A track-capable Cadillac Escalade? Are these words that belong together? GM has apparently decided they do, because the company is on the cusp of launching a sporty variant of its plus-sized luxury SUV, as these spy photos of camouflaged prototypes reveal. An Escalade-V model has been rumored for years, and now these shots lend those rumors some muscle.
While we don’t know for sure whether these test vehicles represent a Cadillac Escalade-V or something else, but there’s no denying the trucks pictured here are set up for spicier performance than regular Escalades. There are the quad exhaust outlets where normal Escalades wear a pair of faux openings; the bodywork is new and apparently quite grille-heavy in front; and the wheel designs resemble the webby, thin-spoked rims worn by Cadillac’s V-series cars.
Were Cadillac to extend the V treatment from the CT4-V and CT5-V sedans to the Escalade, we’d expect a powerful V-8 engine to be part of the kit. GM’s supercharged LT4 V-8 (which has been offered in previous Cadillac V series models, as well as the previous-generation Chevy Corvette Z06) is a possibility, with at least 650 hp on tap. Most likely, Cadillac would spring for the newer version of the LT4 that powers the CT5-V Blackwing and makes 668 hp and 659 lb-ft of torque. For now, the Escalade’s most powerful engine option is a 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8; a six-cylinder diesel also is offered, and plug-in and electric versions are coming in the next few years.
You might be scratching your head, thinking, “who was asking for a performance-oriented Cadillac Escalade?” But you should know that an Escalade-V would not necessarily attempt to beat all comers on track, though with the new Escalade’s independent rear suspension it should handle better than the previous-gen model. Think of it more like a more athletic Escalade with more power, something to go up against the likes of Mercedes-AMG’s GLS63, BMW’s Alpina XB7, and so on.
With Escalade pricing now reaching well into six-figure territory, there are clearly buyers with the means who might be enticed to spend even more on beefier ‘slades. (GM is also rumored to be introducing supercharger kits for its full-size SUVs, apparently in response to demands for more power.) Look for whatever these prototypes are to break cover sometime in the next year or so—either as late 2022 models or for the 2023 model year. From the looks of these photos, the sportier Escalade would be available in both regular and long-wheelbase (ESV) forms.