A new 3.6L V-6 – the segment’s most powerful standard engine – headlines updates to the 2012 Cadillac SRX. It enhances a combination of performance, technology and refinement that is resonating with more luxury crossover customers. Cadillac SRX retail sales rose 17.7 percent in the first half of 2011, building on a record-setting 2010 sales increase of 150 percent.
The new 3.6L – known by its “LFX” engine code – is the sole engine offered in the Cadillac SRX. It delivers 16-percent more horsepower (308 hp / 230 kW) than the previous V-6 and provides greater low-rpm torque. Vehicle responsiveness is dramatically improved in all operating conditions – launch from a standstill, around town maneuvering in traffic, passing maneuvers and full-throttle acceleration. It is matched with the Hydra-Matic 6T70 six-speed automatic transmission, which features a driver-selectable Eco feature that alters the shift points and throttle progression to help optimize fuel economy.
Cadillac SRX also brings enhanced features for 2012, as well as updates that make it quieter and more refined – including new sound-absorbing material placed strategically throughout the vehicle. The Base and Sport suspension systems have been revised to improve the ride quality.
“The improvements we’ve made to the 2012 SRX make an already great luxury crossover even better, giving our customers more performance and features,” said Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac Marketing. “Many of the changes are a direct response to consumer feedback, demonstrating Cadillac’s commitment to total customer satisfaction.”
Feature and content enhancements for 2012 include:
Standard Bluetooth phone connectivity on all models, with on-screen caller identification
OnStar Turn-by-Turn automated directions are loaded to the vehicle
Improved voice recognition for phone activation, navigation and radio station changes
A heated steering wheel on the Luxury, Performance and Premium Collections
Door lock switches on the driver and passenger door panels as well as the center console
Cruise control buttons on the steering wheel
Memory seat set – the occupant can set the seating position simply by pressing “set” and the number simultaneously
Backlighting for map lights in the overhead console
A new machined-face finish on the 20-inch wheels, which are standard on Performance and Premium Collections
Available all-ebony interior trim
One new exterior color: Xenon Blue Metallic.
Popular features returning for 2012 include a moveable cargo fence and large under-floor storage space in the rear, a liftgate that can be programmed to stop at different heights and the UltraView sunroof that covers 70 percent of the vehicle roof.
The new and enhanced elements that contribute to a quieter ride include new acoustic material in the upper instrument panel, front-of-dash area, the center console area and the inner fenders, as well as laminated glass used in the front side glass. There is also a new laminated structural barrier used under the second-row seat to block noise.
Click to review the complete list of the 2012 SRX’s standard and available features.
Inside the LFX
The Cadillac SRX’s new LFX 3.6L direct-injected V-6 delivers an SAE-certified 308 horsepower (230 kW) and 265 lb.-ft. of torque (359 Nm), with efficiency-enhancing features including direct injection and continuously variable valve timing. Peak torque is achieved at only 2,400 rpm and is maintained through 5,300 rpm. The LFX is also E85 ethanol-capable.
“The development team was challenged to achieve 300 horsepower in the SRX and exceeded the target,” said Liz Pilibosian, chief engineer. “The horsepower and low-end torque of the 3.6L deliver greater power on demand at launch, on steep grades and when passing. The power band of the LFX engine also contributes to a better shift feel.”
The LFX engine is a technically advanced 60-degree V-6 with dual-overhead camshafts, continuously variable valve timing and direct injection. Supporting elements that contribute to its performance, refinement and durability include:
The cylinder block and cylinder heads are cast in aluminum for low weight.
A composite intake manifold saves approximately 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg) over the weight of a comparable aluminum intake. It also has a comparatively small radiated surface area to help it maintain excellent noise and vibration characteristics.
An integrated cylinder head/exhaust manifold design saves approximately 13 pounds (6 kg) per engine when compared with a comparable engine with separate head/manifold assemblies.
The cylinder heads include four valves per cylinder, with a dual overhead camshaft design incorporating infinitely variable cam phasing.
A forged steel crankshaft provides optimal strength in the bottom end, while the connecting rods are made of powdered metal that features a higher ratio of copper, which makes them stronger and enables them to be lighter.
The pistons are made of lightweight cast aluminum and feature a friction-reducing polymer coating on the skirts , as well as fully floating wrist pins, which also help reduce friction. Less weight in the pistons means less reciprocating mass in the engine, which in turn means less inertia and greater operating efficiency.
Pressure-actuated oil squirters drench the underside of each piston and the surrounding cylinder wall with an extra layer of cooling, friction-reducing oil.
