Acura is doubling down on performance, the company tells us, and the new 2021 Acura TLX Type S is an indication of what that means in practice. The Type S treatment will go beyond the A-Spec trim, which brings sporty looks but not much in the way of actual performance improvements. Just look to the just-released TLX Type S, which packs a hearty twin-turbo V-6 (output TBD, but expect well over 300 horses)—a mechanical differentiator from non-Type S TLXs. Using that sedan as a template, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the upcoming 2021 Acura MDX Type S, whose existence was just revealed by a leaked internal Acura Powerpoint presentation.
The big MDX crossover and its smaller RDX counterpart make up a huge proportion of the company's total sales. The RDX is already a fairly sporty vehicle, and the current MDX is surprisingly spicy given its humble front-drive-based underpinnings, but an MDX Type S based on the all-new 2021 MDX is likely to have some significant performance crews while doing a lot of the heavy lifting—through its prolific sales—spreading the resurrected Type S gospel among consumers.
So, what can we expect from a hotter MDX? For starters, we know that Acura's torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) isn't going away—it's a lynchpin of the company's performance aura, and a system that Acura is heavily invested in. Pair that with the aforementioned twin-turbo V-6, perhaps boosted to a higher output compared to the TLX or paired with a performance version of the company's hybrid drive, and the MDX Type S should have fresh moves to back up its new duds.
New duds which, if you might remember, we've already seen. A curious AcuraZine forum user already uncovered the 2021 MDX deep within the user interface of the RDX, providing us with an unprecedented and clear look at the design direction. There's a lot of RDX in the design of the grille, but the headlights and the rest of the fascia treatment split the difference between RDX and the new TLX. The TLX, simply because of its lithe proportions, is likely to be the best implementation of this design language in the flesh, but there's no denying the 2021 MDX will have some serious presence.
And we assume the MDX Type S will be suitably more aggressive in appearance—following the TLX Type S's lead with A-Spec darker head- and taillights, in combination with exclusive Type S bits like multiple exhaust outlets, matte black accents, and perhaps some more aggressive elements in the front and rear fascias.
Based on the leaked chart, the new MDX could bow later this year as a 2021 model—and certainly before Acura reveals the new compact sedan (and its Type S version) which appears to be an ILX replacement. By 2022, Acura hopes to have its lineup in place, with at least three Type S variants: the compact sedan, the TLX, and the MDX. Conspicuously, the RDX isn't pegged to get a Type S model—we're not sure why, but if we figure it out we'll get back to you.