Cadillac has decided to up the performance of the Escalade with the introduction of the 2023 Escalade V. This marks the first time that the Escalade has received a V-Series version, since it’s previously only been available on Cadillac’s sedans and coupes.
It is interesting that it took Cadillac so long to create a V version of the Escalade, but it’s here and just as over the top as you expect. Under the hood there’s the 6.2-liter supercharged V8, which is the same engine that powers the CT5-V Blackwing. The V8 generates 682 horsepower and 653 pound-feet of torque and is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. That’s enough power to get the big SUV to 60 mph in the mid 4-second range. The Escalade V easily out accelerates some of the best sports cars, making it the perfect compromise for buyers that need a big SUV for the family, but also want to have some fun behind the wheel.
The other highlight is the Escalade V’s exhaust, which provides an excellent soundtrack. There are quad exhaust tips to let everyone know that this is a special Escalade and the amount of burble will make you giggle with glee with its pops and crackles. The good news is that the sounds of the engine and exhaust are real, without the artificial sounds being bolted out of the speakers.
The 10-speed automatic transmission does a good job of harnessing all that power with smooth shifts in Tour mode. The more aggressive V mode makes the upshifts and downshifts much faster. All that power is sent to all four wheels.
Now for the handing. The Escalade V is more than just that supercharged V8. The Escalade V gets the latest version of Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control system that’s combined with the air suspension. Body roll is kept to a minimum without the ride being too harsh. It will easily surprise you on a twisty road with its more planted feel. But the thing to note here is that the Escalade V with its body-on-frame platform, is not as fun to drive as some of its unibody rivals, like the BMW Alpina XB7 or the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63. Those two German rivals feel more nimble and playful than the Escalade V, but Cadillac likely wanted to find a better balance between comfort and sport to make the Escalade V as comfortable as you expect from an Escalade.
The steering is also weighted nicely with an adequate amount of feedback. Standard Brembo six-piston front brakes do a great job of bringing the Escalade V to a stop. As you would expect, fuel economy is not a stand out here. The Escalade V is rated at a abysmal 11 mpg city, 16 mph highway and 13 mpg combined.
Moving to the inside, the Escalade V’s cabin is just as luxurious the rest of the Escalade lineup. It builds on the Platinum trim level with big comfortable seats that are wrapped in high quality leather with the front seats getting heating, cooling and massage functionality. The second and third row seats are nearly just as first class as the front with comfortable seats and more than enough head and legroom. If you want more space there’s also the long-wheelbase ESV version that provides even more room for passengers and cargo.
The Escalade V is packed with tech as well, like its 38-inch OLED dashboard display and wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The large screen has modern graphics and the system reacts quickly to inputs. The Escalade V is also available with the Super Cruise system, which lets you take your hands off the road on the highway.
On the outside we wish that Cadillac did a bit more to make the Escalade V stand out, since the only differences are unique front and rear bumpers, red brake calipers, different wheels and badging.
The 2023 Escalade V isn’t cheap, since its pricing starts at $151,490.
Although it took Cadillac a really long time to introduce a V-Series version of the Escalade, we’re happy that it’s finally here. The 2023 Escalade V packs a huge punch with its supercharged engine and the suspension upgrades improve the handling of the big SUV. The good news is that the Escalade V also packs even more luxury features, making the ultimate big luxurious SUV.