• New video revisits the origins of Acura’s Type S performance nameplate
  • 2021 Acura TLX Type S signals return of high-performance brand to Acura showrooms
  • 2022 MDX Type S will be the first Acura SUV to wear the Type S badge

With Type S performance models set to return to the Acura lineup, a new video released today celebrates the history of Type S and the iconic vehicles that have worn the high-performance badge. From 2001 through 2008, Type S models played a significant role in Acura’s performance lineup. Type S variants of the CL, TL and RSX delivered a dynamic driving experience with more power, improved handling and stronger braking, all without sacrificing the creature comforts and daily drivability of the core models.

Type S Origin Story

The concept for Type S performance models began with the 1997 NSX Type S in Japan, which led Honda R&D engineers in America to create a prototype coupe 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.”

This spring, Type S returns in an exciting way with the 2021 TLX Type S followed later in the year by the upcoming MDX Type S – the first Acura SUV to wear the Type S badge.

Acura Type S Model History

  • 2001-2003 Acura 3.2CL Type S: The Type S performance line debuted in North America with the 2001 3.2CL Type S. The high-performance coupe featured a 3.2-liter V6 engine with 260 horsepower (upgraded from the standard CL’s 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 6-speed manual transmission was available.

The new CL coupe is offered exclusively with V-6 power and is available in two distinct versions of Acura’s all-aluminum, 3.2-liter, 24-valve engine with the patented VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system. The 3.2 CL’s V-6 engine produces 225 horsepower and is similar to the engine in the popular Acura 3.2 TL luxury performance sedan. The Type S was designed for high performance driving with class leading technology and power. Producing 260 horsepower, the Type S is the most powerful six-cylinder coupe in its class. To achieve its high output, the Type S incorporates several engine enhancements including a dual-stage induction system, low-restriction dual-outlet exhaust, larger diameter throttle body, increased compression ratio, special intake valves, camshafts and cylinder heads. These elements allow the Type S to achieve a broad torque curve providing 232 lb-ft of torque between 3500 and 5500 rpm. Both the 3.2 CL and Type S engines feature a direct ignition system with knock control which ensures a properly timed spark for optimal power and fuel efficiency at all engine speeds. In addition, platinum-tipped spark plugs are used in both engines allowing a 100,000 mile tune up interval. Both CL models are equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission with the Formula 1 race car-inspired Sequential SportShift system, allowing the driver to select gear changes manually, or operate as an automatic transmission. The 5-speed gearing provides quick acceleration while reducing engine rpm at cruising speed, resulting in increased fuel efficiency and less engine noise compared to a 4-speed automatic transmission. The CL achieves luxury and performance while balancing Acura’s commitment to the environment, as both the 3.2 CL and Type S models will be Low Emission Vehicles (LEV). The California model 3.2 CL will be an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) with further reduced emissions.

  • 2002-2003 Acura 3.2TL Type S: Debuting a year after the coupe, the 3.2TL Type S sedan featured the same performance-tuned 3.2-liter engine including its innovative dual-stage induction system, a 5-speed automatic with a manual shift function, and similar suspension, wheel and tire upgrades.

The Acura 3.2 TL builds on its leadership in the near-luxury class with a host of enhancements and the addition of a high-performance Type-S model with a 260 horsepower engine and sport-tuned suspension. Both models went on sale in March of 2001.

“The TL continues to dominate the luxury performance sedan market and the new Type-S transforms the TL into a true enthusiast’s car,” said Dick Colliver, executive vice president, sales. “With its impressive 260 horsepower V-6, race-bred, Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission, sport-tuned suspension, and 17-inch wheels and tires, the TL Type-S is designed to thrill even the most discriminating drivers. At the same time, it delivers all the hallmarks the TL is famous for–including advanced safety engineering, comprehensive standard luxury amenities, and superb Acura quality. It’s a remarkable machine.”

The TL’s all-aluminum, 3.2-liter, 24-valve V-6 engine uses Acura’s patented Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC™) system to produce both abundant low-rpm torque and exhilarating high-rpm horsepower. The TL produces 225 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 216 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4700 rpm.

The TL Type-S further builds upon its impressive engine foundation with a dual-stage induction system, a low-restriction dual-outlet exhaust, a larger-diameter throttle body, an increased compression ratio, and high-performance intake valves and camshafts. In addition to boosting horsepower to 260 at 6100 rpm, these enhancements help the Type-S engine achieve its maximum 232 lbs.-ft. of torque over an exceptionally broad range — from 3500 rpm all the way to 5500 rpm.

  • 2002-2006 Acura RSX Type S: The RSX Type S also joined the family in 2002, powered by a new 2.0-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder with 200 horsepower (upgraded from the standard RSX’s 160 hp) connected exclusively to a 6-speed manual transmission. In 2005, the RSX Type S received a power boost to 210 horsepower, with styling changes that included a larger eye-catching rear wing.

Powering the all-new RSX are two variants of a newly developed, 16-valve, DOHC, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine utilizing the first U.S. application of Acura’s latest i-VTEC valve-control system. The new “intelligent” i-VTEC incorporates new VTC (Variable Timing Control) to continuously adjust intake-camshaft phase in concert with Acura’s Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) system – enhancing performance, fuel efficiency, and emissions reduction across a broad power band. The i-VTEC system in the Acura RSX utilizes VTC and VTEC on the intake valves and camshaft to help generate a stout 160 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 141 lb-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm. On the high-performance RSX Type-S engine, i-VTEC combines VTC intake phasing with VTEC intake and exhaust valve control to help produce a robust 200 horsepower at 7400 rpm and 142 lb-ft. of torque at 6000 rpm.

Both the RSX and the RSX Type-S meet the strict Low Emission Vehicle-II (LEV-II) standards adopted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for 2004.

