The prevailing wisdom in the automotive industry is that the traditional saloon is a dying breed, slowly being exterminated in all corners by the rise of the SUV and its smaller derivative, the crossover. Why, then, has Acura started teasing a sporty four-door all of a sudden?
Honda’s North American-specific premium brand has been hinting at a return of one of their more desirable nameplates. In years past, ’Type S’ would denote a more high performance version of whichever Acura model on sale at the time - sort of as a parallel to the ‘Type R’ badge used by their mass market parent marque.
A car carrying the Type S branding has not been seen since over a decade ago, but Acura is now fielding a four-door-esque concept car at the Monterey Car Week in California. In fact, any excuse to celebrate the return or bolstering of a sports saloon is cause for celebration. However, we’re not sure how excited we should be.
Looking very much like the Precision Concept Acura unveiled a few years ago, the Type S seems to also be previewing what the company has in store for their next-generation TLX. In fact, if the high-performance variant does make a return, it would be the hottest car to come out of the brand since the American-made NSX.
The car adopts a swept back, cab-rearward design that’s classically proportionate for sports cars. In profile and from the front, it’s almost as if Acura took inspiration from the Chevrolet Camaro and Holden Monaros of old, blending it into a more futuristic design.
While it does indeed have the cutout for a pair of rear doors, the door handles themselves seem to be missing or very cleverly obscured. Second row passengers will be seated directly above the rear axle and differential, so we cannot imagine the car is set up to offer supreme rear legroom.
We’ve no idea what could be hiding under that long bonnet, though a good guess would be turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 that could very well deliver enough firepower to challenge BMW M and AMG cars. After all, it’s enough to warrant quad exhaust exits. Drive will be sent to the rear wheels, most likely through an automatic transmission before reaching the large 21-inch wheels.
Overall, it’s a design that coveys subtle but clear signals of tempered aggression. It’s a very tasteful, and effective, representation of what a modern sports saloon could be for Acura. Shame we can’t see what’s inside just yet.