Apparently, the hard R’s approach is no longer popular with Honda buyers. Customers, that’s you, gentle readers, don’t want the stripped-out, race-inspired Integra Type R of fond memory, they want a different type of car – a Type S – which fulfils the perceived rabid demand for “a blend of luxury and performance”.
This review was originally published in MOTOR’s December 2004 issue
While this ’05 model is essentially a facelift of the 2002 Type R, which was derided for not being a real Type R, there’s been a fair bit of Botox involved.
The Type S has a sharper look: new triple-beam slimline headlights, sculptured side sills and it’s now 7mm lower than the outgoing Type R. Gone is the huge rear wing, replaced by a subtle bootlid lip.
Inside, the Type S cops sporty, white-faced dials, a six-CD tuner with MP3 player and a sexy little steering wheel. The suction-cup-like Recaros of old are replaced by leather bucket seats. And while they don’t grip you as well as the old seats they are more comfortable and better suited to our poor roads and the Integra’s stiffened suspension.
That’s right, stiffened. As if the Type R wasn’t already a bone shaker, suspension geometry in the Type S has been revised; damper settings are firmer and bushings have been retuned. Despite this, the Type S never feels jittery.
Maximum power is also up, taking the Type S to 154kW at 7800rpm, up from 147kW at 7000rpm. And max torque has also been increased, from 192Nm to 194Nm. The spike in power, according to Honda, is due to it enlarging the intake duct by 10 percent and the addition of a larger diameter exhaust pipe and a free-flowing catalytic converter.
The Type S is a relative runabout beneath 3500rpm and a screaming eagle above that. Catering for two personalities, the Type S has enough flexibility to potter around town, or be taken by the scruff of the neck and revved way past 7000rpm.
Despite a 70kg increase in mass over the old car, the S is quicker on the Correvit. It records a 7.46 second 0-100km/h sprint (7.75sec for Type R) and crosses the 400m marker in 15.39 at 151.3km/h (still more than a tenth quicker than the R).
The steering initially feels light, but that can be attributed to improvements to the power steering pump – flow has been increased by seven percent. But as you adapt to it, and attack corners faster, you notice the weighting becomes quite user-friendly, displaying a point and squirt feel.
Possibly the most noticeable difference between the Type R of old and the Type S is how quiet the thing is. Thanks to a little extra sound deadening, the superbike-esque song of the i-VTEC is less audible, giving you the idea the Type S is somehow softer than its previous incarnations. It isn’t, our correvit times prove that.
In music speak, Honda’s hot Integra has gone from Iron Maiden to Powderfinger – it still rocks, but it’s far less in your face than it once was.
Engine: 2.0-litre inline-4 16-valve
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