The Acura Integra Type S is What the Integra Always Should Have Been
The 2023 Acura Integra has been an exercise in lowered expectations. From the hype of the initial announcement to the disappointment of getting an underpowered four-door luxury sedan, the return of the Integra was tarnished almost immediately. Now though, the Acura Integra Type S delivers the type of excitement that many attribute to the original. In many ways, it is the Integra we were supposed to have from day one.
Comparing the Acura Integra to the Acura Integra Type S
When comparing the Acura Integra to the upcoming Integra Type S, it’s clear which model is a truer homage to the original. The base Integra features a 1.5-liter turbo making 201 horsepower. Meanwhile, the Type S uses a 2.0-liter turbo-four to crank out 320 ponies. Torque tells a similar story. The base car offers just 195 lb-ft compared to 310 lb-ft in the hotter version.
In addition, the new Integra Type-S is available exclusively with a manual transmission. That’s a big check in the box of genuine performance cars.
Comparing the Integra Type S to the Civic Type R
Looking at the outside, the Acura Integra doesn’t seem to borrow much from its Honda cousin. However, the interior quite clearly borrows elements from the car that it is based on. The honeycomb air vents are pulled directly from the Civic Type R, for example.
Other interior materials are upgraded when compared to the Honda, helping delineate this car as the more luxury-focused of the two. As such, the Integra Type S weighs about 30 pounds more than the Civic Type R. That figure offsets the slight bump in horsepower afforded by the Acura’s unique exhaust. According to a prototype test drive from MotorTrend, these two cars are nearly identical.
The Integra that keeps the spirit of its ancestors
Understanding why so many were disappointed by the original Integra means understanding the context of its legendary ancestor. The model that caught everyone’s attention in the mid-90s was a spiced-up version of the base Integra. That Integra Type-R set a high standard for what a performance trim could be, but it was just that – a trim level.
It delivered nearly 30 more horsepower than the most powerful base car and 55 more ponies than the base Integra of the time. But when it came time to revive the Integra in 2021, nobody remembered the Integra’s humble roots.
What enthusiasts expected was this – the focused, engaged, and punchy version of a daily driver. Of course, the new Type S has twice as many doors as the original Integra Type R. But considering where the car market is today, we’re just grateful that it isn’t a warmed-over version of a compact SUV.
For Acura’s part, there are no mistakes anywhere in the new Integra lineup. The base car is fun enough for most, and luxurious enough for anyone shopping in the compact luxury sedan segment. And now, the Type S delivers the type of enthusiast-focused driving experience that the loudest critics have clamored for since the original announcement of its return. In the end, everyone gets what they want.