Acura’s bid to reinvent itself as a more dynamic and sporty brand gets even more momentum this week with the official debut of the Type S Concept during the annual Pebble Beach Car week.
Picking up on a name that was used sparingly, in decades past, for special one-off performance models, the Concept offers not only an indication of what the next-generation Acura TLX will look like but also a promise that we’ll be seeing more Type S models in the brand’s future. Essentially, it will become he Acura equivalent of BMW’s M, Cadillac’s V-Series, and the Mercedes-AMG sub-brand.
“The return of Type S is instrumental in our mission to return Acura to its performance roots,” said Jon Ikeda, vice president and Acura brand officer. “From bringing back the NSX to winning at the highest level of North American sports car racing and ushering in a new generation starting with the RDX, we are revitalizing Acura on the foundation of our original and authentic brand values, piece by piece.”
Like its parent, Honda, the Acura brand is fond of using “concept” vehicles to show what will soon follow in production. Sources within Acura tell TheDetroitBureau.com that the actual TLX Type S won’t make its formal appearance until sometime next year, apparently as a 2021 model.
The show car that will debut at “The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering” on Aug. 16, will give us a good sense of what the “base,” second-generation of the Acura TLX will look like, but it also features many of the distinctive design cues that will distinguish the Concept S version – and future Concept S variants of other nameplates.
Broadly, the new sedan features a lower and wider stance than the original TLX, with a longer, more sporty hood. Whether that is simply meant to give us the appearance of a rear-wheel-drive platform or actually adopts RWD, is uncertain though it would mean a major new platform – the only one in the Honda family – was developed secretly.
The good news is that while we don’t yet have any specific powertrain details, the Type S Concept – and the production model – will adopt Acura’s distinctive Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive, or SH-AWD, system. Similar to what’s offered on models like the MDX, is not only can shift power front and back but also left and right, this torque vectoring helping to steer it through tight corners.
As for engines, a brand source reminded us that Acura is working on a high-performance turbo-six engine, though it remains to be seen if it will make its debut under the long hood of the production version TLX Type S.
Visually, the Concept has a lot of appropriately sporty detail, with a clear influence of the NSX supercar. That starts with a dynamic new take on the brand’s familiar Diamond Pentagon grille. It’s framed by a four-lamp version of Acura’s Jewel Eye LED headlamps, the automaker notes, along with “Chicane” daytime running lamps and taillights “both drawing inspiration from the Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype race car.”
The Concept’s profile features shifting angular details and crisp, intersecting lines that are meant to accentuate the large and muscular rear wheel arches housing multispoke 21-inch wheels and tires. One of the more interesting details is what Acura calls a “forged carbon” rear decklid spoiler crated by bonding multiple layers of carbon fiber. The material is used for the show car’s front and rear splitters and side sills, as well.
To scrub off speed, all corners get drilled Brembo brakes with four-piston calipers. The Type S Concept is finished in “Double Apex Blue Pearl” paint, an homage to the treatment used on the 2007-2008 Acura TL Type S.
After its debut at The Quail on Friday, the Acura Type S Concept will follow up with an appearance on the Concept Lawn during the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on Sunday.