Fans of MotorWeek will know we’ve been living with a 2023 Acura Integra for a few months as a long term test car.

Diehard fans of MotorWeek will know we gave it a Drivers’ Choice Award for best sport sedan.

And the one or two fans of me might know that it took a few miles for me to warm up to the modern Integra. But, now that I’m up to temperature, it’s time for a go in the high performance Integra Type S and Acura flew us out to Ojai, California for a First Drive.

“It’s a June gloom kind of day here in Ojai and honestly a bit chilly too, but that’s ok because I’m in the Acura Integra Type S, which brings the heat to the Integra lineup. And I’ve spent a lot of time recently in our long term Integra A-Spec just to get a good feel, a good baseline to spot the differences between that and this Type S. Before we get into the driving “feels” let’s talk about what makes this a Type S.”

It starts with the engine. The 200-horsepower 1.5-liter turbo-4 is swapped for the Civic Type-R’s 2.0-liter, tuned to produce 320-horsepower and 310 lb-ft. of torque. That makes it the most potent version of this VTEC engine ever sold in the U.S.

Like the Civic Type R, power goes to the front wheels via 6-speed manual transmission. If you’d rather not shift your own gears, no biggie, but Acura will point you back in the direction of the non-Type S Integras.

Many of the Type S modifications are obvious, like the hood vent, the 19-inch wheels with 265 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tires and the three center exit exhaust tips out back…more on those a little later. And then there’s the clear to the naked eye increase in width of nearly three inches over a 1.5-liter Integra.

“Now something you worry about in a high horsepower front-wheel drive car is torque steer. That’s when you’re accelerating and the front wheels start pulling in either direction so you’re actually steering the car in a way. And Acura says with this dual-axis front suspension, they’re able to cut down on that torque steer and right there…even with a little bit of turn in the wheel here, it’s not pulling me hard at all actually. It’s…I notice a hint of it. You’re going to get some toque steer with 320-horsepower going to the front wheels but actually a really nice job of mitigating that.

Another part of that is the mechanical limited slip front differential. Specifically Acura told us to pay attention to the mid-range torque. Which they say compared to the Civic Type R, is a little bit beefier than that. I can say without a doubt that it is much more potent than our 1.5-liter 4-cylinder Integra and it is certainly a better sounding engine.

So this exhaust system in the Type S is basically the same as the one in the Civic Type R except Acura removed the front resonator and that gives it a more free-flowing operation. And I love that Acura took the time to explain the performance benefits of that free-flowing operation but they also spent a good deal of time talking to us about the “pops & bangs” that come along with this exhaust system. And I’ve got to say as a huge fan of crackling exhaust noises, I really respect the engineering that went behind that.

[Exhaust noise]

Staying in third gear here now…we’ll go up into fourth. Oh, yeah. Downshift back into third. There’s that auto rev-matching. Yeah, man. I really like the…I do like the six-speed manual setup in our Integra A-Spec but this is…this is like another level of goodness.”

It’s so good apparently I couldn’t even put it into words at the time, so I’ll do it now. The clutch has a heavier feel and shorter travel which is more suitable for quick operation.

“My bone to pick with the Integra and it carries over into the Integra Type S is that it has automatic rev-matching for downshifts. My issue is that while you can turn it off, you really have to dive through the menus to do it. I would rather there just be a button somewhere where I can turn it on and off. I don’t mind that it defaults to being on, it’s just that you gotta dig through some menus.

The Type S does have adaptive dampers which means they can be soft in Comfort mode and then going up in Sport mode…Sport+ in this case…immediately everything feels more bouncy. But even Acura is going to admit that the Civic Type R is the Honda brand’s track car…Integra Type S isn’t really the tracking kind of car. It’s for fun weekend jaunts, spirited daily driving. It’s really more of a street car and I would agree with that statement.

I like to think of the Integra Type S and the Civic Type R as kind of like that cousin you had when you were younger where…when you were you younger the age difference wasn’t that much, you were both doing the same thing. And then your cousin got a little bit older and then that cousin became the Integra Type S, a little more mature…a little more powerful…but you, the Civic Type R, still basically the same thing. A little bit younger, a little more edgy, a little more rough around the edges. That’s how I see it as. The Integra Type S is the grown up version of the Civic Type R. Yeah, a little bit more powerful, but essentially the same car…just a little more mature.”

The first Integra Type Seseses are on their way to early hand raisers now. For those just thinking about raising their hand, the Type S costs $51,995 after destination charges. Save for some a la carte accessories, no other packages or trims are available, so, one less thing to think about.

Of course if you want more, stay tuned for a deeper dive into the Integra Type S and others right here on MotorWeek!


  • Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 320
  • Starting Price: $51,995
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual
  • Torque: 310 lb-ft.