Preview: 2015 Cadillac Escalade
NEW YORK—Did anyone at Cadillac really expect that a gussied-up GMC Denali would become an icon for urban youth when it was launched in 1998?
You can’t plan cool; it just has to happen. For whatever reason, young musicians (especially rappers) adopted the Escalade as a cool ride, and it’s been all upswing for Cadillac ever since.
The profits generated by Escalade have enabled Cadillac to bring cars such as the CTS and ATS to life.
Despite being 111 years old, Cadillac is now the fastest-growing luxury car brand in the world.
GM senior vice-president Bob Ferguson says working at Cadillac “feels like a start-up; everything feels so new and exciting.”
What’s newest is the fourth-generation Escalade, unveiled this week at a glitzy event in the Big Apple.
Design vice-president Ed Welburn talked about Escalade’s proportions and stance — critical to any good design — and its detailing. He also noted that one of his main objectives was to improve access to the rear seat.
“Day One on this project, I said, we’ve got to improve entry and egress to that second row. I wanted a minimum of two inches of improvement in that area, and the team achieved that.”
Both the second and third rows can also now be power-folded at the touch of a button.
Technically, the new Escalade started with the underpinnings of the new Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra pickup trucks.
It uses a new “high-feature” 6.2-litre V8 with variable valve timing, which produces 420 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque, increases of 17 and 43 respectively over the former model.
Active Fuel Management lets the engine run on four cylinders under lighter loads for better fuel economy.
Dave Leone, executive chief engineer for Cadillac, says the added torque allows use of just four cylinders more often, improving fuel efficiency by about 12 kilometres per litre.
The Escalade features the latest generation of Magnetic Ride Control, which constantly measures the road surface and adjusts the dampers accordingly to optimize ride and handling.
“At 60 miles an hour (100 km/h), it can adjust from full soft to full firm in just over three inches (7.6 cm) of road travel,” Leone says.
He notes this makes it the fastest-responding suspension system in the world.
Interior noise suppression was also a prime target.
But what really differentiates Escalade from its lesser siblings is craftsmanship and materials.
Some of the hand-crafted aspects of the interior look like what you’d see in a Rolls-Royce or Bentley.
In closing, Ferguson suggested this vehicle is deserving of a special name: “Sometimes there’s nothing like a good proper noun. Escalade. No L, M, N, O, P, here.”
Unlike other Cadillac models: CTS, ATS, XTS. Can Sedan de Ville be far behind? We can only dream.
The 2015 Escalade goes into production next spring. The rappers are probably going to love this one, too.
Transportation for freelance writer Jim Kenzie was provided by the manufacturer. firstname.lastname@example.org.