The Acura ZDX Type S Is Pikes Peak International Hill Climb's First Electric Pace Car

Acura ZDX Type S 24 photos
Photo: Acura / edited
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Remember the ZDX? Acura didn't sell too many of them. The V6-powered crossover sold in abysmally poor numbers, prompting the higher-ups at Honda to discontinue it after 2013. All told, 7,191 units were sold between model years 2010 and 2013.
Acura revived this moniker in August 2023 for the 2024 model, which isn't really a Honda under the skin. It's produced by General Motors in Spring Hill, Tennessee with underpinnings from the Chevrolet Blazer EV and Cadillac Lyriq. The Japanese automaker has abnormally high expectations of the newcomer, so much so that Honda made a case for a performance-oriented version.

Dubbed Type S, the dual-motor crossover is better described as being the Acura-styled twin of the Chevrolet Blazer EV SS. How similar are they, though? Think no difference whatsoever between the wheelbases of these vehicles. There is, however, a problem with this connection because Chevy's electric sport utility vehicle puts out 557 horsepower and 648 pound-feet (879 Nm) versus 500 horsepower and 544 pound-feet (738 Nm) of twist for the Acura.

Even though Acura had to agree to a lower maximum output than that of the Chevrolet Blazer EV SS, the ZDX Type S will race to the clouds as the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb's first electric pace car. It should be mentioned that Acura isn't listed as a sponsor on the PPIHC website.

Intriguing? For sure! Looking at the bigger picture, ZDX Type S is the brand's most powerful sport utility vehicle ever. The most powerful road-going vehicle, on the other hand, remains the 600-horsepower NSX Type S. Only 350 units were produced with Acura and Honda badging, of which 315 Acuras were split between 300 units for the United States market and 15 units for Canada.

2024 Acura ZDX
Photo: Acura
Does the ZDX Type S make sense as a safety car at Pikes Peak? In a nutshell, yes! The GM-developed electric motors don't run out of puff at high altitudes. Naturally aspirated engines such as the 3.5-liter V6 of the three-row Honda Pilot and Acura MDX lose power as the air grows thinner, whereas turbocharged powerplants don't suffer as much.

$73,500 from the outset, ZDX Type S comes with six-piston Brembo brakes up front. Acura did not bother naming the supplier of the rear brakes, which – considering the aforementioned sticker price and GM underpinnings – is borderline insulting to anyone prepared to spend $73,500 on such a vehicle.

Turning our attention back to Pikes Peak, the 102nd running of the Race to the Clouds will take place on June 23. The 156-turn course starts at an elevation of 9,390 feet (2,862 meters) and climbs all the way to the summit's 14,115 feet (4,302 meters) over a distance of 12.42 miles (almost 20 kilometers).

Acura and the folks at Honda Racing Corporation USA will field two Acura Integras, namely an Integra Type S and an Integra A-Spec. Both of them are far from stock, with the HRC-modified Integra Type S promising in excess of 360 horsepower channeled to the front wheels by a paddle-shift sequential transmission rather than the road-going model's six-speed manual gearbox.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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