And while there's no shortage of stuff to discuss about the Caddy's exterior, its cabin is where the big changes happen. Aside from the column-mounted shifter, the cabin receives a heavy going-over, receiving Cadillac's new CUE infotainment system and a significant upgrade to the materials. Comparing it to furniture, Eric Clough, Cadillac's director of design for interiors, said, "An exceptional level of craftsmanship has gone into the redesign of the 2015 Cadillac Escalade, and it all centers on the premium materials and extensive use of cut-and-sew live stitching."
Under hood sits a 420-horsepower, 460-pound-foot, 6.2-liter V8. Fitted with direct injection and active fuel management, fuel economy for the big Escalade should get a much-needed boost beyond the current model's 14-city and 18-highway miles per gallon, although official numbers haven't been published quite yet. A six-speed automatic is the sole gearbox choice. Cadillac has also fitted the new Escalade with GM's magnetic ride control system, which should deliver a more refined ride than its predecessor.
The 2014 Escalade will be available in both standard and long-wheelbase ESV variants, along with two and four-wheel drive (naturally). Take a look below for the full press release from Cadillac, and then hop up to the top of the page for our gallery of live images from LA.
Precisely crafted interior with more technology
Emotional design evolution complemented by quieter cabin, smoother performance and more efficient powertrain
Higher levels of luxury, with sophisticated new technology for safety and connectivity
NEW YORK – Cadillac today introduced the all-new 2015 Escalade, a sophisticated luxury SUV designed to establish new benchmarks for hand-tailored craftsmanship and technology.
The fourth-generation Escalade is an entirely new design yet instantly recognizable. Much of the story of Cadillac's redesigned flagship SUV is on the interior, where new levels of luxury combine with the latest technology.
"Cadillac's growth provides the ideal stage for the all-new Escalade to take a major leap forward," said Bob Ferguson, senior vice president, Global Cadillac. "The 2015 Escalade is completely new and elevated in design and technology, inside and out. The clear objective is to once again assume the leadership position among luxury SUVs."
From its introduction, Escalade quickly became the standard among luxury SUVs with a formula of bold design, powerful capability and luxurious accommodations for up to eight occupants. Three succeeding generations led luxury SUV customers to confer icon status on it. The 2015 Escalade takes design and technical elements from Cadillac's product expansion to elevate the brand's signature SUV.
Production of the 2015 Escalade begins next spring in Arlington, Texas. The product line will consist of the standard Escalade model, as well as the extended-length ESV edition, with offers a 14-inch-longer (355 mm) wheelbase and approximately 20 inches (508 mm) more in overall length, maximizing space for third-row passengers and 60 percent more cargo space behind the third-row seat than the Escalade..
Offered with 2WD and 4WD drivetrains, Escalade features a new 6.2L V-8 engine that is more powerful and more efficient than previous models. Cadillac's Magnetic Ride Control, the world's fastest-reacting suspension system, is now standard and delivers precisely controlled driving performance.
The exterior features crisp, new and more sophisticated surfaces, accented by dramatic light-emitting diode, or LED, lighting.
The new interior features cut-and-sewn and wrapped materials, with wood trim options chosen for elegance and authenticity. Seats were engineered to be more comfortable and sculpted in appearance. The new interior is dramatically quieter, too, thanks to a stronger new body structure, new and enhanced acoustic material, and Bose Active Noise Cancellation technology.
CUE, Cadillac's advanced system for connectivity and control, is standard featuring state-of-the-art voice recognition with touch controls common with the world's most popular tablets and mobile devices. A standard 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster can be reconfigured with four themes and an available head-up display projects information onto the windshield. An available Blu-Ray DVD rear entertainment system includes a nine-inch, roof-mounted screen on Escalade and two nine-inch screens on Escalade ESV.
The front seating area offers more than 1.5 inches (44 mm) more headroom and more than four inches (101 mm) of additional legroom compared to previous models while the second- and third-row seats fold flat for greater cargo versatility – and a segment-first hands-free liftgate includes programmable height settings.
Escalade's new technologies include safety features to help protect occupants before, during and after a collision, such as Fr ont and Rear Automatic Braking , which relies on short-range radar technology and ultrasonic sensors to help the driver avoid front and rear low-speed collisions via a progression of alerts that extend to complete braking, if necessary.
Also new is the segment's only Front Seat Center-Mounted air bag, which is engineered to provide additional protection to drivers and front passengers in far-side impact crashes, where the affected occupant is on the opposite, non-struck side of the vehicle.
A Driver Awareness package includes Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning System, and the patented Safety Alert Seat, which offers directional vibrations to alert the driver about potential crash threats. A Driver Assist package adds Full Speed Range Adaptive Cruise Control, Front and Rear Automatic Braking, Automatic Collision Preparation and Automatic Safety Belt Tightening.
Additionally, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Alert are standard on Luxury and Premium models.
Craftsmanship defines the 2015 Escalade's passenger space, designed to be one of the industry's most authentic and luxurious cabins mixed with seamless technology integration for today's connected luxury customers.
Real wood combined with premium cut-and-sewn materials and sueded accents, along with ambient lighting, were designed to add elegance to the interior design. Tight tolerances of the instrument panel and door panels, precision controls and triple-sealed doors were engineered and designed to reinforce a feeling of quality.
"An exceptional level of craftsmanship has gone into the redesign of the 2015 Cadillac Escalade, and it all centers on the premium materials and extensive use of cut-and-sew live stitching – the way fine furniture is produced," said Eric Clough, director of design, Cadillac Interiors. "We designed Escalade with what we call the beauty of contrast. It offers a distinctive combination of bold, truck-like character, but also the refinement of the Cadillac form vocabulary and technology."
