MONTEREY, Calif. — Acura marked a milestone in its transformation back to its performance roots at Monterey Car Week with the presentation of its stylish Type S concept, which sat on the lawn at the Pebble Beach Lodge next to far-out hypercars and other design exercises.
Unlike those big-dollar exotics and fanciful future EVs, however, the Acura will be a real car soon. The coming second-generation TLX midsize sedan will be heavily influenced by the concept, as will the next MDX crossover and ILX compact sedan.
The Type S concept was there to show off the new design language as well as to herald the return of the Type S performance variant that once was a staple of the Japanese luxury brand before it drifted into more of a value proposition than a sporting one. The brand's return to its roots started about four years ago with the debut of the second-generation NSX supercar.
The Type S variants were last seen on Acura products in the early 2000s, starting with the 3.2CL Type S coupe in 2001 and ending with the TL Type S sedan in 2008.
Acura showed the next phase of its design revival three years ago with the Precision Concept. The redesigned RDX crossover took its styling language from that vehicle. The newer concept shown at Monterey is an evolution closer to a production-spec vehicle. It's designed to bring some NSX swagger into the core lineup.
It's not all show, however. Acura is developing a turbocharged V-6 engine exclusive to the brand. Executives haven't said specifically where the new engine will find a home, but Type S vehicles are obviously a good bet — in both sedans and crossovers.
Art St. Cyr, vice president of automobile operations for American Honda Motor Co., spoke with Staff Reporter Laurence Iliff at the event this month along the Monterey Bay. Here are edited excerpts.
Q: What should we be looking for in the next couple of years? When do you feel like you're going to have a full lineup of redesigned vehicles?