The unveiling of the Acura MDX Prototype previews the fourth generation of the Acura MDX, the automaker’s three-row luxury SUV.
On sale early next year, the new MDX will assume the flagship role in the Acura lineup, the company said. Twenty years after the launch of the first-generation model, new design and interior of the new MDX will be bolstered by new Acura technologies, an all-new performance-focused platform with MDX’s first-ever double-wishbone front suspension and the first application of the Type S high-performance moniker to an Acura SUV.
“The new MDX marks a turning point for Acura as our new flagship and the most far-reaching effort yet to deliver on our Precision Crafted Performance brand promise,” said Jon Ikeda, vice president and Acura brand officer. “We knew we needed to deliver something more emotional and premium with performance at its core. This new MDX builds on the past 20 years of success and elevates the model to an even stronger position in the market.”
With a matte finish, the MDX Prototype, shown in both Liquid Carbon and Performance Red, makes a bold statement with its more dynamic and muscular design, Acura says. The upright grille and long, sculpted hood convey power and presence and are anchored to an even lower and wider body with bulging shoulders and a greenhouse set further back, enabling a 6-inch increase in dash-to-axle dimension.
Signature elements of Acura’s next-generation design are integrated with the new more premium and athletic form of MDX, including a three-dimensional Diamond Pentagon grille flanked by four-element JewelEye LED headlights, underscored by Chicane LED daytime running lights, inspired by the Acura ARX-05 race car. The front fascia has been sculpted to highlight the wide grille, integrating fog light housings underside vents that further emphasize the new MDX’s wider track.
In profile view, the 21-inch wheels have been pushed to the corners, giving the MDX Prototype a nearly 3-inch longer wheelbase, aiding both ride quality and more spacious seating in all three rows, as well as a larger and more versatile cargo hold. A sharply sculpted beltline connects the front and rear, where the wide-set Chicane LED taillights echo the headlight treatment in front.
The MDX Prototype previews the production model’s new cabin design, with a more upright instrument panel taking on a wide structural motif. High-grade, authentic materials trim the interior including open-pore wood with infused metallic flake, polished aluminum and Milano leather. A mix of Ebony and Light Orchid leather covers the instrument panel and steering wheel. The vehicle is also equipped with Acura sport seats with curvilinear quilting in all three rows, gradient perforation and high-contrast stitching and piping. A panoramic moonroof opens the cabin up to provide natural light to all three rows.
The Acura sport seats offer 16-way power adjustment and integrated massage functionality. Acura’s Iconic Drive LED lights the MDX cabin with 27 different lighting schemes tied to driving modes and representative of various locations, such as iconic roads and race circuits around the world.
Featuring a myriad of new Acura technologies, the MDX Prototype debuts Acura’s all-digital Precision Cockpit, replacing physical gauges with a customizable 12.3-inch driver’s meter. The new MDX also gains the latest generation of Acura’s True Touchpad Interface, featuring a 12.3-inch, full-HD center display, Acura-exclusive touchpad and a new CPU for improved performance.
The “Signature Edition” ELS STUDIO 3D premium audio system in the MDX Prototype features 22 discrete channels and 25 speakers. This tier of ELS system features six ceiling-mounted Highline speakers and six carbon fiber coned mid-range woofers, including two positioned in the front console.
Safety technologies include the latest generation of Acura’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) Body Structure, with occupant and pedestrian collision protection capabilities, as well as an expanded suite of AcuraWatch safety and driver-assistive technologies, including enhanced Road Departure Mitigation, Traffic Jam Assist and Low Speed Braking Control. Acura’s next-generation front passenger airbag technology, first seen on the new 2021 TLX and offering improved occupant protection in a wider variety of frontal collision scenarios, will be standard on all new MDX models.
The fourth-generation MDX debuts an all-new light truck platform built for athletic handling, refined ride comfort and exceptional cabin quietness, Acura says. The most rigid Acura SUV body to date, the new MDX is engineered to support Type S-levels of performance as well as advanced collision and pedestrian safety. Anchored to the ultra-rigid new body is a new performance-focused chassis featuring MDX’s first-ever double-wishbone front suspension.
Further aiding handling and all-weather performance is Acura’s available fourth-generation Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). The SUV is equipped with Brembo four-piston brake calipers, finished in an Ivory paint, at all four corners. Drivers can customize the ride, handling, steering, suspension and powertrain performance characteristics using the MDX’s Intelligent Dynamics System (IDS).
Powering the fourth-generation MDX will be one of two new powertrains. Standard power will come from Acura’s 3.5-liter V6 with i-VTEC valvetrain, connected to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The upcoming MDX Type S will feature a Type S-exclusive 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 producing an estimated 355 horsepower and 354 lb.-ft. of torque, the most powerful engine ever offered in an Acura SUV. All MDX Type S models will put power to the ground through Acura’s fourth-generation SH-AWD system.