The 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V is about to begin customer deliveries. With it, owners will lay claim to the most powerful engine-powered SUV General Motors has ever built, with 682 horsepower and 653 lb-ft of torque. More to the point, it’s one of the most powerful vehicles GM has ever built, period, even eclipsing today’s CT5-V Blackwing and upcoming C8 Corvette Z06. And at the moment, there’s nothing else on the market quite like it. And it’s likely to stay that way.
“There is nothing else like this in the industry in our segment. As far as benchmarking goes, we really looked internally,” said Mike Symons, Cadillac Escalade Chief Engineer to MC&T. “What is Blackwing doing from a performance standpoint? How are we going to define this vehicle for exactly what it is and put those requirements in place and develop to that?”
“This in our mind is a one-of-a-kind and the opportunity to be the only one in the segment that has this kind of vehicle,” Symons continued.
“If you look at what Escalade has done the last 20 years, we’ve been number one in the segment for 17, 18 of those 20 years,” said Dave Schiavone, Escalade Global Product Manager to MC&T. “We understand the segment, and the cars that are in our segment, but we lead the segment.”
2023 Cadillac Escalade-V: Engineering Details
While the idea of a supercharged Cadillac Escalade-V can be found as far back as 2007, and while such a program was put into proposal before based on previous reports over the years, we here at Muscle Cars & Trucks were the first to accurately report that such a vehicle was coming with the T1-generation model. We also accurately reported its powertrain: a 6.2L LT4 V8 engine. Of which, the Escalade-V utilizes much of the the same LT4 V8 engine as the latest Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, but with a few updates that make it the most powerful iteration yet of any GM vehicle. The 6.2-liter LT4 V8 has been topped with a larger 2.65-liter positive displacement R2650 TVS supercharger (compared to 1.7L on the CT5-V Blackwing) which spins at 13,500 RPM to provide 10 psi (0.7 bar) of boost, and now produces an incredible 682 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 653 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. No other three-row SUV in production can say as much.
In order to handle the extra power, the all-aluminum engine was upgraded with a forged steel crankshaft, forged connecting rods, and forged pistons. Lightweight Titanium valves are also part of the package. A 10-speed automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels, with a final drive ratio of 3.23 and an electronic limited-slip differential. The all-wheel-drive system can split the torque between the front and rear axle depending on the conditions, although it’s never 100% rear-biased as some torque always goes to the front wheels for grip.
Suspension, Brakes, Tires, And Performance
The 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V rides upon the brand’s latest version of Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, which features air springs on all four corners which were made stiffer for better performance. Unique damper settings also make the best use of the independent four-wheel suspension geometry. Finally, six-piston Brembo brakes are fitted to the front wheels, and the 22-inch rims are wrapped in 275/50R22 Bridgestone Aleza all-season tires – the same tires as the standard Escalade.
A new model-specific ride control system called V-Mode allows the driver to tailor the driving experience based on conditions, or just on their mood. Just push the button located above the shifter and V-mode automatically lowers the ride height by 0.8-inches (20mm). A number of other adjustments can be made; the suspension, brakes, engine sound, and pedal feel can individually switch between Tour and Sport modes, while the all-wheel-drive and engine performance can additionally select Snow/Ice mode. Super Cruise will also be a late model year option.
Launch control is also part of V-Mode and helps the 6,217 lb (2,820 kg) SUV reach 60 miles an hour in under 4.4 seconds. Cadillac says that the Escalade-V can do the quarter-mile sprint in 12.74 seconds at 110 mph. That number is likely not similar with a trailer behind, but the Escalade-V can pull 7,000 lb (3,175 kg) and take a payload of 1,330 lb (603 kg). Yes, this 680+ hp SUV comes with a trailer hitch.
2023 Cadillac Escalade-V Price And Availability
The 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V will go on sale this summer, starting at $149,990, and will also be available in extended-wheelbase Escalade-V ESV. It’s expected to be built in limited numbers, supply shortages notwithstanding.
So, for $149,990, one could easily cross-shop a Mercedes G63 AMG (which starts at $156,450 USD), but you’ll miss out on the extra row of seats and extra power of the Escalade-V. Again, this big SUV is in a segment all by itself. Additionally, since we no longer have the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk or Dodge Durango Hellcat, this is the best option we have for an American performance SUV at the moment, and the most powerful three-row SUV that will be on sale when production starts this summer.
Relative to the hierarchy, the starting price for a standard 2022 Cadillac Escalade with 4WD is $80,840, which can quickly increase as more options are outfitted to the vehicle. For the Sport Platinum trim with 4WD, the current starting price is $107,240, and once again, that can increase significantly with options, of course. But this is Cadillac, and it’s best to load it up, lest the neighbors think you can barely afford it.