2001 Acura Integra Type R -- Structure & Safety

The goals for the Type R structure were to provide a strong, rigid platform to ensure a long, durable service life, create a stable base for the suspension, and to provide carefully designed front and rear crumple zones to minimize cabin intrusion in a collision. The ultimate focus for the Type R was to minimize weight while enhancing the rigidity of the body structure and to optimize the aerodynamic effectiveness of the body.

Key improvements include:

  • Improved body rigidity by adding performance rods in the front and rear, and body reinforcements in several key areas
  • Aerodynamic enhancements, such as a new chin spoiler and wing-type rear spoiler, and lower overall vehicle height
  • Overall reduction in vehicle weight

A large percentage of the vehicle mass is near the center of the vehicle for enhanced transient response and handling. The Type R also has a large greenhouse for maximum visibility, as well as a large cabin that is roomy yet intimate with an enhanced feeling of a sports-oriented coupe.

The aerodynamic goal for the Integra was to achieve greatly improved high-speed driving performance. The primary focus was to balance the forces that would allow for improved front and rear downforce, low turbulence, minimal wind roar in crucial areas such as the windows, excellent flow-through ventilation, and to provide optimum resistance to crosswinds while maintaining a low drag coefficient. This was achieved through extensive wind-tunnel testing with scale models, mockups and prototype vehicle bodies. It also involved extensive racetrack testing, and the use of the Cray supercomputer. One important detail of the aerodynamic package is the one-piece, integral bumper assembly. This unit not only gives the Integra a clean, modern appearance, but its flowing, one-piece construction eliminates gaps between the bumper and the body that tend to produce turbulence and disrupt laminar airflow over the hood.

To achieve maximum aerodynamic efficiency, the Type R also includes a new chin spoiler and a new wing-type rear spoiler, and the vehicle is 15 mm lower in overall height than the Integra GS-R. These factors contribute to a 30 percent reduction in the coefficient of lift over the Integra GS-R, and a 1 percent improvement in its drag coefficient.

To enhance corrosion protection, virtually every panel of the Type R is constructed of double-sided galvanized steel. The only significant panel that does not use galvanized steel is the roof. After assembly, the body in white is treated to an electro-deposition process that bonds a rust-inhibiting primer coating to the metal. Electro-deposition draws this coating into minute crevices, helping to ensure a barrier against rust-producing moisture. A moisture-resistant wax is also injected into hidden body cavities, to help prevent corrosion that might otherwise form from condensation.

Rigidity clearly has an impact on a number of critical areas. Any suspension, for instance, no matter how finely calibrated or advanced in design, will be unable to perform properly if the body flexes and bends under loading. Rigidity also contributes significantly to crash protection, and to the build quality perceived in areas like the small gaps between panels and openings.

Developed using the latest computer modeling and Finite Element Analysis techniques, the rigidity of the Type R has been greatly improved in several areas. A new, larger aluminum front tower bar replaces the steel bar on the GS-R, and the addition of performance rods to the rear frame end and rear suspension lower arm add additional strength. Key components that have been reinforced include the rear wheel housing, rear pillar upper garter, rear roof rail upper, rear wheel arch extension, rear lower arm bracket and rear damper gusset.

With its signature Integra four-headlight design, the Type R's fully integrated bumper and lighting accomplishes a number of objectives. In addition to providing a clean, modern and aerodynamic appearance, it reduces the number of components and the weight of the front facias, enhances the anti-corrosion performance of the entire front end, resists minor dents and flying debris better and, in case of a minor collision, helps reduce damage that might otherwise be transmitted to the front fenders.

The choice of polypropylene for front and rear bumper material was made based on its properties of resilience to minor damage and because of the material's inherent recyclability. Due to the unique formulation of pigments and medium, the painted bumper resists the fading that was commonly associated with synthetic plastic bumpers. The front and rear bumpers of the Type R resist damage up to a 5-mph collision.

One of the design priorities of the body was to provide the driver with as much visibility as possible. As a result of extensive engineering, which was able to create thin but strong pillars, and a compact engine, which contributes to a low cowl, the Type R offers 298.9 degrees of visibility.

The Type R uses a pin-guide sash system for the door glass, like all Integra Coupes. A pin, which is bonded to the rear inside edge of the door glass, slides in a channel designed into the window sash. The pin holds the window captive against the sash and forms a tight seal to enhance the rigidity of the glass mounting and resist the negative air pressure that builds up at the side of the vehicle at high road speeds. The system also allows tighter tolerances between the glass and the molding, and contributes to better aerodynamics and reduced levels of wind noise.

A key element of the Type R's styling is the signature separated four-headlight design. The individual lights have a near-flush look, improving styling and smoothing aerodynamic flow over the front bumper.

For enhanced illumination and a modern look, the engineers specified projector beam lamps for low-beam use. Compared to conventional units, these lamps reach 13 feet farther and illuminate an area 20 percent greater, while the high beams, which use improved halogen lamp technology, reach 125 feet farther and illuminate an area 2.5 times greater.


The Type R provides a high degree of structural rigidity to enhance crash protection. At the front and rear, the Type R has been designed with deformable crumple zones. These are designed to deform in a controlled manner, absorb the impact energy and help prevent deformation of the passenger compartment.

A driver and front passenger air bag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) is standard equipment. The driver's air bag is located in the steering wheel hub, while the passenger's air bag is located on top of the dash. Both air bags are triggered simultaneously by means of three impact sensors located in the passenger compartment. To ensure maximum reliability, the sensors use gold-plated electrical connectors. As in all Acura automobiles, the front passenger air bag is designed to deploy upward along the windshield and then back toward the occupant. This provides a large cushion to help protect the front passenger.

The dual front air bags are designed to work in conjunction with the 3-point seat belts. For easy access, the front seat belt buckles are attached to the driver's and front passenger's seats.

To help minimize injury to the occupant in a side-impact collision, the Integra features door intrusion beams as well as energy-absorbing pads in the doors.

For additional protection, there are polypropylene pads located at hip level on both front doors. These pads substantially reduce the energy transmitted to occupants in the event of an accident.

A special electronically coded key prevents the car from being started, even if a mechanical duplicate of the proper key shape is used. A transponder built into the key signals the immobilizer control unit that the key is genuine. If the car is hot-wired, or an unauthorized key is used, it simply will not start. This system is a substantial deterrent to theft.

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