Cadillac V-Series: 15 years of a performance brand!
July 6, 2019

The first-ever CT4-V and CT5-V were unveiled recently, and in many ways marked a continuation in a line of remarkable vehicles from Cadillac sub-brand. Rattling stereotypes, over one and a half decades, the Cadillac V-Series has truly altered how the world views American performance cars.

So let’s go back a bit in time to the first V-Series vehicle, the 2004 Cadillac CTS-V sedan. Powered by the GM LS engine V8, with a six-speed Tremec manual transmission from the C5-generation Corvette Z06, the CTS-V delivered the practicality of a refined, family sedan and yet offered blistering performance.

However, it was not merely a case of strapping on a sports car V8 to a sedan and hoping for the best – the depth of engineering in the CTS-V made it one of the most agile performance cars on the market and garnered critical acclaim. Cadillac knew it was onto something big.

The second car to join Cadillac’s rarefied lineup was the stunning and luxurious XLR-V hard-top convertible. Its forward-looking angular design was head-turning; it sat low and wide, giving it a dynamic road presence. The exceptional styling was matched by equally evocative performance. Under the hood of the XLR-V was a supercharged Northstar Series engine developing 443 horsepower and a substantial 561 Nm of torque, making it one of the most powerful American cars in its class at the time.

Just two years since its founding, a third V-Series vehicle was introduced. This time it was the larger STS-V sedan. The STS-V was propelled by the XLR-V’s supercharged 4.4L V8, but with a bump of 26 horsepower and an additional 34 Nm of torque. It was also the first V-Series car to offer a driver-adjustable gearbox and bigger Brembo performance brakes for greater stopping power.

STS-V 2006-2009 [left], XLR-V 2006-2009 [middle], CTS-V 2004-2007 [right]

Come 2009, and the 2009 CTS-V featured an evolution of Cadillac’s ‘Art and Science’ design language, and was a striking reimagining of its predecessor. Equipped with 6.2L V8 developing 556 horsepower and a prodigious 747 Nm of torque, the CTS-V took on and beat its European rivals on their home turf. The CTS-V blitzed the legendary Nurburgring in 7:59.32, making it the fastest four-door sedan to go around the 20-plus kilometer track in Germany at the time. It was arguably the most influential V car with its ground-breaking performance and superb design.

The current, third generation of V-Series saw the launch of the all-new ATS-V, a compact premium performance sedan that despite a smaller V6 engine outgunned its main European competitors – and by quite a margin – with 464 horsepower. With its nimble handling and outright straight-line pace, the ATS-V received rave reviews around the world. The flagship of the range, however, continues to be the CTS-V, which, in its latest iteration churns out 640 horsepower and a gargantuan 850Nm of torque.

Recognising customer demand for greater choice, Cadillac then launched its VSport sub-brand, which was available on the top-trim XTS sedan making 410 horsepower. Later, the CTS was also available in VSport guise, albeit with power bumped up to 420.

ATS-V Coupe 2016-2019 [left], ATS-V Sedan 2016-2019 [middle], CTS-V 2016-2019 [right]

Cadillac has recently expanded its V-Series lineup further, but with a new performance philosophy of downsizing. Using its latest turbocharging technology to deliver exciting performance, while cutting down on weight and fuel consumption, Cadillac revealed the 2019 CT6-V earlier this year. And now, the latest additions to range, the CT4-V and CT5-V, are poised to shake up the segment.

Built on Cadillac’s award-winning rear-wheel-drive Alpha architecture, the new V-Series models both share the latest standard V-Series performance technologies, including Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, which is tuned specifically for V models to enhance comfort without sacrificing performance-oriented responsiveness.

Representing the renewed identity of V-Series vehicles, the CT5-V packs a 3.0L Twin Turbo V6 engine delivering 355 horsepower, while the CT4-V is propelled by a 2.7L Turbo engine making a Cadillac-estimated 320 horsepower, with a near perfect 50/50 weight distribution for exceptional balance and control.

From the XLR-V that shook up the segment with its remarkable looks and performance to the record-breaking CTS-V, Cadillac’s V-Series cars have firmly established themselves in the upper echelons of American performance. And going by the lean and mean new duo of CT4-V and CT5-V, it’s safe to say that the story has just begun.

by Anil George
Avid follower of all things tech. In between his quest for the ultimate gizmo, Anil fiddles with light meters, collects rare books and feeds his fetish for Jap horror movies. As Managing Editor of T3 Middle East for the GCC, Anil oversees content direction across print and digital. He is a CES 2020 Innovation Awards Judge, reprising his role as an Innovation Awards Judge at CES 2018, CES 2017, 2016. and 2015. Anil is also the Middle East's first Brand Ambassador for Ashdown Engineering. Reach him at:
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