Last week, Cadillac unleashed many details and specs on the Escalade-V on the world. This 6,300-pound hot-rod SUV has a 6.2-liter LT4 supercharged V8 that puts out 682 horsepower and 653 lb-ft of torque, and is promised to do 0-60 in under 4.4 seconds thanks to the full-time four-wheel drive. It is the most powerful road vehicle Cadillac has ever made.
How did GM manage to make it all work together? To find out, I sat down with two key engineers who have worked on the Escalade-V since development began in 2018: Howard Smith, performance variant manager at Cadillac, and Charlie Allen, an engine design systems manager at Escalade-V.
You may have assumed that the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 under the hood of the Escalade-V powers the same engine the raw Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, but that’s not quite the case. Remember, the powerful Escalade gets 14 more horses (and six lb-ft of torque) than Caddy’s top-dog muscle sedan.
The biggest difference is the supercharger. The Escalade gets a 2.65-litre Eaton TVS R2650 belt-driven blower, similar but not identical to what is found in the 750 hp C7 Corvette ZR1. The Escalade-V’s supercharger is nearly a full liter larger than the 1.7-litre unit in the CT5-V Blackwing, and has larger charge air coolers (compared to the CT5) in the lid.
The Escalade-V also gets an electronically controlled bypass valve to improve handling with the larger supercharger. Allen explains that this bypass valve, infinitely adjustable and controlled by the ECU, more precisely manages the compressed air entering the engine, making for a smoother driving experience.
The bigger supercharger isn’t just about more power, although that’s a nice added benefit. As Allen explains, the design of the Escalade allows for more restrictive intake and exhaust routing – there’s no gaping hood on the Escalade-V, and the sheer length of this thing means the exhaust has to travel a long way to get to the exhaust. to come.
While the CT5-V Blackwing delivers more torque, the supercharged Escalade delivers that growl in a way more accessible to an SUV driver.
“The Escalade-V engine gets about 80 percent of its peak torque at just 2,000 rpm,” said Allen. “That great torque at low speeds really makes for a fun driving experience for the driver.”
A unique accessory drive layout (requiring minor changes to the block itself) and new oil sump and exhaust manifolds make the Escalade-V’s LT4 unique from previous versions, all in the name of the packaging.
Of course, that power is useless if you can’t get it to the ground. The 10-speed automatic transmission has been beefed up to handle the torque of the Escalade-V, and the transfer case gets a larger output bearing at the front. Some powertrain components come directly from GM’s heavy-duty pickup trucks, although engineers didn’t specify exactly which parts they were referring to.
There were many challenges to make a vehicle like this work. According to Smith, finding a way to make 682 horsepower and 653 lb-ft of torque manageable, especially at launch.
Engineers had to do a lot of work to ensure that this behemoth could round the corner. They made changes to tighten up Magnetic Ride 4.0 electronic dampers and steering response. The chassis modifications were intended to counteract pitch and roll in corners and give the Escalade-V more body control on hard launches. The new SUV has three driving modes: Tour, Sport and V-Mode, with increasing aggressiveness.
Exhaust noise was a major priority for the engineering team. They wanted it to really sound like a performance vehicle. That meant some pretty big changes to the stock Escalade exhaust. Engineers changed the exhaust manifolds, dual catalytic converters and quad exhaust tips. The truck also comes with dual exhaust valves, allowing for quiet and loud modes so your neighbors and loved ones don’t hate you in the morning.
“The first time you hear the exhaust note in sport mode, you’ll have a big smile on your face,” Allen said. “Just like I did.”