GM Throws Down Luxury SUV Gauntlet With $130,000 Cadillac Escalade IQ EV

A big part of General Motor’s future is hinging on this massive, peacocking rig.

(Bloomberg) — Cadillac has unveiled the 2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ, an electric version of its bestselling SUV.

The $130,000 Escalade IQ comes with 450 miles of driving range, Super Cruise driver assistance technology and fresh design language inside and out. Cadillac has declined to specify how much the rig weighs, but a private preview on July 26 in Los Angeles indicated that it could weigh as much or more than the 9,000-pound GMC Hummer EV Pickup. Besides being nearly 19 feet long and eight feet wide, it’s more than six feet tall with a ground clearance of nearly seven inches—slightly larger than the dimensions of the Hummer EV, with less clearance. 

The Escalade IQ looks sleeker than its internal-combustion predecessor—like something that might serve as a tycoon’s town car rather than a truck for towing. It has an elegantly tapered, lower roofline; slim headlights shaped like icicles; and taillights stacked like piano keys. A storage compartment under the hood, where an engine would otherwise be, offers 12 cubic feet of cargo room—space to fit a pair of golf bags. 

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“The design brief was to create the ultimate luxury SUV,” says Robin Krieg, lead exterior designer of the Escalade IQ, who says he sought to reinvent rather than reiterate previous models. “We wanted to get away from the truck-y, box-y feeling. When you close your eyes and dream, this is what an Escalade is.” 

The Future of Cadillac

The Escalade IQ uses a new architecture that  General Motors Co. has devised for its EVs, which the company calls its Ultium Platform. It follows the $58,590 Lyriq and precedes the forthcoming electric Celestiq, a $340,000, four-door hatchback aimed at snagging Rolls-Royce customers. The three represent part of GM’s effort to catch Tesla in the EV segment while revitalizing the Cadillac brand. GM  has said it expects $50 billion in revenue from its EVs by 2025. 

Read more:  GM’s $130,000 Escalade Is Big, Brash, Expensive — and Green

Much of the Escalade IQ’s engineering work focused on creating a smooth ride for its passengers in the gargantuan rig. Twenty-four-inch wheels and 35-inch tires propelled by front- and rear-drive motors work in an eAWD system. Magnetic Ride Control and Adaptive Air Ride Suspension come standard; the latter lowers the vehicle two inches or raises it one inch at the press of a button. A Low Ride Mode enables the vehicle to be driven at low speeds with the suspension fully lowered, as might be needed for entering a parking garage—or merely to show off. 

Two additional modes will especially suit the red-carpet types likely to step out from its confines: Four-wheel-steering helps navigate tight spaces by reducing the turning radius up to 6 1/2 feet; an optional Arrival Mode moves the SUV diagonally into and out of parking spots while the drivers’ hands are giving input on the steering wheel. The motion is similar to the crab-walk function that allows the Hummer EV to move sideways across loose dirt or sand—scampering that’s likely used most often to impress neighbors. 

“It’s a little bit of peacocking,” Krieg says. 

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The Escalade IQ produces more than 200 kilowatt-hours of available energy and will charge to 100 miles of range in 10 minutes when using 800-volt DC fast-charging, according to company estimates. It boasts 750 horsepower, 785 pound-feet of torque and a zero-to-60 mph sprint in fewer than five seconds. Cadillac rates its towing capacity at 8,000 pounds, but its polished exterior, comfortable interior and hefty price tag make it better suited for Hollywood Boulevard than heavy lifting. 

On the inside, a curved 55-inch LED display dominates the dashboard and offers infotainment that includes Google Maps, Google Play, hands-free communication, traffic updates and space for downloaded apps.

The executive second-row seating package includes two pilot chairs behind the front seats, tray tables that can be stowed, 12.6-inch personal entertainment screens, a rear command center, wireless phone charging, USB-C ports, headrest speakers and heated seats that provide massages. A third row of seats can be used to bring the vehicle’s passenger total to seven or rendered flat for additional storage.

Cadillac offers no leather options for interior seating: The Escalade IQ is lined with synthetic materials  made to proffer the feel of leather. (When asked whether pricing issues, consumer preferences, supply chain constraints or other factors might have contributed to the decision to forgo a leather option, a spokesperson for the brand cited only concerns about “sustainability.”)

A panoramic fixed-glass roof comes standard, with no alternative options; it’s tinted and treated with a UV-filtering film that reduces heat in the cabin. An internal sunshade that clips into the headliner to provide additional cover is available. 

The Jewel in the Crown

Cadillac has long led in the large luxury SUV segment, registering roughly a quarter of market share thanks to its highly profitable Escalade sales. (The average transaction price for an Escalade is $112,478, whereas the average price of vehicles sold across the Cadillac brand is $70,000, according to research from Cox Automotive.) In the second quarter of 2023, Escalade sales jumped to 7,265 vehicles, a 35% gain over the same period last year.

The company has struggled producing its first electric SUV, the compact Lyriq, and has delivered just 5,000 total since it debuted in 2020, even as GM brass boasted last year that they could produce 200,000 annually. The Escalade IQ’s developers point out that it will be built at a separate plant, with a different production plan. “We have certainly learned from other other programs,” Mandi Damman, Escalade IQ’s chief engineer, said at the preview in Los Angeles.

Production of the Cadillac Escalade IQ will commence in summer 2024. 

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