- The launch of the new Acura Integra garnered mixed reactions. On one hand, many were glad to see the revival of one of the marque’s most popular models from the ‘90s. Others weren’t so kind. With criticism hurled towards the styling, lack of power, and the 5-door-only body style, the faithful were not happy with the drastic changes to the new model.
Even when journalists (myself included) drew mostly positive impressions after driving it
, some were not convinced. Once again, citing styling, and the lack of power as being the biggest disappointments. The price and the fact that a manual transmission is only available on the most expensive trim didn’t help.
So if you were one of those that believed the new Acura Integra was underpowered we don’t exactly blame you. With just 200 hp from a turbocharged 4-cylinder, it’s down significantly when compared to the likes of the VW Golf GTI or the Subaru WRX
But Acura has more in store for the Integra with an upcoming Type S version in the works. So for those that wanted more power, not to worry, it’s coming.
I don’t have a whole lot of details to share mainly because we weren’t provided with any, but I did drive a camouflaged prototype of the Acura Integra Type S on Honda’s high-speed oval behind their sprawling R&D facility in Tochigi.
We already know what the Integra looks like but the camo wrap was hiding what looked like a new set of rocker panels, revised bumpers with much larger openings in the front, and possibly a different grille. The easiest thing to spot was the Civic Type R-like triple exhaust. And from the pictures it might even be wearing wider fenders.
Even before we could see the Type S, we could hear it approach. Honda says that they tuned the car to be even louder than the new Civic Type R
. I believe them. The Civic is certainly louder than it was before but it still lacks the theatrics we’ve come to expect from some performance cars today.
In comparison, the Acura Integra Type S exhaust is all drama. It’s throaty, loud, and boisterous, with plenty of pops if that’s what you’re into. It had to be the loudest factory exhaust I’ve ever heard on a Honda or Acura product, and this was fully intentional.
By now, it’s no surprise that the Type S uses the powertrain from the Civic Type R but it will make slightly less power. In this case, the 2-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder is tuned to make about 300 ps, which converts to 296 hp. Although final figures might change, nearly 100 hp more than what you get from a base Integra is like adding a Mitsubishi Mirage
under the hood plus 20 more horses. The gearbox also feels very much like the unit in the Civic Type R
I drove last month, with short beautifully weighted throws.
Our drive time amounted to only a couple of laps, but we were fortunate for the opportunity to experience it on Honda’s own testing grounds. Speed picks up quickly, and the power comes on strong through third and fourth gear. The car was electronically limited (for our test) to 200 km/h but it was enough to feel its rock-solid stability at that speed. The oval was banked in the outer lanes and it was a strange gravity-defying sensation, but the Type S remained velcroed to the tarmac. In “Sport plus” mode the steering was firm and precise, similar again to the Civic. Mechanical grip was high, a combination of the stiffer suspension and sticky Michelin Pilot Sport tires. Once at 200 km/h, I kept my foot buried. There was no reason to slow for the corners.
It’s louder than the Civic Type R but at 200 km/h synthesized exhaust from the speakers (or what sounded like it) was all I could hear. Wind noise at speeds double our highway limit was surprisingly low.
Nothing jumped out at me about the interior, it was standard Integra fare from what I could see, and that’s no bad thing. The seats felt more supportive but the glass smooth track meant I couldn’t tell you if it rode any softer than the Civic Type R, which I assume it will.
Internally Honda positions the Civic Type R as the more serious, nerdy car. The one that should be taken to a track on a regular basis. The Integra Type S is the emotional one, you can tell that just from the exhaust. While it is track worthy, its focus is performance on the street.
With little else to go on at the moment, we are eagerly awaiting an official reveal and some real specs. And hopefully, a price that’s within reason.
But from our quick stint behind the wheel, we have something good to look forward to.