NAPA, Calif.– First things initially: The 2022 Acura MDX Type S is not the Honda premium brand name’s effort to produce a BMW X5M. However, at $67,745, it can be found in 30 grand under the storming German SUV. So while the Type S brings the imprimatur of high efficiency, it is priced more in line with the entry-level BMW X5 xDrive40i, plus the Audi Q7 55 TFSI and Mercedes GLE 450 4Matic that have upgrade engines but fall well except being thought about high-performance designs.

Acura makes a more persuading proving of it with the Type S, but you still get what you spend for– and sometimes paying less is OK. What Acura has actually created is an updated midsized SUV that provides adequate sportiness to passionate motorists, without clamping down on handling and braking harder than Thanos’ onslaught.

Here’s what to inform your friends at the bar: Acura ripped out the stock 3.5-liter V6 for a 3.0-liter consecutive twin-scroll turbo that adds 65 horsepower (to 355) and 87 pound-feet of torque (to 354), and beefed up the 10-speed automated transmission with a brand-new torque converter, more powerful gears and enhanced clutches to deal with the increased power. It was also reprogrammed for improved action, especially in the new, Type S-exclusive Sport+ mode. Brake upgrades include four-piston 14.3-inch Brembos up front. And Acura claims its first-ever air suspension– thanks to supplier Continental— delivers both improved trip and dynamic efficiency.

What does that mean when you’re in fact behind the wheel? On a rainy day in Napa, California, marked with intermittent drizzle that turned the narrow two-lane roads oily and slithery, the MDX Type S revealed its sturdy size on celebration however also comported itself confidently.

Many confident on corners marked “35 mph” or above, the Type S felt a bit bogged down in slower corners– especially when getting on the gas too early. Acura declares that its torque-vectoring Super Handling Four-wheel drive will help settle corners when speeding up out of a pinnacle, but the laws of physics and slippery roadways still use. Striking the gas previously in a wet corner’s pinnacle can result in some perk wheel slippage and mini-rotations thanks to SH-AWD, which is excellent enjoyable if you are expecting it from this 4,741-pound beast.

Due to the wet conditions, it was difficult to get a sense of the additional power of the brand-new Ohio-built turbo engine, or how the strengthened transmission displayed its quicker upshift and downshift times (while keeping the gear ratios the same). But the acoustic sensations were indeed various– velocity is at first marked by the mild whoosh of the turbos spooling up, followed by a difficult snarl from the 3.0-liter engine. While the Type S returns an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city, 21 mpg highway and 19 mpg integrated (versus 21 mpg combined in the base MDX), our drive route stressed efficiency– without any highway driving to sample its variable cylinder management– and as a result, our test model’s journey computer reported approximately just 13.3 mpg over a four-hour roadway loop.

Drive modes in the Type S default to Typical mode with each startup, and the basic suspension compliance feels similar to Sport mode in the base MDX. Acura says the electric power guiding effort is stiffer by about 20%– however it feels sportier than that, as the basic MDX’s steering is so light and overboosted. To alter among the myriad driving modes for the engine, transmission, and air suspension, the chauffeur twists a large knob in the middle of the control panel’s center stack (as one does in the base MDX and other Acuras). But if you desire a more aggressive shift pattern without moving the suspension into a sportier setting, pushing the D/S button in the gear selector range accomplishes this job.

A big plus for the MDX Type S are the brakes. Usually, including sport-style brakes like these 14.3-inch front Brembos results in hair-trigger responsiveness that transforms boulevard traffic and car park into a disconcerting, choppy affair. Not so here. The Type S also gets an electro-servo braking system, originated from the NSX, where applying the brake efficiently sends an electronic signal to a computer system, which then precisely applies hydraulic pressure to the calipers. The outcome is a brake pedal that is very simple to modulate– whether it’s to firmly apply increased braking force as you approach a corner and wish to keep this big SUV in balance, or if you need to stab the brakes hard due to the fact that a large truck has actually crossed the center yellow line mid-corner and it’s coming right at you. Anecdotal testing on the damp roads showed the ABS calibration to be well arranged.

