2010 Cadillac SRX Turbo

On the far corners of GM’s Milford proving grounds, you see lots of streaks broken. Rubber streaks, left behind by test Corvettes and Camaros running off in ways you don’t want to imagine. And as he shuttles a new 2010 Cadillac SRX Turbo in the wake of greatness, our GM test driver explains his last black mark on the track–a braking loss at 147 mph.2010 Cadillac SRX

It ended without drama, but it made us all the more anxious to take the wheel of the latest SRX, a turbocharged version of the new crossover Cadillac puts in showrooms in October. While stock SRX crossovers get a direct-injected 3.0-liter V-6 with 265 horsepower, the 2010 SRX Turbo sidles up to the stop sign on the GM proving grounds with a full 300 horsepower, 221 pound-feet of torque, and a slightly smaller displacement of 2.8 liters.


2010 Cadillac SRX 2.8T

What we notice first, around the tight turns that corkscrew into rural Michigan woods, is the engine’s lack of a distinct turbo whistle or wastegate noise. Boosted engines customarily whistle while they work, but this turbo V-6 damps out the distinction from the non-turbo V-6. It’s just faster–and with a much flatter torque curve, it’s a steady pull forward that will feel familiar to those of you who’ve driven the VW/Audi turbocharged engines.

The 2010 SRX offers only six-speed automatics, but with the turbo version, there are some driver-selectable tweaks to be made. The CTS’ paddle shifters are nowhere to be found, but the SRX Turbo automatic offers a Sport mode that holds gears longer and tightens steering and shift points, and an Eco mode that remaps the throttle and cues quicker upshifts to conserve fuel. In Eco mode, engineers report a 1-mpg increase in fuel economy, though since the EPA averages the Eco mode with steady-state driving, the Turbo’s fuel economy ratings are still rated at 16/23 mpg.

The drivetrain is the only difference from other normally-aspirated, all-wheel-drive SRXs. The Turbo version shares the Haldex all-wheel-drive system, “FE3” suspension settings and Continuous Damping Control (CDC) with the most expensive non-turbo SRXs. CDC is like the driver-selectable system in the Audi Q5; it’s not perfect and gives the steering and ride some “digital” quality, but there’s no doubting its smooth, composed ride and clean, responsive steering at speed.In fact, the 2010 SRX has some of the best steering and ride feel in this class, more like a sports sedan than a kludgy crossover like, oh, say, the Lexus RX350.

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