company’s actually on pace to give us something that’s genuinely visually appealing.
We don’t know exactly what kind of upgrades to the next wave of Acura Type S cars will have, but the press release says: “Type S models will deliver a high-performance driving experience with quicker acceleration, nimbler handling and stronger braking performance than conventional Acura models.”
Historically, Acura’s Type S variants have been mild but significant evolutions of good cars. Not BMW M or Merc AMG levels of aggression, but clean-looking and responsive. Here’s a quick rundown of the four Type S models we’ve had so far, per Acura:
- 2001-2003 Acura 3.2CL Type S: The Type S performance line debuted with the 2001 Acura 3.2CL Type S. It featured a 3.2-liter V6 engine with 260 horsepower (upgraded from 225 hp), a 5-speed automatic with a manual shift function, quicker steering, 17-inch wheels and tires, and a sport-tuned suspension. In its final model year, a six-speed manual transmission was available.
- 2002-2003 Acura 3.2TL Type S: Debuting a year after the 3.2CL Type S, the 3.2TL Type S featured the same performance-tuned engine and transmission, and similar suspension, wheel and tire upgrades. Unlike the 3.2CL Type S, the 3.2TL Type S was not available with a manual transmission.
- 2002-2006 Acura RSX Type S: The RSX Type S joined the family in 2002, powered by a new 2.0-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder with 200 horsepower (upgraded from 160 hp) connected exclusively to a 6-speed manual transmission. In 2005, the RSX Type S received a power increase to 210 horsepower, along with styling changes that included an eye-catching larger rear wing.
- 2007-2008 Acura TL Type S: The third-generation Acura TL rejoined the Type S lineup in 2007 and was powered by a 3.5-liter V6 making 286 horsepower (upgraded from 3.2-liter V6 with 258 hp), a six-speed manual transmission, four-piston Brembo brakes, sport suspension, upgraded wheels and tires and distinctive quad exhaust.
And now, there’s this 2019 Type S concept, which “will heavily influence the character of the upcoming, second-generation TLX Type S.” As a concept car, its specs are not worth analyzing too closely but the hypothetical bodywork has a lot of carbon and the wheels are 21 inches with 285-series tires mounted. Behind those are Brembo brakes with drilled rotors gripped by four-piston calipers.
I guess you could call it the next phase of the 2016 Precision concept we first saw in Detroit, but this Type S seems a lot more modern already and I dare say it’s the closest Acura’s come to its glory days of third-gen TL styling in a long time.
That color is called Double Apex Blue Pearl, by the way.
The Acura Type S Concept was drawn up at the Acura Design Studio in California, and Acura credits Executive Creative Director Dave Marek and Chief Designer Ben Davidson and their teams. If you’re in Monterey for Car Week, you can see the thing in person at the historic Concept Lawn at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on August 18.
For the rest of us, here’s a hype video to ponder:
And yes, this is the same car that was leaked on the subreddit r/Acura by redditor GotMyOrangeCrush earlier today, so shout out to them for snagging some screengrabs from the Kelley Blue Book app.
I, for one, am excited for Acura to move into its next look and if that comes with some big brake options and slight horsepower tweaks, why not.