We’ll be hearing and seeing a lot from Cadillac in the months ahead as it launches the CT4, the first in a wave of new sport-utility vehicles it hopes will help it gain some new momentum in a crossover-crazy market. But, that said, Caddy is by no means walking away from the passenger car side of its line-up.
Word has it parent General Motors may give the greenlight to a production version of the stunning Escala concept of a few years back. More immediately, we’ll get a first look during the upcoming New York International Auto Show at a high-performance version of the flagship CT6 sedan. And the new CT6 V-Sport will introduce Caddy’s first-ever Twin-Turbo V-8. It will be the first completely unique engine developed for Cadillac since the Northstar V-8 debuted more than three decades ago.
“Cadillac V-Sport is the embodiment of our passion to deliver an exhilarating driving experience without compromises,” Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen said, ahead of the NYIAS debut. “The all-new CT6 V-Sport provides the perfect balance of performance and luxurious refinement.”
The launch of the V-Sport is not a complete surprise. After all, we’ve seen performance versions of the other sedan and coupe Caddy models, so there was reason – and rumor – to expect a similar treatment for the big sedan. And it will finally provide a direct challenge to flagship models from German brands like Mercedes-AMG, Audi and BMW — although, ironically, the CT6 V-Sport won’t be offered, at this point, in Europe.
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That’s too bad considering Cadillac is doing plenty to optimize it for the track — or, potentially, the German Autobahn.
The CT6 V-Sport will add track-optimized Magnetic Ride Control dampers, for one thing. And anyone familiar with this system knows that this is already one of the most responsive active suspension systems on the market, able to switch from soft to stiff on individual wheels in about the time it takes to travel two inches at 60 mph.
The CT6’s steering will be retuned for more sporty feedback. Its all-wheel-drive system gets a more rear-biased torque split. The stability control and other nanny systems will be revised to be less intrusive. And even the active exhaust system will be tuned to deliver a more enticing rumble.
Other revisions include new 20-inch sport wheels, unique, summer-only performance tires and a new 19-inch monoblock four-piston brake system – with tweaks to the body to deliver needed cooling air.
But the star of this show will be the new engine. Up until now, you could order the CT6 with three different powertrain options: a competent, albeit uninspiring I-4, a sporty twin-turbo V-6, or the brand’s first-ever plug-in hybrid. This is the first V-8 offered for the big sedan, and it brings more than just two additional cylinders.
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The Twin-Turbo package punches out an estimated 550 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. That’s not quite benchmark – the 2018 BMW M5, for example, makes 600 hp – but it’s still impressive, especially considering Caddy’s efforts to hold down the overall mass of the CT6 sedan.
“Cadillac begins a new chapter in its performance legacy with the introduction of the brand’s first-ever twin-turbo V-8 engine,” added de Nysschen. “It is the centerpiece of the new CT6 V-Sport, an engaging sport sedan infused with DNA of Cadillac’s world-renowned and championship-winning motorsports program.”
The V-Sport will be paired to GM’s new 10-speed automatic transmission which allows a wide gear spread to improve the car’s launch while reducing fuel consumption under less aggressive driving. And, as we earlier noted, will send power to all four wheels, with the bias towards the back axle under normal driving conditions.
Fuel economy is further enhanced with engine fuel cut-off during coasting, as well as stop-start technology.
With the addition of the CT6 V-Sport Cadillac tweaks its familiar Art & Science design language. It’s “the first entry that incorporates cues for the new Sport and V-Sport model strategy, which allowed us to make the car look as powerful as it drives,” explained Andrew Smith, executive director of Cadillac Design.
The V models will adopt a more aggressive look, while non-V-Sport CT6 models will get revised cues such as new horizontal head and taillights that have been “inspired” by the Escala Concept.
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We’ll be learning even more about the CT6 V-Sport next week during its debut in the Big Apple.