2016 Cadillac CTS-V

Posted on 1st January 2015

The light-bulb moment for the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V came early in a presentation by chief engineer and not–Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Roma, when a slide comparing the CTS-V’s specs with those of its German competition lit up the screen with an absolutely ridiculous top-speed claim: 200 mph. The term “four-door Corvette” has never been as apropos for the CTS-V as it is to this new third-generation car. Previous CTS-Vs shared their V-8 hearts with Chevy’s apple-pie sports car, and so, too, does the 2016 iteration. This time, Cadillac’s sugar daddy is the mighty 2015 Corvette Z06, which donates its supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 V-8 engine to the V cause. The transplant means the loss of the Corvette’s dry-sump lubrication and a slight drop in output. The wet-sump CTS-V nonetheless packs a certifiably insane 640 ponies at 6400 rpm and 630 lb-ft of torque at 3600 rpm. The blown V-8 is so powerful that it’s almost unsurprising that the new V sedan can hit 60 mph in a claimed 3.7 seconds.

Like the Z06’s LT4, the CTS-V’s version boasts forged connecting rods, forged aluminum pistons, titanium intake valves, and a 1.7-liter Eaton supercharger. It also gets cylinder deactivation, and although final EPA figures are forthcoming, we’re told the V is expected to avoid the gas-guzzler tax. The sharp-shifting 8L90 eight-speed automatic transmission also appears here, albeit wrapped in a new casing so it can nestle up to the LT4’s tail. (The Corvette uses a rear-mounted transaxle layout.) Gear ratios are shared between the CTS-V and the Vette, and drivers can swap cogs via a solid-feeling set of steering-wheel shift paddles. Unlike the Corvette, the CTS-V is not available with a manual transmission. But it does have the Vette’s electronically controlled limited-slip differential, albeit with its own final-drive ratio.

Just a single staggered-width wheel-and-tire package will be offered—although three finishes are available for the wheels—with modest 19-inch forged-aluminum wheels wrapped in sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport summer rubber. (Cadillac believes that limiting the wheel size and breadth of choice makes it possible to develop its V models’ suspensions with fewer compromises; the 2015 ATS-V coupe and sedan are similarly “focused.”) The Michelin tires provide so much lateral grip, in fact, that Cadillac felt it wise to stiffen the CTS’s already granitelike structure. So there’s an aluminum front strut-tower brace, V-braces tying the firewall to the strut towers, a colossal aluminum shear panel linking the engine cradle to the bottom of the firewall and rockers, and a beefed-up connection between the rear rockers and the rear suspension cradle.

You might be surprised to learn that the V doesn’t even offer carbon-ceramic brake rotors, but Cadillac tells us that sufficiently sized ceramics would have dictated larger wheels and cost a ton of money. (Cadillac’s people are quick to jab their competition over this apparent shortcoming; when asked whether the CTS-V will get a track package with enhanced suspension, pricier braking setups, and more power, they responded by saying, “the 2016 CTS-V is the track package.”) The V’s Brembo-supplied iron discs are said to be able to dissipate more heat at their 15.4-inch front and 14.4-inch rear diameters than could similarly sized carbon-ceramic pieces. GM’s third-generation Magnetic Ride Control magnetorheological dampers are standard, and the units’ brain can now “read” and adjust damping force for every inch of road surface covered at 60 mph. The dampers work with stiffer bushings, new anti-roll bars, higher-rate springs, quicker-ratio steering, and tweaked front and rear suspension geometries to deliver more sharpness and poise from the base CTS’s already outstanding and 10Best Cars–winning chassis.

As such, Cadillac says it isn’t worried about the V’s additional pork, and no effort was made to sacrifice any creature comforts on the performance altar. Every CTS-V comes with 20-way power leather front sport seats with heating and ventilation elements, navigation, Bose audio, OnStar with 4G LTE data connectivity, a reconfigurable full-color head-up display, and a new 12.3-inch high-definition LCD digital gauge cluster that will spread to the full CTS lineup for 2016.

The only major options are Recaro sport seats, a panoramic sunroof, and the Corvette’s awesome Performance Data Recorder. A Carbon Fiber package brings a bare carbon finish to the hood vent and a deeper splitter and taller rear spoiler, and Cadillac even book-matches the material’s weave down the pieces’ centerline. There will be safety items like forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and an automatic parking feature, but the only nanny we’re remotely interested in is a new front-facing bumper camera that prevents parking-curb scraping events. Pricing is expected to come in at around $85K, which will save you five figures or so versus the German rivals.

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