Drive Type: REAR
Brentwood, California, United States
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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.
There's a new intermediate class of luxury performance cars emerging. Audi has been doing it for years with its S-line bridging the gap, in many cases, between the standard fare and the full-on RS performance range. BMW's getting in on it with the M Sport line slotting in below the full M models. And now Cadillac is joining the fun with its Vsport offerings.
Models like the CTS Vsport and XTS Vsport are packing a new 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 with 410 or more horsepower (along with bigger wheels and brakes) to slot in between the standard model and any impending V variant. Well, it appears Cadillac isn't about to stop there.
Speaking with The Detroit News, Cadillac product chief Hampden Tener revealed that, based on the response to the XTS Vsport, the brand is planning more Vsport models. He did not, however, indicate which would be the next to get the slightly sportier treatment. With the full ATS-V expected to pack a version of the same engine powering the aforementioned XTS and CTS Vsport models, an ATS Vsport would have to pack a smaller engine to fit in below. That only leaves the SRX crossover, Escalade SUV and the upcoming ELR hybrid. Food for thought.
We all know that self-driving cars are coming. It's not so much a question of If so much as When. And when it comes to General Motors products, we now have something of a date to work with, as Cadillac has announced plans to roll out what it is calling Super Cruise technology in an unnamed new model within the next two years. As you would expect, this new tech can speed the car up, slow it down and keep it in its intended lane, but GM isn't expected to release a fully self-driving car, saying that it will still require "an attentive driver."
We're not quite sure what new model Cadillac will use to launch this new technology, but our best guess would be its upcoming LTS sedan. Other possibilities may include a new crossover - we've heard rumors of CUVS coming from Caddy both above and below the current SRX - or entry-level sedan, but those seem less likely than a high-dollar flagship like the LTS.
The next techy bit of kit currently being shown off by Cadillac engineers includes vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, technology which would seemingly allow cars to travel in close proximity to one another, with less danger of collisions. According to our friends at Engadget, GM is working with the University of Michigan to outfit some 120 miles of roads in and around Detroit, MI, with the requisite sensors to make all this technology possible.