Nothing exceeds like excess. From the gratuitous cinematic destruction of Michael Bay’s blockbusters to the finned land yachts of the ’50s, America has spent most of the post-war era thumping the concept that more equals better. Clearly, it’s not stopping now, for the Cadillac Escalade IQ has just been unveiled. It’s a massive electric luxury SUV that’s bigger, more ostentatious, and more luxurious than anything else in its segment. Take that, Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV.
Think of the Escalade IQ a bit like an ultra-luxe version of the Hummer EV SUV, and you’re not far off. After all, we’re talking about 750 horsepower, a truly enormous footprint, four-wheel steering, and more than 200 kWh of claimed battery pack capacity. It’s a violently American electric highway cruiser that can still dash from a dead stop to 60 mph in a claimed five seconds. Charging is facilitated by an 800-volt architecture, meaning this behemoth can take full advantage of 350 kW charging stations. With a pack this big and a claimed range of 450 miles, it’s going to need them. Oh, and let’s not gloss over how Cadillac claims this thing can tow 8,000 pounds. That’s a proper full-size SUV number, and one that should help with launching the boat, hauling the horses short distances, or whatever rich people do with a trailer hitch.
Admittedly, the Escalade IQ isn’t the most handsome SUV in Cadillac’s lineup, but perhaps it doesn’t have to be. Maybe, like the BMW i7, it’s more about making a statement than being conventionally attractive. The front end is busier than a Starbucks during the morning rush, the rear end is weirdly slabby, and although the bodyside surfacing is mostly alright, details like the floating pillars are overwrought. The regular Escalade looks as intimidating as Mike Tyson in a tuxedo, while this just doesn’t have the same boxy, monolithic presence. Still, how ’bout them 24-inch wheels?
The real draw of the Escalade IQ is on the inside, where substantial real estate is dedicated to keeping you as divorced from the driving experience as you could possibly imagine. The driver gets an ultra-wide screen covering gauges and infotainment, there’s another screen down in the center console for ancillary vehicle functions, and the front seat passenger gets their own screen for the sake of entertainment. Cadillac claims 55 diagonal inches of total screen space, which is more than the amount of TV I have in my flat. Needless to say, it’s for the best that the Super Cruise hands-free Level 2 advanced driver assistance system tracks the driver’s eyes. Sadly, there is no word on Apple CarPlay availability, which is something customers are sure to balk at if it’s absent. After all, how many new Escalade owners have you met that use Android phones?
In back, passengers can be treated to available new executive-class rear seats that have more in common with a full-size Range Rover than a Chevrolet Tahoe. With a fixed console, yet another set of screens, and all the comfort functions you could shake a stick at, there really isn’t a bad seat in this house-sized luxury EV. Speaking of rear seat entertainment, imagine how a Nolan flick would sound pumped through the available 40-speaker AKG Studio Reference sound system. A 36-speaker AKG system is available on mid-range, which is still an absurd number of speakers to have in a car, while base trims make do with a still impressive-sounding 19-speaker AKG system. Oh, and in case cargo room is a concern, the Escalade IQ also has a proper frunk.
The Escalade IQ marks the third time Cadillac has used those two little letters in a different pronunciation — Lyriq doesn’t end in the same sound as Celestiq, and neither of those end in “IQ” pronounced like the test. However, all three electric Cadillacs thus far have shown a brighter future for Cadillac, a certain ambition to really return to the “Standard of the World” days. With plenty of tech, a Texas-sized footprint, and absurd EV powertrain specs, the Escalade IQ should make itself part of celebrity entourages very, very soon. Expect to see it on sale sometime next year with a starting price around $130,000.
(Photo credits: Cadillac)
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