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  • Writer's pictureJeffrey Lai

Acura Type S Concept: A New Hope.

Updated: Sep 26, 2019

Photo Courtesy of Acura.

At Pebble Beach this year, Acura debuted its gorgeous new Type S Concept in a brilliant “Double Apex Blue Pearl”. With one glance, I knew that Acura was finally getting their doo-doo back together.

You see, Acura burst into the American car market not only as the very first Japanese luxury brand but also as the new sporty division of Honda. Within the companies’ first five years, they had released the sporty little Integra, the bigger Legend, and the legendary NSX. Following their motto of “Precision Crafted Performance”, Acura continued to pave the way for Japanese performance with cars like the Integra Type R, the RSX, and the original TL Type S. Soon, as they changed their motto to “Advance”, the company soon led the way in technology with features like Bluetooth, navigation, and Super Handling All Wheel Drive.

However, Acura ended up facing a major problem. Though they were making good cars, they still couldn’t separate themselves far enough from Honda. The RSX was a rebadged Integra, the TL was a rebadged European Accord, and the two companies shared bits and boobs with each other. It came to a point where Acura cars still had “Honda” printed on the windows. If Acura wanted to be taken seriously as an actual luxury brand, it had to drop it’s backwards hat boy racer persona in exchange for a more sophisticated and elegant image. However, in trying to do this Acura became confused.

By 2009 the NSX and Integra were long gone, and in their place sat a lineup of mediocre sedans and SUVs. Additionally, Acura tried to adopt a more distinctive design language based on their frankly hideous mighty morphin’ Power Plenum grill. Even with all this effort, Acura’s interiors and refinement could not hold a candle to it’s German and Japanese rivals and it had lost its original sporty credentials. Acura no longer had anything special. For years and years, they meandered their way around the car market with the same boring formula. The only interesting thing to come out during this time was the ill-fated ZDX. It truly seemed like Acura was going to fade into history (had their SUVs not sold so well).

In 2012 the sleepy company jerked in the night and stirred excitement when it released a stunning new NSX concept to signal the revival of the treasured nameplate. It seemed that perhaps Acura was finally going to find its way again. However, the two concepts that stood alongside it (the RDX and the ILX) told a different story. These two dreary vehicles were a clear marker that the company just wasn’t getting it. BUT, my ears did perk up when Acura’s lead designer at the time, Jon Ikeda, said “We would much rather design a new Integra”. Hearing this, I thought to myself, “that should be the type of guy running Acura”.

Photo Courtesy of Acura.

By the time the NSX finally came to production after an eternity of development, it had lost its luster. The once stunning and new design was now four years old and, though it was a very capable car, it was not exactly what original fans wanted. Furthermore, even with the NSX as it’s halo, Acura was still being stifled by the rest of its dull lineup. If even the NSX could not stir enough excitement, the company was truly doomed.

However, seemingly out of nowhere at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show, Acura came in hot with a new boss and a new concept. My man, Jon Ikeda, stepped onto the stage and announced that they were returning to their familiar old motto of “Precision Crafted Performance”. The veil was pulled off the sexy new Precision Concept and an announcement was made saying that the Type S moniker was returning along with a new twin-turbo V6 powertrain.

Photo Courtesy of Acura.

Guys… in a flash, things were finally getting exciting again.

Through the next couple of years, Acura slowly but surely started rewriting their image. The company’s ad changed from monotonous spouts about luxury to fast-paced images of performance. The old Power Rangers grill was replaced with the much better looking Diamond Pentagon grill and a sporty new NSX inspired A-Spec trim was introduced. The 2019 RDX was the first completely redesigned Acura under this new vision. Gone was the bulbous old slush-mobile, and its place stood a leaner, meaner compact SUV with improved driving dynamics, updated technology, and an interior of high enough quality to finally be deemed “luxury”.

And now… there’s this. The new Type S Concept. Just look at it.

Photos Courtesy of Acura.

Look at those striking lines, that mean face, and those gaping vents. Look at the quad exhaust and the forged carbon accents. Now this is more like it. It’s supposed to tease the design of the upcoming TLX, and when the Type S eventually comes out it’s mostly likely that twin-turbo V6 I mentioned before.

So if the production car arrives driving as good as that thing up there looks, it will be a game changer for Acura. With that, I deem this “A New Hope” like that one movie about war amongst the stars. It’s hope that Acura is finally becoming the company it always wanted to be.

It’s hope that Acura… is back.

P.S. Acura, would you be so kind as to let me drive an NSX at some point in my life?

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