The current run of non-Blackwing Cadillac V models had us prepared for the 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V to be a somewhat quicker version of the full-size luxury SUV, but nothing too crazy. As it turns out, it's a lot quicker. In fact, it has the most powerful gas-powered engine GM has available: a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 making 682 horsepower and 653 pound-feet of torque.
The engine is closely related to the engine from the CT5-V Blackwing's engine, but with a few key upgrades. It has a bigger 2.65-liter supercharger, plus it has a forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods, forged aluminum pistons, an aluminum head and titanium valves. It's also hand-assembled in Bowling Green, Ky., like the CT5-V Blackwing's engine, and a little sports car by the name of Corvette.
The engine is paired with a specially calibrated version of GM's ten-speed automatic transmission. Not only that, but the Escalade-V comes with a full-time all-wheel-drive system, rather than the traditional two- and four-wheel-drive setups used by GM's full-size SUVs. It has a default power split of 50/50 front/rear, but can adjust that as needed. It also has an electronically-controlled rear limited-slip differential. With the SUV's launch control function, Cadillac claims it will get to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and will finish the quarter-mile in 12.74 seconds at 110 mph.
Cadillac has also upgraded the chassis. It features steering and suspension tuned for sportier driving, and it comes standard with the combination magnetic shocks and air springs. Up front, the Escalade-V has six-piston Brembo brakes. Also, while the Escalade-V is much quicker, it still maintains much of its capability. It still has a provision for a tow hitch and can handle 7,000 pounds on a trailer. And if you need maximum people and cargo space, it's available not just as the standard-wheelbase model, but as the stretched ESV version.
The V is visually quite subtle. It has a unique front fascia, as well as a rear bumper with a diffuser design and quad exhaust tips. It also features 22-inch wheels and dark trim all around. The interior is the same as the top-spec Platinum, available in Black or Dark Auburn with Zebra Wood trim and full leather upholstery. Being a Platinum model inside, it also gets the full OLED displays measuring a total of more than 38 inches plus a 36-speaker sound system. One of the few options available for the Escalade-V is Super Cruise, which will be offered later in the year and has automatic lane change and towing functions.
The Escalade-V will go on sale near the end of this summer. It will also be the most expensive Escalade with an eye-watering price of $149,990 with destination. Then again, it's GM's most monstrous production V8 yet in arguably the company's most luxurious model.
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