When General Motors flagship brand launched its then-new ATS sedan several years ago, it sounded a warning shot to competitors with an audacious ad campaign dubbed “Cadillac v the World.” In hindsight, it might have wanted to wait a bit, because the all-new Caddy CTS-V promises to be the true world-beater.
Set to debut at next month’s Detroit Auto Show, the third-generation, 2016 Cadillac CTS-V will not only be larger and more lavishly equipped, but it will also deliver an awesome upgrade in performance. The new supercharged 6.2-liter LT-1 V-8 will punch out a neck-snapping 640 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque.
To put that into perspective, that’s 84-hp more than the Gen-2 CTS-V and a mere 10 ponies less than the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
The most powerful production model ever to bear the Cadillac crest, the new V sedan will launch from 0 to 60 in a mere 3.7 seconds. It also becomes the first Caddy road car to ever break the 200 mph top speed barrier.
The new CTS-V will be loaded with a variety of features meant to appeal to those who might want to take it out on the track for some weekend adventures. That includes a new Launch Control system, an electronic limited-slip differential, a track-tuned magnetic ride control system, massive Brembo brakes and optional Recaro racing seats.
That said, this is no Chevrolet Camaro Z28, designed primarily for the track. The 2016 CTS-V has plenty of creature comforts, including 20-way adjustable power seats, an audiophile Bose sound system, a wireless cellphone charger, 4G LTE WiFi connectivity, and even a new curbside camera to keep you from scraping up those Michelin sport tires and wheels.
“It’s always been our objective from the beginning to have a bi-model car,” explained Tony Roma, the program’s chief engineer.
(Caddy’s new ATS-V is the start of the luxury brand’s next chapter says Caddy’s new boss. Click Here for more.)
The first-generation CTS-V came as a surprise when it was launched back in 2004 – delivering a then-impressive 400 horsepower. The second-generation model took that up to 556-hp. There’ve been a lot of rumors about just how far Caddy could go with the 2016 model, and the performance numbers are the real surprise.
The new V delivers a full 80 more horsepower than the latest BMW M5, and 90 more than the new Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG. If Caddy’s stopwatch is accurate, it will also undercut the M5 by about 0.4 seconds, 0 to 60, although the E63 will cross the beam a tenth of a second earlier.
With the recent introduction of the ATS-V, Cadillac signaled its intent to expand the V-Series line-up – much as Audi, BMW and Mercedes have done with their own performance families. The ATS-V also marked the first time Caddy went with a 6-cylinder package. The new CTS-V returns to the classic Cadillac formula with the 6.2-liter V-8.
It gets a massive, 1.7-liter supercharger, as well as forged aluminum pistons, titanium intake valves, cam phasing, and an active fuel management system. The engine is paired with a new 8-speed automatic – for now, several Cadillac insiders expressing their own interest in adding a manual transmission.
(Will Ford bring a new GT to the Detroit Auto Show next month? Click Here to find out.)
Impressively, the 8-speed is actually 28 pounds lighter than the old, Gen-2 CTS-V 6-speed automatic. Cadillac has been on a weight-savings kick, a factor that is helping improve both fuel economy and performance. Chief Engineer Roma noted that his team had to justify, in grams, any changes made during the development of the new CTS-V. The package comes in at 4,145 pounds, compared to 3,616 for the base 2.0-liter version of the new Caddy sedan.
Significantly, the new CTS-V is expected to yield about 5% better mileage than the old model, 14 City, 19 Highway.
For the moment, Cadillac only plans to offer a rear-drive version of the CTS-V, even though key competitors are expanding their all-wheel-drive performance lines – notably Mercedes which plans to make its 4Matic systems standard on virtually all AMG models going forward.
(Mercedes introduces new, more affordable AMG Sport line. Click Here to find out more.)
“Is there desire for all-wheel-drive? Sure,” said Roma, “But I also think there’s a real market for rear-wheel-drive performance cars.
From a visual standpoint, the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V features a new carbon fiber hood and hood vent, wider front fenders with new fender vents, revised front and rear fascia, the front providing larger openings to cram more air into the engine. There’s a chin splitter, modified spoiler and new Michelin tires riding on wider 19-inch wheels.
“Every piece that we’ve changes to make this into a V-Series is functionally driven,” stressed designer Brian Smith, adding there is “nothing purely decorative.”
Cadillac has a lot riding on the new performance sedan. The maker has had a tough year; despite solid reviews for the CTS and ATS models, U.S. sales have been done, though demand has surged in China and a handful of other overseas market.
The new CTS-V is meant to serve as a “brand accelerant…that elevates the whole line, giving credibility to the brand,” Jim Vurpillat, the brand’s global marketing chief, said during a media background briefing. It is targeting, “the type of car enthusiasts who are influential,” and who Cadillac hopes will help make the brand cool again.
The 2016 Cadillac ATS-V will reach showrooms in the spring of 2015, with the 2015 Caddy CTS-V set to follow in early summer.
(Cadillac shakes up its ad account, hires new agency hoping to bump up weak sales. Click Here for the story.)