Luxury Car Roundup: 2023 Escalade-V, Most Expensive New Cars & More

These are some of Driving.ca’s biggest stories within the luxury vehicle segment from the past month

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Luxury vehicles play an important role in the overall automotive ecosystem, often introducing new features, designs and technologies before rolling out to more fuel-efficient models.

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Here are the biggest and most recent stories, debuts, and reviews from the past month on luxury vehicles.

Behind the wheel of the Cadillac Escalade-V ESV. from 2023

2023 Cadillac Escalade-V ESV
2023 Cadillac Escalade-V ESV

“The industry’s most powerful full-size SUV” has arrived in the form of the 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V ESV, and our first ride of the big and beautiful beast provides insight into how it lives up to its $180,000 price tag. Far from being an electric SUV of the carbon-friendly future, this gas-powered Caddy rocks a hand-built intercooled and supercharged 6.2L V8 that produces 682 horses and 653 lb-ft of torque, which sounds symphonic when filtered through the SUV’s quad exhaust and that pushes the vehicle to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds.

Driving reviewer Brian Harper also noted the ride quality of the Escalade-V, aided by Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, Air Ride adaptive suspension, an exclusive suspension and an electronic limited-slip differential. Activating V-Mode fine-tunes the driver’s ability to adjust suspension, steering, brakes, performance, engine sound and more. Or, for a more hands-off approach, there’s the Super Cruise driver assistance system that monitors your eyes to make sure they’re on the road, even when your hands aren’t on the wheel.

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The 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V ESV is distinguished by its special front and rear, 22-inch wheels, Brembo brakes with red calipers and an interior with special accents in addition to the brand’s impressive 38-inch diagonal curved OLED display.

The 10 Most Expensive New Cars On Sale Right Now

Rolls Royce Boat Tail
Rolls Royce Boat Tail Photo by Rolls Royce

A rare Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR “Uhlenhaut Coupe” that recently broke records as the most expensive car ever sold for US$143 million got us thinking: how else can we spend those lottery millions that we now intend to win?

We could stock luxury EVs, such as the US$180,000 Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance, which offers over 1,000 horsepower and 700 miles of range; or buy some top-shelf SUVs like the $241,000 Bentley Bentayga EWB Azure Edition, which can be easily customized for over $300,000. Or we could just go for gold and pick up one of Rolls-Royce’s Boat Tails, you know, the $28 million project inspired by racing yachts and the most expensive new car on the market. It’s no “Uhlenhaut,” but give it 70 years or so to appreciate it and we may have a new contender for the most expensive title ever.

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Oops! Ben Affleck’s Pre-Teen Son Turns Lamborghini Into BMW SUV

Ben Affleck's son Samuel crashes Lambo in BMW
Ben Affleck’s son Samuel crashes Lambo in BMW Photo by Youtube screenshot/X17onlineVideo

The 10-year-old son of actor Ben Affleck, Samuel Garner, may be developing an early taste for luxury cars when paparazzi broke him and his family (including JLo!) at luxury dealership 777 Exotics in Los Angeles. Nice family photos for a Lamborghini Urus would probably have taken a few clicks, but it was then that young Samuel, sitting in the driver’s seat of the Urus, somehow supported the Italian SUV in a white BMW that really picked up the story.

“Ben was at the dealership to test drive a new car…. Sam seemed very interested in the exotic cars. Ben had him get into the driver’s seat of a very expensive Lamborghini, [and] the car backed up into another parked car,” a source told People.com. “However, there appeared to be no damage to the cars. You could tell Ben was very sorry that Sam was behind the wheel. He seemed angry about it.”

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The potential for damage here was high, with the Urus alone bringing in over $250,000 new, but luckily for all involved it was reported that neither vehicle needed any repairs.

Review: The “slender, meaner and greener” 2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43
2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 Photo by Graeme Fletcher

There’s a lot going on under the hood of the new C 43, starting with the subtraction of two cylinders and one liter of displacement from the engine; and the addition of a 48-volt mild-hybrid setup. The result is a 2.0 liter four-cylinder that delivers 402 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque on its own, plus electronically assisted 13 horsepower and 37 lb-ft of torque that aid low-speed performance. Then there’s the turbocharger, which borrows F1 technology to electronically spool up the turbo and maintain pressure, which in turn contributes to the 100km/h sprint in 4.6 seconds.

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All of this is great in a straight line, but better enjoyed cornering when combined with AMG’s Ride Control suspension, four-wheel steering and five riding modes (plus sub-modes), according to Graeme Fletcher’s dynamics review.

The most and least reliable car brands

When it comes to who you can trust about car reliability, you can’t beat JD Power and Consumer Reports. Combining the tests and investigations of the two factions, plus some insight into Vincentric’s worth, we arrived at a super ranking of reliability.

At the top of the reliability spectrum are the usual Toyota-Lexus and Kia-Hyundai-Genesis suspects, each recognized for some hefty nameplates, plus Buick, who carved his way into the circle of winners with its well-received Envision, Encore and La Crosse. Mazda also gets a mention for its MX-5 and CX-9.

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Dredging the list are those of Land Rover (which has essentially kept the list as an anchor since 2019), Ram, Volvo, Lincoln and Tesla. Read the full overview here.

After more than a decade, Lexus is abandoning the ‘Darth Vader’ spindle grille

2023 Lexus RZ 450e
2023 Lexus RZ 450e Photo by Lexus

The first step to making positive change is recognizing that there is a problem. Lexus recently reached such an inflection point when its global design chief Koichi Suga admitted in an interview that its spindle-shaped grille, one of the brand’s most notable design features, “looks like Darth Vader.” Now the brand says it’s coming to the light side with a new front-end design that eschews the imbalance caused by the gaping spindle grilles.

Two versions of the new grille are featured in the RX and electric RZ, the latter of which doesn’t require a grille at all, but still gets a large hourglass-shaped flat area up front. But is this an improvement? Driving’s commentary section suggests the brand may have moved away from Star Wars and now approaching Predator territory.

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