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July 10, 2023
2024 Acura Integra Type SAcura
Human blood is categorized as Type A, B, AB, and O, but high-performance Acuras come in Type S and Type R. The 2024 Acura Integra Type S provides a return to the brand’s glory years of building beloved sport compact models.
The most famous Acura is the 1997-2001 Integra Type R, but the 2002-2006 RSX Type S (which was called Integra in other markets, but inexplicably not in the U.S.) was a fantastic encore even if it lacked the Type R’s hard edge.
When Acura revived the Integra brand last year, fans hoped we’d get a sporty version and it has arrived in the form of the Integra Type S. If they are concerned that a Type S is insufficiently sporty compared to a hoped-for Type R, they can rest easy, as the Type S’s 320-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter inline K20C four-cylinder engine boasts a 120-hp bump beyond the regular 1.5-liter Integra’s power output. Torque is 310 lb.-ft, which is 118 lb.-ft. more than a regular Integra.
In characteristic Acura fashion, the Integra Type S puts this power to the road through a six-speed transmission with an impeccable short-throw shifter. Even though, as a front-drive machine, the Integra’s shifter is cable-actuated, the Type S shifter embarrasses even direct shifters like the one in the BMW M2.
The regular version of the Integra achieved sales of 19 percent manual transmission in the car’s first year, and the Type S promises to have higher demand for a clutch pedal. The effort on that pedal is light, in the Honda tradition, but the engagement is smooth and there is excellent feel for the friction point, so the Type S is not only sporty to drive but also easy.
It sends power through a helical limited-slip differential that almost eliminates both torque steer and wheel spin when accelerating out of slow corners in the way Hondas and Acuras have done since the Prelude and Integra of the ‘90s.
In addition to the showcasing of a manual transmission, which is distressingly rare in the view of enthusiast drivers, Acura is also deploying a similarly uncommon array of pigments in the Integra’s paint options. In addition to the same monochromatic range as others, the Integra also comes in Performance Red, Apex Blue, and Tiger Eye, which is a golden yellow hue
The cockpit remains mostly black, but in addition to all-black, Integras are available with red highlights on the seats and door panel or light gray accents the company calls “Orchid.”
The Integra’s steering is superbly weighted, with light-to-medium effort and excellent feedback. The car’s ability to trace the arc the driver intends through curves is amazing considering that it is routing 320 horsepower through the same tires that are doing the steering.
While behind the wheel, drivers will appreciate the Type S’s sport seats, which provide the necessary bolstering to keep front-seat occupants in place during hard cornering without the uncomfortable racecar-ready seats found in the German competition. The Integra’s seats provide all-day driving comfort with the ability to hold people in place through mountain switchbacks. The BMW M2’s seat, in contrast, is challenging for ingress and egress but gets uncomfortable enough to motivate the driver to make the effort to get out.
The Type S rolls in 19-inch aluminum wheels that are 9.5 inches wide. Those carry fat 265/30R19 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tires, but despite the tires’ width, the Integra is not prone to tramlining, which is when wide-tired cars commonly follow road imperfections and grooves like a train on rails rather than staying straight.
The jolting ride quality delivered by those 30-series tires and the Type S’s stiff suspension may be more than some drivers can enjoy, but the regular Integra is available for those with a lower pain threshold. For Integra fans, the “S” is just their type, without even needing a blood test.
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