The seats were designed to be more comfortable and sculpted in appearance with a reclining second row. The design incorporates dual-firmness foam that ensures long-trip comfort and helps retain appearance over time.
Heated and cooled seats are standard in front and second-row bucket seats have standard heat. The available second-row bench has heated outboard seats now reclines.
Technology is integral to the Escalade's driving experience. New and enhanced features
help make what already was one of the industry's most-connected vehicles more intuitive.
For the first time, Escalade will feature CUE standard. The eight-inch center screen uses capacitive touch technology and gesture recognition, enabling tapping and swiping common to smartphones and tablets. CUE uses proximity sensors to activate common options and controls as the user's hand approaches. An expanded "favorites" section offers quick access to phone contacts, navigation destinations – even digital music – in the same one-touch form as traditional radio presets.
The instrument cluster features a standard, reconfigurable, high-resolution 12.3-inch digital driver information center display paired with Cadillac's CUE infotainment system. Key data also is displayed on an available, full-color head-up display. Along with vehicle systems information, the color driver information center also provides details on the audio, Bluetooth phone and navigation systems, and they can be easily adjusted via steering wheel controls.
The new Escalade's exterior advances a 15-year legacy of design distinction with evolved character cues designed to add sophistication. Full LED lighting creates a bold new interpretation of Cadillac's vertical light signature.
The headlamps incorporate the industry's first Total Internal Reflection LED high-beam function, which consists of four vertically stacked crystal lenses and LEDs. The low beam consists of five crystal lenses and LEDs that create the light pattern. The Cadillac script is branded in the headlamp bezel. Tall, thin vertical LED taillamps reach to the top of the Escalade and feature the brand's wreath-and-crest insignia, which illuminates in the dark. Escalade also features LED-illuminated door handles on the Premium Collection.
"The new Escalade's surfacing is sophisticated, and the sectioning of the body exudes more emotion to forge a new presence for Cadillac's iconic SUV," said Bob Boniface, design director, Cadillac Exteriors. "Our designers worked with the studio sculptors closer than ever to translate a two-dimensional vision into a three-dimensional representation that captures your attention from afar, and then pulls you in with beautiful details in the lamps, door handles and wheels."
New inlaid doors fit into the body side openings instead of over the top of the body, significantly reducing wind noise and contributing to improved aerodynamics that help the vehicles slip through the air on the highway with less wind drag. Active air shutters close in front of the condenser/radiator assembly at certain highway speeds to improve aerodynamics for greater efficiency. A lightweight aluminum hood and liftgate panels reduce overall mass.
Body panel gaps are tighter throughout. The new liftgate is designed to be sleeker in appearance integrates the rear window wiper into the spoiler.
"Moving the rear wiper to the top of the glass and packaging it within the contours of the spoiler resulted in a clean appearance and improved visibility," said Boniface. "It is an example of the attention to detail in the new Escalade."
Performance and driving experience
The performance threshold for the 2015 Escalade lineup rises with an all-new, more efficient 6.2L V-8 engine rated at an SAE-certified 420 horsepower (313 kW) and 460 lb-ft of torque (623 Nm) – a nearly 5-percent increase in horsepower and 10 percent more torque. The greater torque delivers an enhanced feeling of power on demand, particularly from a standstill and at low speeds.
The new 6.2L features state-of-the-art technologies, including direct injection, Active Fuel Management, or cylinder deactivation, continuously variable valve timing and an advanced combustion system, designed to make the most of power, torque and efficiency across a broad range of operating conditions. More precisely controlled combustion enables Escalade to run with a higher compression ratio, which delivers greater power and greater expected efficiency.
The engine is matched with the Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission with enhanced TapShift control.
Escalade's performance is channeled to a more sophisticated chassis and suspension system, engineered for a greater feeling of solidity and a quieter, smoother ride. A fully boxed frame – composed of more than 75 percent high-strength steel – is the foundation for its ride quality. New shear-style body mounts help reduce vibrations transmitted into the vehicle.
Additional chassis and suspension highlights include:
Coil-over-shock front suspension and five-link/coil-spring rear suspension
Wider rear track that contributes to a more planted stance
Standard 20-inch wheels and available 22-inch wheels
New, electric variable-assist power steering system that enhances fuel economy and tailors steering assist to vehicle speed
New 9.5-inch rear axle and standard automatic locking rear differential
StabiliTrak electronic stability control, incorporating tow/haul mode, auto grade braking and hill start assist
New four-wheel-disc brake system with Duralife™ brake rotors that offer up to double the service life, along with brake pedal revisions engineered to improve pedal feel for more confident braking performance
Third-generation magnetic ride control is standard with Tour and Sport modes.
Magnetic Ride Control is a real-time damping system that delivers more precise body motion control by "reading" the road every millisecond. Damping can go from full force to lowest force in a few milliseconds, or within three inches of road travel. It replaces conventional mechanical-valve shocks with electronically controlled shocks filled with a magneto-rheological fluid containing minute iron particles. Under the presence of a magnetic field, the iron particles align to provide damping resistance almost instantly.
The new Escalade has been designed with greater security features to thwart theft attempts, including an intrusion sensor, inclination sensor and glass breakage sensors. Along with triggering the vehicle's alarm systems, some of the features shut down key control systems to make it almost impossible to start or move the vehicle. The security features are supported by OnStar Stolen Vehicle Assistance, which can help police locate the vehicle.
Cadillac has been a leading luxury auto brand since 1902. Today Cadillac is growing globally, driven by an expanding product portfolio featuring dramatic design and technology. More information on Cadillac appears at www.cadillac.com. Cadillac's media website with information, images and video can be found at media.cadillac.com.