The New Acura MDX Type S Is Excellent, But Can It Actually Beat The Germans?

2022 Acura MDX Type S
(Images: Acura)

Acura’s MDX Type S gets some choice performance upgrades, including a 355 horsepower V6.

We’ve been covering it over the past few months, but now it’s finally time to see how the 2022 Acura MDX Type S stacks up as a performance SUV. Acura brought Tommy out to California to test the hotter version of its most popular model, and our top question was whether it actually stacked up to its direct German rivals.

It’s worth noting from the top that we’re not talking about a rival to the hardcore BMW X5M or Mercedes-AMG GLE 63. Instead, we’re looking at performance that mirrors the BMW X5 xDrive40i, the Audi Q7 55 TFSI and the Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 — the mid-range offerings that fall in the $70,000-ish range, when you spec them comparably to the MDX. The Genesis GV80 is a bit less expensive, for what it’s worth, coming in at around $68,000.

The 2022 Acura MDX Type S, for its part, comes in at $67,745, though the better-equipped “Advance” model will bring that up to $73,095, plus a few hundred dollars extra for certain colors and accessories. For that, you get a twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 in place of the standard, naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter mill. Acura also brings in a reprogrammed 10-speed automatic transmission, 14.3-inch (front) Brembo brakes and air suspension at all four corners. All that, as well as the extra Sport+ mode, does result in a better handling, stronger accelerating SUV.

Like the standard MDX, the Type S is particularly well thought out when it comes to its interior. You still get a full range of tech with the “base” model, including 16-way power-adjustable front seats and that adaptive air suspension. The Advance adds in massaging front seats, as well as Acura’s 25-speaker ELS Studio 3D premium audio system and a hand-free liftgate.

So…is the Acura MDX Type S worth it?

All things considered on the performance front, we’re still talking about the three-row crossover with the MDX Type S. To that end, it will show its heft and understeer a bit when you’re pushing it into certain corners. Even with the excellent Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system and the adaptive suspension, it shows its family hauling characteristics on a wet California day. Mind you, that air suspension does give the MDX Type S an ability to lift itself up to provide 9.4 inches of ground clearance (from 6.7 at standard ride height) to handle deep snow or tougher terrain.

At the end of the day, the 2022 Acura MDX Type S is a lot of car that competes with a lot of big-name players in the three-row crossover class. It makes a strong case as an attractive vehicle within the segment, though we’ll have to wait and see how common they become on your morning commute against your typical BMW, Audis and Mercedes family movers.