By on July 2, 2019

With the launch of the new Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V models, enthusiast balked at the mild power outputs and engine configurations. The CT4-V provides 320 horsepower from its 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mill, while the CT5-V’s turbo V6 makes 355 hp. Both figures are significant degradations from the previous ATS-V and CTS-V models, respectively.

Fear not, dear readers. The V-Series moniker has simply moved down-market, effectively replacing the V-Sport line. But this has made room for a new top-tier performance line: Blackwing.

As reported by , the V-Series will assume the position in the Cadillac lineup that was previously occupied by the V-Sport line. The briefly-offered V-Sport models did not sell well, possibly due to a lack of recognition in what they offered. The third-generation CTS V-Sport came with a 420 hp, 430 ft-lb twin-turbo V6, which positioned it well between a 335 hp CTS 3.6 and CTS-V with 640 hp. Maybe there were simply too many engine choices on offer. There were four, when the base 2.0L turbo four-cylinder was included.

Offering an intermediary performance line is not unique to Cadillac, of course. The new V-Sport models are in line with BMW’s M Sport, Audi’s Sport Line, Mercedes’ lower-level AMG models, or Dodge’s Scat Packs. And, like the AMGs and Scat Packs, the specific engine choices will be exclusively tied to the V-Sport models.

However, the CT5-V still takes a significant step back in energy output from vs outgoing CTS V-Sport. While making a still-respectable 355 hp and 400 ft-lbs from its 3.0L V6, the CT5-V is down 65 hp and 30 ft-lbs to the previous generation V-Sport car. With the CT4-V coming with a 4-cylinder engine, it appears that the new V-Series may actually be positioning itself below the outgoing V-Sport line. In the case of the CT5, the V model will be taking the place of the two V6 engines, which may explain the final numbers.

Fortunately, the CT4-V and CT5-V retain a host of performance-oriented features, aside from the higher-output engines. Limited-slip differentials, magnetic ride control, customizable V-Mode driving configurations, Brembo front brakes, and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires indicate that they’re more than a badging exercise. With the V-Series models mildly sedated though, we can all hope that the Blackwing models will soar to former V-Series levels of performance, or beyond.

[Images: Cadillac]

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52 Comments on “Blackwing Swoops in: Replacing V-Series as Cadillac’s Top Performance Line...”


  • avatar
    tylanner

    Who knew the colors of the Cadillac Logo could be so vibrant…I’d like to see one in that yellow shade…

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    When your brand and all its buyers are dead, just change the name. Works every time.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      Blackwing is based on their new and exciting marketing mascot.
      Ziggy the Duck is gone, RIP Ziggy.

      He has been replaced by “Blackwing”, whose secret identity is
      Darkwing Duck, AKA Drake Mallard.

  • avatar
    ajla

    So the cars can’t have names but the trim level can? “Blackwing” also sounds extremely unluxurious. It seems like it should be special edition Silverado, not a top-tier Cadillac.

    However, is “Muscle Cars and Trucks” a reliable source or is this more in the “wild-a$$ rumor of the day” category?

  • avatar
    NoID

    Cadillac: A brand determined to avoid establishing name recognition.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    This seems stupid, but all will be forgiven if a CT-4 Blackwing is actually powered by a Blackwing.

    • 0 avatar

      It won’t, but the dealer will quite knowledgeably explain their naming strategy so you’ll understand it totally. Won’t they?

      Oh wait, that means you have to be interested in the car to begin with.

      Never Mind.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I don’t think I got all that, I’ll read again later

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Blackwing – like a crow, or a grackle?

  • avatar
    Garrett

    I want to care, but that ship sailed long ago.

    Let me know when they bring back a 2 door El Dorado.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    a) The CT4-V doesn’t even do well at competing against the mid-tier luxury sport sedans. The Audi S5 is rated for approximately 350 hp. The M340i and AMG C 43? Above 380. And the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 is in the 400-hp club. Cadillac’s estimates for the CT4-V? 320.

    Ditto for the CT5-V. It’s really just an engine upgrade and some go-fast parts masquerading as a performance choice, and is more akin to a 540i M Sport…which is a really strange territory to celebrate. An AMG E 53 or S6 competitor, the CT5-V is surely not…

    b) What was the point in moving the -V cars downmarket, anyway? Cadillac claims it’s to bring new buyers into the V fold, but (like you said) they already had the V-Sport cars. Why not continue to use that moniker for the mid-tier cars? And Blackwing? That’s going to sound pretty silly. Who want’s to say “I have a CT4-V Blackwing.” Not to mention the confusion…

    c) Are we just going to ignore the fact that the CT4 is a heavily reskinned ATS?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Good job GM. You even managed to get Kyree fired up.

