First introduced in 1997, the Acura Integra Type R rolls into 2000 with two new exterior colours (yellow and black) and new standard air conditioning. It’s stiff race-car like suspension, high-revving VTEC engine, and big brakes give it the personality of a street-legal race-car.
A sports coupe for enthusiasts
May 4, 2000 Type R Update!
An alert Type R owner pointed out some differences between the Canadian-spec 2000 Type R and the U.S. model.
The Acura Integra Type R is not for everybody. In fact, it’s a car designed for a relatively small segment of the car-buying population: car enthusiasts looking for race-car like handling and performance.
Based on the current generation Integra coupe/hatchback, the Type R was first introduced in 1997. It differs from other Integra’s primarily in its powertrain, suspension, brakes and steering, although there are some comfort and cosmetic differences as well.
The Type R can be distinguished from other Integra’s by its front chin spoiler, large wing-type rear spoiler, body-coloured side sills, special alloy wheels, “Type R” graphics, and lower ride height.
Inside, there are unique Type R features such as sport seats, aluminum shifter knob, serial-number plate affixed to the centre console, and carbon fibre-like instrumentation design with special amber illumination.
Upgrades for the 2000 model year are relatively minor, the most important of which is optional air conditioning (previously not available) and one new exterior colour, Phoenix Yellow.
In addition, the 2000 Type R has a new ignition immobilizer, 160,000 km spark plugs, and an on-board vapour recovery system to reduce emissions.
The Type R’s 1.8 litre dual overhead cam 16-valve VTEC inline 4-cylinder engine is one of the world’s highest-rated normally aspirated mass-produced engines in terms of horsepower per litre (108 horsepower per litre). The engine develops 195 horsepower at 8000 rpm, and 130 ft-lb. of torque at 7300 rpm.
The Type R has 25 more horsepower than the 170-horsepower Integra GS-R, the result of high-compression low-friction pistons (compression ratio is 10.6:1), high-performance camshafts and valve gear, larger throttle body and single-port intake manifold, hand-polished intake and exhaust ports, and high-volume induction and exhaust system.
Its Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) system was pioneered in the Acura NSX sports car. The VTEC system uses three cam lobes and three corresponding rocker arms for each pair of valves and operates on both the intake and exhaust valves. The two outer cam lobes have a profile that optimizes low-speed torque and response while the middle lobe has a high-lift, longer-duration profile that is designed to optimize high-end horsepower. The changeover point between low lift and high lift in the Type R is at 5700 rpm. At high engine speeds, valve lift on the intake side is increased by 0.9 mm, and on the exhaust side by 1.1 mm. The valve timing is extended an additional 10 degrees on the intake side and 8 degrees on the exhaust side.
The engine is block is manufactured of pressure die-cast aluminum alloy and has cast-iron cylinder liners for light weight and maximum rigidity. Engine features include Programmed Fuel Injection, a highly rigid crankshaft with eight full balance weights, a crankshaft reinforcing bridge, an oil cooling system and oil jet piston cooling, twin-spring intake and exhaust valves, and a highly rigid integrated aluminum die-cast engine stiffener.
In addition, the Type R features a larger diameter exhaust system which increases exhaust flow by 30 percent over the Integra GS-R model.
The Type R also features a close-ratio, 5-speed manual transmission, a lightweight flywheel coupled with a heavy-duty, hydraulically actuated clutch, and a torque-sensitive helical limited slip differential.
While the Type R’s four-wheel independent double-wishbone suspension is similar to other Integras, it’s been beefed up to improve high speed handling. The front suspension consists of an L-shaped lower control arm, an upper control arm, a coil-over shock absorber, a stabilizer bar and a performance rod. The front spring rate has been increased by 22 percent with a 115 percent increase in compression damping and a 70 percent increase in rebound damping.
The rear double-wishbone suspension components consist of upper and lower control arms, a trailing arm, a coil-over shock absorber and a stabilizer bar. Damping rates for the rear suspension have also been increased with compression damping settings in the progressive-valve unit increasing by 66 percent, and rebound damping going up 31 percent.
Three other factors have also helped the Type R’s handling: a lower overall vehicle height (by 15 mm) and aerodynamic refinements that result in 30% less lift and 1% less drag; a reinforced unit body structure; and high-performance tires. The Type R is equipped with Bridgestone Potenza RE010 performance tires, similar to those found on the NSX. The Type R’s 6 x 15 inch aluminum wheels have a 5 mm greater offset than the GS-R.
