March 27, 2012
The target buyer for this truck is a through-and-through truck guy or gal who wants something different — something modified and something with a full manufacturer’s warranty. This ideal shopper may even decide they’d rather have SLP’s available 700-horsepower monster. Or they may take SLP up on the offer to have these same packages mated to the Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon, extended/crew cab Silverado and Sierra.
2012 Cadillac Escalade SLP Supercharged Sport Edition. Click image to enlarge
But let’s focus on my tester: the interior is, for the most, part all Cadillac. Very spacious, vault-like quiet on the road with zero wind and very little road noise, and luxurious trim throughout. SLP touches include the embroidered headrests and dash plaque with Sport Edition Supercharged displayed prominently for your passengers to ogle. But it isn’t so much what’s inside of the cabin that matters, as much as what is under the hood and how that makes this machine get up and go.
And get up and go it does! As tested recently by Edmunds Inside Line, this Escalade can do a zero to 100 km/h run in about 5.5 seconds. My unscientific test showed an even more important 80 – 120 km/h sprint that passes by in around four seconds. Keep your right foot tamed and not much changes from the base Escalade, but if you happen to flinch your big-toe, the whine of the supercharger comes alive and the speedometer seemingly flashes forward faster than the tachometer.
The sheer size of this vehicle isolates you somewhat from the adrenaline rush typically reserved for vehicles with this much performance; lose concentration by changing the radio station, and 100 km/h becomes 140 in a hurry if you are not careful. It is fast, but oddly enough, you don’t feel out of control even though you are piloting a vehicle that weighs over 2,500 kilograms (5,500 lbs). The 22-inch tires with sticky Michelin rubber help keep you planted and the positive feedback from the firm yet controllable brake pedal ensures that despite the massive speed potential, you can always slow down even more quickly — if you so desire.
One would expect that driving the vehicle around corners would be an exercise in futility — but one would, surprisingly, be incorrect. Sure, it’s no Lotus Elise, and steering feel is basically non-existent, but this Escalade grips like no vehicle of this size should. I will not lie — it took me three days before I felt comfortable driving it like I would a sports car, but after watching the Inside Line slalom test I braved a few corners, at some ridiculous speeds, and realized this is one Escalade worthy of a performance badge.
Thanks Automobiles Paille Inc. in Berthierville, Quebec for allowing me to hoon in this vehicle for the week!