Written by: Robert Nichols
Cadillac has gone power crazy. Just look at the 2016 CTS-V. The immensely powerful supercharged 6.2 liter V-8 engine creates 640 hp and 630 lb-ft of torque and is controlled through an eight speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. This combination results in a sedan capable of a 0-96 km/h time of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 320 km/h. These numbers put this sedan in exotic car territory! How in the world does Cadillac control all that power? Let's take a closer look.
To develop such a massive amount of horsepower and torque, the engine uses a new and smaller supercharger that forces air into the engine via smaller diameter rotors that are able to spin faster. This means it is more efficient and provides greater boost at lower rpms. The engine also takes advantage of direct injection and cylinder deactivation for improved power delivery and fuel economy. All this increased power has resulted in the need for stronger aluminum cylinder heads that could handle heat better than conventional aluminum and lightweight titanium intake valves.
Next, a completely new transmission was needed to send all that power to the rear wheels. The challenge was to deliver the smoothness of a traditional automatic with a torque converter while simultaneously remaining ambitious with the dual-clutch transmissions used by the competitors. Cadillac has claimed that they have developed a performance shifting algorithm that promises to be spectacular.
The ludicrous output from that V8 engine presented another problem; how to keep the CTS-V in a straight line and control it in corners. To that end it has received numerous structural and suspension upgrades. It’s 25% stiffer than the regular CTS sedan thanks to reworked and strengthened strut tower-to-tower brace, a strut tower-to-plenum brace, engine compartment V-braces, rocker bulkhead, rear cradle-to-rocker braces, an aluminum shear panel at the front of the chassis, and upper tie bar-to-bumper braces.
Cushioning the occupants from that added stiffness is a new multi-link double-pivot MacPherson-strut front suspension that incorporates “hydro” bushings in place of traditional elastomeric bushings - zero-compliance cross-axis ball joints, higher-rate springs and a stiffer stabilizer bar – which enhance roll stiffness by 20%.
The job of keeping the rear tires planted is left to a five-link rear suspension featuring similar new bushings, a stronger cross brace and new cradle mounts, resulting in reduced roll centre migration, greater lateral control and less rear end squat during acceleration. Directional control is provided by variable-ratio electric power steering system. This setup is 14% stiffer with the goal of giving a better sense of precision and feedback. The overall result of all of these upgrades should be an ability to provide both a very exciting drive and comfortable cruising.
Cadillac has always been well-versed on the subject of luxury. The interior of the new CTS-V has been designed to blend both form and function. The standard seats are heated and ventilated, with 20-way adjustment, and are trimmed in semi-aniline leather with suede microfiber inserts and backs. There is also the option of Recaro front seats that offer more track-oriented support without completely losing the luxurious feel. These are trimmed in Mulan leather and feature similar suede microfiber inserts.
Cadillac has included everything you would expect from a high end luxury vehicle. The CTS-V has a new version of the 12.3 inch instrument cluster with CTS-V specific graphics and gauge readouts in full-colour and a reconfigurable head-up display. In keeping with the latest industry trends it also features the latest connectivity technologies.
The new body features a light-weight carbon fibre hood with a vent designed to pull hot air out of the engine bay. This vent also assists in reducing high speed lift by directing air coming through the radiator up and over the car instead allowing it to flow underneath. Every individual body panel, including the unique fascia, have been optimized for air flow and create the necessary cooling abilities inherent to such high performance vehicles. The addition of a front splitter and rear spoiler help the 19-inch Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires cling to the road surface.
For those intent on numerous track-day excursions, Cadillac has an optional Carbon Fibre package which takes the aerodynamic performance up a notch or two with the inclusion of more aggressive front splitter, hood vent, rear diffuser and spoiler.
Now in its third generation, the CTS-V may finally have what it takes to best the BMW and Mercedes competition. The immense power, balanced with a refined chassis and luxuriant cabin should leave no question that being power crazy can be a good thing.