The 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V, at $149,000, offers more power and profit

PHOENIX – When it comes to luxury nameplates, BMW has long bet on the 3 Series sedan, touted as the ultimate driving machine, while the E-Class sedan carried the torch for Mercedes-Benz and the RX crossover was a mine gold for Lexus.

Cadillac, feeling some heat in the light-truck market on its 120th anniversary, is ramping up the volume of its undisputed crown jewel.

Large luxury SUVs are moving upmarket in terms of price, content and performance – see the 2022 Range Rover with optional third-row seats – and new entrants such as the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, which may exceed $100,000 is rushing, so the Cadillac Escalade is fortifying itself with an extreme performance model.

The 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V, with a supercharged 6.2-litre V8 engine developing 682 horsepower and 653 lb-ft of torque, is a 3-tonne luxury SUV that goes from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 4.4 seconds.

Priced at $149,000 including shipping, it will become the most expensive Cadillac on the market, delivering more profit to General Motors, even if volume will be low. The Escalade-V will also be available as an extended-wheelbase ESV, a variant that accounts for about 30 percent of the Escalade’s volume, priced at $152,990.

The Escalade is Cadillac’s first utility vehicle to wear a V-Series badge, aimed at taking on BMW’s M performance brand or Mercedes-Benz’s AMG division.

Cadillac launched the V sub-brand with the 2004 CTS-V sedan, which had a 400 horsepower V-8, and customers became the brand’s main advocates.

One of GM President Mark Reuss’ main requests of the team developing the all-new Escalade was to make sure it would turn heads and sound like a V-Series.

Based on research, Cadillac officials are confident that there is nothing quite like the Escalade-V in the three-row luxury SUV market today. Along with the latest Range Rover, powered by a BMW-built 4.4-litre, 523-hp twin-turbo V8, the closest rivals would be BMW’s Alpina XB7 and Mercedes-AMG GLS63, although some analysts rank the latter two models as mid-size SUVs.

A common question, given the success of the Escalade over the years, is what took so long to bring a V-Series variant to market? Cadillac officials say changing business priorities, rigorous development requirements and the pandemic have all played a role in the timing.

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