• Aug 7, 2009
2010 Cadillac SRX 2.8T - Click above for a high-res image gallery

Last month, we sampled the 2010 Cadillac SRX in naturally aspirated, 265-horsepower guise, and after a week behind the wheel we are convinced General Motors' luxury brand finally has a competitive crossover to take on the segment-defining Lexus RX. Along with Cadillac's unique angular styling and a full complement of amenities, the SRX surprised us with an edgy chassis that wasn't afraid to cut the rug when pulled onto the dance floor.

But while the SRX has some moves, the direct injected 3.0-liter V6 isn't exactly Fred Astaire. It provides just enough motivation for daily driving, but for customers that need more – particularly for those who want to fully enjoy the SRX's underpinnings – Cadillac has decided to offer a second, more aggressive engine to the mix. But with 300 horsepower, the 2010 SRX 2.8T – the first production Cadillac in the US fitted with a turbocharger – aims to please buyers looking for more pop in the pedal... a bit more skip in their step. Does the boosted Caddy deliver? We went to the Milford Proving Grounds to find out.

While Cadillac has high expectations for the sporting performance of the SRX 2.8T, its sales goals are far more modest. Cadillac expects only 10 of SRX buyers to opt for the turbocharged version, and those that do will pay a premium for its increased capabilities. The 2.8T option will only be available in Performance and Premium trim, and all-wheel drive, moonroof and navigation are all standard.

The turbo'd SRX utilizes the same FE3 suspension found in uplevel 3.0-liter models, though it has its own Aisin-Warner six-speed automatic transmission. We'd estimate the 2.8T's extra power will yield a 0-60 time of 7.5 seconds; about a second faster than the 3.0-liter model. Even with the 2.8T's improved performance, Cadillac still expects similar fuel economy to the 17/23 numbers of the non-turbo 3.0-liter mill, with city/highway numbers of 16/23. Although final pricing hasn't been announced, Cadillac tells us the 2.8T will carry a $3,000 premium versus a similarly equipped 3.0-liter model, so the MSRP is likely to max-out around $53,000 if all the boxes are checked.

Normally, when we get an invite from The General to test one of its more subdued offerings, we're relegated to a test track normally used to evaluate suspension setup, NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) and general driveability. With the SRX 2.8T, we received a bit of a surprise. Instead, we were escorted to the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1's stomping grounds, affectionately referred to as the "Lutz 'Ring."

Bob Lutz' signature track takes cues from some of the world's most impressive circuits, combining hairpin turns, significant elevation changes, blind crests and aggressive straightaways into a course designed to test the mettle of GM's high performance offerings. A select group of test drivers are qualified to attack the track at full throttle, and the training regimen requires pilots to cut their teeth with a Pontiac Solstice before graduation to bigger game. If they come within a few tenths of John Heinricy's times, they get certified. Needless to say, not an easy task.

Evidence of the track's victims are peppered throughout the course, with long, thick skid marks exiting the cement surface and disappearing into the grass. Our track guide (and certified badass) Matt Satchell told us some of the markings were the result of ABS failures on test mules and other pre-preproduction issues, although we're sure that's only part of the story. Regardless, those black stripes gave us pause. We've tackled the Lutz 'Ring in Chevy's world-beating, 638-hp ZR1, but a luxury crossover? This was going to be interesting.

After Matt gave us a quick tour of the grounds, we settled in behind the wheel and headed out on the track with the gearbox set to automatic. No surprise, the extra 74 lb-ft of twist provided by the turbocharged 2.8-liter V6 was a revelation over the torque-challenged 3.0-liter mill. Turbo lag is minimal, and with 295 lb-ft available from 2,000 RPM, any mid-corner temerity (or stupidity) can be wallpapered over upon exit thanks to the SRX's newfound thrust.

And when the time came to attack those bends, we were greeted by the same dynamic chassis we enjoyed in the standard SRX. Although the crossover's relatively high center of gravity dolls out minimal body roll in both the tighter turns and high-speed sweepers, the suspension and chassis feel at home when driven aggressively. When we overstepped the boundaries of physics and the rear tires lost adhesion, the Haldex AWD system quickly regained traction before the stability control stepped in to govern our fun. Unfortunately, the SRX's thrones aren't bolstered enough for track duty, so staying firmly behind the wheel requires plenty of forearm exercise.

On our next go 'round, we slipped the SRX into Sport mode by bumping the shifter into its Manual setting, allowing us to pick our preferred ratio or let the transmission figure it out. In Sport, the SRX becomes slightly racier. Shifts are held longer, downshifts are more aggressive and the suspension reacts accordingly. We didn't notice any major differences with the steering or throttle, but the higher revs make the SRX easier to drive quickly.

After seven runs around the L-Ring, we left the Milford Proving Grounds to get a sense of how the SRX handles real-world conditions. On public roads, the SRX showed its civic side, staying comfortable and compliant across a myriad of surfaces in stereotypical Caddy fashion. Again, the extra oomph provided by the boosted six was more than welcome, and cracking the window let the 2.8's siren song into an otherwise quiet cabin. Although the force-fed V6's note is slightly more refined in the Cadillac than it is when installed in the (less-powerful) Saab 9-3 Turbo X, the added gruff of the exhaust urges you to push a little harder, something noticeably missing in the segment.

