Finally, the Cadillac Escalade V-Series is officially coming! Cadillac just announced that its flagship SUV is getting the V-Series treatment for the first time and provided us a full set of exterior photos. It’s still playing its cards close with the details of the performance model, including not telling us what’s under the hood. Let’s dive into what we do know so far about the 2023 Cadillac Escalade V-Series.
“The V-Series designation is reserved for vehicles that encompass the peak of Cadillac performance, bold, distinguished design, and innovative technology,” the automaker says, forgetting we already know that Blackwing sits above V-Series, at least in the lineup of the CT4 and CT5.
— Cadillac (@Cadillac) January 20, 2022
Cadillac gave us an audio clip of the punchier Escalade, and it sounds like a rip-roaring V8 has been packed under the hood. It’s expected to be GM’s 6.2L supercharged V8 known as the LT4, the same engine used in the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, where it makes 668 hp and 659 lb-ft of torque. It’s possible the engine might be detuned so that the CT5-V’s Blackwing badge remains the most powerful in the lineup, but we can safely expect it to boast more than the 420 hp that the current 6.2L Escalade V8 offers.
Beyond that V8, the GM parts bin holds a world of possibilities. Other potential engines include the 455 hp LT1 from the Chevrolet Camaro SS or the 490 hp LT2 as used in the Corvette. As impressive as those engines are in their usual chassis, they don’t seem like enough of an upgrade for the first Escalade V-Series.
As much as we had hoped for the 4.2L Cadillac Blackwing V8 when rumors first began to circulate of an Escalade V, that impressive DOHC powerplant has been declared dead. While the 670 hp 5.5L LT6 DOHC V8 bound for the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, the last of GM’s probable engines, is a racing-derived engine that may be a bit too high-strung for a heavyweight 3-row SUV.
Most likely, the big SUV will get GM’s 10-speed automatic, the same gearbox that’s attached to its gas and diesel engines. V-specific tuning for quicker shifts along with some additional cooling is likely, while we expect that the chassis – including Cadillac’s excellent magnetic ride control suspension – will see some stiffening as well.
What the 2023 Escalade V-Series Photos Reveal
What can we tell for certain from Cadillac’s photos? We can spot the revised front bumper that gets a mesh grille with gloss black trim that looks similar to Escalade Sport Platinum. Look closely and the lower front fascia has been opened up with a new mesh grille of its own and Cadillac has added a spoiler to the front lip and larger ducts alongside the accent LEDs.
V-Series badges are fitted to the doors as well as the hatch, and the rear bumper has been restyled to look more like a diffuser. The red brake calipers and huge rotors fill the V-specific wheels.
While Cadillac has gone to great lengths to obscure the tire size they appear to be the same 275/50R22 Bridgestone Alenza A/S 02 tires fitted to a host of other GM pickups and SUVs on that size wheel. Based on the TPC Spec number on the sidewall – a General Motors code that marks GM-approved rubber – these are all-season tires, not high-performance tires.
The tire choice could be solely for pre-production and these advanced photos, but it is also a sign that the 2023 Cadillac Escalade V-Series is more about noise and power than about the handling prowess of the V-Series cars. Buyers of the super-SUV are probably fine with that; track days aren’t more fun with seven passengers, but they are more fun when your ultra-luxurious tow rig can accelerate as quickly as the Corvette you brought along behind it to the track.
Coming Soon: 2023 Cadillac Escalade V-Series
Beyond those tidbits and our educated analysis, Cadillac says to wait. More information about the 2023 Cadillac Escalade V-Series, including the technical and interior details, will be revealed this spring.
For now, we’ll just keep listening to that amazing exhaust growl and dreaming of smokey burnouts in this massive luxury people hauler.