Fifteen years after Cadillac introduced its first V-Series model, two more performance offerings are set to make their debut next week, the automaker has confirmed.
What’s unusual about the coming news is that Caddy will use a preview in Detroit to reveal the all-new CT4 sedan in V-Series trim first, with the base model set to follow later, reversing its normal approach. The event also will see the introduction of a V-version of Caddy’s mid-range sedan, the new CT5-V, that effectively replaces the old CTS-V that kicked off the performance program when it debuted in 2004.
“From the very beginning, Cadillac’s V-Series represented the ultimate expression of our design, technology and performance,” said GM President Mark Reuss, ahead of the two introductions. “It introduced an entirely new breed of performance-minded customers to Cadillac showrooms and helped transform the brand’s traditional image into one with different facets for customers’ varying driving tastes.”
(Click Here to check out the Cadillac CT5.)
The original CTS-V was more than just a performance-oriented update of the CTS sedan that introduced Cadillac’s Art & Science design language. It was the most powerful factory-built Caddy ever at the time, its 5.7-liter turbo V-8 making 400 horsepower and capable of launching the sedan to 60 in around 4.5 seconds. To gain some street cred, meanwhile, Caddy engineers pointedly took prototypes of the sedan to Germany’s legendary Nurburgring for testing. That’s become pretty much the norm for any serious performance car these days.
The original car featured not only that bigger engine but design details like a wire-mesh grille adorned with the V-Series logo and, of course, functional features like bigger air intakes to let the engine breathe better and to keep it cool.
The first-gen CTS-V won plenty of new fans for the brand, though it also had a fair share of problems, including issues with wheel wear and, early on, poorly designed gas tanks could leave the engine starving if fuel was low and the vehicle was put through aggressive cornering.
At one point, GM appeared to be ready to kill the V-Series family, but thought twice and began rolling out new models. That included a version of the old STS sedan and the short-lived XLR roadster.
While delivering gobs of power was the common thread, each new model had distinctive manners, both on road and on the track.
“V-Series is a philosophy as much as the unique components comprising each variant,” said Brandon Vivian, Cadillac’s executive chief engineer. “That means the various V-Series models offer distinctive driving experiences, but always distilled through Cadillac’s unique perspective on spirited performance.”
Exactly what’s in store for the two new models Cadillac will roll out next week, the automaker isn’t saying. For the CT5-V, at least, we can expect some guidance from what the current, third-generation CTS-V offers. It’s now-6.2-liter V-8 musters up 640 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque, directing that through an eight-speed automatic to the rear wheels.
As for the CT4-V, today’s twin-turbo 3.7-liter V-6 comes in at 464 hp and 445 lb-ft, enough to launch the smallest-ever V-Series model to 60 in just 3.8 seconds, a mere 0.1 seconds slower than the CTS-V.
In announcing the two new models, Caddy hinted that this is “just the beginning.” That would suggest we could be seeing V-Series versions of all the brand’s various SUVs, as well. That would certainly make sense considering the approach taken by Mercedes’ AMG and BMW’s M units which now offer signature versions of virtually every one of their mainstream offerings. (A rare exception: BMW’s long-standing policy of not offering an M7.)
But that suggestion might mean more than just more V-Series models. The world is rapidly changing and “electrification” is the watchword. We’re expecting to see a new F1-influenced Ferrari in the coming days. Both Alfa Romeo and Maserati plan to use hybrid power, and even all-electric drive for their most powerful models. This past week, Mercedes introduced the GLE 580, its mild hybrid system giving it a temporary boost that pushes it past the current AMG GLE 450 model.
(Nothing “mild” about the performance of Mercedes’ first mild hybrid, the GLE 580 4Matic. Click Here to check it out.)
Caddy has made it clear that it has big plans to electrify its line-up, starting with an all-new, all-electric SUV that was teased earlier this year. Could there be a V-Series version of that model? Considering what Tesla is doing with its Ludicrous Mode, that would seem an all but obvious strategy.
But we just might see other forms of electric boost come into play on future V-Series versions of Caddy’s gas-powered models, suggests a source.
Perhaps we’ll get some answers or, at least, some deeper insight, next week.
(GM debuts a new digital “brain” for future EVs and other products. Click Here for the full story.)