      And yes, Cadillac’s recent engine choices and branding strategy are a total embarrassment.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I mean, of all of the mainstream luxury brands, Cadillac seems like the one that makes consistently poor choices.

        Let’s look at the state of the “luxury” market, shall we?

        Of course, you have Audi, BMW, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Tesla at the top. They’re the ones who set the trends that others copy…and each one has significant market share in one or more segments. They have some missteps (CLA-Class, HS 250), but they’re pretty successful.

        Then you have Jaguar, Lincoln, and Volvo (all former Ford PAG brands, BTW), as well as Alfa Romeo and Genesis. Those brands are revamping or have revamped their portfolios to be a lot more upscale and design-focused than they were in the past. Or they’re new brands. It’ll take a couple of product cycles for their work to really pay dividends, but they’re making moves and getting attention, and that’s good.

        And there are the brands that are more premium than luxury, which is where I’m putting Acura and Infiniti. At the rate they’re going, you’d never accuse them of being ambitious, but they do well enough in their lane, as purveyors of “Gee, that’s pretty nice.” At worst, you could call them lethargic.

        Who’d I forget? Maserati? They’re kind of a joke. But at least they know it. “We need to play up the Italian-ness. Don’t call it Black; call it Nero.”

        And thennnnnnn there’s Cadillac. If all of the luxury brands represented forty-something siblings in a wealthy family, Cadillac would be the eldest child, who’s just left his wife and kids for a college student (who subsequently left him), who has a copious and wide-ranging drug habit, who’s indebted up to his eyeballs with the local mob in loans…and who has p*ssed away significant portions of the family fortune concocting ill-fated business schemes. “This discount-travel site is finally gonna be a winner, guys, I promise!” That’s Cadillac. The one that invokes groans and sidelong glances every time he walks into the room.

        I think that what irritates me the most about Cadillac is that it demands ceremony and applause for doing the bare minimum, and for only *just* meeting the standards of its more-ambitious competitors. Sometimes, they’ll even make some great cars, then kill them “because it wasn’t profitable”, and put all their marketing behind new, mediocre models. With stupid names.

        • 0 avatar
          Snooder

          The worst part of all of this is that the product is GOOD, dammit.

          The ATS (CT4) fucking rules. Super cruise is apparently quite good. The Escalade is still king of the hill, despite Lincoln nippingnat their heels.

          It’s the shitty marketing and failed brand and positioning that ruins things. Like pricing stuff too high, or changing names too quick, or not really following up on making V into a performance brand.

          I remember when I got my ATS I got the Cadillac lifestyle magazine. And it looked pretty cool and suggested that Cadillac was going to set up some auto clubs like the PCCA or the BMW car clubs. Then I went online and nope. No branding, no clubs, nada. Can’t even get a pair of decent cufflinks. And those details matter when you’re trying to build a luxury brand.

          You know why i got the ATS instead of the BMW or the Lexus I test drove? The Cadillac had a massive touchscreen and it was slightly cheaper. And that OnStar app? So amazing. I was expecting that to keep going. Bring supercruise down to the whole range. Go buck wild with Android Auto and Apple Car play and smarthome integration. Throw in some performance hybrids. Build up the reputation as the brash crazy motherfuckers who do luxury for youngish people who want speed at a reasonable price.

          And for fucks sake, if you’re gonna build a brand, you need to keep a name for more than a couple years. Otherwise nobody knows what the hell it is.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Cadillac honestly makes me want to scream. BMW 3/4 series sales are in complete freefall- 75K last year vs 140K peaks in the last decade- and they try to revitalize their dying sedans. If BMW can’t sell a 3 series you definitely can’t Cadillac.

        And the whole XTx lineup is off the mark. XT4 is priced like an X3 but sized like an X1. XT5 is a warmed over SRX. The competition is fierce there and it’s probably the weakest offering. And of course comparisons between the XT6 and Aviator are just embarassing. Escalade is long in the tooth as well. There are no positive stories at Cadillac, and nobody at GM seems to care.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      I had a CT6 4.2TT pass me on the highway today. No V-Series badges on this one. But it did have Michigan plates.

    • 0 avatar

      I always thought that they should have made VSport something you didn’t need to hang out here to know about….I once looked for a VSport CTS and was amazed to find there were more actual V cars out there. I’ve seen more V cars in the wild than VSport cars…as in never.

    • 0 avatar
      Snooder

      As a man who really liked his ATS and regrets letting it go daily, I dont mind that the CT4 is just a relabeled ATS.

