Competes with: BMW M5, Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Looks like: A meaner, wider CTS with lots of extra aero bits
Drivetrain: 640-horsepower, supercharged 6.2-liter V-8, eight-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: TBD
Related: More 2015 Detroit Auto Show News
We all knew the third generation of the CTS-V was coming at some point, and after Cadillac unveiled the new, smaller ATS-V sedan and coupe at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show earlier this year, we knew it couldn’t be far away. And right we were: Cadillac has pulled the covers off of its flagship performance sedan several weeks ahead of its official public debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Like its predecessor, the new CTS-V does not disappoint. Meant to go head-to-head with the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, the CTS-V builds on an already lightweight, sophisticated platform to create what looks to be a phenomenal automobile.
Outside, there are subtle changes that are both functional and attractive. Aside from the headlights, every body panel and component forward of the front doors is new including the grille, bumper, fenders and hood. The hood is now a carbon-fiber piece with an integrated functional air extractor vent that helps flow air through the V-series-specific mesh grille and over the top of the car. This helps move a lot of cooling air through the engine and also works to reduce lift by not shunting that air out the bottom of the engine compartment. The fenders are 20 millimeters wider on each side to accommodate the more massive wheels and tires; 19-inch wheels and specially developed Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires are standard. A carbon-fiber aero package will be optional; it adds a carbon front air splitter, winglets on the front wheel wells and a carbon-fiber trunk-lid spoiler.
Not much has changed inside the CTS to turn it into the V, but there are a few tweaks and cues that set the performance model apart. An electronic gauge display is new and features V-series-specific graphics, as do new 20-way adjustable heated and ventilated front sport seats covered in semi-aniline leather with faux-suede inserts. Recaro-brand sport seats can also be specified. A couple new colors and some unique interior trim, such as a carbon-fiber veneer laced with copper wire for a yellowy-golden effect, are available, and three new interior colors, including one called Saffron.
Under the Hood
Here’s where it gets exciting: In essence, what we have here is a four-door luxury sedan with a 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 powertrain. The CTS-V uses GM’s latest high-performance engine, the supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 V-8. It turns the CTS-V into the fastest, most powerful Cadillac the brand has ever offered. It pumps out 640 hp and 630 pounds-feet of torque, and is good for propelling the CTS-V from zero to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 200 mph. That power is mated to GM’s compact new eight-speed automatic transmission, which channels everything to the rear wheels.
Stopping is handled by massive, staggered six-piston Brembo-brand brakes up front with huge 390-millimeter rotors, four-piston rears with slightly smaller 365-millimeter rotors. Special aluminum bracing throughout the car stiffens the chassis by 25 percent to handle the more strenuous loads being placed upon the vehicle with the increase in grip and power. Even with the extra bracing, Cadillac maintains that the CTS-V will still be the lightest car in its segment, coming in lighter than the BMW M5 or Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG.
Handling will be controlled by Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control system, which has the ability to adjust the shock absorbers at high speeds while reading changing road conditions and driver input. Four driver-adjustable modes will be offered, with Cadillac’s Performance Algorithm Shifting and a special launch control mode also included.
No pricing for the CTS-V has been announced, but sources at Cadillac tell us that it will be “competitive to a little less expensive” than comparable vehicles in the segment. With the M5 starting at around $94,000 these days, we expect that the new CTS-V is likely to sticker in the high $80,000 range to start, potentially even tapping $100,000 when fully loaded.