Acura & Sharp
Acura has been building toward this moment for years. There were concept cars and teasers trailers and clues going back to 2016. We knew it was coming, but now it’s here the hype is real. Acura’s vaunted Type S high-performance brand is back in Canada after a 13-year hiatus. Not only is the Type S brand back, it’s back in the form of the all-new 2021 Acura TLX Type S, the best-performing sedan the brand has ever crafted. To say it has a lot to live up to is an understatement.
This new sport sedan stands on the shoulders of giants. The Type S label dates back to the late 1990s, and a very special edition of the original NSX supercar. It was lighter, sharper and even more driver-focused. By the early 2000s, that knowhow had translated into a range high-performance Acura coupes and sedans. However, the car that really put the Type S brand on the map was the 2002-2006 RSX Type S. That compact coupe with a precise six-speed manual transmission and rev-hungry engine was a driver’s dream.
What defines the Type S brand, the thing that makes it special, is that Acura somehow managed to combine a thrilling driving experience – more power, sharper handling, and stronger braking – without asking drivers to sacrifice the luxuries, comfort and daily drivability that Acura’s vehicles are known for. In other words, Type S vehicles are equally at home on a Sunday morning backroad blast as they are on Monday morning commute.
So, yes, the new 2021 TLX Type S has some very big shoes to fill. Acura’s designers and engineers didn’t mess around here; they’ve clearly pulled out all the stops to make this next-generation machine worthy of the Type S label.
At its heart is an all-new V6 engine, unique to the Type S, that makes it the best-performing sedan ever from Acura. Numbers don’t really do it justice; a motor like this is designed to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. But, until you can experience it for yourself, numbers will have to do. The 3.0-litre mill was developed by some of the same engineers who created the bespoke V6 engine that powers the current NSX supercar. The new dual-scroll turbocharged V6 in the Type S churns out 355 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque with the precision crafted performance you expect from the brand. It’s the most powerful Type S yet, and the company’s best-performing sedan ever. (Coming from Acura, that’s high praise indeed). An exclusive new Sport+ driving mode for the Type S is meant to make your eyes go wide and send adrenaline coursing through your veins. If you’re not in the mood for that, adaptive dampers let drivers set up the car for a more relaxing cruise.
This is the first Type-S to use the company’s new torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system. It can deliver more torque to the rear wheels, helping the car power through curves in a manner more befitting a traditional sports car – except the Type S also has four-doors, space for friends, and an eminently usable trunk. The aggressive, nose-down stance of the Type S gives it the look of a sprinter on the starting blocks. It’s hunkered down on an exclusive set of NSX-inspired lightweight 20-inch wheels, wrapped in high-performance Pirelli P Zero summer tires. Overall the car looks remarkably similar to the spectacular 2019 Type S Concept, the machine that got us hyped about the prospect of a new Type S in the first place.
There are, of course, other not-so-subtle subtle visual clues as to the immense performance of this machine, from the rear spoiler to the diffuser, front splitter, darkened LED taillights and purposeful quad-exhaust outlets. Behind the lovely Y-spoke front wheels you’ll see some serious four-piston Brembo brakes that combine extreme precision with reassuring power. But, in case you miss those clues, there are also Type S badges affixed to the grille, fenders and trunk lid – badges which this all-new 2021 TLX Type S has more than earned.
Specs: 2021 Acura TLX Type S
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged V6
Power: 355 hp
Price: MSRP $59,500