      I do agree that ditching the V to call it Blackwing is dumb though.

    • 0 avatar
      Hydromatic

      Because GM has no idea what the heck it’s doing with Cadillac. So freaking clueless…

  • avatar
    fasn8n

    I agree with @Kyree, call the CT4 and CT5 cars what they really are, V-Sport models.
    V is to Cadillac, as AMG is to Mercedes, and M is to BMW.
    Why try and change this going into the 4th generation of the “V” model?

  • avatar
    Rocket

    It’s painfully obvious the brand has no direction. Just one desperate attempt after another. It’s difficult to watch as they destroy themselves from within.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      ” Just one desperate attempt after another. ”

      Maybe that is because that’s all they got left.

      “It’s difficult to watch as they destroy themselves from within.”

      They and the rest of GM was destroyed in 2009. No amount of taxpayer-funded resuscitation will bring back the days of old glory. Not to Cadillac. Not to GM.

      I believe we are witnessing “buyer fatigue” when it comes to Cadillac and everything else GM. Yes, even the Silverado, GM biggest money-maker, has dropped to numero tres in light-duty pickup truck sales, behind RAM. Even with the massive discounts on the hood.

      Go figure.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        “They and the rest of GM was destroyed in 2009. No amount of taxpayer-funded resuscitation will bring back the days of old glory.”

        I don’t know if that’s true or not. Legally, it is. Technically the original GM was liquidated that year, and the assets transferred to New GM, which now operates. But from a glory standpoint, it was an official time-of-death for a company that had ceased being anything like glorious decades prior. I’d say that overall, across its brands, GM is a lot better of a company, building far superior products, than it did in 2009. But the “glory” started to decline in the early 70s and was all but gone by 1990.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          “I’d say that overall, across its brands, GM is a lot better of a company, building far superior products, than it did in 2009.”

          Well, that’s because you’re not trying to blame GM’s decline on Obama, like he is.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Fordson, the Obama you are referring to had nothing to do with GM’s death and everything to do with GM’s continued existence.

            Get your facts straight.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            HDC, I’m going from memory here, so I readily admit I might be in error here, but did the GM bailout engineering really start with GW Bush?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            golden2husky, Shrub (GW Bush) gets the credit for it because GW Bush caused it to happen by giving GM a 90-day lifeline mini-bailout so his successor could make a more reasoned decision on whether to bail out GM, or not (as in the case of Chrysler.) Hank Poulson urged Shrub to do this to stabilize the US auto-industry sector. Ford, under Alan Mullaly, declined to accept any bail-out or assistance funds.

            History tells us that GM was bailed out, nationalized, the works, for political reasons because the guy in the Oval by then owed the UAW BIG TIME for getting him elected.

            Chrysler’s carcass was left to rot above ground until Sergio Marchionne saw an opportunity to help finance Fiat AND incorporate some fine Daimler engineering into the Fiat brand, while getting that $1.3BILLION bribe from the US gov’t.

            In the ten years that followed there has been much cussing and discussing, but GM is going through the same iterations today that it did prior to the end in 2009.

            It’s like Deja Vu, all over again…

        • 0 avatar
          Tele Vision

          My 1992 Suburban was glorious compared to every earlier iteration, including my ’88 with fuel injection( ! ) but I realize that it had been under development long before 1990.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            The 1973 Suburban 2500 of my father-in-law had a 454 with a carburetor, 4wd and a THM400. I believe it cost him ~$7000 back then.

            It was rude, crude and socially unacceptable!

            But what a utility vehicle. On-road, off-road and everywhere in between. No place it wouldn’t go.

            It finally gave up the ghost in 2013. But the 4wd 1500 Suburban that replaced it was a P.O.S! A gutless 5.3L V8 and a transmission that was always hunting for the right gear for the road conditions. And it cost ~$65K IIRC.

      • 0 avatar

        Agree. Camaro is supposedly gone in 3 years. The mid-engine Corvette will have teething problems and be a tough sell. GM is basically out of cars, because there won’t be any replacements for the Malibu or Regal, both of which are fading pretty fast.

        The new Tahoe/Denali/Escalade line better be a monster improvement over the Fords if they hope to stay competitive. Those and the Silverado/Sierra are the franchise now. And let’s face it, both styling and quality on those are woeful.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “They and the rest of GM was destroyed in 2009. No amount of taxpayer-funded resuscitation will bring back the days of old glory. Not to Cadillac. Not to GM.”

        I agree, “GM” is gone and today its Guangzhou Guadalajara Motors.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The Ram discounts are bigger than GMs and that is a big factor in their total sales, big discounts on the new truck and huge discounts on the old truck.

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

    Far be it for me to give Cadillac any credit whatsoever, but… “Blackwing” sounds kinda cool to me, nonsensical as it is when you think about it.

    However, I also envision buyers telling their friends “I have a Blackwing CT5,” with no mention at all of the actual make. This would be a bigger problem if Cadillac actually sold enough sedans to be relevant.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Somehow saying “this is my CT5 Blackwing” at the country club doesn’t sound very sporty or luxurious. It sounds like you’re talking about your GI Joe action figure.

  • avatar

    Pathetic is the only word that comes to mind. OK, maybe infuriating. These people are paid a lot of money to keep screwing things up so badly.

    It would all be so sad if Cadillac had actually tried with a smart strategy that understood their customers made decent, reliable, recognizably American vehicles.

    They didn’t. After 35+ years of waiting and a recently-wasted $12 billion of revitalization money, it’s hard to see how time hasn’t run out for Cadillac. Except for the Escalade and the SRX/CT5, the rest of that product line is lost deeply in the woods. They have no credibility. The XTS is gone in January, CT6 will be gone in 2020 and I predict the CT4/CT5 (themselves just lame restyling/regurgitating)won’t go past 2023.

    GM could shell out $1 billion to the dealers, take both Buick and Cadillac out behind the North American woodshed, put a cap in both their asses, and Chevy and GMC would immediately take up the slack with no loss to GM’s increasingly-pitiful NA market share.

    Fed up.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    “Offering an intermediary performance line is not unique to Cadillac, of course.”

    I don’t believe “intermediary” means what you think it means.

    • 0 avatar

      noun, plural in·ter·me·di·ar·ies.
      an intermediate agent or agency; a go-between or mediator.
      a medium or means.
      an intermediate form or stage.

      adjective
      being between; intermediate.
      acting between persons, parties, etc.; serving as an intermediate agent or agency: an intermediary power.

      I was using it as “an intermediate form or stage”.

  • avatar
    22_RE_Speedwagon

    AWD would have helped the CTS vsport in the north.

  • avatar
    johnny_5.0

    How does Blackwing make sense as a trim line when that’s the name of their new 4.2L TT DOHC V8? Are all of the cars in that trim coming with the new LTA engine? That seems unlikely, but good on them if they do. And if they don’t, that’s like Ford offering a Voodoo trim level or even better, here’s your Godzilla Expedition (with a 3.5EB).

  • avatar
    gasser

    I realized that it was over for Cadillac, when they moved to NYC and became a “brand” with a coffee shop, not a car manufacturer. In NYC most of the Cadillacs are livery, not personally owned. Yes, there are people with Mercedes, Maseratis and BMWs who live in Manhattan, but darn few compared to the market in NYC suburbs and nationwide in less congested suburbs. Cars are sold on styling (inside as well as outside) and performance. If you live in NYC and want the flash, you are driving a $100K car. It better attract attention and it would be nice if it actually ran reliably. 0 for 2 for Cadillac.
    Cadillac lost its way and will perish in the wilderness, alone and friendless.

    • 0 avatar

      I was there once. The coffee was OK. There were random people remote working like any starbucks, probably the most heavily subsidized work out of home people in history. There are practically zero Cadillac in the NYC suburbs…factor out livery service and you have an occasional SRX, and in some towns, this year’s Escalade (never the last style). There’s just no penetration. When folks rode in my CTS, they were amazed, most had some vestigal memory of Uncle Jack’s Eldorado, and were unaware of any modern Cadillac…at all-literally no one in family or friend groups has one.

  • avatar

    The Cadillac renaissance that began with the CTS in 2003 is officially over.

  • avatar
    The_Guru

    So, anything they MAY have built with the V series name, is wiped out. More typical GM mismanagement to go with the typical GM JUNK they continue to build.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    once again, collective comment wisdom trumps the results of some marketing department pow-wow.

    why not keep the V upmarket and use “Blackwing” as Cadillac’s F-Sport.

    Makes no sense…as my kneejerk reaction is that “Blackwing” just sounds like another trim level like “Platinum,” “Denali,” “Unobtanium,” etc.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    As a Ford fan, seeing this unfold makes me happy Ford just let SVT die with find memories of each product they are associated with. Not so much with ST sadly.

    • 0 avatar
      NG5

      Good point. Somehow this extremely confusing end of the V brand for Cadillac seems more dignified for the letter V than if they started plugging it on the Escalade, but I’m not sure that’s better from a selling-cars standpoint.


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