Making electric versions of iconic nameplates is tricky. Because to retain the loyal fans of a hulking combustion model it’s desirable to retain as much character of the original as possible. And batteries and motors tend to fundamentally alter that. But the job is potentially easier for giant SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade. The V8 car was enormous, crammed full of tech and could tow the moon - the same looks to be true for this electric version, the Escalade IQ.
An electric Escalade was never going to be a modest, bashful SUV, but the numbers associated with this car are truly bonkers. The battery boasts a capacity of more than 200kWh (even a Mercedes EQ S is just 107.8kWh), the range is estimated to be around 450 miles, power and torque are 750hp and 785lb ft, the interior screen is 55-inches pillar to pillar and Cadillac reckons it’ll tow 8,000lbs, or 3.6 tonnes. This doesn’t seem to be so much about saving the planet as saving the Escalade. And that meant making another monster, just with batteries.
But there are some clever parts to the IQ. It’s by the Ultium Platform, the first full-size SUV built on GM’s modular electric toolkit, which features 800-volt charging architecture. Still pretty rare in EVs, 100 miles in 10 minutes plugged in is theoretically possible. It’s also capable of Vehicle-to-Home bidirectional charging, or at least will be from 2025 for those that have the right kit. There’s independent suspension front and rear with fourth-generation magnetic dampers, plus four-wheel steer. There’s not much detail on the eAWD system, but it’s surely got to be a whole heap more responsive than the traditional ways of shuffling power around. And Super Cruise is standard, described by Cadillac as nothing less than the automotive industry’s ‘first true hands-free advanced driver assistance system’.
But the Escalade silliness is still here, too. There’s a Low Ride Mode that drops the air suspension to the deck and means you can arrive in style - and if that’s not attention-grabbing enough, Cadillac Arrival Mode uses the 4WS to move the car diagonally into (or out of) a parking space. Apparently, it ensures easier manouevring while also ‘making a statement’. You don’t say. The wheels are 24-inch diameter, the optional stereo has 40 speakers and 60mph is said to arrive in less than five seconds. Zero emissions and silent the Escalade may now be, but it’s going to make an impact alright.
Cadillac describes the IQ as a ‘reimagined yet familiar Escalade - one that makes a statement without compromises’. Certainly, it’s a sleeker Escalade than we’re used to (the old silhouette wouldn’t have been great for range), albeit one with some recognisable Caddy hallmarks like the lights and the reworking of the grille. And if none of that works, the badges are gigantic. One way or another, the world will know this is an Escalade, albeit the most drastically reinvented one in its entire 25-year history. What didn’t happen to cars in 1998!
John Roth, Global Cadillac VP, said: “This reimagining of an icon marks the next step in Cadillac’s all-electric future. For more than 120 years, Cadillac’s bold innovative spirit has defined American luxury… The Escalade IQ embodies this spirit in the most sophisticated form.” Well it was hardly going to be a modest global unveil of the electric Escalade, was it? Production of the IQ will begin at the newly retooled (to the tune of $2.2bn) Detroit-Hamtramck facility in Michigan, and it’ll be priced at ‘around $130,000’. Bring on that electric Range Rover…
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