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Cadillac Expanding V-Series – Even as it Drops ATS-V, CTS-V Models

Performance models have “sparked new life.”

by on Sep.20, 2018

Even as it cuts its performance sedans, Cadillac is likely adding replacements, like a CT6-V.

High-performance models have become an essential part of a luxury brand’s line-up, as the BMW M, Mercedes-AMG and Audi S and RS models clearly demonstrate. So, it should be no surprise to see that Cadillac wants to play in the performance segment, as well.

General Motors’ luxury brand plans to expand the availability of its V-Series, Caddy now says, and that will be marked with the arrival of the new CT6-V version of its flagship sedan next spring. That said, two current V-Series models will soon be going away, Cadillac pulling the plug on both the ATS-V and CTS-V in the near future.

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“Beginning with the debut of the CTS-V Sedan in 2004, the V-Series sub-brand sparked new life into Cadillac,” GM’s product development chief Mark Reuss said in a statement. “As a result of the overwhelming response the CT6 V-Sport received when revealed in early 2018, we’ve decided to formally make it a V-Series, signaling the expansion of V-Series.”

If anything, Cadillac has been reluctant to fully embrace the idea of turning its “V” line into a full performance series, along the lines of what its European competitors have done. Virtually every Mercedes-Benz model has a counterpart AMG offering, for example, and that sub-brand now has a unique model of its own, the GT, which is offered in both two and four-door versions. And Audi pioneered the idea of two levels of performance with products like the S7 and RS7 stepping things up from the base A7 model.

(See what we think of the new Cadillac XT4 crossover. Click Here for the story.)

Cadillac has so far offered the “V” treatment on only a handful of products, starting with that original CTS-V model in 2004 and then adding the ATS-V a few years ago. The latter model scored well in performance tests, out-accelerating such stalwarts as the BMW M3, though demand has been modest, at best. The automaker notably has avoided adding “V” versions of its SUV and CUV models, though that could change going forward, based on what product chief Reuss is now suggesting.

The new Cadillac CTS-V is the luxury brand's first production model to break the 200 mph wall.

We got a first good look at the sub-brand’s newest entry at the New York Auto Show last March. It was then being called the CT6 V-Sport, that being code for a toned-down version, similar to an Audi S model. But when the big sedan rolls into U.S. showrooms next spring it will now be called the CT6-V.

Under the hood, meanwhile, it will move forward with the help of the new Caddy Blackwing V-8. The twin-turbo beast displaces 4.2 liters and will punch 550 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque into all four wheels through the new GM 10-speed automatic transmission.

There also will be a slightly lower-performance version, derating the Blackwing to 500 hp and 553 lb-ft. It will power the CT6 Platinum edition.

(Click Here for more about Cadillac going small with new XT4.)

The question is whether Caddy will now begin to add “V” versions of its expanding SUV line-up. The automaker is just rolling out the new XT4 compact CUV. At least initially, all versions will be powered by a 2.0-liter gas engine making 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The XT4 follows the 2016 debut of the bigger XT5 crossover, and the rebirth of the full-size Cadillac Escalade SUV. So far, none have had the “V” treatment.

The new Cadillac ATS-V was supposed to compete with the BMW M3/M4 and the Mercedes-AMG C63.

But several Caddy officials hinted that may be in the works, during conversations with at a first drive of the 2019 Cadillac XT4 in Seattle earlier this month. None of those sources would discuss specific timing but they indicated it will be essential as utility vehicles are set to become the dominant portion of the brand’s future line-up.

Overall, utes account for more than half of U.S. new vehicle sales, and that share continues to grow, especially in the luxury market. Cadillac plans to roll out a new or completely refreshed model every six months for the next three years, and utility vehicles will dominate that offensive.

Caddy isn’t walking away from the passenger car segment, though you won’t see any new coupes for the foreseeable future. And the current four-door line-up will go away, with two new sedans now in the works. That means we can wave goodbye to both the ATS-V and CTS-V. Whether the new models coming will be offered with “V” versions is far from clear, though that does appear a strong possibility.

(To see more about Cadillac cutting sedans from its line-up, Click Here.)

“As we accelerate Cadillac’s growth around the world, our V-Series will continue to expand the brand, enhance its image and attract new buyers to our showroom,” Cadillac President Steve Carlisle said in the brand’s statement.

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2 Responses to “Cadillac Expanding V-Series – Even as it Drops ATS-V, CTS-V Models”

  1. Mark Reuss says:

    Hey Paul- just FYI- not dropping any of the V Series already on the road- just adding CT6 thx mark

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      For our readers: Mssr. Reuss and I continued the conversation on Facebook and here’s the follow-up:

      Paul Eisenstein When the two cars go away shortly, Mark, you will, and note I did not mark a timeline. But FM has made clear (starting with Johan) that the two models are being replaced. So I’m not sure where the error…

      Mark Reuss Fair enough

      Paul Eisenstein Thanks, Mark…I can see where your concern was. I hope you see the way I worded my original piece. Meanwhile, I made sure that your comment and my reply was on TDB so readers can further judge and comment. THANK you for your input.