The latest entry to Acura's range is a curious one, taking cues from the BMW X6 and 5-series GT school of design thought, seeking a way to combine the sport of a four-door coupe with the utility of a slightly taller vehicle. Whether it's a success or not rests entirely in the eyes of the beholder, but it's sure to spark debate amongst the dedicated.
Already spied in testing on the Nurburgring
wearing heavy camouflage, the new ZDX was unveiled on the floor of the New York Auto Show today. The 'concept' version of the vehicle was teased ahead of its debut, and the ZDX name was also let out early, leaving just the full photography and technical details for today's reveal.
Though it's technically a 'prototype' vehicle, the ZDX is slated to arrive as a production model this fall. “The ZDX prototype is unlike anything you have ever seen before from Acura,” said Jeff Conrad, vice president, Acura sales. "The emotional coupe styling coupled with a luxurious and dramatic interior and surprising versatility, allows the ZDX to define its own segment and attract an entirely new customer." As mentioned before, BMW seems to have carved its own niche in this area, so it might not really hold all of that new, segment-defining power, despite being a definite step outside the box of normal design tendencies at Acura.
Key design elements in the ZDX include the much-maligned 'beaver-tooth' grille that Acura has spread across the brand of late, a unique exhaust outlet/taillight combo that seems destined for a redesign before making full-scale production. Stealthed C-pillar rear door handles and 20in alloy wheels are likely to remain, though the larger wheels will probably be an optional upgrade from standard 18in units.
The production ZDX will be based on the current MDX SUV, though it will get a more powerful version of Acura’s 300hp (225kW) 3.7L V6 as well as a new six-speed automatic transmission mated to Acura's Super-Handling AWD (SHAWD) system for improved all-weather grip and better dry-weather performance.
Positioning and pricing will also be higher than the MDX, which means you can expect to pay between $42,000 and $49,000 for the new model. This premium price point is reflected in the interior, where an emphasis was placed on getting the most out of the space as well as designing a top-tier driver and passenger experience with things like paddle shifters and a panoramic glass roof to open up the five-passenger cabin.
The company bills the ZDX as Acura's next step toward 'Tier 1' luxury status, making the choice of sports crossover/four-door coupe all the more mystifying. Nevertheless, Acura has high hopes for the vehicle and their success as a serious high-end marque.
2010 Acura SUV crossover spy shots
Acura ZDX Prototype four-door coupe