Acura dropped some big news during Monterey Car Week this weekend, including a dangerous-looking new racecar and an electric SUV concept, but it was the news Acura will revive the cult-classic ZDX as an EV that really made us happy. Not only that, but we’ve finally got some clarity on how the Japanese luxury brand – the one that brought us the NSX and the Integra – will embrace electrification. If you can’t be first, you’ve got to wow them.
The new all-electric ZDX is slated to hit showrooms in 2024, and Acura will also offer a driver-focused ZDX Type S. It’s being co-developed with General Motors, and will ride on a shared architecture powered by Ultium batteries. Since it’s not due out until ’24, there’s no word on price, performance or details like driving range yet.
If new the ZDX looks even half as cool as the OG ZDX – which was unveiled back in summer 2009 as a 2010 model – it will be sensational. The original defied definition and became a cult-classic. Remember, back then, the fastback SUV trend wasn’t really a thing yet. (BMW’s X6 had only come out in 2007.) The original ZDX divided opinion when it was new, but in hindsight it was clearly just wayyyy ahead of the curve. For what it’s worth, the editors here at Sharp always loved its style.
We weren’t alone. In the 2012 automotive bible, “Cars Now” published by Taschen, the expert authors described the OG ZDX, saying, “It has the feel of a secret discovery. … You can’t place it because it’s genuinely new.” They also praised the centre console’s “stealth mode,” in which the digital displays all turn black. It’s a simple driver-friendly detail that’s still surprisingly rare today.
Credit for the ZDX’s spectacularly well-resolved shape must go not to Japan, but to a team in California. The ZDX was the first vehicle designed from the ground-up at the Acura Design Studio, which opened in Los Angeles in 2007. The fact the new electric ZDX is being styled in the same Acura Design Studio means we have sky-high expectations for Acura’s first EV.
The Precision Concept
Another clue to Acura’s electric future was the Precision EV Concept, which was also unveiled at Monterey Car Week. After its debut on Aug. 19 at The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering, the ZDX could be seen on the Concept Lawn of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance throughout Sunday.
“The Acura Precision EV Concept will be our North Star as we move into an exciting electrified future, and you will see these design cues translate over to future production models,” explained Dave Marek, Acura’s executive creative director.
Acura’s design team pulled from a wide range of inspiration. The elegance of the overall form was inspired by luxurious Italian power boats. The striking Double Apex Blue paint does, indeed, look as deep as the ocean and the SUV’s crisp front end looks like the hull of a Riva. The cockpit was apparently inspired by Formula 1 cars, with their low-slung seating positions and two-grip yoke-style steering wheels.
And, since it’s 2022, it’s not enough to make an EV anymore, you’ve got to make it out of sustainable stuff too. Unique interior finishes include marbled recycled-plastic trim and 100 per cent biomass leather. The green cast acrylic and aluminum is, of course, recycled as well. And the wood trim, which adds a touch of warmth, is FSC certified and harvested responsibly.
Last but not least, Acura Motorsports also took the wraps off its new electrified ARX-06 prototype sports car. It’s slated to compete in the prestigious Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, as well as the cutthroat 2023 IMSA GTP Championship. There, Acura will race head-to-head against BMWs and Porsches.
At the heart of this dangerous-looking machine is a highly-strung 2.4-litre twin-turbocharged V6 hybrid engine, developed by the crack team at Honda Performance Development (HPD).
More EVs, and Hydrogen too
Beginning in 2026, Acura will venture out on its own with a range of all-new electric vehicles based on the company’s own global e:Architecture platform.
In other words, the ZDX is just a start. As Emile Korkor, assistant vice president of Acura National Sales, said: “The Acura ZDX represents the start to what will be an accelerated path toward electrification by the end of the decade.” The company’s global goal is to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050.
To that end, last year, Acura’s parent company Honda announced 100 per cent of the firm’s North American vehicles will be battery-electric and fuel-cell powered by 2040.
Drivers like us are the real winners in all of this. The shift to EVs has shaken up the auto industry, and thrown out the old rule book. The future of cars has never looked brighter.
Okay, enough chit-chat Acura, where’s our electric NSX already?