Drive Type: REAR
Brentwood, California, United States
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It's a good week for the town of Spring Hill, TN, as General Motors has announced that its factory in the city of 31,000 will receive a $185 million contract to produce engines. On top of that, the next-generation Cadillac SRX crossover will be built at the factory (NA models are presently built in Ramos, Arizpe Mexico), which was once famous for being the home of GM's now-defunct Saturn brand.
The factory is one of GM's six facilities around the globe that will screw together the company's new line of three- and four-cylinder Ecotec engines. Spring Hill currently builds the 2.0-liter, turbocharged Ecotec, as well as the naturally aspirated 2.4 and 2.5-liter variants.
Spring Hill's vehicle assembly lines were idled in 2009, but were reactivated in 2011. The SRX is just one of the products meant to benefit from last year's $350-million investment, and should have a positive impact, creating or retaining around 1,800 positions at the factory.
The new Cadillac Escalade sauntered out onto the Los Angeles Auto Show stage, showing off its new familial face and redesigned interior. That exterior, with its slim, wrap-over headlights and tall, vertical taillights (both made up of LEDs) is a subtle but significant departure from the past styling of General Motors' flagship SUV.
And while there's no shortage of stuff to discuss about the Caddy's exterior, its cabin is where the big changes happen. Aside from the column-mounted shifter, the cabin receives a heavy going-over, receiving Cadillac's new CUE infotainment system and a significant upgrade to the materials. Comparing it to furniture, Eric Clough, Cadillac's director of design for interiors, said, "An exceptional level of craftsmanship has gone into the redesign of the 2015 Cadillac Escalade, and it all centers on the premium materials and extensive use of cut-and-sew live stitching."
Under hood sits a 420-horsepower, 460-pound-foot, 6.2-liter V8. Fitted with direct injection and active fuel management, fuel economy for the big Escalade should get a much-needed boost beyond the current model's 14-city and 18-highway miles per gallon, although official numbers haven't been published quite yet. A six-speed automatic is the sole gearbox choice. Cadillac has also fitted the new Escalade with GM's magnetic ride control system, which should deliver a more refined ride than its predecessor.
One of the biggest challenges automakers face when designing a high-performance car is making sure that it is both fast and reliable. For General Motors, any car that might be taken to the track by its owner - like the Corvette, Camaro Z/28 (shown above) and the Cadillac CTS-V, for example - undergoes a rigorous and strenuous 24-hour test by engineers at the Milford Proving Grounds, as pointed out by Car and Driver.
We've posted on this topic in the past - on a video showing the Camaro ZL1 being brutalized, for instance - but this article gives a more in-depth look at what actually happens behind the scenes... including what that poor ZL1 went through. Though the test isn't for 24 hours straight, the cars are pushed as hard as possible by some of GM's best drivers with only the brakes and tires replaced frequently.
We don't want to ruin the fun for you, but it is an interesting article that tells just some of what GM does to develop its sports cars. Check out the full article over at Car and Driver for the rest of the story.