The History of Acura Integra

The History of Acura Integra

The Acura Integra holds a special place in the automotive world, renowned for its impressive performance and exceptional qualities. Since its debut in 1985, the Integra has garnered a reputation for being a thrilling premium sport compact car that delivers an exhilarating driving experience. Its powerful engines, precise handling, and responsive steering have made it a favorite among car enthusiasts and performance seekers.

What sets the Acura Integra apart is not only its performance but also its sleek and stylish design. With its aerodynamic shape and dynamic contours, the Integra exudes a sense of sportiness that matches its capabilities on the road. Inside, the Integra offers a well-crafted and comfortable cabin, showcasing Acura's commitment to luxury and refinement.

Furthermore, the Integra has become famous for its reliability and longevity. Acura's commitment to engineering excellence ensures that the Integra maintains its performance and quality over time. Many Integra owners have affirmed their satisfaction with its robust build and long-lasting durability, making it a trusted choice for the open road and race track.

First Generation – 1986-1989

On March 27, 1986, Acura made its grand entrance into the automotive world with the launch of the first-generation Integra. Available as both a three and five-door hatchback, this sporty compact car was an instant hit with car enthusiasts looking for a thrilling driving experience. With a 1.6-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine and a 5-speed manual transmission, the Integra quickly gained a reputation as one of the finest-driving front-wheel-drive sport compacts money could buy.

The following year, the Acura Integra set a new benchmark for performance when the Comptech-tuned model won the IMSA International Sedan series. This was the first of many championship wins for the Integra, solidifying its position as a leader in the sports coupe segment.

In 1988, the Integra received a refreshing update, including an increase in engine output up to 118 horsepower. A new LS Special Edition model was also introduced, featuring body-colored wheels, special badges, and unique trim. The continued improvements to the Integra, along with its exceptional performance and sleek design, made it a top choice amongst drivers looking for a stylish and exciting car.

Second Generation – 1990-1993

The second generation of the Acura Integra was introduced as a 3-door hatchback and a 4-door sedan. It boasted independent double-wishbone suspension on all four corners, a larger 1.8-liter engine, and an impressive 130 horsepower. GS models of the Acura Integra 1990 also offered anti-lock brakes, making it one of the few cars in its class to feature this technology.

In 1991, Acura introduced a new level of luxury to the Integra second-generation. The leather interior was made available with the black exterior option, while the GS model received a standard moonroof and power door locks. Power windows were also made standard on the LS model, elevating the driving experience in terms of both comfort and convenience.

1992 marked a significant milestone for the Integra, with the debut of the highly sought-after GS-R model. This model featured an all-new 160-horsepower 1.7-liter VTEC inline four-cylinder engine, only the second Acura model to feature this advanced technology after the NSX. Standard engine output increased significantly, producing 140 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 126 lb.-ft. at 5,000 rpm. Other changes included revised front and rear bumpers, as well as a new 4-spoke steering wheel.

The new era of Integra was further highlighted during the 1992 Formula One Canadian Grand Prix, with the introduction of the Integra GS-R safety car. The Integra GS-R featured the latest safety technology, further demonstrating Acura's commitment to innovation.

Third Generation – 1994-2001

The third-generation Integra debuted in 1993 with an all-new chassis and interior, setting a new standard for comfort and performance. Further improving upon the legacy of the Integra, the GS-R with VTEC was available in a sedan for the first time.

In 1997, Acura introduced the Integra Type R to the US market, stunning car enthusiasts with its hand-built 195-horsepower 1.8-liter DOHC VTEC engine. This model boasted a helical limited-slip differential, upgraded suspension, and brakes, a 93-pound weight reduction, and exclusive Championship White paint. The chassis and body featured seam-welding for extra structural rigidity, and the suspension mounting points were made stronger. These enhancements made the Integra Type R a car like no other, and it quickly became the holy grail of sports coupes.

The Integra Type R took the racing world by storm, winning its first of six straight championships with RealTime Racing in 1997. The Integra Type R dominated the SCCA World Challenge Touring Car Championship from 1997 to 2002, cementing its place in the racing history book.

1998 marked significant updates to the Integra, including revised front and rear bumpers, new front and rear light clusters, and standard tilt and height-adjustable driver's seat. The leather-wrapped shifter and steering wheel were standard with leather upholstery, while new 15-inch aluminum wheels on GS-R and 14-inch aluminum wheels on LS added to its stunning appearance.

