Cadillac CT6 takes aim at German competition

2019 CT6 V-Sport is first V-Performance version for new full-size sedan

Published: March 21, 2018, 9:00 AM
Updated: March 25, 2018, 2:32 AM

Cadillac CT6 V-Sport

DETROIT, Michigan—A week ahead of the 2018 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), Cadillac jumped the gun by talking about its latest variant – the 2019 CT6 V-Sport, the first V-Performance version for the new full-size sedan.

Cadillac CT6 V-Sport V-badge

At the centre of its V-family DNA (which follows other V offerings for CTS and XTS sedans) is a hand-built and clean-sheet 4.2-litre twin-turbo V-8 engine that produces 550 hp and a class-leading 627 lb-ft of torque and is matched to a Hydramatic 10-speed automatic transmission. It’s also the first time Cadillac has used a twin-turbo engine that takes cues from its motorsports program, and aimed squarely at German rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, with 90% of its peak torque coming between 2,000-5,200 rpm.

In Cadillac’s quest to compete with the big German three, it hopes that enlarging its propulsion portfolio and increasing options for customers will get the attention it’s currently lacking.

Cadillac CT6 V-Sport 4.2-litre V-8

“Designing an all-new engine was the best way to achieve the performance goals for the CT6 V-Sport,” said Jordan Lee, chief engineer, Cadillac V8 engines. “It builds on Cadillac’s well-established turbocharging know-how, and forges new ground with innovative features that deliver exceptional performance and refinement.”

The CT6 will come with two variants: the aforementioned high-output 550-hp V-Sport and an optional 500-hp version that will contain the same engine minus a few changes in the vehicle exhaust system and a little less throatier action.

Cadillac CT6 V-Sport

One of the keys to integration success is the engine’s “hot V” configuration that goes against the grain by mounting the turbochargers at the top of the engine for a more efficient flow of exhaust – turbochargers are integrated with the exhaust manifolds – resulting in immediate power delivery and the virtual elimination of turbo lag.

Cadillac has geared the new CT6 V-Sport with fuel efficiency in mind by using stop/start technology, direct fuel injection and an active fuel management system – another first for a Cadillac V-8 – that shuts down half the engine’s cylinders when not needed.

Cadillac CT6 V-Sport HydraMatic 10-speed automatic

More fuel efficiency gains are found in its 10-speed transmission, which utilizes smaller steps for gears in order to maintain that optimal speed. It’s also geared for off-the-line performance and according to Mark Kieliszewski, assistant chief engineer for the Hydramatic 10-speed auto transmission, “the CT6 V-Sport will operate smoothly but aggressively when needed, with rapid, quick shifts for additional performance.” In addition, the transmission will possess a real-time interpretation of driving conditions with intuitive uphill and downhill detection for optimal gear selection.

The engine and transmission may be the focus, but the CT6 V-Sport takes on a different look with a V-inspired mesh grille complemented by a more distinct and fierce horizontal LED headlamp design with a vertical exclamation note inspired by the Escala Concept. Lower aero components, gloss black side window surround trim, a spoiler, new 20-inch V-Sport wheels, new Brembo brake system, and V-Sport specific suspension round-out its bolder, darker and more aggressive appearance and makeup.

Cadillac CT6 V-Sport

On the inside, Cadillac expands its user experience with an updated and more responsive infotainment system that can be updated over time. A new rotary controller adds to its intuitiveness with shortcut buttons for favourite screens and applications.

The 2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport will have its public debut at the NYIAS with an on-sale date slated for the first half of 2019 in unique Luxury and Sport trims.