Acura is reviving its “Type S” nameplate with its latest TLX — a sporty nameplate that once marked the hotter versions of its coupes and sedans in the early 2000s. But as they bring it back for 2021, a new trademark application recently emerged from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This time, though, it’s not for another sedan, but for the company’s MDX crossover.
According to the application filed September 18, 2020, Honda Motor Company moved to secure the “MDX Type S” trademark. The document itself is not necessarily a guarantee we’ll see the car on U.S. streets soon, but it does draw intrigue about Acura’s intent. Performance crossovers are hot ticket items right now, and nearly every automaker has jumped on the bandwagon. From the 400 horsepower Ford Explorer ST all the way to the ludicrous 707 horsepower Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, there’s something to sate every appetite for power — and nearly every budget.
As it relates to Acura, Type S is not the absolute king of horsepower. That said, the upcoming TLX Type S is the most powerful car in the model’s current lineup. Thanks to a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6, the TLX can produce 355 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. If an Acura MDX Type S were to emerge using the same powertrain, that would be a healthy improvement on the 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque we see from the current 3.5-liter V6.
What’s more, a power bump would put the MDX in better contention with the Mercedes-Benz GLE, BMW X5 and Audi SQ5. All of those crossovers produce around 350 horsepower. Granted, the Germans also take things to another level when it comes to power, but an Acura MDX Type S would put the brand on better footing in the crossover market, where it makes most of its sales these days.
More Type S models to come?
Acura has its “A-Spec” models, to give you a sporty look without pushing the power envelope. While the TLX has been a springboard, it would be reasonable to expect the Type S nameplate to expand through the rest of the brand. If Acura decides to use the name for the family hauling MDX, it could roll the name out to the smaller, more popular RDX as well.
At this moment, the USPTO has yet to even examine the trademark application. On that basis, we wouldn’t see an MDX Type S for awhile yet, and we’ll have to wait and see if Acura hints to its existence at all. If you’ve lamented the lack of oomph in the brand’s current lineup though, this could be a sign that things are about to change.
Update 9/24/2020: In an earlier version of this article, I said the TLX was “the most powerful car in the brand’s current stable. Of course, that would be the NSX, where I meant to say the TLX Type S is the most powerful version of that specific model right now. Sorry for any confusion!