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  • Writer's pictureCory Fourniquet

Going Out With A Bang?

Cadillac this week unveiled the top tier, fire-breathing versions of their current sports sedans in the CT4-V Blackwing and the CT5-V Blackwing, which has us wondering if this is the last time we will be seeing this type of product from “The Standard of the World”

2022 Cadillac CT5 V Blackwing in white, CT4 V Blackwing in red.

As we reported last week, General Motors, the parent company of Cadillac, plans to have zero tailpipe emissions by 2040 in all their vehicles, with a majority of that taking place by 2035, leaving these two high-powered, petroleum-burning monsters to be the last of their breed. So, what are we getting?

Cadillac serves up the CT4-V Blackwing as the successor to the now discontinued, but much beloved ATS-V.

Starting at: $58,995, the CT4-V Blackwing is powered by a 3.6L Twin Turbocharged V6 engine with a 472 hp and 445 lb-ft of torque, can be equipped with a standard 6-speed manual transmission (10-speed automatic transmission also available), features the latest-generation Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension (the fastest reacting suspension ever in a Cadillac), Massive Brembo® high-performance brakes, Driver Mode Selector, Performance Traction Management and Custom Launch Control with Line Lock for sweet burnouts, 18" alloy wheels and summer-only, high-performance, low-profile tires, performance interior choices, AKG premium audio system, Available Carbon-Fiber Packages, and available Performance Data Recorder.

The CT5-V Blackwing is the successor to the now discontinued, but very powerful CTS-V, and it stands as the most powerful Cadillac produced to-date.

Starting At: $83,995, the CT5-V Blackwing boasts a 6.2L Supercharged V8 engine with a 668 hp and 659 lb-ft of torque and comes equipped with a standard 6-speed manual transmission (10-speed automatic transmission is also available), features the latest-generation Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension (the fastest reacting suspension ever in a Cadillac), Brembo high-performance brakes, Driver Mode Selector, Performance Traction Management and Custom Launch Control with Line Lock (again, for sweet burnouts), 19" alloy wheels and summer-only, high-performance, low-profile tires, AKG premium audio system, performance interior choices, including exclusive premium options, available Carbon-Fiber Packages, available Performance Data Recorder, and available Carbon-Ceramic Brakes....yes carbon-ceramic brakes on a Cadillac.

The online announcement of these new sports sedans featured many superlatives for these vehicles that represent the "Pinnacle of Cadillac performance, technology, and craftsmanship.":

  • Most Powerful Cadillac ever

    • CT5 V-Blackwing with its 668 horsepower, 659 lb-ft of torque, 0-60 mph times of 3.7 seconds and top speed over 200 mph.

  • World's Fastest acting suspension

    • MR4.0, or Cadillac's Magnetorheological suspension's 4th iteration produces more precise wheel control with better isolation.

  • Largest Brakes ever in Cadillac history

    • with the CT5 V-Blackwing's optional Carbon-Ceramic brakes that reduce the weight of the vehicle by 53 lbs. and produce fade-free stopping power all day long.

  • Most track-capable Cadillacs ever

    • Tested in 12 and 24 hour stints, these vehicles not only boast the power and handling capabilities needed for tack-duty, but also the endurance expected from enthusiasts.

  • First use of 3D printing

    • Many touches throughout the vehicle, including the top of the manual transmission shifter, feature 3D printed pieces.

Cadillac has done a lot to reinvent itself over the last couple of decades, working to transform their image of your grandfather's car into a performance luxury brand you aspire to own. Having started out driving my grandfather's Cadillac as my first car, and being an auto enthusiast since the age of 9, I applauded Cadillac for their work. There have been many bumps along the way, however, with the hiring then firing of Johan de Nysschen as president of Cadillac, the alphanumeric naming restructure of the entire lineup (minus the Escalade), and the move from Detroit to New York City to name a few.

With last week's announcement of the electric future of the brand, gear heads like yours truly must revel in the here-and-now with the swansong of the gas-burning track-capable sedans of a dying age. With class-exclusive features like a standard 6-speed manual transmission in a sea of DCT-equipped sports sedans' Cadillac looks to go out swinging in the sports sedan market.

Rare for sport sedans today, a six-speed TREMEC manual transmission is standard on both vehicles. It has been optimized for each V-Series Blackwing vehicle to provide an engaging experience on the track or on the road. Details include:

  • LuK twin-disc clutch for high torque capacity and great pedal feel

  • Active Rev Matching accessible via a console mounted toggle switch to automatically adjust engine speed to match anticipated downshifts

  • No-Lift Shift allowing the driver to shift gears without letting off the gas pedal. In the case of the CT4-V Blackwing, it allows the turbos to remain spooled, resulting in faster lap times

  • Transmission and rear differential cooling – the manual and automatic transmissions use the same track-performance cooling system for greater track performance

  • Clutch and brake pedals positioned for optimal driver ergonomics

  • A physical barrier stop for the clutch pedal rather than a hydraulic master cylinder stop provides greater driver feedback during clutch operation

  • A shorter shifter ratio than previous generations for more precise shifts

The CT5-V Blackwing and CT4-V Blackwing are available with a 10-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. It is tuned to complement the dual-personality experience of each respective model.

