Autos

Cadillac sticks a supercharger on a V8 for a 668-horsepower super-sedan

But the new CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing may be the last of their breed

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When someone tells you they’ve news for you, how do you like it delivered?

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Do you apply the Band-Aid theory and rip off the bad news as quickly as possible, looking for the salvation that good news brings? Or does a heaping dose of good news first grant you the strength to deal with whatever the bad might bring?

Me, I’m a good-news-first kinda guy. So here’s all the (substantial) joy Cadillac’s recent announcement of two new “Blackwing” sedans can bring. The new CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwings are the two most powerful products Cadillac has ever produced, with 472 and 668 horsepower, respectively.

They will accelerate to 96 kilometres an hour from zero in 3.8 and 3.7 seconds, respectively; feature Cadillac’s first carbon-ceramic brakes; and, for all the traditionalists out there feeling spited by dual-clutch manumatics, both come standard with manual transmissions.

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The bad news? Well, according to Rory Harvey, Cadillac’s global vice-president, they may well be the last gas-fueled high-powered Cadillacs we’ll ever see, a seemingly off-the-cuff comment during the unveiling of the Blackwings made all the more serious.

Internal combustion, it would seem, is as dead as the proverbial dodo for The General, which explains why, though both of these new Blackwings are being touted as all-new models, their engines are largely carryovers. Indeed, save for a revised Eaton supercharger and some fiddling with the inlet tract, the CT5’s 6.2-litre monster is basically the same supercharged V8 that powered the CTS-V that topped the Cadillac range until 2019. Ditto the CT4-V’s Twin Turbo V6 which, despite more fettling — bigger boost, more inlet tuning tricks, some oil jets to cool the pistons down, and an upgraded intercooler system — is largely the same 3.6L that powered the ATS-V. Why, after all, invest in all-new powertrains if you’re moving all your platforms to battery power?

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That said, there’s no denying their might, and the fact both are available with Tremec’s TR6060 manual transmission is sure to keep gearheads from trying to imagine a life without pistons and spark plugs (though be warned, guys, the 10-speed automatic is quicker through the quarter-mile).

Indeed, the new Caddys really are all about keeping traditionalists happy. There’s no AWD to be had, all that torque — 445 pound-feet for the CT4; and a truly monstrous 659 lb-ft for the CT5 — threatening the rear tires only. Good thing they’re supper-gummy Pilot Sport 4S radials with no less than three separate rubber compounds making up the tread carcass (the majority of which is “R for racing” sticky). And while the CT4 rides on semi normal-sized 255/35ZR18 (front) and 275/35ZR18 (rear) rubber, the CT5’s tires are an almost Lamborghini-like 275/35ZR19 (front) and 305/30ZR19 (rear).

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That’s not to say there’s not a sprinkle of modernity hidden inside the new Blackwings. For instance, helping maintaining those strikingly quick acceleration figures consistently is a customizable launch control system Cadillac says can be tailored for myriad surfaces, no matter how slippery.

The brakes meanwhile — huge Brembo six-pot affairs up front — are modified by the drive mode selector, presumably for effort and stiffness. As if that’s not enough, the CT5 offers Cadillac’s first carbon-ceramic brakes, which reduce unsprung weight by some 24 kilograms. Even more modern — or maybe I should say ‘progressive’ — the pads are all copper-free, as per California law. There’s also a new electronically-controlled rear differential whose housing is made of lighter-than-steel aluminum (with a Blackwing logo embossed on its hindquarters, no less).

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Inside, both Blackwings get highly-bolstered seats to deal with all the cornering forces, but feature massaging functions and quilted leather. There’s also a “high-performance” steering wheel; and the automatic transmission paddle shifters are made of magnesium. And just so you know how special you are, this steering wheel comes with a serialized number plate that corresponds with each vehicle’s unique VIN sequence.

The 12-inch HD instrument cluster offers three settings — Tour, Sport, and Track — as well as two custom configurations. More important, at least to the true track enthusiast, is the second-generation Performance Data Recorder (PDR), which not only offers 34 channels of data but also enhances recording resolution to 1080p.

The Blackwings are also competitively priced, the CT4-V starting $67,198; and the CT5-V just $89,898. Compared with the US$59,990 and US$84,990 they cost south of the border and the fortune the Germans want for competitive models — BMW wants $84,300 for an M3 and Mercedes-Benz Canada a whopping $124,900 for an AMG E 63 S — that’s quite a bargain. Small money and big performance metrics: I can’t wait to test them both this summer.

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