Cadillac’s New Escalade V is an XXL-Sized Rocketship
With 682 horseys, it’s one galloping Clydesdale
Written by Howard Walker
November 30, 2022
Anyone considering the purchase of a 2023 Cadillac Escalade V-Series should maybe start penning heartfelt apologies to tolerant neighbors before signing on the dotted line.
How come? Simply press the “start” button and listen to the explosion from the tailpipes. It’s the sound of a small nuclear bomb detonating. Or an entire grid-full of NASCAR stock cars coming to life.
Yes, it’s loud. OK, obnoxiously loud. Loud enough to send household pets and small children scurrying for cover. Loud enough to set-off pretty much every car alarm within a quarter-mile radius.
It’s what happens when you shoe-horn a hand-built 682-horsepower 6.2-liter supercharged V8 under the hood of the latest XXL-sized Escalade. And hook it up to exhaust pipes – muffler just isn’t the right word here – roughly the diameter of storm drains.
Here the V in V-Series stands for Velocity, or maybe Vicious, or even Velociraptor. Anyone who saw Jurassic Park will know how vocal those puppies could be. Cadillac calls it “luxury that roars.”
Alas, what we have here is essentially a $151,000 final hurrah for a fast-dying breed of gas-chugging overweight leviathans that use insane amounts of horsepower to go very fast.
It’s a last hurrah because Cadillac is totally committed to going fully-electric by 2030, by which time 6,290-pound V8-propelled honkers that average 12 miles per gallon will go the way of the Velociraptor.
But in the meantime, they sure are a whole lot of fun. How much fun? From a stoplight, this hunk of fuel-imbibing love can slingshot from standstill to 60mph in a mere 4.3 seconds.
For reference, the original supercar – Lamborghini‘s V12-engined Muira from 1966 – rocketed from rest to 60mph in, er, 7.0 seconds. Our Escalade V would have chewed it up, spit it out, and left it in its considerable wake.
What it offers is an excuse for Escalade lovers to buy the ultimate, the true performance flagship, the best-of-the-best. They’ll also get plenty of bragging rights pulling up to the valet-park line, with no doubt a blip of the throttle to let the world know you’ve arrived.
Thankfully there’s also a whole lot of substance behind this style and sound, courtesy of the petrolhead-wizards at Caddy’s V Department, who have miraculously made this Escalade V a blast to drive.
They’ve equipped it with GM‘s fourth-generation Magnetic Ride Control adaptive air suspension, which seemingly defies physics and lets the towering V corner like it’s running on rails.
And with monster Brembo brakes at each corner, it stops with the urgency and immediacy of hurling a ship’s anchor out the back window.
Yes, they could have made the suspension as stiff as a board to achieve tighter, flatter cornering, and ruined any ride comfort in the process. But amazingly, while the ride is firm, it’s surprisingly smooth and supple.
Which makes it a terrific long-distance road warrior, with all that massive power making short work of catapulting past slower traffic and rocketing out of interstate on-ramps. Spot the gap in the traffic ahead, squeeze the throttle, and you’re there.
No, the new V will never be as responsive or agile as a Mercedes-AMG GSL63, BMW Alpina XB7, Audi SQ7, or supercharged Range Rover. But loyal Escalade lovers won’t care.
What they might be disappointed by, however, is the Escalade V’s rather tame appearance. Apart from slight, hardly noticeable changes to the front and rear fascias, plus a smattering of V-Series badging, this 682-hp bad boy looks all but identical to the 420-hp Escalade Sport Platinum, priced at a non-trivial $40,000 less.
As for choices, the new V comes with either standard wheelbase, or as a long-wheelbase ESV (add $3,000). Both have three-row seating.
Of course, no one needs an Escalade with this much power, and this much noise. The inevitable all-electric Escalade V will no doubt be quicker, nonpolluting, and totally silent.
Until then, buckle-up, and enjoy this fire-breathing dinosaur. And remember to apologize profusely to the neighbors.