The growing demand for SUVs in the 1990s prompted Cadillac to shift its focus from building luxury sedans to SUVs. The Escalade marked the automaker’s debut in the SUV segment in 1999, positioning itself alongside rivals like the Range Rover, Lincoln Navigator, and Lexus LX. By elevating the extraordinary, the Escalade adopted a no-compromise approach to luxury that earned it widespread praise and a prominent place as one of the most lavish and exceptional SUVs in the segment.
Drivers across the country have spent the last two decades experiencing the hype for themselves, if not from behind the wheel of a new model, then by finding one of the industry’s most incredible hidden gems––a used Cadillac Escalade for sale. This ever-present excitement for the Escalade is a worthy accomplishment, with many rivals stale and forgotten after hitting their peaks years ago. Fortunately, the Escalade is the exception, as Cadillac continuously transforms and takes the SUV to new heights. Today, that transformation pushes the Escalade from its luxury roots to an SUV with the V treatment and an unabashed need for speed.
The V Treatment: Cadillac’s V-Series
Cadillac’s introduction of the Escalade-V in 2023 is a welcome surprise, but the moniker isn’t new to the Cadillac lineup. Known as the “V treatment,” Cadillac introduced the V-Series in 2004 to establish the automaker’s street credentials by proving that even its luxury lineup had a penchant for speed. “From the very beginning, Cadillac’s V-Series represented the ultimate expression of our design, technology, and performance. It introduced an entirely new breed of performance-minded customers to Cadillac showrooms and helped transform the brand’s traditional image into one with different facets for customers’ varying driving tastes,” GM said in a 2019 press release.
From its inception, V-Series models have delivered a distinct driving experience enhanced by Cadillac’s signature luxury. This blend of opulence and performance debuted on the first-generation CTS-V in 2004, a model capable of launching from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds with its 400-horsepower V8 engine. The CTS-V also introduced unique V-Series design elements, like the dark exterior trim and mesh grille found on subsequent models like the XLR-V, STS-V, and ATS-V.
Every new addition to the V-Series family marked a progression in Cadillac’s ingenuity and its ability to deliver high-performance models that were engaging, dynamic, and luxurious. We see this progression in the 2006 XLR-V and how its supercharged 443-horsepower V8 engine set a precedent for future models, like the 2006 STS-V and its 469-horsepower V8. A decade later, the trend continued with the 2016 ATS-V boasting a 464-horsepower turbocharged V6 that delivered a top speed of nearly 190 mph.
These models defined every aspect of the V-Series family and Cadillac’s reputation for building exclusive speed demons capable of taking your breath away with a light step on the accelerator pedal. This reputation took on a new meaning in 2019 when Cadillac introduced the CT6-V Blackwing with its 4.2L twin-turbocharged V8 engine that delivered 550 horsepower. For Cadillac, the CT6-V set a new benchmark for the V-Series family and gave drivers a taste of what was to come.
The V-Series Lives On: Meet the 2023 Escalade-V
Cadillac promised that the 2019 CT6-V was only the beginning of a new wave of performance and luxury. The promise seemed grandiose, even for an American automotive pioneer who had spent decades trying to establish itself as an internationally acclaimed luxury brand alongside the likes of Rolls-Royce. However, Cadillac proved its naysayers wrong by shattering the glass ceiling again with the stunning 2023 Escalade-V, a celebration of Cadillac’s 120th anniversary in the industry.
The V-Series Heartbeat
The Escalade-V takes the V-Series to a new level of capability, sophistication, and opulence. The ever-popular luxury SUV is given new life, starting with the supercharged 6.2L V8 engine and ten-speed automatic transmission under the hood. The supercharged V8 pays homage to the V-Series’ speed-defining heritage and ups the ante with a power output of 682 horsepower and 653 lb-ft of torque, making the Escalade-V the most powerful SUV in Cadillac history.
Cadillac makes harnessing the Escalade-V’s power second nature by outfitting the SUV with a full-time all-wheel drive system, an exclusive suspension, and unique software calibrations. Standard features like Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 and the Air Ride Adaptive Suspension work with the V-Series calibrated software to tailor the ride to the terrain, absorbing every bump in the road to optimize handling and ride quality. As a result, Cadillac makes it feel like you’re riding on a cloud, at least a cloud traveling incredibly fast.
The Escalade-V’s smooth ride is only part of the equation, with Cadillac ensuring you have everything needed to control your experience in the driver’s seat and stop the luxury SUV on a dime. Exclusive Six-Piston Brembo front brakes guarantee as much and further distinguish the V-Series SUV with Edge Red brake calipers that give it a sport-like aesthetic. From the driver’s seat, you also have complete control over the Escalade-V’s handling via the Selectable V-Mode system.
The exclusive V-Mode system offers customizable driver settings that let you tailor the SUV’s performance. For example, tailoring the steering and how the brake pedal feels is easy with Tour or Sport modes. You can also lower the suspension for improved aerodynamics and activate the exhaust valves with Stealth, Tour, or Sport modes to enjoy the throaty V8 growl that’s defined nearly every V-Series over the last decade.
These performance-focused features earn the Escalade-V its V-Series badge and give it every opportunity to shine. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much as the Escalade-V promises a launch from 0 to 60 mph in under 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 110 mph during a quarter-mile run. The SUV puts the power to the pavement, a feat no other luxury SUV has yet to deliver.
The Escalade-V wouldn’t be a Cadillac without its signature design or opulent interior. Fortunately, the SUV lives up to its luxurious roots and blends a bold exterior design with a lavish interior replete with premium details and cutting-edge technology. These features run the spectrum, from premium leather seating and massaging front seats to 38 inches of curved OLED displays that put any 4K television to shame. Among these displays is a 16.9-inch color information screen that offers wireless smartphone integration, Natural Voice Recognition, and various in-vehicle apps.
The 2023 Escalade-V also introduces a new wave of driver-assistance technology. Its 14.2-inch Augmented Reality display is revolutionary and projects a live image of the area in front of the Escalade, overlaying navigational cues as needed. Cadillac also outfits the Escalade-V with Super Cruise, the industry’s first hands-free driver-assist technology that works when trailering and will eventually be able to automatically change lanes as needed.
When “E” Stands for “Exclusive” and “Escalade”
Cadillac works diligently to earn a place at the table alongside internationally acclaimed luxury brands like Rolls-Royce. While upcoming models like the hand-built and custom-order Celestiq put Cadillac in the same realm as European luxury brands, models like the 2023 Escalade-V give the automaker more street credit on American soil. The Escalade-V marks the 18th year for the V-Series family and celebrates the automaker’s 120th anniversary in the industry, an undeniably impressive legacy.
With the V treatment guaranteeing jaw-dropping performance and the Cadillac badge synonymous with next-level luxury, it’s only fitting the Escalade-V has a starting price of $149,990. This sky-high price tag proves that “E” not only stands for “Escalade” but also “exclusivity” since Escalade fans will have to dig deep into their pockets to afford the latest in the V-Series family. Either way, Cadillac is cornering the market with models like the Escalade-V, proving the automaker shouldn’t be pigeonholed as a luxury brand but as one that can also meet any need for speed.