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GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

Acura Integra GS-R / Type R

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1995 Acura Integra GS-R

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SPEX

Years Represented: 1995 & 1998

Class: Compact

Type: Coupe

Country: Japan  Host: GT1, GT2, GT3, GT4 & GT5

GT2 Prices: 16,000 (GSR), $25,160 (Type R)
GT4 Prices: 16,860 (used Type R)

GT5 Prices: 21,920 ('01 Type R)

GT5 Mileage: 19,372.5

Length: 172.4" // Width: 67.3" // Height: 52.7"
Wheelbase: 101.2"
Overhang: @5'11"
Track: 58.3" [F] 57.8" [R]
Ground Clearance: 4.50" to 5.11" (later cars are lower)

Test Weight: 2,638-2,667 lbs. (depends on game & car type)
Layout: Front Engine / Front Drive
Tires: 195/55R-15
Suspension: double wishbones / coils / anti-roll bars
Brakes: vented discs [F] solid discs [R] +ABS

Spex below for some Type Rs of GT2,GT4, and 5

GT5 car was given oil change, but no engine rebuild for all specs & testing.

Engine: 1.8 liter DOHC inline-4

Construction: aluminum block & head

                            GT2 ('95)                  GT4 (used'01)             GT5 ('01)
Tested HP: ``195 @ 7,800 rpm            197 @ 8,000 rpm      195 @ 8,000
Tstd Torque: 133 @ 7,000 rpm           134 @ 7,100 rpm       132 @ 6,500
       

Lbs. per HP:         13.7                              13.39                         13.63
HP per Liter: ``````108.5                              109.6                         110.5
Credits per HP:  82.05                               85.58                        112.41

Aspiration: normal
Fuel System: Honda PGM-Fi
Valves per Cyl. 4
Compression: 11.1:1

GT2 ('95) Redline: 8,000 // Rev Limit: 9,000
GT4 ('01) Idle: 1,000 // Redline: 8,500 // RPM Limit: 9,000
GT5 ('01) Idle: 1,000 // Redline: 8,250 // RPM Limit: 9,000

