New Hennessey Cadillac Escalade Is An Ass-Hauling American Experience


Hennessey Performance can now boost the 2015 Cadillac Escalade by about 140 horsepower with their HPE550 supercharger kit. Aesthetic mods are minimal, so you’ll just have to watch for the daddy Caddy’s Jurassic-Park-fence of a grille barreling down on you to know when to get the hell outta the way.

The HPE550 includes a supercharger on 6 psi of boost, intercooler, all the gaskets and hardware to get them together, and a remap of the engine’s computer to get everything working in concert. Hennessey lists dyno tuning and professional installation as line items on the package, so I’d guess you have to buy those if you want the three year, 36,000 mile warranty the company offers on their modifications.

All that pumps the SUV’s 6.2 V8 output up to 557 bhp at 5,500 RPM and 542 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 RPM from the stock levels of 420 hp and 460 lb-ft.

I can see some red calipers and slotted brake rotors in Hennessey’s photo, and I’m told the superfast ‘Slade will be available with 15″ Brembos up front later this year. Until then, maybe that windshield banner should say “MOVE, BITCH!” You know, for safety.

There is a healthy supply of badges and stickers accompanying the kit to confuse everyone into thinking you just love to drink Hennessy. The few people who recognize what Hennessey actually stands for will probably rev their engines at you at stoplights.

The performance package runs about $16,000 installed, with lightweight H10 20″ wheels costing an extra $7,000.

A new Escalade runs from about $72,000 to $93,000 off a Cadillac dealer’s floor, putting the cost of entry to an HPE550 from $88,000 on up to $116,000 for an optioned-out ESV long wheelbase truck with the fancy wheels. Steep ticket to take the ride, but what better way to terrorize those dorks with Range Rovers and Mercedes-Benz GLs at the country club?

The 2015 Escalade runs the same 6.2 V8 that does duty in the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali and a few other GM trucks, so this kit can be strapped to one of those if you prefer chrome honeycomb to the cattle-controlling horizontal slabs on the face of the Cadillac.

The HPE550 upgrade requires 93 octane gas and is not California emissions compliant, so LA buyers will have to add the cost of smog-test bribes to their yearly ownership bill.

Is it a good buy? Well, the closest thing to compare an ass-hauling Escalade to is a Mercedes-Benz GL 63 AMG. The Merc makes 550 horsepower and starts at about $120,000. This makes seven more ponies and can be had for some $30,000 less.

Of course the GL and the Escalade project significantly different things about their owners. But if you’re the kind of maniac who needs to tow 8,300 pounds and fit a New York apartment’s worth of furniture behind your second-row seats, this might be your rig.

Image: Hennessey Performance