Just what exactly is a "luxury four-door-sports-coupe"? You could pose that question to a half-dozen different automakers and you would likely receive a half-dozen different answers. Acura's answer is the ZDX - a fastback CUV with 4-doors, 300hp, all-weather ability (thanks to AWD), 50+ cubic feet of available cargo room, a "destination hotel" interior, and exterior styling that can only be described as otherworldly.
With the ZDX, the intent was to create a vehicle that not only delivers passengers to a destination, but one that becomes part of the destination. Acura envisions the ZDX as a companion for well-heeled couples in pursuit of active lifestyles.
Michelle Christensen penned the first sketches of what would become the ZDX, depicting a very sleek and muscular 4-door sport coupe/hatchback. The design follows Acura's "Keen Edge" theme and words such as "Tension", "Motion Surfacing", and "Directional" are used to describe the key styling elements. Ultimately, this means that the ZDX is designed to project a "wide, sexy, and capable" image.
A 7-passenger SUV serves as its foundation, but the ZDX has been repurposed to spoil a lucky couple. There is a second row of seats, and there's sufficient room to fit a pair of reasonably sized adults there, but you wouldn't want to make a habit of it. The 2nd row seating area is generally intended for occasional use by actual passengers - if Acura's marketing scouts got it right, these seats may spend more time folded down flat, carrying high-end luggage, sporting gear, and other spoils to or from a weekend getaway.
The 7-passenger SUV that serves as the ZDX's foundation is Acura's popular MDX. The overwhelming majority of the ZDX's oily bits and much of the floorpan and chassis parts have been lifted intact from the MDX, and Acura makes no bones about it. In short, that means the ZDX gets a 300hp 3.7L SOHC VTEC V6, SH-AWD, and a fully independent suspension. With a few exceptions (such as overall height), most of the ZDX's spec sheet is a simple cut and paste from the MDX. And for the most part, the same can be said for the ZDX's feature set. Despite all of this commonality, the end result is two very distinctly different vehicles and a relatively low investment in the ZDX project.
The ZDX will be offered in three flavors: Standard, Technology, and Advance. With a few minor exceptions, the list of features in each ZDX trim level is a very close match to those offered in the MDX's three trim levels. In short, that means the base ZDX is comprehensively equipped (panoramic roof, power tailgate, bi-xenon headlights, full leather interior, USB iPod + Bluetooth, etc...), but you'll need to spring for the Technology model if you want Acura's fantastic 435-watt ELS audio system or their excellent HDD-based VGA Navi system. To that list, the Advance package adds a few more goodies, with the key items being Acura's Integrated Dynamic System (IDS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Collision Mitigation Braking Sytem (CMBS), ventilated seats and a blind spot information system. What's IDS? It's basically the electronically adjustable suspension that has been offered in the MDX for the past few years, but now it ties in a nominal level of electronic control of steering assist.