A Complete Guide To Acura’s Type S Performance Badge


2022 Acura MDX Type S

Thus far, Acura has only lightly debuted the upcoming MDX Type S, the first Acura SUV to earn the Type S name. It will feature a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 estimated to make 355 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. That will be joined by rear-biased Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), a double-wishbone front suspension, 21-inch wheels, and front Brembo brakes. Inside, the MDX Type S will be available with quilted leather seats, massaging front seats, and a 25-speaker Signature Edition ELS STUDIO 3D audio system.

Acura Type S Models in Motorsports

Although Acura has primarily raced the NSX and hyper-advanced purpose-built racecars, the Integra,  RSX, and TSX have played their roles as well. 

Based out of Wisconsin, Realtime Racing has been a Honda partner since 1993 and has amassed 96 victories on 26 different tracks in 12 different car models with 17 drivers in the World Challenge. Of those, 59 victories came in the Touring Car circuit, which often used the Integra and RSX. The RSX wins are as follows:

  • 5/17/03: Touring Car (class), Mosport (Track), Pierre Kleinubing
  • 5/25/03: Touring Car, Lime Rock Park, Pierre Kleinubing
  • 10/17/03: Touring Car, Road Atlanta, Pierre Kleinubing
  • 8/10/05: Touring Car, Denver, Eric Curran
  • 10/22/06, Touring Car, Laguna Seca, Eric Curran

If you want a further deep dive into all of Acura’s wins, visit Realtime’s website.

The RSX also participated in the touring car series formerly known as the Grand American Road Racing Association’s KONI Challenge Series.

RSX Challenge

At the 2005 SEMA show, Acura awarded Car and Driver first place in a special event known as the RSX Challenge. To start, the competition equipped several publications with Acura RSX Type S base cars. From there, Car and Driver, Honda Tuning, Import Performance, Import Tuner, Speed, and Super Street modded their cars to their liking and raced them against each other.

The competition included the quarter-mile, the slalom, handling, braking, a dyno challenge, emissions, and car shows at the Acura Headquarters and an NHRA track. Car and Driver took first place in the braking, handling, the Acura show, and the quarter-mile with a time of 13.521 seconds at 105.24 mph.

According to the Acura press release, “Car and Driver worked closely with Comptech and Mugen importer King Motorsports, supercharging their RSX and equipping it with sophisticated chassis modifications featuring Moton adjustable external-reservoir shocks, King Motorsports’ competition spring set and StopTech brakes. Technical director Larry Webster drove the RSX at the track, beating the competition in all the driving contests except the slalom. The combination of Mugen styling enhancements and custom paint proved popular in the style competitions.”

Car and Driver finished with 620 total points to beat out Honda Tuning and Super Street in second with 610 points.

Also of note, Import Tuner’s Skunk2-built turbocharged RSX hit 502.8 horsepower on the dyno (after losing traction on the dyno) but did not finish the quarter-mile, slalom, or braking.

Full results and modifications can be found at AcuraNews.com.

The Acura Interview

Even after reading through the history of the Type S, we still had some questions, so we went straight to the source. We asked Acura the following questions, and a spokesperson answered via email.

Q. Why did Acura choose to end production of the RSX?

A. “This decision was made globally as resources were focused on growing segments, primarily SUVs, with Acura launching the first-gen RDX and second-gen MDX in 2006. The Acura RSX (Honda Integra in Japan) was discontinued in all markets following the 2006 model year.”

Q. What would it take for Acura to bring an Integra-type coupe back?

A. “Since we announced that Acura was returning to our Precision Crafted Performance DNA, step by step, we have been enhancing the performance character of our products with a focus on our four core models. With the introduction of the RDX, TLX, and now MDX we have demonstrated our laser focus on performance and this will soon include the return of Type S performance variants. We’re not going to speculate about future models, but this direction will continue at the gateway to our lineup, after all, we’re a company of enthusiasts.”

Q. In bringing back the Type S name, how vital is a sports car to its credibility?

A. “For a premium performance brand like Acura, it is critical to have vehicles throughout the lineup that stir the soul, beyond limited production performance models.  So, while the NSX supercar is the halo for the Acura brand, proving what we’re capable of both on the street and on the race track, we’re committed to delivering performance throughout the lineup with A-Spec and, now, Type S variants. The upcoming TLX Type S will push the performance envelope further than any Type S model before it.

Q. What do the S and R stand for in Type S and Type R?

A. “While there is no set meaning to the ‘R’ or “S,’ historically Type R has been reserved for track-ready models and Type S, while tuned on track, are more geared towards spirited, winding road performance. If you wanted to surmise them as “Race” and “Sport”, we wouldn’t correct you.”

Q. Is Acura moving away from the Sport Hybrid technology in favor of turbocharging the Type S models?

A. The Sport Hybrid served as our performance variant for the third-gen MDX. For this new MDX, Type S will assume that role, and push the performance envelope even farther for an Acura SUV.

Q. Was the hybrid tech too expensive to implement, or is there another reason we haven’t heard much about hybrids for the new vehicles? Will they be replaced by fully electric models?

A. “The innovative 3-motor Sport Hybrid system used in the NSX currently, and MDX and RLX previously, was developed to explore the limits of electrification in service of Acura’s Precision Crafted performance brand direction. These vehicles have provided significant tangible learnings in-market and will influence what comes down the road.

“Our company has strong plans for electrification and, for Acura, the focus will continue to be to deliver on Acura’s performance direction. Stay tuned.”

Q. The RSX Wikipedia page says it was offered in the Noble Green Tricoat but that not a single person ordered it. Is this true?

A. “The RSX was offered in a color of Jade Green Metallic in MY05-06. No internal records from the time (dealer brochures) reference a Noble Green Tricoat.”

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The Drive has partnered with Skip Barber, the legendary racing school, to ensure that when you first prime your Type S’ ignition, you won’t fly off into a ditch. 

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