Acura: Exhilaration takes many forms

Image by Jake Galstad/LAT

Acura: Exhilaration takes many forms

Ordinarily, race car drivers who pilot some of the fastest, most sophisticated vehicles on the planet can be pretty hard to impress when it comes to production automobiles. But when you ask Acura Team Penske’s drivers about the Acura MDX, the superlatives start to fly…

“I love my MDX!” exclaims reigning IMSA DPi class co-champion Juan Pablo Montoya.

“I’m not just saying this because I have Acura on my chest, but it’s great fun to drive,” teammate Helio Castroneves interjects, matching Montoya’s enthusiasm as he points to his firesuit. “I got an Acura when I started driving for Team Penske 20 years ago and was so impressed. I’ve had many more since, and each was better than the last.

“The quality of every Acura is on the level of a car that you would expect to pay a lot more for,” continues Castroneves. “Plus, the technology they load in — man, it’s amazing.”

Read RACER’s 16-page 2020 Acura Motorsports special section HERE

Montoya notes that the twin-turbo, 3.5-liter V6 in his Acura ARX-05 race car is derived from the engine in the MDX. He loves the way his racecar delivers the power; so, too, the MDX.

“My MDX is such a comfortable and smooth ride, but when you want some performance, it’s right there,” he says.

Castroneves’ co-driver, Ricky Taylor, doesn’t fit the profile of your typical SUV buyer, but he’s excited to have an Acura MDX in his driveway.

“I don’t have kids, but the space is great for my bike and just going out for a fun adventure. I even towed my brother’s truck out of the sand on the beach,” laughs Taylor. “But what I really love about the MDX is that it drives like a car. And when you click the Sport button, it goes from comfortable cruiser to back-road performer.”

Montoya’s co-driver, Dane Cameron, does have kids, and he finds the MDX suits his lifestyle to a tee, especially on the 250-mile drive from Charlotte to Atlanta for family visits.

“It just flies by in the MDX,” he says.

With three-row seating, Acura’s MDX is ideal for driving the family up scenic Pikes Peak. Or, as Acura did, turn it into a 400hp hybrid and blast to the top in the storied hillclimb race.

Acura’s performance-focused approach doesn’t stop with the NSX, or even its sedan line-up. Its SUVs benefit from performance know-how honed by motorsports and running through the entire model line. In A-spec trim with Sport Hybrid All-Wheel Drive, an MDX puts out 321hp, and can go from 0-60mph in 6.3sec, all while returning a combined 27mpg. The Sport Hybrid All-Wheel Drive system makes for precision handling with remarkable efficiency.

With impressive performance, plus comfort and utility, it’s no wonder Acura Team Penske’s drivers enjoy their MDXs so much.