Graham Rahal Performance (GRP) has just added some valuable performance credibility to the all-new 2019 Acura RDX A-Spec. The Honda IndyCar driver's tuning firm called on its experience working with the Civic Type R for the transformation, which is on display at this year's SEMA show.
The introduction of the third-generation RDX gave the formerly rather bland compact crossover a much-needed hit of style and dynamics. The supposedly sportier RDX A-Spec version dons blacked-out exterior accents, gray 20-inch wheels, and tasteful interior details, although, we're sorry to say, the red A-Spec badge adorning the front fender does not indicate any performance gains under the hood. But that kind of thing tends to change when Graham Rahal Performance gets hold of a car.
The Honda-focused speed shop reworked the RDX, which has a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, by putting in a new turbo, intake and exhaust manifolds, and downpipe. PRL Racing adds a custom-fabricated intercooler and intake to the mix. GRP's custom lightweight cat-back exhaust and ECU mapping from KTuning round off the package to help boost output to an estimated 345 horsepower and 370 lb-ft, increases of 73 horses and 90 lb-ft of twist over the stock car. Power figures like that earn the Graham Rahal A-Spec a spot at the same table as cars such as the Porsche Macan GTS and the Audi SQ5.
Power is still sent to all four wheels via Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, which can push up to 70 percent of engine torque to the rear axle, and a torque-vectoring rear differential can send 100 percent of that to either side. The SEMA special also gets lightweight 21-inch HRE wheels shod in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber that's wider than stock.
Eibach springs drop the RDX two inches, and six-piston StopTech brakes help to haul you down from speed. Exterior touches include GRP carbon mirror caps and carbon grille accents as well as body-colored lower garnish to add to the lowered look. Graphics were applied in the Southern California studio of Rahal's longtime partner Troy Lee Designs. Inside, carbon trim pieces, GRP headrests, and a custom alcantara and perforated-leather steering wheel finish off the transformation.