  • Tap Shift/Manual Mode allowing the driver to use integrated magnesium paddle shifters to select a gear and hold it until selecting the next gear, up or down

  • Sport Mode providing real-time interpretation of driving conditions, adjusting the transmission to reduce shift busyness and improve performance, while retaining aggressive driving dynamics

  • Twenty-four-hour track testing resulted in several improvements in response to the demands of a high-g track environment, including a unique oil pan design and priority valve changes

  • Unique control systems with performance calibrations tailored for each model

  • Ten forward gears offer the most available transmission speeds in each sedans’ respective segments, helping keep the engines within their optimal rpm bands, while also anticipating the next shifts

  • Dynamic Performance Mode is calibrated specifically for V-Series Blackwing to deliver track focused shift patterns and automatically activates when high-g forces are experienced in Sport or Track mode

  • An auxiliary pump primes the automatic transmission system from the time the vehicle door is opened for improved cold-shift performance.

Both V-Series Blackwing models also feature an enhanced Electronic Limited Slip Rear Differential. It weighs less and has been optimized for each driving mode and each Performance Traction Management setting.

  • More control of the rear differential compared to traditional open and mechanical limited-slip differentials

  • Enhances road grip by automatically allocating torque to the rear wheel with the most traction during hard cornering — with the capability of sending up to 1,475 lb-ft (2,000 Nm) of locking torque across the axle

  • High-performance differential cooler

  • An aluminum housing replacing the previous generation cast iron housing, reducing mass by more than 22 pounds (10 kg)

  • Exclusive integrated heat exchanger for enhanced cooling

All that technology is needed to help put down the power from these engines.

CT5-V Blackwing: 6.2L Supercharged V8 - 668 hp, 659 lb-ft of torque

  • GM-estimated top track speed: over 200 mph

  • GM-estimated 0-60 mph: 3.7 seconds (automatic transmission)

  • Most powerful Cadillac ever

  • Air intake airflow is improved by 46 percent vs. the CTS-V

  • Compact, high-output 1.7L four-lobe Eaton supercharger with small-diameter rotors that enable boost to be generated earlier in the rpm band for instantaneous response

  • Rotocast A356T6 aluminum cylinder heads are stronger and handle heat better than conventional aluminum-alloy heads

  • Lightweight titanium intake valves

  • Track-capable wet-sump oiling and vent system with external oil separator and drainback

CT4-V Blackwing: 3.6L Twin-Turbo V6 - 472 hp, 445 lb-ft of torque

  • GM-estimated top speed: 189 mph

  • GM-estimated 0-60 mph: 3.8 seconds (automatic transmission)

  • Most powerful and fastest Cadillac in the subcompact class

  • Air intake restriction is improved by 39 percent vs. the ATS-V

  • Turbocharger compressors matched for peak efficiency at peak power for optimal track performance

  • Titanium connecting rods (manual transmission only) and revised crankshaft counterweights reduce main/rod bearing reciprocating loads

  • Re-targeted piston oil squirters, which direct engine oil at the bottoms of the pistons, for improved temperature control

  • The manifold-integrated water-to-air charge cooling system contributes to more immediate torque response

  • Airflow routing volume is reduced by 60 percent when compared to a conventional design that features a remotely mounted heat exchanger

Both V-Series Blackwing models feature advanced high-performance braking systems that have been extensively track and road-tested. The exclusive V-Series Blackwing wheel designs enable an even larger rotor over the previous CTS-V, making the CT5-V Blackwing braking system the largest factory-installed brakes in Cadillac history. Additionally, an available carbon-ceramic brake package for the CT5-V Blackwing, featuring cross-drilled rotors, deliver several benefits including weight savings, durability and heat management.

  • CT4-V Blackwing: 14.96 x 1.34-inch (380 X 34 mm) front rotors and 13.4 x 1.1-inch (340.5 x 28 mm) rear rotors

  • CT5-V Blackwing: 15.67 x 1.42-inch (398 X 36 mm) front rotors and 14.7 x 1.1-inch (373.5 x 28 mm) rear rotors

  • Staggered Brembo® six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers

  • Available on the CT5-V Blackwing, the lightweight carbon-ceramic brake package significantly improves heat management, as well as greater resistance to wear under extreme conditions on the racetrack, while also reducing unsprung mass and rotating mass:

    • 53-pound (24 kg) reduction in unsprung weight

    • 62-pound (28 kg) reduction in rotating mass

    • High-performance copper-free brake linings comply with California law and deliver superior fade resistance with an excellent pedal feel on and off the track

    • Brake systems are integrated to each vehicles’ selectable drive modes, including brake pedal feel. Brake pedal feel can also be assigned within My-Mode and V-Mode

V-Series Blackwing combines the fourth generation of Magnetic Ride Control (MR 4.0), with improvements to the front and rear suspension systems. Stiffer spring rates, unique hollow stabilizer bars, higher-rate bushings and more enable a driving experience that isolates the driver from road imperfections, while also providing a precise, engaging connection with the road.

