Enter Cadillac Escalade-V. It’s a bold sentiment at a time when nearly every automaker, including Cadillac, seems to be moving further and further away from big engines in exchange for electrification and giant batteries. EVs are cool, but nothing beats the novelty of being able to pack a ton of power for no reason. Just ask any Hellcat owner. We recently fell in love with the Escalade-V.
Escalade-V is incredibly powerful
There isn’t much discussion about the American luxury performance brand, but most enthusiasts agree it’s Cadillac’s V brand. Perhaps the failure of the CT6-V and the emergence of the relatively shallow V sub-series have watered down the brand over the years. Either way, the Escalade-V can rise above any hodgepodge and make something of itself, so it packs a punch.
Easy enough, because the V has the holy grail of American powerplants, a 6.2L supercharged V8. A closely related cousin to the same V8 used in the 7th generation Corvette Z06 and now his CT5-V Blackwing, it has become quite friendly to all of this. Putting a big motor in a big SUV might sound like putting lipstick on a pig. But his 682 galloping horses spewing out from under the Escalade’s hood might have a different opinion.
The Escalade makes some interesting upgrades to its already near-perfect powertrain. While keeping the 6.2-liter displacement, the Escalade trades the CT5-V Blackwing’s 1.7-liter supercharger for a larger Roots 2.7-liter unit. To keep the big body in the confines of a standard SUV, Blackwing’s RWD system has been replaced with an all-wheel-drive format that performs better than his boxy Blackwing. While he would have liked to see an Escalade paired with a 10-speed automatic with a manual like his other V-Class brethren, Einstein didn’t have to realize there weren’t many takers.
Speed is Escalade V’s middle name
The V can accelerate to 60mph in just 4.3 seconds. That puts him 1.7 seconds ahead of the runner-up trim of the 420-horsepower Escalade Sport Platinum. The added supercharger and handcrafted engine make for a significant performance boost compared to other his SUVs of similar size. The 653 lb-ft of torque provided by the Escalade is an integral part of the vehicle’s ethos. One of the most important parts for an engineer who wants to incorporate a muscle car focus into his SUV is jumping off the line.
Cadillac claims 80% of the Escalade-V’s 653 lb-ft of torque is available right from the start at 2,000 rpm. It’s huge numbers when it comes to getting a solid burst from a standing start, making it one of the fastest vehicles in its class. Instead of hitting the highway in an electric car, the Cadillac swung low, creating a loud, raucous experience. From the low roar of the supercharger to the billowing exhaust set by the giant front-mounted V8, the Escalade is the car to drive if you want to make a statement at your kid’s soccer game.
Escalade-V is purely American
Despite Cadillac desperately trying to appeal to a wider market as a direct competitor to many foreign brands, the Escalade-V is eminently American. Born and raised in Detroit, this car actually does the Escalade in its favour. The interior is a jumble of dissimilar materials to keep costs down for GM. Looking across the interior, you’ll see a patriotic, bald-loving, giant, giant-style vehicle that Americans love.
The hefty asking price of $151,490 is an engine-only premium. The interior looks like any other Escalade, but we found it to be a terrible value for its price point—at just over $150,000 in six figures, the competition is tough. Opponents include the Mercedes AMG GLS63, retired Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, Dodge Durango SRT and BMW Alpina XB7. Keep in mind that the Jeep and Dodge fall in about the same class of their own as the Escalade V, so both are significantly cheaper than the Cadillac. Most people never use an Escalade at the Nürburgring, but what has produced several hits over the years is the distinct muscle flexion in the arms.
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