That engine motivates the 5717-pound Escalade fairly well. The Cadillac's 0-to-60 mph time of 6.8 seconds isn't anything to sneeze at, and the surprising top-end shove-the engine's still pulling at 5900 rpm when the rev-limiter cuts in-is almost giggle-inducing for a beast this size. To boot, the Escalade handles surprisingly well for a 5700-pound, live-axle SUV. It's surreal, a little absurd, and strangely fun.
But ultimately, how the Escalade drives isn't that important. Most people won't buy Cadillac's luxo-truck for its road manners. They'll buy it for its looks, for the standard heated and cooled seats, for the available DVD player and Dolby 5.1 surround sound, and, probably, for the shiny-bauble aspect.
With its first Escalade, Cadillac ventured into new territory: the division readily admits that the 1999 model was something of a shot in the dark. Having catapulted the brand out of the nation's retirement communities and into the hands of the bejeweled and fabulous, Cadillac wasn't about to let its newfound success slip away. All but given an entirely new demographic, the division did the most reasonable thing possible: it chased after them with everything it had.