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The Acura CL Type-S Is a Forgotten Special Acura

When you think of exciting, special Acura models, you surely think of the NSX first and foremost — and then maybe some high-performance versions of the Integra. What you almost certainly don’t think of is the CL Type-S — although this was a special car, aimed at enthusiasts, that’s been largely forgotten.

Here’s the general overview of the CL Type-S. Essentially, the CL was the coupe version of Acura’s TL sedan, meaning it was front-wheel drive — a demerit, sure, but not a fatal one. The CL was sold for two generations, and it always looked a bit nicer than its sedan counterpart.

But the especially exciting model in the CL range was the "Type-S" version, which was sold from 2000 to 2003. While the regular CL used a 225-horsepower 3.2-liter V6, the Type-S saw a boost to 260 hp — and an increase in torque from 216 to 232. More important, however, was the transmission choice: while the CL Type-S was only offered with a 5-speed automatic — a transmission known to be failure-prone as it gets on in years — Acura decided to add a 6-speed manual option for 2003. The car was canceled after that, meaning the 6-speed manual was offered with the Type-S for just one year — meaning cars that have the transmission are exceptionally rare.

Right now on Autotrader, there are only about a dozen CL Type-S models listed for sale from all four of the car’s model years — and just two are the extremely rare 2003 models with the 6-speed manual transmission. Both are listed for well under $10,000, providing an easy point of entry to a shockingly rare enthusiast-focused car.

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  1. I have one of these cars, and it’s impossible to find parts for it. After reading this article I understand why! (and if anybody out there has a “window control unit” for this car…let me know asap!)

  2. I remember them being cool when they came out. But they were just up maker accords that got completely over shadowed by the Sportier G35s and Lexus IS.

  3. Friend has a 2001 CL type S. All of the electronics that controlled the locks, alarm, power seats, and the radio all do not work, he is on his 2nd transmission for the car as well.

  4. Here’s the thing about the CL (and RSX) from that generation.  Sure, you could buy a 2003 CL, but it was based on the previous generation Accord.  An ’03 Accord coupe also had a manual transmission option, and a V6, ready to eat alive Mustang Gts, etc…

    The RSX was a neat little car too, it was just based on the previous gen Civic.
    • I did remember that overlap and you’re right. The CL’s were really expensive new too, like $45k in today’s money when the ’03 Accord Coupe was at least $10k less expensive. The ’03 Accord Coupe’s interior was actually nicer than this one. The whole car looked modern as the CL was stuck in the 90’s. Both good cars though. I had a ’04 Accord Sedan and swear it’s interior was nicer than one’s today even.

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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