Vintage & Classics

The tale of Acura's Type S is generations old and about to make a comeback

Acura is bringing back the Type S

Photo courtesy of Acura
Just in case you've been living under a rock for the last year and haven't heard, Acura's excited about bringing back the Type S brand to its portfolio. Like, really excited.

Type S models will shape the modern Acura lineup with the 2021 TLX Type S arriving at dealerships this spring and 2022 MDX Type S models coming a little later in the year. There's also a good chance that we'll see other performance-centric Type S vehicles down the road as the Acura lineup evolves.

What makes a Type S? Back in the days of the Acura CL, TL, and RSX, the answer was more power, improved handling, and stronger braking. That was all leveraged without sacrificing the creature comforts or daily drivability of the model.

Acura Type S – Origin Story www.youtube.com

That all began with the 1997 NSX Type S. The Japanese model led Honda's research and development team in America to create a prototype called the AC-R.

"The AC-R was basically a show car capable of 166 mph and 1.0g of grip on a skidpad, but its real value was getting everyone inside the company jazzed about creating this kind of model under the Acura brand," said Erik Berkman, former President, Honda R&D Americas, LLC and the development leader of the AC-R and the original Type S models. "Ultimately, we decided to bake all of that goodness into the Acura CL and the result was the 3.2CL Type S, the first Type S in North America."

Here's a closer look at the models that made Type S so popular with words provided by Acura.

2001-2003 Acura 3.2CL Type S

2001-2003 Acura 3.2CL Type S

Photo courtesy of Acura

The Type S performance line debuted in North America with the 2001 3.2CL Type S. The high-performance coupe featured a 3.2-liter V6 engine with 260 horsepower (upgraded from the standard CL's 225 hp), a 5-speed automatic with a manual shift function, quicker steering, 17-inch wheels and tires and a sport-tuned suspension. In its final model year, a 6-speed manual transmission was available.

2002-2003 Acura 3.2TL Type S

2002-2003 Acura 3.2TL Type S

Photo courtesy of Acura

Debuting a year after the coupe, the 3.2TL Type S sedan featured the same performance-tuned 3.2-liter engine including its innovative dual-stage induction system, a 5-speed automatic with a manual shift function, and similar suspension, wheel and tire upgrades.

2002-2006 Acura RSX Type S

2002-2006 Acura RSX Type S

Photo courtesy of Acura

The RSX Type S also joined the family in 2002, powered by a new 2.0-liter i-VTEC® 4-cylinder with 200 horsepower (upgraded from the standard RSX's 160 hp) connected exclusively to a 6-speed manual transmission. In 2005, the RSX Type S received a power boost to 210 horsepower, with styling changes that included a larger eye-catching rear wing.

2007-2008 Acura TL Type S

2007-2008 Acura TL Type S

Photo courtesy of Acura

The third-generation Acura TL rejoined the Type S lineup in 2007 powered by a 3.5-liter V6 making 286 horsepower (upgraded from the standard TL's 3.2-liter V6 with 258 hp). A 6-speed manual transmission, 4-piston Brembo brakes, sport suspension, upgraded wheels and tires and distinctive quad exhaust were all standard.

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Dream job alert

You could become Dodge's Chief Donut Maker

You can apply to become a Dodge ambassador with some great perks.

Dodge

One lucky person is about to win the car enthusiast's job of a lifetime, though only for a year. Beginning today, Dodge is accepting applications for its new and temporary Chief Donut Maker

If the title alone isn't enough to make the job sound appealing, the benefits are seemingly endless. The lucky new Dodge "employee" will pick up a $150,000 salary, along with the opportunity to drive an SRT Hellcat company car for the year. Additionally, the winner will participate in all manner of racing and car-related events, take courses at Radford Racing School, and get a load of Dodge-branded clothing.

Dodge is Hiring a Chief Donut Maker www.youtube.com

If you're reading this and thinking it sounds like a blast - you're right. There's a catch, however, which comes in the form of an intense consideration process that culminates in a racing event with a pro driver on a closed course. A panel of judges will evaluate the video entries, and wrestler Bill Goldberg will oversee the race between the top ten finalists. Dodge says the series of eliminations will air like a reality TV show, with the winner being revealed in the final episode.

Today is the opening day of the application period. You have until February 28 to submit your short video, which can be a maximum of two minutes. Get busy making your video and head here to submit it before the deadline.

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What was your best car-related experience this year?

Chris Teague

This year has been a lot of things, but it hasn't been boring. Even if we focus only on the car world, there's plenty to talk about, from microchip-related new vehicle shortages to the wave of new electric vehicles hitting the market. That leaves us with a question for all of you: What was the best or most memorable car moment for you in 2021? I'll get the conversation started.

Porsche Cayenne GTS My SoCal Cayenne śaw snow for the first time in its nearly 200k-mile life last week.Chris Teague

I'd spent a good portion of 2021 wanting a new-old car to drive when I wasn't testing a new vehicle. That's harder than you'd think for someone who thinks, talks, and writes about cars all day, because there are so many interesting, risky, and downright funky options out there in every price range. The added headache for me was that I'd chosen to shop for a "fun" car in one of the most volatile car markets ever seen. Even the extremely high-mileage "untouchable" European cars I wanted to buy were commanding ridiculous prices.

After a solid few months of waffling between various rattletrap Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and Audi S/RS cars, I landed on an option that had escaped me before: The Porsche Cayenne. First-generation Cayennes are a real bargain now, but the 955/957 (Porsche's internal code for the SUVs) can experience major problems that occur with or without regular maintenance and care. I was determined to buy one, and wasn't overly concerned about mileage, as long as I could count the number of owners on one hand. There was a beautiful 2009 Cayenne GTS with 90,000 miles but nine owners, a gorgeous 2004 Cayenne Turbo with a concerning engine tick, and many more just like them. Finally, I decided to risky-click a 196,000-mile Cayenne GTS in Southern California. It had one owner and one dealer-owner for a month or two prior to sale, its condition looked decent in photos, and I was able to negotiate a reasonable enough price that shipping it from San Diego to Maine wasn't a huge problem.

Porsche Cayenne GTS The pics look great, but hands-on tells another story.Chris Teague

I had two traveling Euro mechanics check the car out, and both confirmed that it was well-worn but mechanically sound, so I jumped. Ten days later, on a snowy, icy, dark Maine afternoon, the Cayenne arrived. Cosmetically, there were a few things the dealer and mechanics failed to mention, but overall, it looked good. The SUV passed Maine safety and emissions testing without problem, got a new set of Michelins, and I was on my way.

Porsche Cayenne GTS I'm in danger, but thankfully this should be a reasonable fix.Chris Teague

A few days of driving revealed what I was really in for. A check engine light revealed a camshaft position sensor error and the Cayenne displayed a nasty vibration at idle. A new sensor and motor mounts, and I'm on my way. I'll update you as more things break or miraculously work, but I want to hear your memories from 2021.

Email me at chris@automotivemap.com, and I will compile the best and most interesting stories for a story on New Year's Day. May you all have a wonderful 2022.

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