MR 4.0 highlights:

  • Immense performance envelope that gave Cadillac engineers the freedom to optimize everyday driving and aggressive track performance

  • New accelerometers and an inertial measurement unit that transmit and process changes in road conditions four times faster than the previous generation system

  • Secondary temperature maps that enable engineers to compensate for changes in damper fluid temperature for more consistent performance, even during performance driving

  • Inertial measurement unit that provides more precise measurements of body motion relative to the wheel for more accurate readings under heavy braking, hard cornering and other driving conditions

  • Improved magnetic flux control that creates a more consistent and accurate transition between rebound and compression

  • Improvements to transient body control that allow the vehicle to remain more level while transitioning between corners

MacPherson strut front suspension:

  • Ride link includes an all-new 100-percent elastomer bushing on the CT4-V Blackwing and a retuned hydro bushing on the CT5-V Blackwing, for improved ride response

  • Handling link has cross-axis ball joints for improved lateral control and quicker steering response

Five-link independent rear suspension:

  • Lateral link features stiffer bushings for faster response and increased cornering agility

  • Toe link has cross-axis ball joints for increased stability and driver confidence

  • Rear knuckles have increased stiffness for improved braking and better control during cornering

  • Rear cradle mounts have been stiffened for optimum balance between road comfort and track performance

V-Series Blackwing models are built on Cadillac’s award-winning rear-wheel drive architecture and feature unique structural enhancements including shock tower braces, an underside shear plate and thicker rear cross members to improve chassis rigidity. Along with the unique suspension elements, the stiffer structure enhances steering response, handling and the everyday driving experience.

The CT5-V Blackwing and CT4-V Blackwing build on Cadillac’s racing heritage and were developed to be track-capable straight from the factory. That includes an intensive validation program to ensure consistent performance during the most challenging track conditions.

Validation for both models included:

  • Twenty-four-hour continuous track testing with the available automatic transmission, available carbon fiber aero package, aluminum wheels and available carbon ceramic brake package

  • Twelve-hour continuous track testing with the standard manual transmission, available carbon fiber aero package, aluminum wheels and available carbon ceramic brake package

Functional aerodynamics, including an available carbon fiber aero package, contribute to the V-Series Blackwing models’ track prowess to support a variety of cooling needs for the cars’ respective engines, transmissions, axles and other supporting systems.

Additionally, MICHELIN® Pilot Sport 4S tires developed exclusively for the V-Series Blackwing models contribute to their balance of track capability and road comfort. Highlights include:

  • Unique, multiple-compound tread composition:

    • Contact patch composed of three unique tread rubber compounds

    • Racing “R compound” used for the majority of the tread

    • Compounds optimized for wet traction, enhanced street and track durability, as well as rolling resistance

  • The mold shape of the tire has been specifically engineered for Blackwing models to optimize contact with the road

  • Tire sizes:

    • CT5-V Blackwing tire size: 275/35ZR19 (front) and 305/30ZR19 (rear)

    • CT4-V Blackwing tire size: 255/35ZR18 (front) and 275/35ZR18 (rear)

Both V-Series Blackwing vehicles feature standard forged aluminum alloy wheels with staggered widths, front to rear. These forged wheels are stronger and lighter than conventional cast aluminum.

Wheel sizes:

  • CT5-V Blackwing: Front – 19 x 10 inches / Rear – 19 x 11 inches

  • CT4-V Blackwing: Front – 18 x 9 inches / Rear – 18 x 9.5 inches

Reservations for both vehicles open on Feb. 1, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. ET on, with deliveries later this summer. Pricing begins at $59,9901 for the CT4-V Blackwing and $84,9901 for the CT5-V Blackwing.

250 models of each vehicle were held out for reservation holders, and all 250 of the CT5-V Blackwing were spoken for mere hours after the announcement. If you act quickly, you may be able to snag one of the first CT4 V-Blackwings, a vehicle that if anything like its predecessor, will be quite the formidable track-car and daily driver as well.

We like what we are seeing from the current version of GM's premium brand, but can only wonder what the next-generation of vehicles will look like across the entire lineup. As of now, we are waiting on the Lyriq crossover, the announcement of the Celestiq sedan, and have glimpses of what the brand could be with autonomous motoring from this year's CES show...which leaves us craving news of a Tesla Model S or Model X Plaid competitors... one can dream, right?

Cadillac Celestiq Sedan

Cadillac's glimpse at the future of autonomous transportation leaves much for the enthusiast to desire:

See the entire online announcement of these vehicles below:

CT4 V-Blackwing

CT5 V-Blackwing

What are your thoughts? Sound off below.



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