UPDATE 8/11/22: This review has been updated with test results.
From the September issue of Car and driver.
Cadillac has done something with the Escalade that it should have done almost two decades ago: give its full-size SUV the V treatment. Admittedly, the performance arm ethos of the American luxury brand has become somewhat muddled in recent years, which with the V lineup now divided between tamer V-badged models and full-fledged V Blackwing high-performance variants, such as the 10 Best -winning CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing. But there is nothing confusing about the new Escalade-V 2023. Its mission is one of power and prestige.
We certainly wouldn’t call the Escalade-V tame, as it packs a punch of 682 horsepower from a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 – a hand-built mill closely related to the 668-horsepower supercharged V-8 from the CT5-V Blackwing, although the engine in the SUV trades the sedan’s 1.7-liter Roots-type blower for a larger 2.7-liter unit. Using standard all-wheel drive and a 10-speed automatic transmission, this blown-out V-8 propels the standard-wheelbase Escalade-V to 62 mph in 4.3 seconds – 1.7 seconds faster than a 2022 Escalade Sport Platinum with 420 horsepower . tested.
Put the stopwatch aside and the Escalade-V feels pretty fast from the driver’s seat. A tap of the model’s V-mode button in front of the shift lever activates the highest dynamic settings of this brute and activates the launch-control function, which keeps the engine revs at around 1500 rpm when the driver presses both pedals to the ground. Lift the left pedal and the torquey V-8’s instantaneous acceleration—Cadillac claims 80 percent of the 653-pound-feet’s torque is available from the 653 pound-feet Escalade-V—is comparable to the first wave of a moderately powerful electric vehicle.
Unlike an EV, however, the subtle whine of the Escalade-V’s supercharger and the raucous wail of its active exhaust system lend a symphonic quality to its straight-line acceleration. Even at idle, the V’s quad-pipes let out a menacing rattle (in Stealth mode, you can quiet things down for the school pick-up lane). At high speed, the system exhales with a loud crackle and pops when you abruptly release the throttle. When this 6,290-pound SUV is flat, 85 decibels of mostly exhaust noise enter the cabin. That’s 10 decibels more than an Escalade Sport Platinum, which sounds about twice as loud. But like the aforementioned Sport Platinum, only 66 dB of noise makes its way into the V at 70 mph.
Cadillac also changed the Escalade’s suspension and braking systems for V service. Tweaks to the air springs and adaptive dampers reduce the body movement of this elephant-like SUV with little compromise on ride quality. And six-piston Brembo front calipers give the V a firmer, more responsive brake pedal. While the brake pedal of an Escalade-V ESV we drove across Arizona found us a little too grippy, the short-wheelbase model Cadillac sent to our office in Ann Arbor, Michigan for testing, showed no such problem.
Despite the upgraded binders, our Escalade-V test vehicle’s 178-foot braking distance from 70 mph is four feet worse than an Escalade Sport Platinum. Blame the V’s 192 pounds of extra mass and its 22-inch Bridgestone Alenza A/S 02 all-season tires. It’s the same rubberized Cadillac that fits all Escalades, and the only setup offered on the Escalade-V. But the V’s brakes remained more consistent throughout our testing, resistant to fade and with no brake overheating warnings, as happened when testing lesser Escalades.
While the V treatment makes for a more manageable Escalade – which in stock form is already one of the more athletic examples of its kind – the fun you get from getting behind the wheel of this body-on-frame Cadillac still remains. behind that of unibody competitors such as the Mercedes-AMG GLS63 and the BMW Alpina XB7. Both faster and more nimble Germans hit the mile-per-minute mark in less than four seconds and are available from the factory with tacky summer tires. No surprise, the Escalade-V’s 0.69g cornering perch around our skidpad lagged far behind the 0.92g runs of the two German SUVs. The V is held back by an overly intrusive stability control system that pours salt into the Caddy’s lateral performance wound, like all General Motors full-size SUVs.
On the other hand, Cadillac isn’t pushing the Escalade-V as an SUV alternative to its sport sedans. Given that most high-performance SUVs spend far more time cruising around town than tearing up winding roads, the brand’s decision to temper the Escalade-V’s top-end performance with a plush ride and three-season tires seems a smart move for the real world. .
However, this approach does limit the appeal of the $151,490 Escalade-V (add $3,000 for the ESV model) when a less powerful but similarly equipped Escalade Sport Platinum costs about $40,000 less. Like all new Cadillacs (as well as Buicks and GMCs), the Escalade-V includes three years of GM’s OnStar and Connected Services Premium Plan, a mandatory feature that adds $1,500 to the base price. The service enables such subtleties as the vehicle’s Wi-Fi hotspot and SiriusXM 360L satellite radio and digital streaming service. It also provides access to the OnStar Guardian mobile app.
Sure, the Sport Platinum lacks the supercharged thrust and noise of the V, but those qualities are largely irrelevant when you let GM’s Super Cruise hands-free driver assistance, available on both Escalade-V models, take over the steering, braking, and handling. throttle on certain divided highways. Another V drawback is the 11 mpg we averaged over a few hundred miles of evaluation.
Nor does the Escalade-V’s styling reflect its greater potential, as the model-specific bumpers, wheels, badging and red-painted brake calipers do not make it look noticeably different from other Escalade models. In practice, the V model is a sleeper cab, which is frankly a little odd for a vehicle whose commercial success is due in large part to its ability to make a statement. It took Cadillac nearly 20 years to give the Escalade the V treatment. Let’s hope the brand doesn’t take that long to produce an additional variant (or two) that looks and feels as over the top as the 682-horsepower V-8 under the hood of the Escalade-V.
Cadillac Escalade-V from 2023
Vehicle type: front engine, 4-wheel drive, 7 passengers, 4-door wagon
Base/as tested: $151,490/$155,215
Options: Super Cruise, $2500; Crystal White Tricoat paint, $1225
supercharged and intercooled pushrod 16-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 376 inches36162cm3
Power: 682 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 653 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
Suspension, front/rear: trailing arms/trailing arms
Brakes, front/rear: 16.1″ vented disc/13.6″ vented disc
Tyres: Bridgestone Alenza A/S 02
275/50R-22 111H M+S TPC Specification 3156MS
Wheelbase: 120.9 inches
Length: 211.9 inches
Width: 81.1 inches
Height: 76.7 inches
Passenger volume: 177 ft3
Cargo volume: 26 ft3
Empty weight: 6290 lb
CD TEST RESULTS
100 km/h: 4.3 sec
100 mph: 10.3 sec
1/4 mile: 12.7 sec @ 111 mph
The above results omit a 1 foot rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 4.7 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 2.5 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 3.1 sec
Top speed (gov ltd): 125 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 178 ft
Braking, 100-0 mph: 353 ft
Handling, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.69 g
CD FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 11 mpg
EPA FUEL CONSUMPTION
Combined/city/highway: 13/11/16 mpg
CD TESTING EXPLAINED
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