The Acura MDX is a three-row family SUV, so it’s an unlikely candidate for the motorsports treatment. But Acura nonetheless pulled out all the stops for a special version of the MDX hybrid that will run the legendary hill-climb at Pikes Peak on June 30. With a few key modifications, this race-prepped MDX looks lean, mean, and ready to tear up the mountain.
Rather than the standard MDX hybrid’s 3.0-liter gasoline engine, Acura swapped in a bored-out 3.7-liter version of the nonhybrid MDX’s 3.5-liter V-6. This more powerful engine combines with the three electric motors for a combined 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque—increases of 79 hp and 61 lb-ft over stock. Dramatic weight savings come from the removal of all seats other than the driver’s, and a full roll cage is fitted to increase rigidity. Acura also says it changed the tuning for the adaptive dampers.
Acura chassis engineer Jordan Guitar will be piloting the MDX at Pikes Peak. The MDX will be joined by a race-prepped version of the smaller RDX crossover that ran the hill-climb last year, plus a TLX GT race car and two versions of the NSX—one that’s nearly stock and has only a roll cage, a racing seat, and a fire safety system, and the other that is a prepped Time Attack version with 625 horsepower and 200 pounds of weight savings.