Aiming to be the world's fastest sedan
Boss Hogg’s white convertible Caddy from the Dukes of Hazzard television show are how we’ve grown to view Cadillac, but General Motors’ luxury flagship brand is out to change that.
It wants to quit being thought of as a luxoboat manufacturer and become synonymous with elegant cars that deliver high-performance and outstanding driving qualities, cars at home storming mountain passes as easily as the Caddies of old floated along boulevards.
In short, to take on the best European drivers’ cars on their own turf and trounce them.
It has chosen the CTS-V high-performance version of its CTS sedan to lead the charge, with the aim of beating BMW’s 5-Series.
And official factory stopwatches, along with independent testing by the American motoring media suggest the brand that wants to recapture its slogan, Standard of the World, may just have done that.
The new CTS-V goes on sale as a 2009 model, and runs a supercharged version of the 6.2-litre V8 developing 556 horsepower (415kW).
It has revised magnetic ride control technology programmed to deliver what Cadillac’s spin doctors term “[an] elite driving experience developed for both track capability and smooth road manners”.
A six-speed Tremec TR6060 manual gearbox is standard, with a six-speed Hydra-Matic 6L90 auto an option.
With its 415kW at 6100rpm, the CTS-V is Cadillac’s most powerful production car yet: Cadillac says it will reach 60mph (96kph) in under four seconds – supercar territory.
The V’s development team fine-tuned the car on Germany’s famed Nurburgring racetrack, and on roads and tracks throughout the United States and Europe.
The supercharged V8 engine develops a stonking 747Nm of peak torque.
The motor, dubbed the LSA, is based on GM’s small-block V8 and has an intercooled supercharger system, aluminium-alloy cylinder heads and detailed design aimed at ensuring it makes its power as quietly and smoothly as possible.
The supercharger has a new, four-lobe rotor design that enhances quietness while optimising the engine’s performance parameters.
The Tremec manual gearbox drives through a dual-disc clutch; and the Hydra-Matic 6L90 has paddle-shift control for manual gearchanges. The new TR6060 manual is based on the T56 six-speed but has been upgraded to handle the LSA engine’s substantial torque, as well as improve shift quality using the dual-disc clutch system.
Cadillac says the twin-disc clutch delivers high clamping power and excellent shift effort through its pair of smaller-diameter clutch discs that have less inertia than a single, larger-diameter disc.
The 6L90 auto has driver-selectable modes that deliver different performance characteristics.
Performance Algorithm Shifting provides a performance-oriented shift pattern during sustained high-performance driving, such as at a racetrack.
The CTS-V’s Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) uses shocks controlled by advanced magneto-rheological technology, rather than mechanical valves. It accelerates response time and precision.
Electronic sensors at all four wheels read the road every millisecond, making constant adjustments to damping to create virtually instantaneous and extremely precise control of body motions.
Cadillac says that keeps the car very composed during hard cornering, acceleration and braking.
Magnetic Ride has two selectable modes (Tour and Sport), enabling the driver to tailor the suspension for cruising or “more spirited” driving.
The CTS-V’s Brembo brakes have six-piston callipers in the front and four-piston callipers in the rear.
Michelin worked with Cadillac engineers to develop Pilot Sport 2 tyres for the CTS-V.
Elements of the styling have a practical application. The dihedral Cadillac grille is 100 percent larger than the standard CTS’s, enabling much more air intake. The raised bonnet encompassing the supercharged engine, new front and rear fascias, and 19-inch wheels identify the vehicle as a V-Series.
The V-Series builds on the CTS’s luxurious cabin with performance driving seats. They’re 14-way adjustable and have pneumatic bolster controls in the cushion and backrest.
The steering wheel, seat inserts and shifter are covered in microfibre, providing the soft and luxurious character of suede without suede’s drawbacks of difficult care and moisture sensitivity.
The integrated centre stack is trimmed in new Obsidian black material that is also applied to the centre console and door trim.
The infotainment system includes a 40-gigabyte hard drive, advanced navigation system with a pop-up screen, Bose digital surround audio, as well as factory-installed Bluetooth capability.