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2016 Cadillac CTS-V First Look

Ultra-High-Strength-Steel Fist in a Velvet Glove

Frank Markus
Dec 21, 2014
To help dry the tears of fans mourning the loss of the CTS-V family of coupe, wagon, and sedan offerings, the new replacement sedan will be fortified with even more vitamins H and T: SAE-certified horsepower and torque ratings come in at 640 hp and 630 lb-ft, up from the outgoing supercharged 6.2-liter's 556 hp and 551 lb-ft. No row-your-own option will be offered, as the new ATS-V coupe and sedan -- both offered with a stick -- will now fill that extreme track-star niche, allowing the CTS-V to become more refined and luxurious. Hence the sole offering of a swift-shifting 8L90E eight-speed automatic. With a curb weight of 4150 pounds (6.5 lb/hp), that will help deliver 0-60-mph acceleration in an officially -- and perhaps conservatively quoted -- 3.7 seconds. Also new: This Corvette Z06-derived powertrain features an Eco driving mode that enables cylinder deactivation for tiptoeing around in dainty fuel-sipping four-cylinder mode.
Like its new ATS-V sibling, the CTS-V gets a 50-percent increase in total front grille area, and cooling this new supercharged 6.2-liter requires every square millimeter of that space -- there are no grille shutters, and adaptive cruise control is not available, because the radar unit would block too much air. (The ATS-V offers ACC.) The carbon-fiber hood, bulged for engine clearance, features a big air extractor, as do the flared fenders. And the rest of the styling flourishes are all similarly functional, including the front splitter and decklid spoiler that reduce lift on all CTS-Vs.
Photo 2/30   |   2016 Cadillac CTS V Front Three Quarters
An optional carbon-fiber package extends the chin splitter and spoiler by about an inch each to provide measurable downforce at the officially quoted top speed of 200 mph. Those parts are rendered in exposed-weave carbon fiber, as are the hood air-extractor vents and rear diffuser, Gurney-lip air deflectors in front of the front wheels, and side sill extensions that round out the package. Those last two work to smooth airflow, winning back a few points of drag added by the bigger splitter and spoiler. Oh, and a special camera will help drivers avoid curbing that pricey front splitter. Other visual differentiators include Galvano low-luster brightwork around the grille, side windows, fender air extractors, etc., and 19-inch wheels in After Midnight black chrome (two other wheel finishes will be offered to coordinate with the seven initial paint colors).
Suspension changes largely mirror those of the ATS-V, with less extreme increases in spring and anti-roll bar rates. (Spring rates increase 11 percent front and rear, and bars increase from 25 to 27mm in front, 23 to 26mm in the rear.) Chief engineer Dave Leone says the ride quality is considerably more refined than the ATS-V's and might even feel plusher than the CTS Vsport's thanks to the Gen III Magnetic Ride Control tuning. (It features a dual coil system that doubles the magnetic force acting on the metal particles and broadens the range of damping rates, and increased processing power permits 40-percent faster damping response.) Premium fluid-filled hydrobushings are employed on the forward (ride control) links in the front and rear suspensions, the lateral links that resist cornering forces are 50-70-percent stiffer, and the toe-control links use metal-sphere "cross-axis" bushings that offer virtually no deflection. There is also an aluminum sheer panel that bolts under the engine-cradle/K-member and works in conjunction with the upper strut tower brace and some additional bracing to the radiator support to greatly increase torsional rigidity for improved steering feel.
Photo 6/30   |   The transmission case and the tail-shaft are unique for this front-mounted CTS-V application, but everything inside is shared with the latest Corvette transaxle. Expect this “8L” line of transmissions to proliferate with lower-number suffixes as lighter-duty versions gradually replace GM’s six-speed trannies. This transmission is 28 pounds lighter than its six-speed predecessor.
Bigger, higher offset wheels wearing 265/35R19 front and 295/30R19 rear Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires broaden the footprint a lot, moving the outer face of the tires outboard 1.4 inches in front, 1.3 inches in the rear. Those custom tires feature Michelin's new Twaron Belt technology, which features three different tread compounds. The wide outermost rib has a harder tread compound to fight shoulder wear. The center and innermost ribs have a different hard compound that aids with initial bite on turn in and is also optimized for lower temperatures and wet conditions. The remaining ribs on either side of the center have a very soft compound for exceptional acceleration and braking grip.
The technology derives from Michelin's Le Mans racing effort.
Photo 22/30   |   2016 Cadillac CTS V Cockpit
Counteracting the LT4's mighty motive force are Brembo brakes with six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers (available in standard gold or optional red and grey) biting 15.4-inch two-piece front and 14.4-inch single-piece rear steel rotors. These big, fade-free, track-optimized brakes -- said to be the largest Brembo makes in steel, come standard on all CTS-Vs and are up to coping with a stop from 200 mph.
Inside this more sybaritic CTS-V are acres of standard suede-like material and carbon-fiber accent panels. Choose the black-and-saffron color scheme, and the carbon-fiber weave will include saffron accent strands. (Other color choices include black and gray or all black.) Optional 20-way adjustable Recaro seats are backed in suede to dress up the rear compartment, and a suede-covered steering wheel and shifter are options. Other options include a two-panel panoramic moonroof, a luxury package (three-zone climate control, heated rear seats, split-folding rear seatbacks, and rear sunshades). A Performance Data Recorder like that in the Corvette is also offered, providing video downloads of great driving roads for your Vine/Snapchatting pleasure.
Look for CTS-V sedan sales to start in the summer of 2015 as a 2016 model, with prices in the $80,000 range.
Photo 23/30   |   For this demonstration unit, the welded aluminum stampings of the sheer plate are polished. You won’t find that on the showroom floor, but this large structural element stiffens the bodywork substantially (figures were not provided), and helps resist cornering forces for improved handling and steering feel. The central forward mounted portion is shared with ATS-V, which gets shorter arms reaching back to pick up the sills. Lesser CTS and ATS models get no such plate, though a steel bar mounts roughly where you see the square bar that passes just behind the engine oil pan.
Photo 30/30   |   2016 Cadillac CTS V Front Side View



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