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Cadillac Planning to Pack Camaro ZL1 Power into an Escalade

A Cadillac Escalade with 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque from the Camaro’s LT4 would make for the strongest luxury SUV in the world.


The Cadillac Escalade is currently offered with the L86 V8, which is a version of the LT1 in the Camaro and Corvette which has been specially built and tuned for truck and SUV use. This 6.2-liter mill offers 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, making the big, plush SUV pretty quick. However, with the premium luxury-sport SUVs from companies like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche and Lamborghini all offering far more power, Cadillac needs to come out with a package that will correctly challenge the top models from across the pond.

Fortunately, the GM experts at Muscle Cars and Trucks have insider information that a Cadillac Escalade is coming to market with the LT4 from the Camaro ZL1 and the Corvette Z06. Should this prove to be true, the LT4-powered Caddy would be the most powerful luxury SUV in the world while ranking second overall, trailing only the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.

The Supercharged Escalade
According to the original report, General Motors is already working on a high performance Cadillac Escalade and while we expect to see the twin turbocharged 4.2-liter V8 with up to 550 horsepower, there is no question that the blown LT4 would have a much bigger impact in the performance world.

In the Camaro ZL1 and Corvette Z06, the LT4 delivers 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. If you put that same engine in the short-wheelbase Escalade with all-wheel-drive and the 10-speed automatic transmission, this big Caddy would be one wicked family hauler. While the size, weight and power differential of the Escalade would prevent it from beating the Jeep Trackhawk, this LT4-powered Caddy should be able to go toe-to-toe with any other luxury SUV in the world with a real chance of winning.

Beating the Luxury Challengers
Right now, the most powerful luxury sports utility vehicle (excluding the Jeep Trackhawk) is the Lamborghini Urus, with 641 horsepower and 626 lb-ft of torque. The Bentley Bentayga is next with 600 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque and the Mercedes-Benz AMG G63 is third in line with 577 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque. Obviously, with 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, the LT4-powered Escalade would comfortably overpower all of those vehicles while also costing far less.

Some of those European models might offer better all-around performance due to being smaller than the big Caddy, but for someone who wants a roomy family vehicle that will crush most performance cars, an LT4-powered Escalade would be the best luxury-sport vehicle in the world.

Patrick Rall @TheAutoBeard is the Managing Editor of Torque News. Please follow us on Twitter at @TorqueNewsAuto, Facebook and send us tips. You can also Follow Patrick on Youtube.


Mark Day (not verified)    July 12, 2019 - 12:01AM

Hopefully we're getting into some performance competition in SUVs. I'm interested in an American performance compact SUV approximating the BMW X3M (rear wheel drive), with more value in the pricing.

DeanMcManis (not verified)    July 12, 2019 - 1:27PM

Frankly I think that Cadillac should have offered the 650HP V8 engine in the Escalade at the same time that it was first shown in the CTS-V. It may be too late now, since the CTS-V with it's cool V8 engine is being discontinued. But even though Cadillac said that they were killing off the CT6 sedan, even now they are building a special CT6-V with the impressive twin-turbo 4.2L LTA V8 engine, known as the Blackwing. With 550 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque, the high-output Blackwing should be offered with a 10-speed automatic transmission and full-time all-wheel-drive system in the CT6-V, whose production was extended to 2020. So if that drivetrain was stuffed into the Escalade then it would indeed be a rocket! It might very well be slated to happen to keep the Escalade in the press, and perhaps to have the current model go out with a bang, seeing that the next Escalade may be an electric model. I know that it sounds ridiculous, and it may just be that they offer an electric Escalade along side the gas models, but Cadillac already promised that Cadillac would lead GM's push to offering BEVs over the next couple years, and it was rumored that the 2021 Escalade was going to be amazing and very different. So we will have to see how it goes. I am hoping for both the release of a Blackwing-powered, AWD Escalade, and an impressive BEV Escalade as well.