Bling Maximum: 2009 Cadillac Escalade Platinum
The Escalade Hybrid isn't Caddy's only new vehicle intro down at the Miami Beach Convention Center this week. In addition to the enhanced-mileage gigunda-wagon, the General is also rolling out the Platinum edition in both regular and ESV bodystyles. It's powered by the standard-issue 403 horsepower 6.2L V8 and gets the deluxe treatment both inside and out. For an as-yet-undisclosed premium over the regular 'Slade, the Platinum is equipped with exclusive 22-inch wheels, magnetic ride control, LED headlamps, and a new grille that borrows its style from the CTS. The big whip's passenger cabin gets the cut & sew full-leather once-over on the IP, center console and door panels. Oh, and the cupholders are heated and cooled, too. The seats in the Platinum's first two rows are upgraded to aniline leather with contrast-color French stitching on the seams, and the headrests in the front two get fitted with LCD screens for the back seat passengers. That's in addition to the rearward-visibility-hampering flip-down screen in the ceiling, mind you. (Hey, the back-benchers need to have a screen they can see from their non-aniline leather 3rd row chairs.) If you thought that the Escalade had reached bling saturation on the factory level, it is now clear that you were mistaken. If you clock the appropriate number of G's, you can order one up next Spring.
ESCALADE PLATINUM OFFERS UNPRCEDENTED LUXURY, STYLE AND EXCLUSIVITY
MIAMI – Cadillac announced the introduction of the 2008 Escalade Platinum, a special edition of the segment-leading large luxury SUV that takes Cadillac's dramatic design, elegance and technology to its fullest expression.
Making its world premiere alongside the upcoming Escalade Hybrid, Cadillac announced the Platinum edition will come to market in the spring of 2008 as the most luxurious model in the Escalade lineup. It rounds out a full series of Cadillac Platinum models, including the XLR Roadster, DTS luxury sedan and STS performance sedan. Each model in the Platinum lineup is characterized by elegant cabins featuring handcrafted leather, advanced technology and unique design details throughout.
"The new Platinum edition elevates and extends Escalade's position as the large SUV of choice among luxury consumers," said Jim Taylor, Cadillac general manager. "The growing Platinum series highlights the handcrafted details and technical sophistication of Cadillac's overall product renaissance."
Offered on Escalade and the extended-length Escalade ESV, the Platinum edition includes a blend of technical innovations and aesthetic enhancements. Escalade Platinum will be the world's first SUV to be equipped with Cadillac's advanced Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) technology.
Magnetic Ride Control, originally developed for performance vehicles such as the STS sedan, XLR Roadster and Chevrolet's legendary Corvette, is the world's fastest reacting suspension system and gives the Escalade Platinum more precise body motion control. It is a real-time damping system – "reading" the road in 1-milisecond intervals – that replaces conventional mechanical-valve shocks with electronically controlled shocks filled with a synthetic fluid containing minute iron particles. Under the presence of magnetic charge, the iron particles align to provide damping resistance almost instantly.
Segment-first, innovative LED headlamps
Escalade Platinum will be the first SUV – and one of the first vehicles of any kind – to offer Light Emitting Diode (LED) headlamps. Used previously only on concept vehicles or exotic sports cars, LED headlamps mark another step in Cadillac's application of advanced lighting technology and design.
LED headlamps emit a greatly more precise light pattern, while emulating the characteristics of natural daylight much more closely than traditional auto lighting. LEDs are environmentally friendly, using much less power and lasting more than 20 times longer than traditional halogen bulbs. LED headlamps will be an enhancement added to the Escalade Platinum in the summer of 2008, shortly after the start of production of the Platinum model itself in the spring of 2008.
"Escalade is world renown for making a distinctive design statement," Taylor said, "With the introduction of the world's first large luxury SUV hybrid as well as the new Platinum edition, Cadillac Escalade is now bringing some of the world's most sophisticated automotive technologies into the luxury SUV category."
Dramatic exterior, elegant interior
Escalade Platinum also elevates the already-dramatic design of Escalade. The exterior features a unique front fascia and grille patterned after Cadillac's acclaimed and hot-selling CTS sport sedan. The Platinum includes unique 22-inch wheels and wears exclusive Platinum exterior badges.
The cabin is the latest example of Cadillac's 21st-century return to handcrafted luxury details. The instrument panel, center storage console and door trim are wrapped and stitched by hand. They feature decorative French seams that convey an elegantly tailored look and feel. Materials include rich leather on the instrument panel, with unique wood inlays and aluminum trim.
Aniline leather is unique to the Escalade Platinum and is used to trim the first- and second-row seats. Contrasting-color stitching is used on the French seams for a distinctive, luxurious appearance and the seatbacks feature embroidered Cadillac wreath and crest insignias. The leather-covered seats are comfortable and convenient, with the industry-exclusive power fold-and-tumble second-row seat feature that eases access to the third-row seat.
Additional standard interior features include Platinum-specific door sills and floor mats, a heated steering wheel and heated and cooled cup holders and a power liftgate that opens and closes with the touch of a button.
Also, the DVD entertainment system adds screens integrated into each front seat headrest, in addition to the existing roof mounted screen. Each front-row headrest screen has its own driver and input controls. The headrest units can be operated independently or in tandem. This system enables passengers in different seats to watch or listen to different entertainment choices, while leaving ultimate control with the driver. Escalade Platinum models will include the acclaimed Bose 5.1 Digital Surround system, as well as the eight-inch touch screen for DVD-based navigation and control of the DVD, CD, MP3 and XM Satellite radio entertainment.
Platinum models are powered by the Escalade's exclusive 6.2L V-8 rated at 403 horsepower (301 kW)* and 417 lb.-ft. of torque (565 Nm).* It is an all-aluminum engine that uses variable valve timing (VVT) to optimize camshaft timing to improve low-rpm torque and high-rpm horsepower. The introduction of variable valve timing through the unique, dual-equal cam phaser is the industry's first application of VVT on a mass-produced V-8 overhead-valve engine.
A Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission is matched with the 6.2L engine. One of the industry's most advanced automatics, the 6L80 features clutch-to-clutch shifting and has a wide, 6.04:1 overall ratio – including two overdrive gears – that helps deliver an excellent balance of performance and fuel economy.
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