The 2.8-liter, turbocharged V6 in the 2010 Cadillac SRX 2.8T adds 35 HP and a whopping 72 Lb-Ft of torque over the base V6. That's good, because we planned to take it out on GM's famous Lutz Ring.
When we first drove the base model 2010 Cadillac SRX with a 3.0-liter V6, we were happy to find an excellent CTS-inspired interior, handsome styling inside and out and thrilled to discover suspension that actually made the crossover, we dared to say, fun to drive. The only problem was that engine. It was adequate, but not much more. With a 0-60 MPH time of around 8.1 seconds it wasn't exactly the leading edge of performance for the segment either. The chassis was begging for more.
Enter the 2.8-liter, 300 HP, 295 Lb-Ft, turbocharged V6. The horsepower is improvement is a nice number, but it's the torque that provides a big kick in the pants. Instead of peaking at 5,100 RPM like the 3.0, maximum twist in the 2.8 turbo comes in at 2,000 RPM and stays there throughout the rev range. As you might imagine, this pays great dividends in the fun department.
To illustrate this, we were given the chance to put the SRX Turbo through its paces at GM's Milford Proving Grounds' Milford Road Course, affectionately known as the "Lutz Ring." It's the very same track we put the Corvette ZR1 on to put it through its paces. It's not a place you normally launch a crossover.
Pegging the throttle out of the pit lane reminds you why turbos and V6's belong together. Power delivery is smooth and constant, right off the line. Turbo lag is nonexistent, this was the engine the car was begging for. Everything about the SRX now feels right with this motor. With an unofficial 0-60 MPH time of around 7.2 seconds, the SRX still isn't as fast as rivals like the 2010 Acura MDX or the Audi Q5 3.2, but the power is notable for the way it makes everything else in the car shine.
The SRX Turbo gets an upgraded transmission in the form of an Aisin six-speed, spec'd to cope with the added torque. All Turbos come standard with the active damper system that we liked so much on the non-turbo SRX and the Haldex all-wheel drive system that's capable of transferring 100% of power to the rear. There's also an electronic limited-slip differential able to shift 85% of power from side-to-side across the rear axle only, which means torque vectoring, but not on all four wheels as on the BMW X6. Like the Acura MDX, which uses a similar setup, this means a very capable and fun drive, just not the mind-bending cornering ability of the X6.
Twenty inch wheels also come along for the ride in either painted finish or a super gaudy chrome. Had we been driving sanely on public roads, this Caddy is expected to get a 16/23 MPG fuel economy rating from the EPA, only a 1 MPG penalty in the city over the non-turbo. We weren't driving sanely.
We're in sport mode, tapping the brakes at the end of the Lutz Ring's first straight, you come to a decreasing radius corner, and the car sticks just like it shouldn't, steering weight builds as the input increases, the transmission downshifts aggressively, engine braking perfectly and keeping the car in the wide power band, the car stays balanced as you push it through the corner. Throttle on through a chicane which crests on a hill and plunges you into a valley, body roll is controlled and precise; disturbingly good for a car weighing 4300 Lbs and topping 65 inches in height. What kind of crazy black magic has GM pulled here? Through a mid speed lightly banked sweeper and the tires start to squeal, hard on the throttle as it heads for a highly banked uphill left called the "Toilet Bowl" that compresses the suspension and looks highly dramatic, but is actually really easy. Over a blind crest with an abrupt turn in and the car is reassured, confident on its feet and stunningly capable.
Hard on the brakes, through a corner and wide open throttle down the short back stretch, by the time we hit the markers we're over a hundred miles per hour. The high speed essess are tackled with what would otherwise be dangerous speed and they give way to hard braking and tight chicanes. The transmission picks the right gear before we hit the throttle, we're not even able to lament the lack of manual option. A wide corner and a sweeping uphill right at full throttle completes the course. None of what we did in this crossover makes any sense. We had to hop out of the car to make sure it hadn't transformed into a CTS mid-lap.
The thing about the SRX 2.8T isn't the engine or the transmission or the all-wheel drive system or the brakes. Heck it's not the quality of the interior or the easy-to-use pop-up nav screen. Individually those elements are good, but the flawless integration makes this car a standout in the segment. It all works together to form a cohesive unit, a completely resolved product, everything a Cadillac should be and something crossover's haven't traditionally been. Pricing is unannounced, but it'll start somewhere in the mid $40,000 range. If we were Cadillac's competition, we'd be concerned.