Transmission: 5-speed manual
Differential: heliacal limited-slip

`````````````````````GT2`````````````````````````````GT4````````````GT5
0-60 mph: 7.34 seconds              8.183                       7.727
0-100mph: 20.9 seconds            19.550                    18.687
0-

400 M: 15.962 @ 88 mph        16.390 @ 92           15.972 @ 92
1 KM: 29.179 @ 115 mph        28.950 @ 120        28.426 @ 119

Test Track: 1:51.477                      2:35.191              1:02.644 (Daytona)

100-zero mph: no test                    3.88 secs              5.35 secs

Top Speed at Redline (GT2 '95 Type R)
1st: 39 @ 8,500 rpm
2nd: 61 mph
3rd: 85 mph
4th: 110 mph
5th: 157.52 mph (8,700 rpm)

Top Speed at Redline (GT4 '01 Type R)
1st: 32 mph
2nd: 63 mph
3rd: 91 mph
4th: 119 mph
5th: 152.20 mph @ 8,250 rpm

5th: 149.1 mph @ (RPM not recorded) in GT5

 

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---------------EXTERIOR-------------

I think I'm in love! It happened quickly and without warning, and now I know the meaning of the term ‘falling’ in love, because that's what happened. All this occured out of the blue!

After my initial courtship with my new lover, I had insomnia; couldn't stop thinking about her all nite. The way we grooved together was like a perfect match. She's a cool lady, too. So far, she's been able to handle any curve I've thrown without getting bitchy, unlike my last girlfriend. ;) And the best thing is, I don't have to buy any gifts for her! No chocolates for Valentine's day, no crummy cards, I don't have to compose any faggy sonnets, either; for my dear treats me well already. She rewards me....and all she ever asks for is the occasional new set of Michelin Pilot tires...stronger brakes, maybe some iridium-tipped spark plugs and a thinner head gasket...but even without these upgrades, the Acura GS-R exalts and.....

....Yeah, of COURSE I was talking about a car, what did YOU think, sicko? But the part about the insomnia was true. I actually did wind up not sleeping as I relived some  Integra moments.

So let's get one thing straight here: assuming somebody has the NTSC/North American version of Gran Turismo 2 (and not the Asian or PAL versions) the Acura dealer in GT2 offers GS-Rs, and what are supposed to be superior Type Rs as well, but our Type Rs aren't as good as theirs. The NTSC/American version of GT2 features Acura Integra Type Rs, which aren't as radical as the Honda Type Rs found in Asian or PAL versions.

There are some important differences: The Acura's wing is smaller than the Honda's. It also has circular (rather than rectangular) headlamps. Power between the Honda and Acura versions is apparently the same, though...stock or fully upgraded. The Honda Integra Type R exists in the GT2 NTSC/American game, but it's only at some license tests that we'll get to drive it. It's also possible to extract it via GameShark. Mugen & Spoon Type Rs can be won, but many just want the Honda version. Those who have GT3, GT4, or GT5 can have it both ways, since both Honda and Acura Integra Type Rs can be found in either game. GT4 has new and used versions of both, but by the time GT5 made its debut, the Integra was long gone, replaced by the RSX in America, probably some other models in other parts of the world.  

Lots of Integras abound in my town, and it seems half of them have that ‘unfinished’ look. Know what I mean?  Primer paint that never gets glossed over with a more colorful coat, ridiculously giant wings that rarely generate useful downforce, side skirts and air dams that are cracked, since the owner never bothered to think about the fact that there are POTHOLES and these things called CURBS on the streets...areas where a car with low ground-clearance won't survive!  Two years ago I was in Washington DC with a couple folks. We were going to a rave club and couldn't find it. For almost an hour I rode in the back seat of his Integra, which had low-profile tires, a wing, and (of course) super stiff shocks & coils on a lowered suspension. I know this since every time we hit a bump it went WHAP! right in my ear. And in my spine. Needless to say, I...uh, didn't dance much that nite. It's amazing I didn't puke.

Though it's not suited for most public roads (especially in DC!), tweaked-up Acuras do fine at the tracks. Any of the six versions in GT2 are ready for action from day one. Or perhaps day 5 or 6, assuming you've made enough cash to buy the affordable $16,000 car. GT3 has only new versions for sale, costing upwards of $25,000, and in GT4 there are both new and used Type Rs, which means some of them are nicely affordable again very early in one's career.

In GT5 there are several Integras for sale, but they might be difficult to locate, since these are now mostly used cars. There is only one Acura ('01 Type R) which is currently the focus of this review, but there are Honda versions as well from the years '95, '98, '99, '03, and '04. That last car (the '04 Type R) is Premium. There is also an Integra touring car, but it is from the used car lot, and therefore difficult to find. In GT5 (unlike earlier games) one cannot use an Integra without cheating until late in the game, during the Expert Hall / Japanese Championship. Any race an Integra could have done fairly in earlier games (FF Challenge, some Compact Car races, Clubman Cup, etc.) will now be over-dogged by the Integra in this game. This is why I'm writing about this car several years after GT5's release. Since there are no NA Cup races, and the Integra cannot accept turbos, we cannot even enter a higher-powered version of our 1.8 to dominate.    

.An Integra can be raced on its stock suspension for most any free or B license race, and in many cases it'll be simply cheating. Sport suspension parts only add to the fun. Put a semi-racing suspension under there and, well...let's just say I don't want to add any nocturnal emissions to my insomnia. ;) Before I drove this car, I was concerned that there would be loads of understeer. There is almost six feet of overhang...about three up front and three in the rear. Well, unlike a lot of Civics and some other front-drives, Integras understeer--but mildly so, especially if the driver chooses good racing lines. Integras of any kind are very controllable in any game, even with stock parts.

