Following the success its new sports sedan, the CTS, Cadillac introduced a factory hot rod in 2004 called the CTS-V. Packing 400 horsepower, it was powerful enough to make people pay attention despite its low-rent interior and controversial styling. Even the infamous, producer-punching American car-hating Jeremy Clarkson took notice.
Now in its third generation, the Cadillac CTS-V is reportedly even better than its German competition like the BMW M5 and the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, and while the current CTS-V is only available in sedan form, the second generation saw both a coupe and a station wagon joint the V family.
As Motor Trend is reporting, the next Cadillac vehicle to wear the V badge probably won’t be either a coupe or a wagon. Supposedly, it’ll be the Escalade, Cadillac’s popular luxury SUV.
If Motor Trend’s report is accurate, the Escalade V will be powered by the 6.2-liter V8 that powers the Cadillac CTS-V and the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. There aren’t any hard numbers on what the engine output would be, but considering that the CTS-V makes 640 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque while the Corvette Z06 makes 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, you can expect more than 600 horsepower and 600 pound-feed of torque.
Since the Escalade already comes with General Motors’ Magnetic Ride Control, the Escalade V wouldn’t probably only need a minor tune to handle the additional power since the magnetic suspension also sees duty in GM’s other high performance vehicles. You can expect it to be lowered slightly and wear more performance-oriented tires since it will need to handle better than the standard Escalade.
Motor Trend also reports that an Escalade wearing the V badge would most likely command a $15,000 premium over a regular Escalade.
While the Cadillac Escalade V is still just a rumor at this point, it sounds entirely plausible.
Between the regular Escalade and the longer wheelbase Escalade ESV, Cadillac sold more than 30,000 Escalades in 2014. That put it well ahead of competitors like the Infiniti QX80, the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, and the Land Rover Range Rover. The crazy thing is, though, neither the much-hyped Cadillac ATS and CTS outsold the Escalade by more than a few units. Clearly, when people want to buy a large luxury SUV, they don’t hesitate to spend more than $75,000 on an Escalade.
If someone likes the GL-Class or the Range Rover but wants something more powerful and performance-focused, though, that person has the option to choose either a GL63 AMG or a Range Rover Supercharged. For now, though, the only Escalade you can get is Cadillac’s 420-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8.
A 650-horsepower Cadillac Escalade V would definitely be a low-volume model, but if people are buying just as many Escalades as they are CTS and ATS sedans, surely the development costs would just as justifiable as they were for the ATS-V and CTS-V. In fact, considering America’s love of SUVs, it wouldn’t be surprising to see an Escalade V turn out to be the most popular V-badged vehicle in Cadillac’s lineup.
Even if the Escalade V would cost $110,000 or more, we also live in a world where Ford has been so successful with the new Explorer that it offers a Platinum trim level for more than $50,000. General Motors has also continually added features and increased the price on the GMC Sierra Denali to the point that a top-of-the-line Denali is within sneezing distance of the Escalade’s base price.
These high-end versions of their respective vehicles are extremely profitable, and if the current Escalade is already selling well at its current price point, why not offer a more expensive version? People will buy it, so why turn down more money?
Johan de Nysschen is a smart man – smart enough to shoot down the idea of a Cadillac pickup truck – so it makes sense that he’d see the benefit of developing a more expensive and exclusive performance version of the Escalade, and even if that additional performance is unlikely to be used by the vast majority of buyers, that doesn’t matter as long as it sells well.
If an Escalade V isn’t already in the works, though, it really should be.