Cadillac’s supercharged, $150K Escalade-V is more powerful than your Z06
When the CT6 ended its production run in North America, Escalade once again became Cadillac’s flagship model in its home market. Its latest iteration, the fifth generation of the full-size SUV, is the most technologically advanced and marked the model’s move to independent rear suspension while also expanding the powertrain offerings with the addition of a diesel. The thorough redesign was noticed by the buying public, as Escalade sales bounded back in 2021 after the industry took a beating in 2020. With more than 40,000 units sold in 2021, Escalade was easily the brand’s number one nameplate with just over one-third of Cadillac’s total U.S. sales.
The Escalade has always been big and comfortable, and with a 420 hp, naturally aspirated V-8 it wasn’t a slouch. But when you’re talking about a true flagship model, “not a slouch” doesn’t exactly cut the mustard. At long last, the Escalade is getting The Big One: Like its sedan siblings, the Escalade finally has a V-Series trim. To nobody’s surprise, it’s brutally powerful.
Propelling the three-ton super SUV is a hand-built 6.2-liter V-8 that is not found in any other Cadillac. The 668-hp CT5-V Blackwing, like the C7 Corvette Z06 before it, uses an LT4 that’s topped by a 1.7-liter Eaton TVS supercharger. The Escalade-V’s as yet unnamed V-8, on the other hand, uses a 2.65-liter Eaton TVS supercharger like the one from the 755-hp C7 ZR-1 that represented the pinnacle of front-engine Corvette. The supercharger delivers up to 10 pounds of boost and prods the V-8 to crank out an estimated 682 hp at 6000 rpm and 653 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm. That V-8 will channel its power through a 10-speed automatic and a full-time all-wheel-drive system to deliver 0–60mph sprints in less than 4.4 seconds. The quarter mile is dispatched in just 12.74 seconds.
Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 and Air Ride Adaptive Suspension are both standard here, each system tuned specifically for duty in the Escalade-V. V-Series-specific software calibrations include a “V-Mode” with customizable settings for the steering, engine performance, suspension, AWD system, and active exhaust. While the settings include a “Sport” mode, Cadillac knows Escalade buyers won’t be tackling chicanes with their uber SUVs. Meagan Quinn, Product Marketing Manager at Cadillac, told us, “Blackwing is intended for the track, V-Series is intended to drive to the track.” Indeed, the Escalade-V will come with a 7,000-pound tow rating, plenty for a tandem axle trailer and a race car. With nearly 700 hp on tap, it should make that load feel like it’s hardly there.
In proper flagship fashion, the Escalade-V will offer GM’s Super Cruise as standard, allowing hands-free driving on more than 200,000 miles of highway. Early adopters may miss out, however, as Cadillac noted that the high-tech driving aid will be a later addition. Load up an Escalade Platinum on Cadillac’s configurator and you’ll easily eclipse $115,000, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise to learn that the Escalade-V has a sticker price, including destination, of $149,990 for the standard-wheelbase model. An extended-wheelbase Escalade-V ESV will also be available, although there’s been no mention of price there. Expect a premium of around $2500, in keeping with current trims.
Cadillac also hasn’t mentioned any EPA fuel economy ratings just yet but has warned us not to expect a fuel-sipper. For that, it offers the 3.0-liter diesel with up to 27 mpg highway. While the brand is no doubt heading towards an all-electric future, there’s still plenty of demand for a brutish, grand-touring SUV with tremendous passing power and the V-8 soundtrack to match.