Bottom line is these are easily some of the best front-drives available, as we shall see.

 

---------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN-------------

Like any typical modern Honda high-performance engine, this 1.8 features lots of revs at our disposal, and an appropriately high redline area as well.

GT2

There are two engines in GT2: one for the GS-Rs and one for Type Rs. The 170 hp GS-R starts off with a 7,750 rpm tach, and the 195 hp Type R engine gets 8,000. Modifying the GS-R gives us more redline area...which gets boosted to 9,000 rpm with engine balancing & port / polish. The Type R motor can be tuned regularly in three stages, but will also accept 2 turbos.

Oddly, with turbos we get an 8,000 rpm redline at best, but with Stage 3 NA tuning, it can go all the way to 8,750 with a 10,000 rpm rev limit! In GT2, the Type R motor can get 288 NA-tuned horsepower @ 8,900 rpm at the most, or 368 @ 8,600 with a turbo. Obviously, this means automatic trannys are bad when matched with the turbo, since revs will never climb high enough to make peak.

Speaking of transmissions, here's a really BIG Gran Turismo 2 mistake...a juicy one! The '95 and '98 GS-Rs both have screwy gearboxes. 3rd is geared at 1.360 and 4th at 1.340. What does this mean? It means there is virtually no difference between 3rd and 4th gear in a stock GS-R gearbox! When I was testing the GS-R, I kept wondering why all the sudden it would go from 3rd to 5th gear, which is like going from redline to the high 4,000s...a full 2,000 rpm below the torque curve. What happened was I kept hitting the upshift button twice and winding up in 5th. MAJOR oversight. Unacceptable. GT2 Type Rs don't have this programming error, it's only the GS-Rs.

So far as track testing goes, all tests turned out average, which doesn't represent the kick-ass racing career it's possible to have in an Integra at all, but the reason these cars kick ass can be mostly found in the next section. Real-life Integras can churn out 6-ish 0 to 60 mph runs, and when I dropped the clutch with higher revs in my virtual car, I got similar results.

 

Basically, unmodified Integras lack low-end torque, but this gets quickly displaced by Honda's VTEC system as revs rise. With any major power upgrades (NA kits or turbos), the B18C 1.8 liter 4-cylinder engine gets a broader torque band, and this means power gets doled out more evenly.

GT5
In this game, all the above is true, except for the mistakes in GT2. GT5 also (dammit) doesn't allow any turbocharging in this car, shortening its career dramatically. But all the better traits of Honda's VTEC engines are still here. In this game, top power rates at 349 @ 8,900 rpms, and 217 @ 7,400. And like I said, it's a shame we can't turbo this car, or enter it in some of GT5's races without overkill.

-------------------------CHASSIS / HANDLING----------------------
 
What makes the Integra darn special? What it comes down to is a couple things: lots of mid-to-late corner grip, plenty of traction, and excellent brakes. Dang. That's actually three things!

The Integra front-end provides good braking capability with minimum entry-understeer (for a front-drive), even while turning-in rather strongly. The front then bites into the road like a pit bull with lockjaw when accelerating out of turns, sometimes even while steering is fully locked left or right. This creates a tight turning circle, even while the engine is putting down lots of torque, yet there's minimal torque steer (assuming power is near-stock). This unusual FWD capability is caused by Honda's use of a torsen (torque-sensing) limited-slip differential up front.

Again and again, you'll be able to get by other cars...not necessarily from pure horsepower. It's the car's ability to shred those corners that will get it around that hairpin quicker, and skim those awkward ditches and walls precisely with centimeters to spare. The front-end basically throttle-steers like a rear-drive car if driven with just a tad of restraint. It generally does so with a lack of wheelspin, especially once the car is out of 1st gear. In longer turns that aren't so tight, the Integra still feels incredibly balanced; any front-heavy-ness is displaced by the rear of this coupe, which adds plenty of stability and keeps things controllable. This isn't the zippyest of cars, but it's certainly at the top of the list for FWDs.

GT2
To illustrate, take a spin in this game's A3 and A4 license tests. Notice how much easier it is to achieve a gold trophy in an Integra than it is in the rear-wheel drive Altezza. I'm not talking about the chronological time either....the Integra is 1,000x EASIER to drive. It simply hums thru the turn. The Altezza, on the other hand fishtails, understeers, oversteers, and at worse will slide out and spin...easily.

Also, I recently did an experiment: taking a couple of races at the Laguna Seca B-license National GT event. First, I raced a 2,072 pound Mazda Demio GL. It had a Stage 1 weight reduction, Stage 1 turbo, racing aspiration, computer, and all the permanent engine upgrades. It was now rated at 190 bhp. Then, I drove a '98 Integra GS-R, which also had Stage 1 weight reduction (2,612 lbs.), and enough power upgrades to take it to 195 hp. Both the Demio and the Integra were on their stock suspensions and tires, yet the Integra finished much further ahead than the Demio, even though it weighs 500 pounds more!


Is it the Integra's 5 extra horsepower? I don't think so. Is it the higher (7,750 rpm) redline of the Integra, which allows one to keep it in gear longer? Maybe. But one thing's for sure: the Integra clearly had better traction out of corners, and better braking response & control into them. THIS is why I wound up finishing a full 2 seconds ahead of the pack in the GS-R, but won by only 0.168 seconds in the Demio.

