The 2022 Acura MDX Type S will be reaching showrooms in North America soon, and with that, Honda’s premium brand has released a nice video explaining the origins of the Type S performance badge. While it has roots in Japan, Type S has been adopted and expanded by Acura in the US.

This new “Acura Type S – Origin Story” video above explains what Type S is and how it came about. It interviews people who created the Type S product and identity in America, and shows us the AC-R concept that started it all, as well as the range of heritage Type S models, from the 2001 Acura CL to the 2007 Acura TL.

The concept for Type S performance models started with none other than the 1997 Honda NSX Type S in Japan. Seeing the lightweight performance variant of the NA1 led Honda R&D engineers in America to create a prototype coupe called the AC-R, based on the 1998 Accord Coupe.

“The AC-R was basically a show car capable of 166 mph (267 km/h) and 1.0g of grip on a skidpad, but its real value was getting everyone inside the company jazzed about creating this kind of model under the Acura brand. Ultimately, we decided to bake all of that goodness into the Acura CL and the result was the 3.2CL Type S, the first Type S in North America,” said Erik Berkman, former president of Honda R&D Americas and the development leader of the AC-R and the original Type S models.

The first Acura Type S model was the 2001-2003 3.2CL Type S. The big coupe featured a 3.2 litre V6 engine with 260 hp (up from the standard CL’s 225 hp), a five-speed automatic with a manual mode, quicker steering, 17-inch wheels, sports tyres and a sport-tuned suspension. In its final model year, a six-speed manual transmission was available. Yup, 3.2L NA V6 and MT in a big, plush coupe.

The 2002-2003 Acura 3.2TL Type S made its debut a year after the coupe. The sedan featured the same performance-tuned 3.2L engine, including its innovative dual-stage induction system, a five-speed automatic with a manual shift function, and similar suspension, wheel and tyre upgrades found on the CL.

The next one is Type Sexy. The 2002-2006 Acura RSX Type S is based on the DC5 Honda Integra, powered by a 2.0 litre i-VTEC engine with 200 hp, up from the standard car’s 160 horses. The K20 was paired exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission. In 2005, the RSX Type S received a power boost to 210 hp and styling changes that included a large rear wing. No DC5 Type R for the US, but this is not bad at all.

Finally, the 2007-2008 TL Type S. The sporty variant of the third-generation Acura TL was powered by a 3.5 litre V6 making 286 hp, an upgrade from the 3.2L V6 with 258 hp on the standard car. Type S buyers got themselves a six-speed manual gearbox, four-piston Brembo brakes, sport suspension, upgraded wheels/tyres and quad exhaust pipes.

Basically, Type S variants of the CL, TL and RSX provided a more dynamic driving experience with more power, improved handling and stronger braking, without sacrificing the creature comforts and daily drivability of the core models. It’s not meant to be as focused as a Type R, and the Acuras aren’t lightweight specials like the NSX Type S either.

After a long hiatus, Acura brought back the badge with the 2021 Acura TLX Type S. Hailed as the best performing Acura sedan yet, the TLX Type S is powered by a 3.0 litre turbo V6 with 355 hp and 480 Nm of torque, mated to a 10-speed auto and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD, a Type S first). Sport-tuned suspension and Brembo front brakes, too.

Later this year, the 2022 Acura MDX Type S will join the hot TLX in showrooms. The first Type S SUV builds on the fourth-generation MDX, Acura’s new flagship model. It will also feature the 355 hp turbo V6 and SH-AWD drivetrain. More details closer to the sporty SUV’s launch.

GALLERY: Acura Type S heritage models

GALLERY: 2021 Acura TLX Type S