The Cadillac Escalade isn’t exactly slow, with a 0 to 60 miles-per-hour time of about six seconds. But Texan tuner Hennessey Performance thought it a good idea to make the hulking, near-6000 pound (2700 kilograms) SUV go faster. A lot faster. By giving it more than 800 horsepower (597 kilowatts).
The HPE800 package isn’t so much an upgrade, as an entirely new engine. The Escalade’s standard, 6.2-liter V8 Vortex engine is swapped out for a 6.8-liter stroker motor to which is added a hydraulic roller camshaft, forged aluminium pistons, billet steel connecting rods, ported cylinder head, high-flow air intake, HPE engine management system, and an awful lot more besides. Then the whole lot is topped off with an enormous 2.9-liter Whipple supercharger running 10 pounds-per-square-inch of boost.
The result is an immense 842 hp (629 kW) and 855 pound-feet (1159 Newton meters) of torque at the flywheel, 637 hp (475 kW) and 644 lb/ft (873 Nm) at the wheels. A standard Escalade makes do with just 420 hp (313 kW) and 460 lb/ft (623 Nm).
The effect on acceleration is, erm, profound. Hennessey quotes a 0 to 60 mph time of just 3.9 seconds - two seconds faster than the standard car and about as quick as a Porsche 718 Cayman S. The quarter-mile sprint is dispatched in 12.3 seconds at 112 mph.
As you can see in the video above, an Escalade launching off the line that quickly is an awesome sight. There's a slight pause as it gathers its skirts, but then it just jumps off into the distance. And it makes a deliciously hard-edged, angry growl through the bazooka-sized exhaust.
Hennessey also does a range of suspension and brake upgrades for the Escalade, which are probably advisable when adding this much power to a car the size and weight of a small moon. But even then, this a car that will probably be at its best going in a perfectly straight line.
The HPE800 package can also be applied to the GMC Yukon Denali.