High performance has a new name at Cadillac, and it took flight Monday, when Cadillac officially revealed the new 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing and CT4-V Blackwing to the public, after a weekend tease during the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The Blackwing is a new range-topping performance sub-brand within the V-Series, meaning the CT5-V and CT4-V will no longer be the big dogs in the line-up.
Rory Harvey, vice-president of global Cadillac said the brand’s new Blackwing cars, “will take the sub brand to a whole new level and represent the pinnacle of Cadillac performance. We expect them to help introduce Cadillac to a whole new audience, in addition to our most passionate enthusiasts.”
Harvey also said that the cars be the most track-capable Cadillacs ever and possibly the last performance Cadillacs sporting purely internal combustion engines.
In the case of the CT5-V Blackwing that means a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 that produces 668 horsepower and 659 pound-feet of torque, making it the most powerful production Cadillac ever built. It’s capable of running 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds on its way to a top track speed of more than 200 mph. Each V-8 is hand built and numbered at GM’s Bowling Green Assembly facility — home of the Corvette — and wears a signed engine builder’s plate.
The powerplant is an updated version of the one used in the CTS-V, but with enhancements such as a revised air intake that improves airflow by 46% and stronger aluminum cylinder heads that are better at handling heat better than conventional aluminum-alloy heads.
The engine also features lightweight titanium intake valves, track-capable wet-sump oiling, and a vent system with external oil separator and drain-back.
Bringing all this power to a stop are Brembo six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers, with high-performance copper-free brake linings that Cadillac says provide superior fade resistance. More importantly, they comply with California law, and have huge rotors: 15.67 x 1.42-inches in front; 14.7 x 1.1-inches in back – the largest in Cadillac history. Also, the brake system changes in feel and operation depending on the vehicle’s selected driving mode. They can be fitted with an available lightweight carbon-ceramic brake package that lowers unsprung weight by 53 pounds, while reducing rotating mass by 62 pounds.
Meanwhile, the smaller CT4-V Blackwing gets the latest version of Cadillac’s twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V-6 that generates 472 hp and 445 lb-ft of torque. With an automatic transmission, GM quotes a 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds; top speed is estimated to be 189 mph.
Slowing the CT4-V Blackwing are its performance brakes, which are similar to its sibling’s in that they feature staggered Brembo six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers, but they are slightly smaller: 14.96 x 1.34-inch front rotors and 13.4 x 1.1-inch rear rotors. These brakes also feature copper-free brake linings, and the whole system adjusts depending on which driving mode you have selected.
Both cars come equipped with an upgraded Tremec 6-speed manual transmission, or an optional 10-speed automatic transmission.
To handle the high torque each car generates, the manual transmission gets a twin-disc clutch, and features rev matching accessible via a console mounted toggle switch. It also allows for the driver to shift gears without letting off the gas pedal, and it employs a physical firewall stop for the clutch pedal rather than a hydraulic master cylinder stop for greater driver feedback. Both the transmission and rear differential are equipped with a performance cooling system, but there are differences in the transmission, depending on which model you choose. For instance, the CT5-V Blackwing has a different gear set and for greater durability and less cabin sound than that used in the CT4-V Blackwing.
There’s also a 10-speed automatic that uses integrated magnesium paddle shifters for manual shifting. To improve the car’s cold-shift performance, an auxiliary pump primes the automatic transmission once the vehicle door opens.
In addition, the transmission uses an oil pan designed for high G-forces. The Blackwing’s Dynamic Performance Mode is calibrated for track-focused shifting and activates automatically in Sport or Track mode when high g forces are produced. The transmission has smaller steps between the gears, allowing the engine stay in its optimal rev range while delivering faster shifts than competitive dual-clutch transmissions, according to GM engineers.
Both models use an electronic limited-slip rear differential optimized for each driving mode. This allows greater control compared to a mechanical differential, while also saving weight. The differential can send up to 1,475 lb-ft of torque across the axle and uses integral heat exchanger to enhance cooling.
The driveline also features a launch control system that allows drivers to customize launch control preferences depending on surface, rpms and slip target.
Ensuring that the Blackwings deliver a balance of ride comfort and athleticism is a MacPherson strut front suspension and a five-link independent rear suspension engineered with the fourth generation of magnetic ride control. It processes changes in road conditions four times faster than the previous version and can measure body motion relative to the wheel far more precisely than before thanks to a new inertial measurement unit.
It’s all built on Cadillac’s rear-wheel-drive architecture and wearing Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires developed exclusively for the V-Series Blackwing. In the case of the CT5-V Blackwing that means 275/35ZR19s in the front and 305/30ZR19s in the rear. The CT4-V Blackwing wears smaller shoes than its corporate sibling: 255/35ZR18s in the front, 275/35ZR18s in the rear.
Exterior changes were added purely to enhance performance. Every grille is open functional and directs air to a series of heat exchangers and ducting. Rocker extensions continue along either side of the car to the rear valence diffuser to enhance aerodynamics. Both cars can be dressed in the optional carbon fiber track package with more aggressive carbon front splitter rocker extensions, tech spoiler, and rear valance, and carbon fiber that’s book matched on centerline.
Inside, a 12-inch reconfigurable gauge cluster is specifically designed to suit the driver’s preferences. It’s part of a cabin trimmed in premium leather, carbon fiber, suede microfiber and available carbon fiber seatbacks. Look closely and you’ll see seats finished with piping, French seams and triple stitching. The seats are designed with seat bolsters that provide enough clearance for the driver’s arm when shifting, and a headrest that accommodates a racing helmet.
The cars should reach showrooms this summer. Reservations opened up Monday at 7:30 p.m. Prices start at $59,990 for the CT4-V Blackwing, and $84,990 for the CT5-V Blackwing, including a $995 destination charge.
“The Blackwing name has come to stay in for the highest level of execution from Cadillac,” said Brandon Vivian executive chief engineer at Cadillac. “Simply put, they represent the pinnacle of Cadillac performance craftsmanship and technology.”