I start giggling as I accelerate onto the oval test track at Honda’s Tochigi research and development center in Japan, and I don’t stop until I take the exit two laps later. The cause of such automotive glee: a prototype drive of the 2024 Acura Integra Type S.
The reborn Integra will be the fourth Acura to get the Type S treatment, and during this quick drive it wears the badge well. Acura has been a little mum on specs, saying only that the 2.0-liter turbo-4 will push out more than 300 hp. If that sounds familiar, it’s because the Honda Civic Type R is also outfitted with a similar powerplant that makes 315 hp. While neither Acura nor Honda has confirmed that the two performance cars share a heart, having driven both I wouldn’t be surprised.
My test car is camouflaged, so it’s tough to give visual details of the Type S, but the silhouette doesn’t look different from the standard Integra currently in dealerships. The front and rear fascias are the same and the rear spoiler doesn’t look any larger on this Type S. However, this high-performance Integra gets a cool center-exit triple exhaust. While the middle outlet on the 2023 Honda Civic Type R is bigger, and these are all the same size, it’s another clue that this Integra Type S and the Civic Type R are closely related.
Before my test drive began, Acura PR folks told me to keep the speed to 95 mph on the steeply banked corners, but I forget their rule as soon as I shift out of second gear. The acceleration here is so unexpected that all I can do is laugh like a maniac. The sound coming through the cabin is equally startling, rumbly but with the tell-tale woosh of the turbocharger. I almost yell “VTEC just kicked in, yo,” but I’m not sure the Japanese engineer sitting next to me would get the joke.
The 6-speed manual gearbox is a dream with crisp throws and a nicely weighted clutch. I let the revs scream up toward the redline before smoothly upshifting. I’m approaching the first steeply banked corner and, channeling my inner Richard Petty, I refuse to lift.
I feel like I’m tilted completely sideways on the track’s banked corner, but photos show I could have driven higher on the banking. I risk a glance at the speedometer and through my shrieks of joy I yell, “I’m at 105 miles per hour!” I fully expect to be ordered off the track for breaking the speed limit by 10 mph, but my engineer co-dawg just says, “It’s okay. You can go faster.” Challenge accepted!
Coming onto the straight, I pin it and shift to sixth gear. Now I’m at a smidge over 126 mph and the Integra is tracking bang-on straight. There is no twitchiness to the steering and nothing feels light. In YouTube-speak, the car feels very “grounded to the ground.”
With a full straightaway behind me, I tap the brakes, downshift to fifth and take the turn, a bit higher on the banking this time. I’m not scrubbing a ton of speed, so it’s tough to really talk about the strength of the brakes. Acura has covered the brand name on the red calipers, but it’s probably safe to assume the front calipers are from Brembo as they are on the TLX Type S. In this limited test drive, all I can say is that they feel firm and linear.
It’s also tough to talk about how the Integra Type S handles. A limited-slip differential sits up front, but this oval track doesn’t utilize it much. I’m turning left, not running a road course. It will be great to get the Integra out on a back road to really see what it can do.
My two laps come up quickly and before I know it I have to exit the test track. My laughter has not lessened however, and I’m 100% sure the engineer thinks I am certifiably insane. Sure, the little Integra has less power than the TLX Type S with its turbo V-6 powerplant, but I’ve still had an exhilarating time behind the wheel.
Acura hasn’t released pricing on the 2024 Integra Type S, only saying that it will arrive in dealerships next summer. If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say this top-performance Integra will start in the mid-to-upper $40,000 range, a few thousand above the $43,990 Civic Type R. I look forward to a full drive of the Integra Type S to see if it can deliver even more giggles when the turns go left and right.
Acura provided airfare, lodging, and track time for Motor Authority to bring you this firsthand report.
—By Emme Hall
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