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Detroit Show: Oz-bound Caddy SUV

SRX appeal: Cadillac’s new SUV features the brand’s signature grille and vertical headlight designs.

Cadillac SRX unveiled ahead of Detroit auto show debut and potential 2010 Oz launch

8 Jan 2009

CADILLAC has revealed details of its new SRX mid-sized SUV, which is slated for a possible 2010 release in Australia if the delayed launch of the brand here goes ahead as scheduled this year.

Although nothing GM-related can be taken for granted with its current financial woes and restructuring plans, the Cadillac brand is slated for an Australian launch in the coming months, although the first model in the mix, the CTS sedan, was originally scheduled to have gone on sale here last September.

The second-generation SRX crossover SUV will be officially unveiled at the Cobo Center in Detroit next week – although it made a surprise appearance at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California almost five months ago – and is under consideration for a 2010 arrival in Australia.

Less boxy than the current model (which was launched in 2004), the SRX is based on the Provoq Concept car and built on the Theta platform that also underpins a host of other GM crossovers and SUVs, including the upcoming Saab 9-4X.

163 center imageThe five-seater is aimed at the BMW X3/Audi Q5/Lexus RX end of the luxury SUV segment and will be built in Mexico whereas the model it replaces was produced in Lansing, Michigan.

It will be launched with two engine choices, both of which are mated to six-speed automatic transmissions.

The standard unit is a 3.0-litre version of the 3.6-litre direct injection V6 used in the CTS sedan. It produces 194kW of power and is capable of running on E85 (85 per cent ethanol) fuel.

The optional engine is a turbocharged 2.8-litre V6 borrowed from the upcoming Saab 9-4X, developing 224kW of power and 400Nm of torque.

Cadillac says that fuel consumption testing has not yet been completed and has therefore not yet supplied figures, but claims that direct injection should ensure good economy and an estimated 25 per cent improvement in emissions.

Drive is through the front wheels or an on-demand all-wheel drive system that includes an electronic limited-slip differential that distributes up to 100 per cent of power to the wheel with the most traction.

Chief engineer Bob Reuter said that the AWD system with electronic LSD “transfers torque not only from front to rear, but also along the rear axle”.

“This system sets a new benchmark for all all-wheel-drive systems, giving the driver control and confidence on any road surface.

“The eLSD also gives the driver enhanced control when cornering hard or completing a high-speed manoeuvre, such as a lane change, by momentarily applying more or less torque to either of the wheels to help the rear of the vehicle more closely follow the direction of the front wheels.”

The suspension includes a “real-time” damping system that adjusts shock damping rates in response to road conditions for a better ride quality and control.

Other SRX features include a “pop-up” navigation screen featuring 3D imaging, adaptive headlights that turn with the steering, a power tailgate with adjustable height setting, Bluetooth compatibility, integrated hard disc drive for audio storage and a dual-screen system for rear entertainment.

Cadillac design director Clay Dean said that the company put more energy into improving the interior quality and exterior design of the new SRX, which sits on 20-inch wheels.

“For GM, Cadillac is our most aggressive brand,” he said. “We want to appeal to people that set the trends.

“Cadillac is known for bold design and the SRX Crossover builds on that reputation.

“As with the 2008 CTS, we advanced our Art and Science design to create a crossover for style-conscious customers. The exterior features a dramatic diving gesture on the body side to impart the feeling of movement, even at rest.

“A multi-piece shield grille and Cadillac’s iconic vertical headlamps are the face of the SRX. They blend into a tightly wrapped, sweeping body that tapers downward at the rear, giving the vehicle a sporty profile.

“A bold accent line dives across the body side and culminates at a chrome front fender vent that incorporates a side marker lamp. An integrated spoiler on the rearward edge of the roof extends the sleek lines and improves aerodynamics.

“Inside, technical precision blends with old-world craftsmanship. Hand-cut-and-sewn coverings on the instrument panel and ambient lighting details convey a finely tailored cabin.”

Mr Dean also noted that “a signature example of the SRX’s attention to detail” is the Cadillac script logos in the front door sill plates that illuminate when the doors are opened.

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