A cast aluminum oil pan is stiffer to improve powertrain rigidity and reduce vehicle vibration. It bolts to the transmission bell housing as well as the engine block, eliminating points of vibration. Cast aluminum dampens internal engine noise better than a conventional stamped steel pan and is structurally stiffer.
Optimized-flow fuel injectors and the integrated exhaust manifolds/cylinder heads promote lower emissions.
To help achieve their performance goals, the Cadillac SRX’s engineers redesigned the exhaust system with dual runners from the engine to a collection point farther rearward in the vehicle. The diameter and length of the pipes were specifically tuned to improve low-end torque from 1,200 to 3,000 rpm.
High-pressure exhaust pulses from each of the cylinders in the engine are timed to arrive at this collection point so that they phase together in a precise way. This tuning effect, which is called scavenging, literally pulls exhaust gases out of the engine by synchronizing high and low pressure pulses from each cylinder. Peak torque now occurs at a very low 2,400 rpm and remains high all the way through 5,300 rpm. The torque and power improvements were achieved while maintaining quiet performance.
“No stone was left unturned when it came to optimizing the airflow of the LFX, from the moment it enters the engine until it is expelled through the muffler,” said Pilibosian. “The exceptional airflow qualities enabled us to exceed the 300-horsepower target, while careful calibration of the dual continuously variable valve timing system and the exhaust system contribute to the engine’s great low-end torque.”
The LFX engine is paired with the Hydra-Matic 6T70 electronically controlled six-speed automatic transmission, with tap up/tap down driver control. A wide overall ratio spread of 6.04:1 allows a “steep” first gear, as well as a “tall” overdrive top gear for low-rpm highway cruising. Acceleration is maximized, as is fuel economy. Engine noise is also lower during cruising. Because of the wide ratio spread (6.04:1), first gear is a very high ratio, which provides brisk acceleration from a stop. Sixth, however, is an overdrive ratio, which keeps the engine revolutions as low as possible for highway cruising, reducing engine friction losses and improving fuel economy.
A driver-selectable Eco feature alters the shift points of the 6T70 to enhance fuel economy by up to 1 mpg. A clutch was added to the variable displacement air conditioning compressor to enhance fuel economy. The compressor is only run when needed and provides no drag when turned off.
Chassis and suspension
The Cadillac SRX has a four-wheel independent suspension system and a standard rack-and-pinion hydraulic steering system – and offers a variable-effort, speed-sensitive steering system – with tuning biased for sport sedan-style driving and strong on-center feel. StabiliTrak electronic stability control is standard and works with the standard four-wheel-disc/four-channel-ABS braking system.
The core elements of the chassis and suspension systems include:
An independent MacPherson strut suspension system is standard on all models, featuring a direct-acting stabilizer bar and hydraulic ride bushings.
An independent “H-arm” rear suspension incorporates a lightweight hollow aluminum lower control arm and a hollow stabilizer bar.
Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering is standard on Base and the Luxury Collections.
Power-assisted variable-effort and speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering system is standard on the Performance and Premium Collections.
A rear axle ratio of 3.39 is standard on all models.
A trailering package is available on the Luxury, Performance and Premium Collections and increases the towing capacity to 3,500 pounds (1,587 kg).
For 2012, the Base suspension offers greater ride quality that maintains excellent handling characteristics, thanks to new upper front strut mounts, improved shock valve tuning, new bonded bushings for the front stabilizer bar and new twin-tube rear shocks that provide greater road isolation.
The Sport active suspension – standard on Performance and Premium Collections – is also improved for 2012, with new front upper strut mounts, new shock valving, bonded stabilizer bar bushings and revised calibrations for this continuously variable real-time damping suspension system. Electronically controlled dampers at each corner “read” the road constantly to make real-time adjustments within milliseconds. They deliver the just-right damper rate for all road conditions, for greater comfort and a greater feeling of control. This system also increases damping during aggressive handling maneuvers to reduce the roll velocity and pitch velocity of the vehicle for a more confident feel.
Cadillac SRX is also offered with an all-wheel-drive system that incorporates an electronic limited-slip (eLSD) rear differential. It not only improves traction in slippery road conditions, but it provides side-to-side torque transfer along the rear axle to enhance control during hard cornering. It was developed in partnership with Haldex, a leader in all-wheel-drive technology and the eLSD enables the AWD system to distribute torque from the front to rear axle, and also side-to-side, across the rear axle, sending power to the wheel with the greatest traction.