In a bid to make the Escalade a bit more competitive with the likes of the Porsche Cayenne or the Mercedes GL, Cadillac is considering some new engine options and even a Vsport-inspired trim level to ensure that the SUV’s performance matches the bling it acquired with its new redesign.
Fresh off the company’s new hire of Johan de Nysschen, a former Audi and Infiniti executive who is credited with turning both brands into profitable and competitive entities, Automotive News is reporting that there could be a sport variant in the cards, as well as a turbo-diesel V6 option and a twin-turbo gasoline V6. The news comes from comments made by David Schiavone, the model line’s brand manager, per Automotive News.
Currently, the only unit available for the 2015 Escalade and Escalade ESV is the 6.2-liter V8, which is rather ubiquitous across General Motors’ portfolio of brands. In the Escalade, it produces 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.
The new options would presumably make the Escalade more competitive with its key rival, the Lincoln Navigator, which for 2015 saw the loss of its V8 power altogether in favor of a 380 horsepower twin-turbo EcoBoost-branded V6. The Navigator also starts at about $15,000 less than the Escalade and could possibly offer better fuel economy (the official specs haven’t yet been released).
The V6 and the diesel would also make the Escalade far more friendly for international markets. China is an especially attractive market for luxury vehicles (and Cadillac has done well there), but the country has been grappling with severe pollution problems that could potentially make selling a large, V8-powered SUV there troublesome. Europe, too, offers incentives — or at least lower tax rates — on vehicles that are more efficient. Lofty gas prices in Europe also limit a large car’s appeal in the region.
At the same time, the United States has been working on its own plan to help reduce emissions as a preemptive measure to avoid the situation that China is in now through the CAFE standards being imposed on domestic automakers. Undoubtedly, a more fuel-efficient Escalade — one of the most inefficient vehicles in Cadillac’s fleet — would help General Motors’ status in complying with the ever-stringent rules.
Overall, though, a diesel or turbocharged unit could do well for consumers, too. Torquey diesel engines are fantastic for towing, and few people buy Escalades for their track performance. Further, diesels are substantially more efficient at cruising speeds, so the option could save regular highway travelers a lot of pain at the pump in the long run.
Cadillac could use the boost, too. In the mid-2000s, Caddy was enjoying Escalades in the neighborhood of 35,000 to 40,000 units; more recently, though, that number has slid to about a third of that.