Acura is coming back to Pikes Peak for the 2019 edition of the hillclimb, and it's bringing four vehicles to attack the mountain. Not the fastest, but perhaps the most interesting of the bunch is a race-prepped 2019 MDX Sport Hybrid. Engineers took the 3.5-liter V6 from the non-hybrid version (Hybrid has a 3.0-liter V6) of the MDX and bored it out to 3.7-liters. It then works together with Acura's three-motor hybrid system for a combined 400 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Shifting is still done by Acura's 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The extra power is thanks to the larger displacement and special tuning for the engine and electric motors.
Further upgrades to the MDX include a race-tuned active-damper suspension system and a roll cage. Acura says it goes a long way to increase structural rigidity. Additionally, Acura removed most of the vehicle's interior, including every seat but the driver's seat. Piloting the MDX is Jordan Guitar of Acura R&D's chassis development team.
Plants are covering the peak of Mount Oyama on Miyakejima island south of Tokyo for the first time since the volcano erupted in July 2000.
"The amount of volcanic gases has significantly declined since last year, likely allowing plants to grow rapidly around the summit," said Hiroyoshi Higuchi, a professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo, who has been studying the ecosystem of the island each year since the eruption.