Details have finally emerged about the new 2022 Acura MDX Type S. Positioned as the performance-oriented member of the MDX range, the midsize luxury SUV gains a turbocharged V6, Brembo brakes, an air suspension, and a longer list of standard features.
Acura takes the heritage-laced "Type S" designation seriously; the badge also appears on the NSX and on the TLX. While we love the thought of an NSX-powered MDX, it's the TLX that was asked to provide its engine. Power comes from a new 3.0-liter V6 that's turbocharged to 355 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. Acura points out these figures make the MDX Type S the most powerful crossover or SUV it has ever released. The six-cylinder spins all four wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission that has been redesigned to provide quicker shifts, and a Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD) system programmed to send up to 70% of the engine's torque to the rear wheels. And, as always for Acura's SH-AWD, 100% of that torque can be sent to the left or the right wheel (aka torque vectoring).
Acura's first air suspension system appears on the MDX Type S. Adaptive and adjustable, the setup relies on data sent by an armada of sensors and on user input to make the ride sporty, comfortable, or anything in between. Using air springs also allowed Acura to give the Type S a lift mode, which increases the ground clearance by about 2 inches when users need to drive in deep snow or on rough terrain.
Next, engineers turned their attention to the brakes. Brembo provided four-piston front calipers designed to work with rotors that are about half an inch bigger than the standard MDX's, and Acura points out that it tuned the electric-servo system to give the Type S a pedal stroke that's similar to the NSX's. The red calipers fitted to both axles are visible through 21-inch wheels wrapped by Continental ContiSeal self-sealing tires.
Painting the calipers red was purely an aesthetic decision, but many of the other design changes that help the Type S stand out from the regular MDX serve a purpose. For example, the engine bay receives about 10% more air thanks to a redesigned grille. And, the vents on either side of the front bumper direct cooling air to a pair of sub-radiators mounted on either side of the engine bay. Some of these functional changes aren't immediately visible: Acura went as far as relocating the battery to the trunk to improve weight distribution.
With space for seven passengers, the MDX Type S gains leather and Ultrasuede upholstery, contrast stitching, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and metal pedals. It comes standard with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch display for the True Touchpad infotainment system. Buyers who want an extra serving of luxury can order the Advance Package, which bundles full leather upholstery, massaging front seats with nine profiles, and a 25-speaker sound system that we're told was developed using Carnegie Hall’s Parquet section as a reference.
Built in East Liberty, Ohio, the 2022 Acura MDX Type S will reach showrooms across the United States in December 2021. Pricing information hasn't been published yet, but Acura said to expect a base price in the high-$60,000 range. For context, the most affordable member of the MDX line-up starts at $40,345 while the range-topping SH-AWD PMC Edition carries a base price of $55,295.
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