The 2000 Acura Integra, LS, GS, and GS-R models complied with the TLEV (transitional low emissions vehicle) rating, utilizing platinum-tipped spark plugs for the 100,000-mile tune-up interval. The Integra Type R returned in 2000 in two new colors, Phoenix Yellow or Flamenco Black Pearl, with standard air conditioning. The Acura Integra third generation also became a big-screen star, making a memorable appearance in the blockbuster action film The Fast and the Furious in 2001.

Fourth Generation – 2002-2006

The fourth generation of the Acura Integra, the RSX, brought excitement to the US market in 2002. Replacing the iconic Integra nameplate, the RSX was offered as a 3-door hatchback and featured an all-new chassis, along with a powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (K20). This engine boasted i-VTEC technology with Variable Timing Control (VTC) cam-phasing, delivering optimal performance and fuel efficiency. Introducing the Type S performance variant took things to the next level, offering a thrilling driving experience with its 200-horsepower engine and 6-speed manual transmission.

In 2004, Acura made a subtle change, renaming the Acura Factory Performance package to A-Spec. This package allowed enthusiasts to personalize their RSX, enhancing its performance and appearance.

Continuing the evolution in 2005, the RSX Type S received an upgrade to 210 horsepower and 143 lb.-ft of torque. Along with the power upgrade, the front and rear bumpers, headlights, taillights, decklid spoiler, and seats were revised. Inside the cabin, new titanium interior trim added a touch of sophistication. The suspension was also upgraded to improve handling, while a larger master cylinder was implemented on the Type S for improved braking performance.

The RSX left an unforgettable mark in the world of racing as well. In 2006, Acura celebrated a significant achievement as they clinched the Manufacturers' Championship in the SCCA World Challenge Touring Car class with the RSX, built by the renowned RealTime Racing team. This accomplishment showcased the RSX's exceptional performance capabilities and solidified its status as a true contender on the track.

Fifth Generation – 2023-Present

For the first time, the Integra has a factory-installed turbocharger. Powering the 2023 Integra is a high-output 1.5-liter VTEC Turbo engine (L15CA) that delivers impressive performance. Coupled with a sport-tuned chassis, this combination promises a thrilling and dynamic driving experience. What sets the fifth-generation Integra apart from its competitors is its unique 5-door liftback body style, providing both sportiness and practicality.

Before it even hits the road, the 2023 Integra made a bold statement in the racing world. Making its race debut at the 100th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in the summer of 2022, the Integra showcased its capabilities on the challenging course driven by rookie Paul Hubers. The race debut not only demonstrated the Integra's performance potential but also highlighted Acura's commitment to motorsport excellence.

In a testament to its outstanding qualities, the 2023 Acura Integra was awarded the prestigious 2023 North American Car of the Year title. Recognized for its sporty design, engaging driving experience, versatile package, and premium features, the Integra proved its worth in a highly competitive field.

For those seeking even more power and performance, Acura unveiled the 2024 Acura Integra Type S. This variant boasts a potent 2.0-liter turbocharged VTEC engine (K20C1) that generates a remarkable 320 horsepower, making it the most powerful Integra ever produced. The Acura Integra Type S has a smooth and precise six-speed manual transmission featuring a standard rev-match system. It is equipped with a limited-slip differential, further enhancing its performance on the road or track.

In Closing

The Acura Integra has a rich history spanning multiple generations. The first-generation Integra, launched in 1986, was a sporty compact car known for its exceptional handling and driving experience. The second-generation introduced upgrades like independent double-wishbone suspension and the GS-R model with a 160-horsepower VTEC engine. The third-generation Integra featured an all-new chassis and introduced the iconic Type R variant. In the fourth generation, the Integra was replaced by the RSX, offering a 2.0-liter engine and Type S variant with 200 horsepower. The fifth-generation Integra, introduced in 2023, features a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine and a unique 5-door liftback body style. It made its race debut at Pikes Peak and was awarded the 2023 North American Car of the Year. The Integra Type S variant, introduced in 2024, boasts a powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged engine producing 320 horsepower.

Acura Integra, tested by car enthusiasts and professional race track drivers, has stood the test of time, making it a sought-after brand not only for its modern models but also for its beloved classics. With a rich history in the automotive world, Acura has captured the hearts of drivers with its exceptional performance, sleek design, and lasting reliability.