Where’s the performance, Acura?

Redesigned in 2013, the Acura MDX received a comprehensive facelift in 2016 that changed its appearance quite dramatically. Come 2018, and the premium brand is trying to keep the SUV fresh with a new, sportier variant called A-Spec. Part of a series of new trim levels that also includes the ILX and TLX, the MDX A-Spec just made its official debut at the 2018 New York Auto Show.

Acura MDX A-Spec Looks Sportier, Lacks the Extra Power Exterior
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The A-Spec did get a new bumper with larger vents and honeycomb mesh

Created to "further increase excitement and expand the appeal" of the MDX family, the A-Spec boasts a more athletic exterior with blacked-out trim. While the already familiar Acura "beak" remained unchanged, the A-Spec did get a new bumper with larger vents and honeycomb mesh. The chrome around the grille was replaced with a darker finish, while the bumper vent surrounds are finished in gloss black.

The treatment continues onto the sides with gloss-black window trim, body-colored side sills, and bespoke 20-inch wheels wrapped in low-profile tires. An "A-Spec" badge was added to the front fender. The rear is sportier too, thanks to dark chrome trim on the tailgate, smoked taillights, and larger exhaust pipes. More importantly, the bumper now includes a diffuser-like element with five vertical fins.

Acura MDX A-Spec Looks Sportier, Lacks the Extra Power Interior
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The cabin gained plenty of attention too, now featuring sports seats in rich red or black leather with Alcantara inserts and contrast stitching

The cabin gained plenty of attention too, now featuring sports seats in rich red or black leather with Alcantara inserts and contrast stitching. The package also adds unique gauges, a carbon-look trim, a thicker steering wheel, and sports pedals. While the revised interior doesn’t look particularly sporty with these new features, the red and black seat upholstery is definitely interesting.

Disappointingly enough, the A-Spec package doesn’t alter the drivetrain, so this trim is also using the 3.5-liter V-6 engine rated at 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. The nine-speed automatic transmission and the torque vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system come standard.

References

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Press release

The 2019 Acura MDX A-Spec made a surprise debut today at the 2018 New York International Auto Show. Launching mid-year at Acura dealerships nationally, the MDX A-Spec will complete the introduction of A-Spec variants to Acura’s core model lineup that includes the ILX A-Spec, TLX A-Spec and the all-new 2019 Acura RDX A-Spec, which also made its world debut today in New York.

“This MDX A-Spec adds a dimension of sporty, aggressive and youthful appeal that will attract new buyers to the best-selling three-row luxury SUV of all time,” said Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Coming to market this summer, the 2019 MDX A-Spec aims to further increase excitement and expand the appeal of MDX. The V6-powered TLX A-Spec, introduced last spring, is now the most popular variant in the V6 TLX lineup and attracts a younger, more affluent buyer. Acura also announced the addition of a 2.4-liter TLX A-Spec that will begin arriving at dealers next week.

Available exclusively with Acura’s torque vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®), the 2019 MDX A-Spec features a more athletic stance highlighted by larger 10-spoke, 20-inch Shark Grey alloy wheels wrapped in low profile 265-series tires. An aggressive new front fascia, body-color lower sills, larger-diameter exhaust finishers, as well as gloss-black and dark chrome decoration for the headlights, grille, window surround and rear tailgate spoiler further distinguish the MDX A-Spec. Interior enhancements to the three row SUV include sports seats trimmed in rich red or black leather with black Alcantaraâ inserts, high-contrast stitching, unique A-Spec gauges, sport pedals, carbon-look console trim, a thicker-rimmed A-Spec-badged steering wheel with paddle shifters and an exclusive A-Spec door step garnish.

As with all MDXs, the A-Spec will feature the AcuraWatch™ suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies as standard equipment, including Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with low-speed follow and Road Departure Mitigation (RDM). Additionally, all MDX models include standard Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ integration.

The 2019 MDX A-Spec will be produced at Honda’s East Liberty Plant in Ohio[i]. More details will be available soon.

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