2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport: Big Doesn’t Have to Be Boring
Aiming for the likes of AMG and M-Sport divisions, Cadillac has decided to bring in a high-performance version of its CT6 executive sedan. Honing a GM V8, the Caddy is out for grabs: plenty of power, iconic American brand and enough luxury and gadgets to please the executive from the upper floors. However, is it good enough to fight against the everlasting, ever-performing German cars? Let’s have a look for ourselves.
The CT6 model was introduced back in 2015. It came on the market as the successor of Cadillac Fleetwood and rests as the brand’s biggest sedan, larger than the XTS. The standard CT6 is made available with a broad list of options, as well as four drivetrain configurations including a hybrid version. Fast forwarding a little to 2018, we get to see the V-Sport badge slapped on the hood of the CT6.
The V-Sport takes on all the visual cues of the facelifted CT6. Furthermore, the car adds new design features taken from the Escala concept. A number of specific elements are also implemented in order to boost a sportier aspect. We are talking about various horizontal elements that contrast against the vertical signature-design of Cadillac products.
Cadillac executive director Andrew Smith mentions that the V-Sport “accentuates the aggressive dynamics of the architecture”. For the first time, it appears that Cadillac is offering a car that looks as fast as it drives.
Some of the most prominent visual features found on the 2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport include the new grill, dark window trim, a slightly altered bumper (with 3-piece intake) and new headlamps and taillights. While the headlamps are particularly aesthetic, these aren’t as slim and dramatic as they were presented on the Escala concept car. Nevertheless, the overall design induces aggressiveness – which was the purpose after all.
If for some reason you enjoyed the pre-facelift version of the CT6 more than the current iteration, we’ve got bad news. The V-Sport performance trim will be available solely with the facelift model.
Fortunately, that’s where the bad news ends. The 2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport will be the first model in the brand’s lineup since the Northstar to bring an exclusive engine. At least for the first part of the car’s release, the twin-turbo V8 will be offered pretty much everywhere except Europe. This translates in a longer waiting time until we will get to see how the car physically compares with the German overlords.
The power unit has the GF18 code and comes straight off the design table. There is a 4. 2-liter displacement generated by a 86×90. 2 mm bore x stroke in order to favor low-end torque and to account for a higher compression ratio. For those looking for actual numbers, the 9. 8:1 compression ratio is quite high considering we are talking about an engine hosting not one but two turbochargers.
Cadillac’s CT6 V-Sport drivetrain package will be offered in two iterations: a [email protected] and 553 [email protected] rpm and a more potent 550hp and 627 lb-ft version. There is pretty much no mechanical difference between the two engines apart from a more restrictive (and quieter) exhaust on the 500hp version. All the extra power and torque were squeezed out solely by fine tuning. The numbers match and, in some cases, even surpass European power units. AMG’s 4-liter twin turbocharged powerplant produces between 469 and 603hp while Audi’s 4-liter unit pushes between 450 and 605 hp at the wheels accompanied by either 406 or 516 lb-ft of torque.
Considerable mass savings have been achieved by reducing the overall size of the engine block, crankshaft and crank – all due to a shorter stroke. Eight forged connecting rods are attached to the crankshaft and the piston rings received a diamond-coating treatment to better resist stress and minimize friction.
The stainless-steel exhaust manifolds are casted rather than welded together. The hot exhaust gases passing through them spin the twin-scroll Mitsubishi turbochargers at no less than 170,000 and reaching a staggering 20psi of boost in extreme conditions. To ensure the engine stays within working parameters, the excess pressure is relieved via electric wastegates. Given the high values the engine needs to deal with, Cadillac implemented a rather complex cooling system featuring fans and water pumps that are prone to run long after you shut down the engine at the end of an aggressive driving stint.
Borrowing AMG’s technique, both engine versions will be hand-assembled in Bowling Green Kentucky Corvette Plant at the GM Performance Build Center. And since Cadillac is following on Mercedes footsteps, it may be a really good idea to have a properly produced engine assembly video.
10 Gears + AWD + Stiff Suspension
The engine of the new 2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport promises to be amazing. However, the transmission has strong points of its own. The 10-speed automatic gearbox comes with cutting edge Performance Algorithm Shift system, ensuring proper gear selection in all scenarios. The gears are positioned closely to each other, allowing for the right RPM in almost all conditions, fully taking advantage of the low-end RPM the engine generates. Given the above combination of short gears and readily available torque, it is expected that the CT6 V-Sport will boast better than average acceleration times.
According to Cadillac, the new Magnetic Ride Control dampers paired with an overall tightened suspension and large Brembo monobloc brakes will provide a quality track experience. Cadillac doesn’t fail to boast the summer-only performance tires built specifically for the model as well.
When it comes to the driver and passenger area, Cadillac aims to provide a very dynamic user experience. The goal, according to Cadillac officials, was to generate an interface that’s intuitive, responds quickly and recognizes as many voices as possible. Furthermore, it appears that the overall infotainment software is available for OTA (over-the-air) updates thanks to the embedded 4G LTE connectivity.
In terms of technological gimmicks, the 2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport brings a 10-inch touch screen with 1080p resolution, wireless charging, rear camera mirror with zoom and tilt, as well as a wide package of safety features: lane assist, collision alert and prevention, automatic braking.
While the passive and active safety features are yet to be tested, one thing is clear: the 10-inch display, while it may respond quickly and adequately to driver input, is lagging behind the competition 11, 12 and in some cases, 13-inch screens. On the other hand, it is nice to see some quality physical buttons, as Cadillac isn’t prone to go all digital on user input. The large center dial can easily operate the main functions of the most used apps: scroll menus, select other apps and features and switch between options.
Cadillac has yet to reveal the pricing of the CT6 V-Sport Sedan. However, there will be no surprise to see it at the top end of the lineup price list. By comparison, the XTV V-Sport adds $7,000 over the Platinum trim. Since the new CT6 V-Sport brings over a brand new V8, you could easily expect to pay an extra $10,000 to $15,000 over the Platinum trim in order to get your hands on it. And since the CT6 Platinum is currently rated at roughly $85,000 it may happen that the V-Sport will just break the surface of the $100,000 mark.
Nevertheless, considering that competitors such as the AMG S63 ($147,500) S65 ($229,500) and BMW M760Li ($156,700) come at 50% to even 100% higher price tags, the CT6 V-Sport may just have the value to performance edge in this small niche battle.