Cadillac Escalade Likely to Keep V-8 Power

Despite reports that the Cadillac Escalade may adopt additional twin-turbo V-6 and turbodiesel V-6 engines, Cadillac contends that V-8 power will remain the sole option for its luxury SUV.

A Cadillac spokesman confirmed to Automobile that while the company is cognizant of the fuel economy and emissions gains a smaller, turbocharged engine could provide, the formula would not make sense for the Escalade’s identity.

“As a bedrock product with semi-iconic stature, the Escalade should always be full-fledged,” said Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell. “Let other products moderate themselves if they want to, but not the Escalade.”

Automotive News reported today that the Cadillac Escalade would soon add a sporty Vsport model powered by the CTS Vsport’s twin-turbo V-6, but Caldwell says that model is unlikely to ever germinate. The twin-turbo V-6 puts out 420 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque, and power would need to be significantly heightened to create a sporty variant above the output of the V-8 Cadillac Escalade. AN also says a turbodiesel V-6 could very well make sense for Europe, but that model is likewise unlikely to show up Stateside, Caldwell said today.

Swapping V-8s for turbo-sixes isn't unprecedented in this segment. The 2015 Lincoln Navigator dropped its old V-8 in favor of the twin-turbo, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 we know from cars like the Lincoln MKS, Lincoln MKT, Ford Flex, Ford Taurus SHO, and Ford F-150. Navigator output is estimated now at 370-plus hp and 430 lb-ft of torque. Switching to the new engine boosted the luxury SUV's fuel economy, but that's not a route Cadillac plans to take.

Caldwell confirmed that the Cadillac Escalade would continue with its 420-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 good for 460 lb-ft of torque, even if its lackluster fuel economy is well behind the times. “It’s a niche, but it’s a valid one for our customers,” he explained. The rear-wheel-drive Escalade returns 14/21 mpg city/highway, while the all-wheel-drive model yields 15/21 mpg city/highway.

Buyers know exactly what they’re getting into with the $72,690 2015 Cadillac Escalade, and a thirsty V-8 is part of the appeal for many. We’ll see how long its big and boorish attitude can stay relevant in such a quickly changing market, but for now, don’t expect Cadillac to dilute the Escalade one iota.

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