If you’re an auto enthusiast, you know, recognize and maybe idolize GM’s supercharged LT4 V8 engine. The high-powered V8 makes at least 650 hp, sometimes lots more, in the most capable and serious performance cars to come out of the General: Chevy C7 Corvette Z06, Camaro ZL1, and the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing and Escalade-V. While the LT4 is used in just a handful of vehicles, it was almost included in another, more unexpected application.
The LT4 almost made it into Chevrolet’s Tahoe RST Performance Edition. That’s at least what sources close to the matter told GM Authority. If you’re unfamiliar, the Tahoe RST Performance Edition is a slightly hotter version of the Tahoe RST. And when I say slightly, I mean it. A little engine calibration to the 6.2-liter V8 results in 13 more horses and 7 lb-ft of torque for a total of 433 horsepower and 467 lb-ft of torque. Nothing to sneeze at for sure. It’s enough to get this huge SUV to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds which is impressive for something weighing almost 6,000 pounds. And more power would’ve been enthusiastically welcomed, especially if it was in the form of the LT4. So, why wasn’t it used?
GM Authority was light on the details of why, rather engaging in speculation instead. But, I decided to ask someone at Chevy myself. The Blue Bowtie explained a Tahoe with an LT4 would’ve cost too much — that it was cheaper to go the route of simply calibrating the existing 6.2L for a bit more horsepower than dropping into the Tahoe GM’s high performance, hand-built V8 (emphasis mine):
Chevrolet purposefully opted for the 6.2L engine with performance calibrations and induction system for the RST Performance Edition. This implementation gives customers a solid performance boost, while still being able to offer the performance edition at an affordable price point.
So there it is. We aren’t getting a bargain Escalade-V. While it sucks that they didn’t do it, its understandable given the kind of money something like that would have commanded. At least they even considered it.