Cadillac’s New Magnesium Wheels Are a Big (but Not Heavy) Deal

Although the V-Series Blackwing models won’t have Cadillac’s Blackwing engine, they’re shaping up to be serious performance sedans. Plus, like the BMW M3 and M4, you’ll be able to get them with a stick. And recently, Cadillac unveiled details about another V-Series Blackwing feature: magnesium wheels.

Why are the Cadillac V-Series Blackwing models getting magnesium wheels?

A gray-and-white 2016 Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang behind its black carbon-fiber wheel
2016 Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang’s carbon-fiber wheel | Ford

Steel and aluminum alloys aren’t the only materials used to make wheels nowadays. The Shelby GT350R, for example, ushered in carbon-fiber wheels for mass-production cars, Car and Driver reports. But if carbon fiber’s usually the material of choice for lightweight cars, why are the Cadillac Blackwings getting magnesium wheels?

A close-up of the 2022 Cadillac V-Series Blackwing gold-colored magnesium wheel
2022 Cadillac V-Series Blackwing magnesium wheel | Cadillac

Weight savings plays into Cadillac’s decision, Road & Track reports. The magnesium alloy wheels are lighter than their aluminum equivalents, after all. That’s partially due to the material’s strength-to-weight ratio, which Cadillac claims exceeds that of other “commonly available metals.” And according to Surface Modification of Magnesium and its Alloys for Biomedical Applications, that includes titanium.

Magnesium is less dense than aluminum, too. As a result, you need less material to make an equally-strong wheel.

The magnesium wheels’ lower weight doesn’t just improve acceleration, though, Car and Driver explains. Less unsprung weight means a better ride and sharper handling. Still, Car and Driver reports that carbon-fiber wheels offer similar benefits. So, again, why use magnesium?

Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing prototype
Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing prototype | Cadillac

Cadillac considered using the composite material, Hagerty reports. However, during testing, the magnesium wheels dissipated heat and dampened vibrations more effectively. Plus, with magnesium, most of the weight savings is in the center of the wheel. That’s why it dampens vibrations better; it also gives Cadillac “more flexibility with the spoke design,” Car and Driver reports.

There’s also another benefit over carbon fiber: rarity.

Magnesium wheels are a rare sight even on performance cars

1997 Chevrolet C5 Corvette lineup
1997 Chevrolet C5 Corvette lineup | Chevrolet

The upcoming Cadillac V-Series Blackwing cars are the first road-going Cadillacs with magnesium wheels. However, they’re not the first Cadillacs, period: the brand’s DPi-V.R race car also has them. But these aren’t the first GM car to offer them. Magnesium wheels were previously an option on the 1998-2004 C5 Corvette, SuperChevy reports.

2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS
2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS | Porsche

However, very few production cars offer magnesium wheels from the factory. Porsche is really the only major automaker to offer them in recent years, Motor Trend reports. But they were only available on its most expensive models, like the 911 GT2 RS, GT3 RS, and the 918 Spyder.

On the GT2 RS, they were part of the Weissach Package, while the GT3 RS had them as a separate option. Though interestingly, the Weissach package also swapped the GT2 RS’ magnesium roof for an even lighter carbon-fiber one, Car and Driver reports.

Will they be worth getting?

Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing prototype
Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing prototype | Cadillac

As of this writing, Cadillac hasn’t released the official pricing for the V-Series Blackwing magnesium wheels. Though it also hasn’t released the cars’ base prices, either.


How Composites are Improving Cars

On the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, magnesium wheels were a $13,000 option, MT reports, and saved 25 pounds. They saved the same amount of weight in the GT2 RS as part of the $31,000 Weissach Package, Car and Driver reports. The Cadillac Blackwings’ wheels likely won’t cost quite that much, but they won’t exactly be cheap.

However, they will be exclusive. Cadillac says the 2022 CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing “will be the only GM products to offer magnesium wheels in the near future.” That doesn’t mean a future Corvette Z06 couldn’t offer carbon-fiber wheels, MT muses. But it does mean that if you want real ‘mag’ wheels on your GM car, you’ll need to go to Cadillac.

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