Even with its advanced capabilities, the SRX 2.8T has little business on a high performance test track, yet it never embarrassed itself (or us) around the circuit. When we reviewed the naturally aspirated SRX, we felt it was an aggressive powertrain away from being outstanding. With the addition of the 300 hp 2.8T to the SRX llneup, Cadillac's new crossover has taken its game to the next level. There are plenty of luxury crossovers with "me-too" styling and the driving feel of a Barcalounger, so it's refreshing to see Cadillac has taken the road less traveled with the SRX 2.8T.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is not the first Cadillac with a turbocharger, but maybe the first in the US.

      The Cadillac BLS (based on Saab 9-3) in Europe, also sold in Mexico, has a 2.8 liter Turbo V6 with 320hp and all wheel drive...

      • 5 Years Ago
      The 2010 Cadillac SRX wasn't the first Cadillac fitted with a turbo, it is the Swedish-built Cadillac BRX (fitted with the 2.0T and 2.8T also found in the SAAB 9-3)
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't know if this was a revision, but the article specifically states "the first production Cadillac in the US fitted with a turbocharger". The BRX isn't sold in North America.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's called BLS.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Beautiful car. Hopefully GM will soon get out of the claws of the US government and become a viable company again.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's a great CUV and a great review.
      That said, in the Inside Line review, the writer criticized the feel and build of the interior (though s/he lost his credibility with me by saying the exterior style was looking dated), which isn't good considering the class it competes in and is surprising considering it looks lifted from the CTS.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is it me or does the SRX look like a gussied-up Vibe? The size is larger but the proportions are the same with more bling. Don't get me wrong here, I think it looks great, but I see Vibe all over it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sounds good. I wonder how long this mill will last before being replaced with a model with DI though.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The LS engine isn't refined enough (NVH) for a Cadillac vehicle that leans more toward luxury than sport. It's fine for the V-Series... I wish they could get the direct injected 3.6 liter into the new SRX. I'm curious to see what types of aftermarket performance modifications will be available for this turbo charged Crossover...

        Sal Collaziano
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'd expect the DI version of this motor to come out soon enough - especially since the LNF 2.0L SIDI turbo with a factory Stage II reprogram gets ~300 HP... imagine what can happen with a 2.8T SIDI motor.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Seems like a great vehicle....just one stupid random question, that I probably should know the answer to, but was does the subscript 4 signify after SRX? I have seen it on the CTS too...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Autoblog's reviews have turned into infomercials.

      Edmunds reamed this vehicle.

      How much does GM pay autoblog for these advertorials?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Edmunds has not posted a single article about the SRX 2.8T. They drove the 3.0L front wheel drive model.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Here is the Inside Line test of the SRX 2.8T:


        I would say it is a very positive review. Autoblog also did a great job on their review, not an "infomercial" or "advertorial".
        • 5 Years Ago
        So why is Edmunds right, and Autoblog wrong?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Or how much did the competition pay Edmunds??
        • 5 Years Ago
        They didn't even ream it at all.
        They called it attractive, spacious, and comfortable. The only thing they said was that they couldn't get 17mpg and it wasn't as fun to drive as the previous model.

        They also reviewed the other model.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Great looking vehicle but I gotta say, the use of "1" and "0" on the fuel gauge is supremely lame.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think this car is beautifull.Maybe just the back is not in the style with rest,but overall its nice car. It seems well equiped too.
      What this cars misses the most is 3.0 liter turbo-diesel engine.
      You got power, torque and great mileage(for this big car).
      I drived X5 3.0D and its so great engine. If Cadillac had the same it would be great.

      One thing I really do not understand is that people are complaining about 0-60 in 7.7 sec being slow.
      We are talking about big(fat) CUV not some sport coupé. This car is not to race but make a lot of miles in great confort (including AWD system).
      • 5 Years Ago
      It is an improvement over the base engine, but both appear to be missing something in the photos. It does not have what the CTS has that makes it special. It seems generic in some ways as it does not advance the Cadillac design theme in any direction. It is timid and merely fits in with the current line up of Cadillac styling characteristics. You would think that each new model would progress the design theme a little further like how Audi is doing it. Take a peek at the photos of the new A8 on the Edmunds Inside Line website. The car shows progress and evolution of their design theme. This SRX is just more of the same from Cadillac which is nice, but not moving anything forward. Great job on the interior though.

      As a side note, Car and Driver actually posted their driving impressions online for the SRX 2.8T before Autoblog did...this must be another sign that C&D is speeding things up as well as making the current changes to their magazine. They have been improving big time since Eddie came on board. I might even renew my subscription after letting lapse this past year because I was so sick of the lame articles and "yellow" all over the cover.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Every vehicle sold in America is a fat pig, and will remain a fat pig for as long as they are designed to crash into brick walls at 40 mph.

        Criticizing the weight of one vehicle in particular - and a lighter in class vehicle at that - is missing the point.

        • 5 Years Ago
        While I do agree Audi is making some nice, but subtle changes lately. But remember, their design has been very stale over the previous few years, with simple re-scaling of then current design to different models.

        Like the changes or not this does as a side vent and very strong body line going down the side. It also has modified the headlight shape and changed the fog light openings. I'd say there is plenty of evolution on this design.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Reply went on a comment that wasn't even there when I posted. The AB comment system is awesome.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No worries. I agree that the comment system misses most of the time when I try to reply directly to others. The autoblog team swears improvements are coming soon.
      Muscle Dude
      • 5 Years Ago
      he top-level engine gives up 20 horsepower to the outgoing V8, but promises a significant improvement in fuel economy. http://excarsalesman.typepad.com/cars/cadillac-srx/
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