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Auto blogWed, 23 Apr 2014 16:00:00 EST
The ink is still drying on the all-new 2015 Cadillac Escalade sales brochures, but that hasn't stopped Texas-based Hennessey Performance (HPE) from leaping out of the gate with its own high-performance variant. In stock form, the big fourth-generation Cadillac flagship arrives with a new small block naturally aspirated 6.2-liter Ecotec3 V8 delivering 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Fresh out of the showroom, the 5,900-pound SUV will sprint to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds.
While that is plenty fast for some owners, others don't want to be shamed by a 550 horsepower Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG or a 510 horsepower Land Rover Range Rover Sport - both will leave the stock Escalade at a stoplight.
The team at HPE has come to the rescue with its HPE550 supercharger upgrade, which includes a belt-driven supercharger, air-to-water intercooler, recalibrated engine management software and a three-year/36,000 mile powertrain warranty. With 6 psi of boost, the direct-injected 6.2-liter is tuned to deliver an impressive 557 horsepower and 542 pound-feet of torque - gains of 32 percent and 18 percent, respectively, over stock. Although HPE isn't releasing performance figures as of yet, our math says that should be enough power to put the two Europeans in the Cadillac's rearview mirror. The company also offers a set of 20-inch lightweight H10 forged monoblock wheels, to further improve performance.
Lincoln went through it during the launch of the MKZ last year, Jeep went through something similar with its Cherokee launch, and now the 2015 Cadillac Escalade has apparently caught the bug: dealer delivery delays because of quality control checks. Automotive News reports that Cadillac dealers have been waiting three times longer than usual - a month or more - from the time an Escalade leaves the assembly line to when it gets delivered. Worse, dealers are saying they don't always know where their vehicles are in transit, or when they are set to arrive. The situation has upset customers who have put down deposits and things have gotten so bad that some dealers have reportedly stopped taking pre-orders.
Cadillac says it has the delay, called "dwell time," down to two weeks, and it expects to cut that to a week by the beginning of September. The company said "a lengthy quality-assurance process on some interior parts" has caused the lag, the report citing additional issues with figuring out which vehicles should be delivered first. A spokesman said that more trucks have been put in the distribution system to work through the backlog, but it's clear it's still going to take some time to set things right, with one dealer telling AN that cars ordered in February and March still haven't arrived.
Brand chief Kurt McNeil said additional personnel are at the Escalade's Arlington, Texas factory to speed up the checks, and spreadsheets tracking every order have been distributed to field staff. Even with the snafu, though, the Escalade is Cadillac's best seller through July.
Cadillac has released pricing details on its new-for-2014 ATS Coupe. The new model, which will be available with buyer's choice of a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder or a 3.6-liter V6 (the ATS Sedan's base 2.5 won't be making the trip) can be had with optional all-wheel-drive in place of the standard rear-wheel setup, while customers can also snag a six-speed manual or six-speed auto.
Prices start at $37,995, which represents a $2,900 premium over the 2014 ATS Sedan (pricing on the 2015 four-door isn't available yet) with the same 2.0-liter engine. Still, the ATS Coupe starts at just over $2,500 less than a base BMW 428i, which is also less powerful and offers less standard equipment. The Caddy is also less costly than the Mercedes-Benz C250 Coupe, although only by about $200. It's even cheaper than the Audi A5, which starts at $38,105, but that model includes all-wheel drive as standard. It should be noted that these prices are without their respective destination charges (*$995 for the Caddy, $925 each for the BMW and the Mercedes and $895 for the Audi).
Unfortunately, Cadillac hasn't released any additional pricing information beyond what we have here, so we can't tell you how much things like all-wheel drive, an automatic transmission or the 321-horsepower V6 will cost. That makes it difficult to figure out just how reasonable the ATS Coupe will be relative to its challengers, but so far, the value equation looks to be in the car's favor. When those full details roll in, though, you know where to look. Scroll down for the official press release from Cadillac.