When the sporty Cadillac Escalade-V was announced in May with a $149,990 price tag, it became the brand’s most expensive model ever.
Now it almost seems cheap.
Cadillac has since unveiled the Celestiq electric four-door fastback car that’s going on sale next year for over $300,000.
It’s also raised the base price of the Escalade-V to $152,490, which now includes a mandatory three-year subscription to GM’s OnStar telematics service but could probably hike it up a bit more without losing any sweat.
Customers have been buying Escalade-Vs as quickly as they show up at dealers, even with tens of thousands of dollars of markup added on.
If that seems absurd, it’s appropriate, because the Escalade-V is one of the most ridiculous SUVs ever built.
The full-size truck is powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 rated at 682 horsepower that makes it the most powerful Cadillac ever built.
Did I mention it seats seven and is available in an extended wheelbase Escalade-V ESV model?
It also features a computer-controlled suspension system with air springs that does its best to make it handle like a sports car while also offering a plush ride on demand. But it's better at the latter. There’s only so much you can do with over 6,000 pounds of high-riding metal, whether the 7,000-pound trailer the Escalade-V is capable of towing is attached.
A set of high-performance Brembo brakes tucked inside its enormous 22-inch wheels do their best to slow it down, but making it go fast in the first place is the fun part.
A launch control feature lets you hold the brake pedal and floor the accelerator simultaneously as it revs the engine, then uses a traction management system to put the power down through a full-time all-wheel drive when you release the brakes and rocket the Escalade-V to 60 mph in less than four and a half seconds while waking up everyone in what’s probably a square-mile radius. Its top speed has been wisely restricted to 125 mph.
The exhaust system is never less than thunderous and absolutely ear-splitting when the Escalade-V is set to its most aggressive V Mode, which cranks up the volume and drivetrain response.
Considering the standard Escalade with its 420-horsepower V-8 is no slouch, there’s not much of a point to the Escalade-V aside from kicks, but it definitely delivers them at the rate of 13 miles per gallon of premium gasoline combined, so factor that into your monthly budget.
Anyone playing in this league probably won’t be too worried about that, and Cadillac admits it's just as interested in the prestige that comes with the Escalade-V as its performance.
Buyers can rest assured they’ll get it, or at least admiring glances. Certainly the Escalade-V painted the same $1,225 Radiant Red Tintcoat as our test car turned heads even when it was parked with the engine shut off.
It’s otherwise loaded with every feature, including a 360-degree camera system and rear seat entertainment screens. But one thing you can’t get right now is Cadillac’s Super Cruise hands-free driving system, which has seen its availability delayed by the ongoing semiconductor shortage affecting the automobile industry.
Money can’t buy you everything, apparently, but it can still buy a pretty cool toy if you’ve got enough of it.
2023 Cadillac Escalade-V
Base price: $152,490
Type: 7-passenger, 4-door, all-wheel-drive SUV.
Engine: 6.2-liter supercharged V-8
Power: 682 hp, 653 lb-ft torque
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
MPG: 11 city/16 hwy