The 160-horsepower RSX engine drives the front wheels through a choice of two state-of-the-art transmissions: a smooth-shifting, five-speed manual that provides excellent control during spirited driving, or an optional 5-speed automatic transmission equipped with Acura’s Sequential SportShift system. The SportShift concept first appeared on the Acura NSX exotic sports car and was subsequently applied to the Acura CL and TL and now the RSX. The SportShift transmission operates as an automatic or puts gear selection in the hands of the driver, much like a manual transmission.

  • 2007-2008 Acura TL Type S: The third-generation Acura TL rejoined the Type S lineup in 2007 powered by a 3.5-liter V6 making 286 horsepower (upgraded from the standard TL’s 3.2-liter V6 with 258 hp). A 6-speed manual transmission, 4-piston Brembo brakes, sport suspension, upgraded wheels and tires and distinctive quad exhaust were all standard.

The 2007 Acura TL storms into the midsized luxury market with revised exterior and interior styling, an improved navigation system with AcuraLink satellite communication system with real-time traffic and the re-introduction of the Type-S performance model. Featuring 286 horsepower from a new 3.5-liter V-6 engine, the performance oriented TL Type-S includes a re-tuned suspension along with unique exterior styling and interior trim that delivers the emotional thrill of a high performance luxury sedan without sacrificing comfort and convenience.

“The re-introduction of the Type-S solidifies a leadership role for the TL in the luxury performance sedan segment,” said Dick Colliver, executive vice president, sales. “With a unique blend of high performance, luxury and technology, the TL continues to set the pace for others to follow.”

The 2007 TL and TL Type-S offers a wide array of class-leading technology, such as the Acura/ELS Surround™ Premium sound system, Acura Satellite-Linked Navigation System (optional on the TL and standard on the Type-S) that now features AcuraLink with real-time traffic, and HandsFreeLink Bluetooth technology that allows drivers to synchronize their cell phone address books with the car. A newly redesigned 5-speed automatic transmission, re-tuned suspension and VTEC-enhanced powertrains further add to the driving experience.

The Type-S returns to the TL lineup after a three year hiatus, bringing with it significant performance upgrades. At its core is a 3.5-liter VTEC V-6 engine with 286 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 256 lb-ft of torque at 5000 rpm. The Type-S engine is available with the new 5-speed

automatic that features F1-style paddle shifters or a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission. Regardless of transmission choice, all Type-S models feature a suspension tuned for enhanced handling and four-piston Brembo front brakes.

The popular TL comes with a 3.2-liter VTEC V-6 engine that produces 258 hp at 6200 rpm and a broad torque curve that peaks with 233 lb-ft of torque at 5000 rpm. It is mated exclusively to the new 5-speed Sequential SportShift automatic transmission. Both the 3.2-liter V-6 in the TL and the 3.5-liter V-6 in the Type-S meet stringent CARB LEV-II ULEV emissions requirements. TL fuel economy is 20/29 mpg (city/highway), while the Type-S fuel economy is 19/28 mpg (AT) and 20/29 (MT).

A New Generation of Type S

  • 2021 Acura TLX Type S: Type S returns to Acura showrooms with the all-new TLX Type S, the best performing Acura sedan yet. Powered by the new Type S Turbo V6, the TLX Type S boasts 355-horsepower, 354-lb.-ft. of torque, a quick-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission, standard torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (a Type S first), a sport tuned suspension and Brembo front brakes.

The new TLX will offer two, powerful and high-torque turbocharged engines.

Standard power comes from a 2.0-liter DOHC, direct-injected and turbocharged engine with VTEC, mated to Acura’s incredibly responsive 10-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift. With peak output of 272 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque (SAE Net), the TLX’s 2.0-liter turbo boasts the highest horsepower in its core competitive set, delivering dramatic gains in horsepower (+66) and torque (+98 lb.-ft. at peak, +123 lb.-ft. at 1,500 rpm) when compared to the previous model’s naturally aspirated 2.4-liter 4-cylinder. Compared to the previous TLX’s optional 3.5-liter V6, the new 2.0-liter turbo delivers an additional 13 lb.-ft. of peak torque, as well as an additional 48 lb.-ft. at 1,500 rpm.

When it arrives in spring 2021, the TLX Type S will deliver power from an all-new 3.0-liter, 24-valve, DOHC direct-injected and turbocharged engine developed by some of the company’s most experienced powertrain engineers, including members of the team that developed the NSX’s bespoke twin-turbocharged V6 hybrid power unit. The new transverse-mounted V6 will be highly compact and lightweight, utilizing a dual scroll turbocharger and electronic wastegate to deliver immediate, high-torque response. Compared to the outgoing, naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6, the new engine delivers dramatic gains in peak horsepower and, more critically, in torque, across the engine’s full operating range, including a more than 50-percent increase in low-end torque. Final specifications for the new engine, including power output, will be released closer to launch timing.

Acura’s 10-speed automatic, with Sequential SportShift and standard paddle shifters, takes full advantage of both turbocharged engines’ high-torque output, offering a wider ratio range, more discrete gears, four-gear direct downshifts and a lower first gear compared to the previous 8-speed dual-clutch and 9-speed automatic transmissions. Type S models will receive unique transmission tuning to provide an aggressive and responsive characteristic during performance driving scenarios.

  • 2022 Acura MDX Type S: The first Acura SUV to ever wear the Type S badge, the 2022 MDX Type S builds on the critically acclaimed and all-new fourth-generation MDX, Acura’s new flagship model. The MDX Type S will be powered by the 355-horsepower Type S Turbo V6, and will also feature standard SH-AWD. More details about the MDX Type S will be available closer to its launch.