2010 Cadillac SRX 2.8T

This is about the 2010 Cadillac SRX 2.8 Turbo, not the 2010 Cadillac SRX 3.0 that we drove, oh, just last week? That was the new Caddy two-row crossover with a 3.0-liter V6. This is something different.

2010 Cadillac SRX 2.8T

Of course, we were too classy to explicitly say that the 3.0-liter V6 is gutless, bloodless or carries smaller-than-average huevos. Instead, we simply pointed out, “Not only does the 3.0-liter V6 have the lowest torque rating of any six-cylinder crossover in this class, those 223 pound-feet hit at a much higher rpm.”

Now we’ve driven the 2010 Cadillac SRX 2.8T with its optional turbocharged 2.8-liter V6, an engine borrowed from the Saab Turbo X and the upcoming Saab 9-4X. And we can happily report that our one major reservation about the standard SRX has been pretty well addressed with a heaping helping of our old twisty-turny friend, torque.

Of Buttes and Bunny Hills
We call them torque curves, but we don’t really want them to be very curvy. The shape we want is not a dome or a slope or anything else that curves. What we want is what the turbo 2.8-liter V6 in the 2010 Cadillac SRX 2.8T lays down, which is more like a rectangle. We want the torque output to rise quickly from zero to its maximum and then just stay there for as long as possible. We want the torque curve to look like one of those tabletop buttes or mesas you see in Monument Valley near the Four Corners. That’s pretty much what the 2.8-liter turbo’s torque delivery looks like, as its peak output of 295 lb-ft of torque extends from 2,000 rpm to as far as the eye can see.

By comparison, the 3.0-liter V6’s torque delivery looks like a bunny hill, a ski slope that’s low and gentle enough to have a rope tow instead of a proper chairlift. Its torque peak of 223 lb-ft doesn’t even arrive until 5,100 rpm. Most buyers in the luxury crossover market that we know personally seem to be convinced that any engine speed above 3,000 rpm will result in immediate and catastrophic engine failure and/or the creation of black holes. So let’s just say they might not be getting the full effect of the 3.0-liter V6’s output in any case.

This turbocharged 2.8-liter V6 leads the class of midsize luxury utes in terms of ultimate torque and horsepower output. Its estimated output of 300 horsepower is 40 hp more than the BMW X3’s 3.0-liter inline-6, 32 hp more than the Mercedes-Benz GLK’s 3.5-liter V6, 30 hp more than the Audi Q5’s 3.2-liter V6, 25 hp more than the Lexus RX 350’s 3.5-liter V6 and 19 hp more than the Volvo XC60’s turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6. Not too shabby.

Cadillac reckons that the new turbo motor will chop a full second off the run of the 3.0-liter SRX to 60 mph. We have clocked the SRX 3.0 to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds. So given the same testing regimen, the turbo should easily break under the 8-second mark and hit the low 15s in the quarter-mile. And that will make it competitive with the best in the class.

Mini-Mall Heat Races
More important than track numbers in this market is the way a vehicle feels while squirting around town on errand day or when it’s prodded down an on-ramp on the way to the office. In these circumstances, the difference between the normally aspirated 3.0-liter and the turbo 2.8-liter with its single twin-scroll turbocharger is even more obvious. It’s our pal torque talking again. The turbo motor seems to never be caught on its heels. It’s ready to provide a squirt of thrust under almost all conditions.

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