Hennessey is known for making some pretty powerful SUVs, but is an 800+ horsepower Escalade fast enough to keep up with a Ferrari?
There are certain things that can’t be solved with more power. Wind resistance becomes exponentially stronger the faster a car goes, and simply adding a linear amount of power isn’t enough to overcome an SUV’s lack of aerodynamics. In other words, making an 800 horsepower brick is fun to make a lot of noise, but it’s not necessarily going to beat a purpose-built supercar.
Case in point, we have Hennessey pitting their 805 hp HPE800 Cadillac Escalade upgrade against a Ferrari 488 GTB. The Ferrari is a very fast car thanks to its 3.9-L twin-turbo V8 with 661 hp and 561 lb-ft of torque, but also because it’s built to slip through the air like a fighter jet. What little air friction there is exists solely to provide downforce and keep the Ferrari on the pavement through tight corners.
The Cadillac, on the other hand, has all the aerodynamic grace of a building. It’s a giant square block that has a harder time pushing through the atmosphere the faster it goes.
But Hennessey still gives the Escalade a fighting chance. The Cadillac’s former 6.2-L EcoTec engine has been replaced with a 6.8-L (416 cubic-inch) stroker motor with a 2.9-L supercharger. Power at the rear wheels is quoted to be 742 horses, which represents a power loss to the 8-speed automatic transmission of just under 8%. That’s really efficient for Hennessey upgrades, which typically have between 10-15% power loss.
In addition to the new motor and supercharger, Hennessey performs a ton of upgrades to their machine in order to handle over 800 horsepower. A new camshaft, stainless steel mid-pipe exhaust, and ECU software are just the tip of the iceberg.
You can get the full list from Hennessey’s website. It’s exhaustive, but one thing that Hennessey forgets to add is better brakes to handle all that power. Because why would you ever need to stop an 800 hp SUV?
Check out the video above to see how Hennessey’s monster Caddy stacks up against a Ferrari. It handles itself pretty well, but a Ferrari is still a Ferrari.