Acura reveals ZDX Prototype

  • 16-Apr-2009 08:15 EDT
"From the very first sketch of the ZDX, I wanted to create an emotional vehicle that challenged conventional thinking of what a sports coupe should be," said Michelle Christensen, ZDX exterior designer.

Acura plans to join BMW’s X6 in the market intersection of the coupe, hatchback, and SUV segments with a production version of the ZDX concept the company showed at this month's New York International Auto Show, reaching showrooms by this fall.

As ever, Acura is stingy with technical details ahead of announcement of the production version of the car, focusing instead on the ZDX’s unorthodox styling. The company has confirmed that the ZDX will be propelled by a V6 engine it describes only as “powerful” mated to an all-new six-speed automatic transmission and the company’s Super Handling All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, which uses differential torque between the inner and outer wheels when cornering to improve handling.

Because the car’s transmission is described as new, but the engine is not, the 305-hp (227-kW) 3.7-L SOHC V6 seen in the TL SH-AWD is an obvious candidate for the ZDX. Drivers will be able to manage the six-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles for enthusiastic driving.

The ZDX Prototype is 192.4 in (4887 mm) long, 78.5 in (1994 mm) wide, and 61.8 in (1570 mm) tall, with a 108.2-in (2748-mm) w­heelbase. The length and width dimensions are nearly identical to the BMW X6's.

The car rolls on 20-in wheels wearing Michelin Latitude HP tires, but because of Acura’s usual conservatism on wheel size, it seems likely that the concept's wheels are a prototype-only feature and the production version will feature lighter, cheaper, and more practical smaller-diameter wheels.

The company says that the ZDX is the first example of its effort to join the ranks of top luxury brands, and this model will feature an especially opulent interior to cement that impression.

The cabin is wrapped in hand-stitched leather, with a dual-cowl design to the dashboard. A black monochromatic center stack, textured metallic center console, and leather trim in black and pearl white aim to create an atmosphere of elegance. A full-length panoramic skylight provides ample ambient lighting inside for occupants to see and appreciate the design details.

Acura also cultivates its reputation for gadgetry in the ZDX, including a blind-spot information system, multiview camera that shows the picture looking down from above, voice-controlled navigation, real-time traffic and weather, surround audio, and Bluetooth connectivity.

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