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2023 Cadillac Escalade-V: For When Lighting Money on Fire Is a Little Too On-the-Nose

Just in time for $6/gallon gas!

2023 Cadillac Escalade-V
  • New high-performance version of the Escalade (boy, that feels weird to type)
  • 682-horsepower supercharged V8
  • Available in standard Escalade and long-wheelbase Escalade ESV versions
  • Part of the fifth Escalade generation introduced for 2021

What is the Cadillac Escalade-V?

Just as the T. rex was the one of the biggest and the baddest carnivores on the planet, so too is the 2023 Cadillac Escalade the king of the hill in General Motors' portfolio. And while the standard Escalade's 6.2-liter V8 and six-cylinder turbodiesel are perfectly adequate at hustling around its considerable mass, there are some who crave more meat on the bone. Something to feel peerless in when pulling up near performance-oriented luxury SUVs such as the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63, V8-powered Land Rover Range Rover and BMW Alpina XB7. Enter the 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V — the brand's first application of the V performance moniker to an SUV, and the Giganotosaurus of the luxury SUV world.

2023 Cadillac Escalade-V

2023 Cadillac Escalade-V.

What's under the Escalade-V's hood?

Cadillac started with the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 from the CT5-V Blackwing and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, then made further modifications — such as a larger supercharger — resulting in a thunderous 682 horsepower and 653 lb-ft of torque. This puts the Escalade-V at the top of the full-size luxury SUV food chain; the smaller Tesla Model X Plaid is the only three-row on the market with more power.

Even with all that power, however, there's simply no overcoming the Escalade's mass and aerodynamics. Cadillac's claimed 0-60 mph time is just under 4.4 seconds, which is un-Plaid-like and a couple ticks slower than the XB7.

The Escalade-V's engine will be paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. It will also have a sport-tuned adaptive air suspension with the ability to lower the ride height by about 0.8 inch. The six-piston Brembo brakes in the front are painted in an Edge Red scheme echoed on the key fob. The Escalade-V will ride on unique gunmetal gray 22-inch wheels that are, despite the SUV's sporting pretensions, wrapped in all-season tires. Finally, out back is an active exhaust system that allows the driver to tune the tenor from the quad exhaust outlets — Stealth mode for quiet mornings, Sport for when you want to announce your presence, and Touring for everyday driving.

2023 Cadillac Escalade-V

2023 Cadillac Escalade-V.

How's the Escalade-V's interior?

The Escalade-V's interior is as plush as you would expect from a luxury SUV. It is equipped similarly to the standard Escalade's range-topping Platinum trim level, which can be had in either black or dark brown semi-aniline leather in all rows. Interior panels are covered in wood veneers with stripes that Cadillac playfully refers to as a Zebra pattern.

2023 Cadillac Escalade-V

2023 Cadillac Escalade-V.

How's the Escalade-V's tech?

This fully loaded Escalade doesn't skimp on the features, with goodies like heated, ventilated and massaging front seats, a 38-inch panel incorporating three OLED screens (including a 16.9-inch central touchscreen), and an augmented reality overlay for navigation all standard. If you don't feel like constantly listening to the roar of the supercharged V8, there's also a 36-speaker AKG audio system, which will likely sound better than many home theater setups. Cadillac's Super Cruise hands-free driving technology, with trailering support and automatic lane changes, will be available further down the line, as a $2,500 option.

How's the Escalade-V's towing?

While most people will not likely tow in their Escalade-V, Cadillac says the super truck is capable of hauling roughly 7,000 pounds, or about 1,200 pounds less than the most capable standard Escalade.

How economical is the Escalade-V?

The Escalade-V has not yet been tested by the EPA, but for reference, the CT5-V Blackwing with this engine is rated at 15 mpg combined. Expect the Escalade-V's number to be well below that. In other words, if you have to ask, this isn't the vehicle for you.

Edmunds says

These are the last days of monstrous gas-guzzling SUVs, folks. If you have too much money and want a nice middle ground between donating to charity and literally burning hundred dollar bills to light your cigars, this is it.

2023 Cadillac Escalade-V

2023 Cadillac Escalade-V.