Long live the manuals! It seems the world is finally coming to its collective automotive senses. Sure, your dual-clutch manumatic video game shifter can change gears in milliseconds, but what it cannot do is connect you to the car in a visceral and emotional way like a traditional clutch and stick has done for decades. So, any new car that comes with a tried-and-true stick shift is (ironically) automatically upgraded in our book, which leads us inexorably to the 2024 Acura Integra Type-S.
For those old enough to remember the last Integra hot rod, it was a Type-R not a Type-S, and a vastly different machine than the one that comes to us today, in both good ways and bad. Based on the current Honda Civic Type-R, the Integra Type-S offers a more mature expression of aggression. Thankfully, the same turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-liter aluminum block and head direct-injected inline-4 powers the Type-S, making 320 horsepower at a lofty 6,500 rpm and an impressive 310 pound-feet of torque at 2,600 rpm. That power is then funneled through the aforementioned (and wonderful) six-speed manual transmission. From there, those ponies are sent to only the front wheels, which, although is true to form for the Integra, we wouldn’t have minded an all-wheel drive setup to maximize traction. But the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber measuring 265/30ZR-19 at all four corners does a very commendable job putting the power to the pavement.
Unlike the previous Integra two-door Type-R, the Type-S is available only as a four-door model, but Acura did a good job at making it into a four-door coupe-styled hatchback. In what can only be described as brilliant, engineers managed to allow the Type-S to have the practicality of a four-door but retain the looks and sportiness of a coupe, as well as utilize the versatility of a hatchback, which also pays homage to the hot-hatch era of yesteryear.
While some may think the Type-S is just a rebadged Civic Type-R, they wouldn’t be somewhat incorrect. The S does share many components with its spunky little brother, and the same 107.7-inch wheelbase, but the more mature Acura uses stronger adds 36 pounds of sound-deadening insulation and has reprogrammed adaptive dampers that are far less harsh than the hardcore Honda.
The Acura Integra Type-S does utilize the same frontend suspension and helical limited-slip differential as the R, which allows the driver to put the car into one of three drive modes: Comfort, Sport, or Sport+, and actually feel a significant difference between each. While no official test numbers are available as of this writing, with a bit more power on tap than last year’s Type-R, the Integra should be able to best the Honda’s 0-60 mph run of 5.3 seconds and quarter-mile mark of 13.9 seconds. That peppy turbo-4 shines at the pump, too, drinking fuel at a rate of 21/28/24 city/highway/combined mpg. Not quite hybrid territory, but very good for a 300+ horsepower performance car.
Inside, the Acura Integra Type-S is all Acura. The boy-racer vibes from the Civic Type-R are nowhere to be found, thankfully, as well-bolstered heated seats cradle the driver and feel poised and ready for any type of road or track that lay ahead. A centrally-mounted infotainment touchscreen sits atop the central dashboard. Beneath that screen are actual analog knobs and buttons to easily control HVAC functions without having to take your eyes off the road, yet another “throwback” function (like a manual transmission) that gratefully seems to be making a comeback.
All in all, there is very little negative to say about the 2024 Acura Integra Type-S outside of maybe its base price of $51,995. But then, with a more mature car, comes a more mature price. And while we still miss the balls-to-the-wall screaming yellow Integra Type-R of the ‘90s, this grown-up version is more evolved in every way possible, and at the risk of sounding blasphemous, arguably better in every way as well (hate mail can be directed to the editor). But, before passing judgment, one drive in the Type-S and your perspective may just shift drastically, mostly due to its ability to allow you to shift on your own once again. Long live the manuals!
Related: A Look Back At The Iconic Acura NSX