Cadillac‘s luxury utility vehicle line-up appears generous at first sight, with the XT4, XT5 and XT6 crossovers, followed by the Escalade SUV. However, after taking a closer look, a question quickly comes to mind: is there room for another model – called the Cadillac XT7 or XT8, perhaps – occupying the space between the XT6 and Escalade?
The starting prices of the four current models demonstrate the situation. The 2021 XT5 costs $10,200 more than the 2021 XT4, which seems like a reasonable gap, yet only $2,000 separates the starting prices of the XT5 and the 2021 XT6. There is then an enormous leap of $28,200 from the XT6 to the 2021 Escalade full-size SUV. That is well more than double the price differential between the XT4 and XT6.
Clearly, there is space for a Cadillac XT7 or XT8, but such a model is not in the pipeline, GM Authority has learned. The reason why is that the XT7 or XT8 were what the XT6 was originally intended to be.
To make sense of this, we first need to discuss GM’s Omega platform, which has only ever been used for the Cadillac CT6 luxury sedan, which went out of production in February 2020 for the U.S. and Canada. In the early planning stages, however, Omega was supposed to have been used to underpin other vehicles, one of which was the mod Cadillac XT6.
But due to the same cost restraints that eventually saw the discontinuation of the CT6, plans changed, and the decision was made to base the XT6 on the GM C1 platform instead. This immediately made the XT6 less of a “pure” luxury vehicle, and more in line with other GM crossovers, including the Chevrolet Traverse, the GMC Acadia and both Chinese and North American versions of the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Blazer.
There were also various limitations. Both the C1XX and Omega platforms allow for all-wheel-drive, but C1XX is a front-wheel-drive architecture with a transverse engine placement, while Omega is a rear-wheel-drive platform with a longitudinal engine orientation. Vehicles built on Omega can therefore approach a 50-50 front-to-back weight distribution, which is near impossible on C1XX models.
Yet another benefit of the longitudinal orientation is associated with design, as such a layout typically gives the vehicle a longer dash-to-axle ratio. The most coveted luxury cars today feature a particularly lengthy dash-to-axle ratio to create more dramatic proportions and a more imposing design.
C1XX also sets a practical limit on engine size and, by association, power. The strongest engine that can reasonably be used in the architecture the naturally-aspirated 3.6L V6 LGX gasoline unit, rated at up to 335 horsepower and 285 pound-feet of torque. By comparison, the Omega platform opened the door to beasts like the twin-turbo 4.2L V8 DOHC LTA unit, otherwise known as the Cadillac Blackwing engine. When used in the CT6-V, the twin-boosted eight was good for 550 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque.
So the Cadillac XT7 or XT8 might have had a more stylish design than the real XT6 does, been nicer to driver, and would have allowed for exciting V-Series or even Blackwing variants. None of these things are necessary in a utility vehicle, but buying a Cadillac has never, in the brand’s long history, been about necessity.
That said, it’s likely that half of Cadillac’s line-up in the U.S. will consist of electric vehicles by 2025. In November of last year, General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced that 30 new GM electric vehicles will go on sale worldwide in the same time period, while stating that GM is “transitioning to an all-electric portfolio”.
In that environment, with fewer constraints on the vehicle architecture and none at all on ICE choice, a Cadillac XT7 or XT8 could become a reality after all. Just don’t expect it to be called that.
This post was created in collaboration with our sister publication, Cadillac Society.