Is the 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec as Fast as the Original Type R?

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec vs. 2001 Acura Integra Type R drag race article highlights:

  • The 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec isn’t a stripped-down, high-revving mini race car like the Integra Type R, but it’s more powerful and luxurious
  • In a ¼-mile drag race, Hagerty showed the 2023 Integra is slightly faster than the Type R
  • Even if Acura doesn’t make a Type S version, the 2023 Integra is still fun to drive

Let’s make one thing clear: the 2023 Acura Integra isn’t, nor is it supposed to be a direct Integra Type R replacement. And once you get those lofty expectations out of the way, you can appreciate what the new Integra does well. But that’s the problem: some people can’t let go of the ITR, or rather their vision of that car. However, there’s one way to settle at least one part of the debate. And that’s by seeing which Acura Integra, the 2023 A-Spec or an original Type R, is faster on a dragstrip.

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec vs. 2001 Acura Integra Type R: Modern turbo luxury meets old-school racing revs

2003 Acura Integra A-Spec with Technology Package2001 Acura Integra Type R
Engine1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder1.8-liter four-cylinder
Horsepower200 hp195 hp
Torque192 lb-ft130 lb-ft
TransmissionSix-speed manualFive-speed manual
Curb weight3073 lbs2639 lbs
0-60 mph time7.0 seconds6.6 seconds

If you’re a manual fan, like 70% of 2023 Acura Integra buyers seemingly are, keep the A-Spec with Technology Package trim in mind. Yes, that’s the new Integra’s most expensive trim, but it’s also the only way to get the stick. But on the plus side, you also get a limited-slip differential, adaptive shocks, and a lighter single-mass flywheel.

Unfortunately, the 2023 Integra A-Spec goes without the mechanically-related Civic Si’s summer tires. However, the Integra is also slightly stiffer than the sporty Civic, Car and Driver says. Also, it has different engine, transmission, and suspension tuning. And it genuinely feels more luxurious inside.

Luxury, though, is the last thing on the 2001 Acura Integra Type R’s mind. This thing is built like a race car, almost literally. It doesn’t have A/C, sound-deadening material, cruise control, or even vanity mirrors. It does, however, have a seam-welded, heavily-braced two-door hatchback body, LSD, and a close-ratio manual. Also, a howling dervish of a naturally-aspirated engine with genuine racing-level features, the 8400-rpm B18. This is the powerplant that cemented ‘VTEC kicked in, yo’ in the enthusiast lexicon.

Yet as special and crazy as the Integra Type R is, it’s not as powerful as the 2023 Integra A-Spec. However, it’s also over 400 pounds lighter and doesn’t have any turbo lag. Hence why, in Car and Driver’s hands, the Type R beats the A-Spec’s 0-60 and 5-60 times.

But few races end at 60 mph.

It’s not as fast as its rivals, but the 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec is faster than the iconic Integra Type R

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To see just how far the Acura Integra has come, Hagerty recently lined a manual 2023 A-Spec against a 2001 Type R on a ¼-mile dragstrip. And after running that race, it ran another ¼-mile drag race with the new Integra competing against its few modern FWD luxury sports car rivals. Specifically, the Volkswagen Jetta GLI and the Hyundai Elantra N.

To make a long story short, the 2023 Integra can’t out-drag the Elantra N or Jetta GLI. The Hyundai ran the ¼-mile in 13.8 seconds, while the Jetta and Integra needed 14.6 and 15.0 seconds, respectively. Though to be fair, the Integra is less powerful and has shorter gear ratios than either of those cars.

But what about the Integra Type R? Well, it’s close, but the 2023 model beats it. While it needs 15.0 seconds to run the ¼-mile, the ITR needs 15.2 seconds. Furthermore, the 2001 Type R’s trap speed is 93 mph, while the A-Spec manages 94 mph. In addition, Hagerty beat Car and Driver’s A-Spec time and hit 60 mph in 6.6 seconds in the 2023 Integra.

Admittedly, the Type R isn’t built for straight lines—it thrives and shines in the corners. On a track, it might still beat its descendant. But in the end, a win’s a win.

Will there be a new Type R that’s even faster?

A red 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec on a desert canyon road
2023 Acura Integra A-Spec | Acura

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Remember how that earlier bit about the 2023 Acura Integra not being a direct Type R successor? Logically, you might think that means there will be a new Type R. But it’s not so clear-cut.

Sure, there’s a lot of performance history behind that name, not to mention loud enthusiast demand. However, Acura’s made it clear that ‘Type R’ is a Honda thing. So, if there is a sportier Integra, it’ll wear a ‘Type S’ badge. Yet Acura hasn’t officially confirmed if such a car is indeed in the works. Hagerty, though, seems to think it is.

Still, even if a Type S doesn’t show up, the 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec is a fun, entry-level FWD sports car. And on the dragstrip, it can show the old Type R its taillights.

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