But it’s the air suspension that’s truly magical, providing on Acura’s guarantee of enhanced handling and a more compliant flight. Typically, the over-firm tuning of German sport designs’ suspension is a dentist’s delight. But the MDX Type S keeps a civility where you can feel the subtlety of what’s going on underneath your tires– in terms of roadway ripples, frost heaves, and so on– but it doesn’t beat you up. There is a beauty to the trip even in the sportiest setting. Yes, it means sacrificing some cornering accuracy and speed, however congratulations to the Acura (and Continental) engineers for understanding this brand name’s clients aren’t looking for a seven-seat racecar.

(An aside: About the seven-occupant referral. Similar to the base model, the Type S will fit 7 people in a pinch. Feel in one’s bones the third-row is absolutely a children-only affair.)

The air suspension also boasts adaptive dampers, car load levelling, dynamic trip height, and a Lift drive mode that raises the ideal height by an extra 2 inches at accelerate to 37 miles per hour. Ground clearance for that reason varies from 6.7 inches up to 9.4– that ought to get you through the snow drifts to your chalet.

The Type S likewise features self-sealing high-performance tires installed on 21-inch wheels. Note, these are not run-flats. These 275/40R21 Continental tires can in fact seal leakages and other insults in the treads as much as 5 mm. Naturally, that means there is not a spare tire. That allows more space in the back for equipment, and also for the battery that moves from the engine bay to the cargo location to help with weight circulation.

MDX Type S top, standard MDX bottom Visually, the Type S gets different front-end styling, including a more aggressive spoiler and a transformed grille that lets more air under the hood. Black trim is included throughout, with the Advance Bundle gaining a lot more around the wheel arches and lower body trim. The quad tailpipes are not only distinct to the Type S, however so is the whole active exhaust system, adapted from the NSX, which opens an extra flap for increased sound at either 4,750 rpm in Comfort, Typical and Sport modes, or 3,250 rpm in Sport+.

Inside, the Type S gains a flat-bottom steering wheel and Milano leather seats available in Red, Ebony or Orchid (a light creme) with black Ultrasuede inserts. The Advance Bundle swaps out those inserts for full leather including a special stitch pattern and the additional option of Azurite Blue, envisioned here. It likewise adds front seat massage, an Acura initially, with nine modes and 3 levels of strength for long drives.

For audiophiles, the base Type S provides an ELS 3D sound system with 16 speakers, 16 channels, and 710 watts of power, while the $73,095 Type S with Advance bundle boasts an ELS system with 25 speakers, 22 channels and 1,000 watts. That’ll rock you like a typhoon.

Sadly, the Type S has the very same infotainment system as every other MDX, which utilizes a disruptive, overcomplicated, painstaking-to-learn touchpad system to activate most systems (though at least one Autoblog editor has actually learned to tolerate it). Environment controls are manipulated with Chiclet-sized buttons with signs that are all but illegible due to their high-gloss piano-black surfaces.

Other problems in our test automobile: The backup video camera was fuzzy to the point of unusable in the wet in spite of a standard lens washer, and the reverse-parking overlay lines on the video screen were incorrectly offset by about a foot to the right. The lane-keeping help system triggered several incorrect alarms for non-transgressions, while the forward-collision warning system notified the chauffeur about cars that had currently well cleared the lane. This would follow other Acuras and Hondas.

Acura has made better-than-expected success with the MDX over the years. Considering that its intro for 2001, Acura has sold more than 1 million systems. Acura declares the just other luxury-badged nameplates with such a sales record are the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Lexus ES and RX. That’s some strong business. Acura anticipates between 10-15% of MDX sales to be Type S. Then again, that portion was expected for the TLX, and its Type S is above 25% currently.

At its heart, the MDX Type S is a seven-seat SUV with more than a dash of extra sportiness– something Acura insists is core to its brand name promise. What remains to be seen is whether the dish used to Acura’s TLX and flagship NSX sports car can extend effectively to a bigger shopping mall spider. It works for the German brands’ SUVs, but the voice of the client will bear out whether it does for Acura.

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