Why the Cadillac Escalade V’s Supercharger Is Much Bigger Than the CT5-V Blackwing’s
The Escalade V gets a supercharger that’s nearly twice the size of the unit found in the CT5-V Blackwing.
The 2023 Cadillac Escalade V is the latest vehicle in Cadillac's lineup to get the "V" treatment, and it's seriously impressive. Packing 682 horsepower from its supercharged 6.2-liter V8, it's the most powerful Cadillac ever. Its sedan relative, the CT5-V Blackwing, has a very similar output, but despite it also having a supercharged V8 of the same displacement, these engines aren't actually identical. The Escalade V gets a much larger supercharger from General Motors' supplier Eaton—almost twice as big.
I was curious why this is the case, so I asked an Eaton product engineer, Jake Ridenour, who was one of the brains behind the truck's massive blower. In a nutshell, the Escalade V's engine is a little more constrained in terms of airflow versus the CT5's. The sedan can make do with a comparatively tiny 1.74-liter supercharger to make its 668 hp. The Escalade V needs a massive 2.65-liter unit to get the job done because of the greater restriction on the intake side of the engine.
"GM went with our 2.65-liter supercharger because of the larger inlet restriction due to the packaging," Ridenour told me. The bigger air pump allowed the truck to still hit "the desired power level" while maintaining an appropriate level of noise, vibration, and harshness. An interesting side note is that the Escalade V's supercharger was first seen on the 6.2-liter LT5 V8 in the previous-generation Corvette ZR1, where it was used to produce 755 horsepower. So without the restrictions associated with a big truck, it's clearly capable of much more with some fiddling.
The cover seen at the beginning of this post contains not only the Escalade V's larger supercharger but also water-air intercoolers to try to keep the intake temperature down. Indeed, keeping the temps down is likely another reason why GM went big. Without the bigger blower, the smaller unit may have been overworked at a higher pulley ratio attempting to do the same job. That would not have been good for a vehicle that might find itself towing, even with the vast cooling area the truck's huge front fascia allows.
So when it came to the Escalade V, it should be no surprise bigger was better. If you haven't read our review of the truck, you should, even if it's just to listen to it launch off the line. The combination of GM's tried-and-true small-block engine combined with a behemoth supercharger and all of the luxury trimmings of the Escalade makes the entire package a force to be reckoned with. Even if it does get just 15 miles per gallon.
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