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2008 Cadillac Escalade Platinum Edition Preview

2008 Cadillac Escalade Platinum Edition (select to view enlarged photo)

Hella Contributes Fresh Lighting System
By Steve Purdy
Photos by Bob Benko
Detroit Bureau

We had a sneak preview this week of a truly peerless luxury SUV sure to please the most demanding potentates and luxury lovers, due in Cadillac dealer showrooms this summer. Plenty of luxury SUVs vie for the big dollar, but none as big and luxurious as this one. Just one of its unique features is the ability to burn back the dark with the first full LED lighting system by Hella.

Hella and Cadillac together presented to a group of Detroit media folks a sample of the expensive, content-rich, 7-passenger Escalade ESV Platinum Edition just before it was packed up and shipped to the Super Bowl to flirt with VIPs gathered there. Hella showed off the innovative lighting as Cadillac basked in the glow of this big step up in customer pampering.

2008 Cadillac Escalade Platinum Edition(select to view enlarged photo)

While LED lighting has appeared on a handful of exotic vehicles, it has been used in conjunction with HID, halogen or other systems. This Escalade Platinum Edition is the first vehicle to use a full LED system, that is, high beam, low beam, parking and side lights as well as rear lighting. While more expensive than others this Hella LED system generates less heat, uses less energy and is expected to never need replacement. Additionally, the LED system allows for more precision in controlling the light pattern and gives off light of a more natural, daylight color. They look pretty cool as well.

Joining Platinum Editions of other Cadillac models this Escalade features hand crafted, soft Aniline leather seating and trim with French seams and contrasting-color stitching, embroidered Cadillac crest in the seat backs, two-tone wood door-to-door dash trim with a transitional inlay, special trim on the doors, heated steering wheel, heated and cooled cup holders and a DVD entertainment system with four – count ‘em, four – screens allowing three different programs at once.

Outside the 22-inch, 7-double-spoke, chrome wheels with semi-low profile tires enhance the urban ambiance. Front fascia is new, reflecting the evolutionary Cadillac design language exemplified by the popular new CTS.

In terms of performance and driving dynamics the Escalade Platinum Edition come with GM’s Magnetic Ride Control, adjusting suspension damping in one millisecond increments to precisely control body motion. Power comes from Escalade’s exclusive 6.2-liter V8 with variable valve timing making 403 horsepower, mated to the Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission featuring two overdrive gears for maximum gas mileage.

First shown a the recent Miami Auto Show, the Platinum Editions (applied to both the ESV and regular size Escalades) will be priced above the full zoot existing Escalade. Pricing will not be announced until closer to selling date but look for them to come in around 80-grand.

Peerless? Well, I can think of no other vehicle this size, with this level of technology and particularly this degree of luxury content. We’ll do a full road test on the Escalade Platinum Edition later this spring.

Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions
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