Today’s unveiling of the Acura MDX Prototype previews the fourth-generation of the class-defining Acura MDX, America’s all-time best-selling three-row luxury SUV1. On sale early next year, the new MDX will assume the flagship role in the Acura lineup as the most premium, performance-focused and technologically sophisticated SUV in Acura history. Twenty years after the launch of the first-generation model, the bold new design and sumptuously appointed interior of the new MDX will be bolstered by an arsenal of 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.”
Enveloped in striking matte finish, the MDX Prototype, shown in both Liquid Carbon and Performance Red, makes a bold statement with its more dynamic and muscular design. 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 language are elegantly 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 under side 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.
Next Level Interior
Befitting its new flagship status, the MDX Prototype presages the production model’s more premium and sophisticated cabin design, with a cleaner, 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 soft-touch Milano leather. An elegant mix of Ebony and Light Orchid leather graces the instrument panel and steering wheel with French stitched detailing. Next-generation Acura sport seats offer a more sculpted form with curvilinear quilting in all three rows, gradient perforation, and high-contrast stitching and piping.
The MDX’s wider body design enables first-class seating with more legroom in all three rows, and notably more headroom for front and third-row occupants. An ultra-wide panoramic moonroof opens the cabin up to provide natural light to all three rows.
Optimally bolstered Acura sport seats offer 16-way power adjustment and integrated massage functionality with a class-leading nine massage modes to relax the driver and front passenger after an exhilarating drive. Acura’s Iconic Drive™ LED illuminates the entire 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 leading-edge 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 intuitive and driver-focused True Touchpad Interface™, featuring an ultra-wide, 12.3-inch, full-HD center display (Acura’s largest implementation yet), Acura-exclusive touchpad with “absolute positioning” and a new CPU for improved performance.
The “Signature Edition” ELS STUDIO 3D® premium audio system in the MDX Prototype sets a new standard for concert-quality in-vehicle audio with more than 1000 watts of power, 22 discrete channels and 25 speakers. This elevated tier of ELS system features six ceiling-mounted Highline™ speakers and six carbon fiber coned mid-range woofers including two positioned innovatively in the front console to create a “Center of the Studio” experience with perfect left to right balance. Tuned and perfected by eight-time Grammy® award-winning music producer and sound engineer, Elliot Scheiner, this is the most advanced and powerful audio system ever offered in an Acura vehicle.
Elevated safety technologies include the latest generation of Acura’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) Body Structure, with enhanced occupant and pedestrian collision protection capabilities, bolstered by an expanded suite of AcuraWatch™ safety and driver-assistive technologies, including enhanced Road Departure Mitigation, new Traffic Jam Assist and new 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.
Performance at its Core
The fourth-generation MDX debuts an all-new light truck platform built for athletic handling, refined ride comfort and exceptional cabin quietness. 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, delivering sharp and sporty handling with improved road holding and ride comfort.
Further aiding handling and all-weather performance is Acura’s available fourth-generation Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®), the only dynamic torque vectoring technology in MDX’s competitive class, extracting maximum grip and cornering precision from the all-new chassis. Superior stopping performance is enabled with Brembo® four-piston brake calipers, finished in a striking 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). The IDS unlocks a wider range of personalized driving experiences through pre-set modes as well as giving drivers the ability to customize an Individual dynamic driving mode via the NSX-inspired Drive Mode dial, positioned prominently on the center console.
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 an incredibly responsive and refined 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.
Twenty Years of MDX
Debuting in 2000 as the North American Truck of the Year, the original 2001 Acura MDX was the industry’s first three-row crossover SUV, defining an entirely new category of vehicles that now dominate the segment. Over the past 20 years, across three generations of development, MDX has established itself as America’s all-time best-selling three-row luxury SUV and one of only a handful of luxury models to earn more than 1 million U.S. customers in the past two decades2. MDX also recently surpassed the TL as the best-selling Acura model of all-time.
The fourth-generation MDX will join its three predecessors as designed, developed and produced in North America. The all-new MDX will be built at the company’s East Liberty, Ohio, auto plant, while both the 3.5-liter V6 and new Type S-exclusive 3.0-liter Turbo V6 engines will be produced at the company’s Anna, Ohio, engine plant, which also manufactures the NSX supercar’s twin-turbocharged hybrid V6 power unit. Acura’s 10-speed automatic transmission is built exclusively at the company’s Tallapoosa, Georgia, transmission plant.