After five generations, the Cadillac Escalade finally has a performance-focused version thanks to the launch of the new V model. However, the brand has apparently been toying with the idea of a sporty variant of the big SUV for a while. One of them even would have had a massive engine.

"At one point we even talked about a 16-cylinder Escalade," Escalade Product Manager David Schiavone told GM Authority. Unfortunately, Schiavone offered no other details like when this project was considered or how far it progressed before dropping the idea.

Gallery: 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V First Drive Review

It's also not clear where Cadillac was going to source the 16-cylinder engine. One possibility could have been adapting the 13.6-liter V16 from the 2003 Sixteen concept (pictured below) that had a claimed output of 1,000 horsepower (746 kilowatts).

2003 Cadillac Sixteen Concept

Cadillac also offered a V16-powered model in the 1930s. It was the brand's flagship product and was available in several body styles.

Schiavone indicated that the 16-cylinder Escalade wasn't the only time that Cadillac considered a performance version of the SUV. "I would be lying if I said we never discussed it or thought about it back then," he said.

The 2023 Escalade-V packs a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that makes 682 hp (509 kW and 653 pound-feet (885 Newton-meters) of torque. A recalibrated 10-speed automatic transmission sends the power to a full-time all-wheel-drive system. Cadillac claims the SUV reaches 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour) in under 4.4 seconds and cover the quarter-mile in 12.74 seconds. The top speed is 124 mph (200 kph).

Escalade-V has an air-ride suspension with the Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 tech. A Sport mode that lowers the vehicle by an inch. The front axle has six-piston Brembo brakes to slow down the big machine.

Inside, there's loads of luxury. Semi-aniline leather covers the seats, and there's wood trim throughout the cabin. Augmented reality navigation is standard, and the Super Cruise advanced driving assist system is an option

Prices for the Escalade-V start at $149,990. The sporty model will also be available in the longer ESV variant for $152,990.

Got a tip for us? Email: