Why the Cadillac CT4-V, CT5-V Blackwing Manuals Feel Special

It’s hard to overstate the excitement enthusiasts feel over the new Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing. As the car world pivots to EVs, these cars plant a flag for the internal-combustion-powered, RWD luxury sports sedan. And they do it with standard manual transmissions. But it’s not just that the Cadillac Blackwings are part of a rare breed of new stick-shift cars. It’s that the brand’s engineers did so much more than just shove some shifters into these sports sedans.

Cadillac didn’t just give the CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing a standard Tremec manual

The carbon-fiber center console of a 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing with a manual transmission
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing manual transmission shifter | Cadillac

While you can order both the 2022 Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing with 10-speed automatics, they come standard with six-speed manuals. Specifically, Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manuals.

Now, a Tremec manual is nothing new in the sports car world. The Mustang Mach 1 has one, for example, the same one as the outgoing Shelby GT350. The first-gen CTS-V had a Tremec manual, too. And you’ll find a Tremec TR-6060 in the current Camaro—appropriate, given that it rides on the same Alpha platform as the CT4-V Blackwing.

However, the TR6060 manuals in the Cadillac Blackwing sedans are specific to these cars, The Drive says. And they’re different than the incarnations found in other previous and current GM cars in several subtle but important ways.

Firstly, the Tremec TR-6060, unlike most manual transmissions, has an internal pumping system to keep fluid moving even under extreme conditions. But while the CT4-V Blackwing’s version is “nearly identical to” the one in the ATS-V, the newer sedan has a higher-output pump, The Drive explains. Therefore, it can stand up even better to high-g-force cornering.

Secondly, the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing’s manual is essentially identical to the Camaro ZL1’s TR-6060. But it has a different headset gear to cut down on transmission noise. After all, it may have a 668-hp supercharged V8, but it’s still a Cadillac.

Finally, there are the shifters. Technically, the Cadillac Blackwing sedans have short-throw shifters. They’re identical to the Camaro 1LE version, with shorter ratios than the ATS-V one. In addition to shortening shifting time, the shifters provide “a sportier feel,” The Drive reports. And they’re topped with a 3D-printed metal medallion that’s specifically designed to not scald your hand on hot days. It works well enough that Cadillac patented its design, Car and Driver says.

Hard work pays off because manual Cadillac Blackwing orders are booming

The black-and-tan-leather-upholstered seats and black dashboard of a new 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing with a manual transmission
New 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing with manual transmission | Cadillac

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All these features come bundled with some additional GM performance hallmarks. The manual Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing also feature no-lift shifting and automatic rev-matching on downshifts. You can turn that helper off if you want, though. Plus, if you get the CT4-V Blackwing with a stick, it gets titanium connecting rods that make its twin-turbo V6 more responsive.

But even if you don’t know or care about all the tweaks Cadillac made to these Tremec manuals, you’ll feel the development team’s devotion. The gates are well-defined, “the clutch engages nice and low,” and it’s a thrill to throw the shifter, The Drive reports. You can’t compare the CT5-V Blackwing’s manual transmission to the M5’s shifter because the latter doesn’t offer a stick. But in the CT4-V Blackwing’s case, its stick is way ahead of the M3’s manual, Car and Driver says.

And the order figures speak for themselves. Of the 500 initial Cadillac Blackwing orders, 53% were for the manual versions. That’s Porsche GT3-levels of stick-shift dedication.

Cadillac sends its gas stick-shifts off with a bang

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Unfortunately, the 2022 CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing are officially the last gas-powered manual cars that Cadillac is developing. After this, it’s sayonara, ICE stick-shift.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean Cadillac is done with manuals quite yet. As numerous electric-swapped classic cars have already shown, EVs can work with manuals. Cadillac’s Manual and Dual-Clutch Transmission Development Engineer, Geoff Holbein, is also on the brand’s BEV team. And while “’it’s a little tricker,’” he told The Drive, “’when you start to get into the EV range, doing a manual transmission is still technically possible.’”

So, the Blackwings’ stick-shift swan song might not be the manual’s final curtain.

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