Like all Integra models, the Type R has 4-wheel disc brakes with ventilated rotors at the front and solid rotors at the rear, but the Type R has larger brake discs and larger calipers, and also uses a refined ABS system which is 5.6 kg (12.3 lb.) lighter than the GS-R.
The Type R has a torque-sensing rotary valve power-assisted steering gear design. Instead of modulating power assistance to the steering rack in accordance with road speed, this system varies power assist by a combination of engine rpm and the amount of torque generated between the pavement and the tire when the steering wheel is turned. This kind of system offers more precise steering control.
Some features on the Integra Type R have been deleted to save weight, and thus improve performance. These include sunroof, vanity mirrors, cruise control, dashboard insulator, transmission mount, drive shaft and shifter dynamic damper, and melt-sheet for the floor stamping. Overall vehicle weight was reduced by 15 kg (33 lbs). The list of deleted features used to include air conditioning, but customer demand for this feature forced Acura to reinstate it.
The Type R’s interior has attractive sport seats with excellent lateral support for fast cornering, and a unique instrument panel with a speedometer, tachometer and gauges for fuel and engine temperature on a carbon fibre-like background with amber illumination. Like all Integras, the Type R has an AM/FM stereo/CD sound system with a pair of 1.3-inch tweeters and 6-inch coaxial front speakers mounted in the front doors, and a pair of 6-inch rear speakers. A new compact air conditioning system is now optional.
The Type R’s rear seats offer adequate legroom but headroom is tight for taller occupants. Outboard occupants have three-point seat belts.
Type R’s have driver and front passenger air bags, 3-point seat belts in all outboard seating positions, and adjustable front head restraints. For crash safety, the body structure features front and rear crumple zones, and side-impact beams.
For improved night-time visibility, the Type R’s small projector beam headlights reach 13 feet farther and illuminate an area 20% greater than conventional low beams, while the high beams reach 125 feet farther and illuminate an area 2.5 times greater.
MSRP of $31,000 includes everything
Type R’s come fully-equipped for $31,000 – there are no options. Standard equipment includes an AM/FM/CD player, air conditioning, power door locks and mirrors, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, special moquette seat fabric, 50/50 split folding rear seatbacks, variable wipers, centre console with armrest and storage, tilt steering wheel, rear cargo privacy cover, and dual cupholders.
If you’re just looking for a well-equipped, comfortable sporty coupe, I’d recommend you buy an Integra SE, GS or GS-R. Those cars offer a more conventional ride, better ground clearance, and more features for less money.
But if you’re an enthusiast, the added performance of the Type R may be worth the sacrifices. The Type R handles with precision and stability that you won’t find in other front-wheel-drive coupes. There is virtually no lean when cornering quickly, there’s exceptional stability in transition from one corner to the next, and the tire grip is tenacious. The Type R’s ride can be a harsh over pavement cracks and potholes, a result its stiffer shocks and springs – but highway performance is acceptable on smooth pavement.
The Type R’s steering is responsive, well-weighted, and turn-in is instantaneous. The quick steering gives the driver a feeling of control and confidence which makes driving more fun – but care must be taken to always point the car in the right direction because there’s no slack in the steering.
Big disc brakes offer excellent stopping power, again, inspiring the driver to brake a little later and stretch the limits of the car.
The 1.8 litre VTEC engine’s performance has much in common with high-revving racing engines: to extract its potential, you must keep the revs up, and shift at higher revs. This is a very enjoyable experience on the open road, and it sounds great, but around town it’s not always appropriate to shift at 7000 or 8000 rpm. The engine is noisy at those revs, and other drivers think you’re just showing off. On the flip side, the engine is docile enough to be shifted at very low revs, albeit with less power, giving the car a kind of dual personality.
My only major criticism of this engine is that it revs quite high at freeway speeds, sending a continuous buzzy drone into the passenger cabin.
The Type R’s close-ratio five-speed transmission is easy to shift and has short notchy throws, adding to the enjoyable driving experience. As you might expect, an automatic transmission is not offered on the Type R.
The Type R’s combination of quick steering, quick shifter, rev-happy engine, superb brakes, and race-car-like suspension make it a blast to drive. It’s about as close as you’ll get to a five-seat race-car for the street for under $35,000.