For most GT2 races, I find myself NOT needing slick tires, 1-way differential, or fully-modifyable suspension...it's only at the GT Regionals or such lofty events (like the Tuned NA series or GT 300) that I've need these exotic parts.

So my final prognosis on Integra handling in this game?
2 thumbs up. 

GT4 (GT3, too)

Really, it's an easy write-up from here on. GT3 and GT4 only feature Type Rs. There are no GSRs in these games like there were in GT2, but it doesn't matter. In all cases, the Type Rs of GT3 & 4 behave almost exactly the way they did in in GT1 and GT2: lots of traction, lots of cornering possibilities, and a minimum of front-drive understeer (within reason). The main difference in GT3 and GT4 is that there's the possibility of more wheelspin in 1st gear (or sometimes in 2nd gear with lots of upgraded power). There is also a stronger possibility of torque-steer (assuming neither front wheel is slipping). But really there ain't that much more to say. The Integra still remains an awesome front-drive in these later games, even with stronger realism programmed. It remains far superior to more than half the front-drives which appear in GT3 and 4.

.....I may wind up buying something sweet for Valentines Day after all. Maybe some Valvoline Synthetic motor oil for high-revving engines. Or perhaps she'd like some of that 94 octane gasoline sold by that farmer dude way out in the country...

GT5

If I had a premature infatuation with my Integras several years ago, now I can proudly boast a full-scale marriage proposal. The Integra is like this; one hell of a good partner. If I thought I was in love with this car at one time, now I KNOW I'm in love with it.

Cornering is still where it is at, and things only get vastly improved in comparison to GT4. The Integra loves braking, turning-in, and zipping out even more than it did in that previous game. This car still has its pit-bull front-end lockjaw behavior, too. If there's one early criticism, it only happens mid-turn on this car's stock soft radial tires: and it is (of course) understeer. But with a bit of preparation (braking), we can arrange to have understeer as a minimal partner, or we can arrange to not have it show up at all.

Assuming there's no understeer, it really gets fun cornering in an Integra. Small inward motions of steering always result in a tightened line, with maybe a little bit of a push every now and again. And leaving turns? Oh....

It is here that the Integra's helical limited-slip really does some good works, like a dedicated door-to-door salesman (a cog) who manages to get more tupperware sold than anyone else in his company. Check it out. This car ALWAYS digs into that pavement when power is stock, NEVER is there any wheelspin out of turns. Never. Even with stock tires equipped. And as found in previous games, the Integra has a beautiful habit of drastically tightening up its exits as the throttle gets pushed.

Often, I found I could give maximum fuel out of turns; even at Tsukuba's tight hairpins. This car is KING of front-drive corner exits, folks.

Add some sport tires, and everything improves even further. That wee bit of understeer mentioned above becomes about as rare as a 2-dollar bill, the Integra seems virtually unstoppable!  It's a shame the Integra cannot accept turbo upgrades in this game. I tried to take it to the Supercar Challenge (an event I believe it has a chance of handling), only to find it can't make enough power to participate. And so far, I have yet to find any events in which the Integra can compete in without blowing th other sims away. It's the typical Gran Turismo story, unfortunately. But I'll keep trying.


 

PROS---------------------------------------------------------------------

1). Did you just read the Handling text? Handles the road like a pro, even before ANY suspension upgrades are put in. When upgraded, you may notice it's hard to mess up tuning an Integra suspension. Great for beginners.

2). Affordable. Any Integra in any GT game is seriously worth the credits.

3). High-redline tachometers are standard. No 5 or 6,000 rpm nonsense.

4). Perfect car for a n00-b who's looking for something that'll boost his or her win ratio early on, especially in GT1 or GT2.

5). Love the engine / exhaust sound. Roars with presence...not pretension.

6). Great tires and brakes. Sports tires are secondary and slicks will rarely need to be used.

7). Lots of colors available at the dealership.

8). Not too heavy. And some versions can be modified with racing kits in GT1 and 2.  

9). Great car for e-brake drifts. Learning to drift in an Integra is easy, since it recovers from mistakes with little fuss. This is truer in earlier games, of course.

10). GT1 and GT2: feature both Integra GS-Rs and Type Rs. The lower-powered GS-Rs can come in handy at races with horsepower limits. GT3 and GT4 feature both Honda and Acura Type Rs, each car has a significantly different look.

 

CONS-------------------------------------------------------------------

1). GT2/NTSC: most Integras can't be race-modified without a GameShark.

2). The '95 & '98 GS-Rs (the ones with the 170 hp engines) need a better 4th gear. Again, another unexcusable programming error and more torture with pillows!

3).Top-end speed gets weak in lightly-modified cars. Acceleration is wanting too, but this is when compared to some other rear-drive or AWD 4-cylinder autos. Low-end torque is lacking at times.

4). All the dealer-bought cars are too similar in any game. An earlier '90 to '93 2nd-gen Integra would be welcome here.

5). Possible entry-corner understeer, assuming the driver doesn't brake into turns early enough. Uh oh...looks like I'm running out of Cons!

6). Power upgrades will only take this car so far. Some other front drives get better available power (depends on the game, though).

7). GT1 and GT2 Integras haven't got the exhaust snarl real-life cars emit.

 

Published: February 9th, 2005

GT3 & 4 text added: uhh.... 

GT5 text added: July 13, 2014


 

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