Ask 100 different people about Texas-based Hennessey Performance and you’re liable to get 100 different answers. Most commonly, you’ll hear about the Venom GT — a $1 million supercar with over 1,200 horsepower that holds a verified top speed of 270.4 miles per hour. Others may speak fondly of the VelociRaptor, Hennessey’s 600-plus horsepower Ford F-150 Raptor upgrade. There’s also the 650-plus horsepower Nissan GT-R, the 500 horsepower Lexus LX, and other outrageous vehicles in various states of tune.
Life for tuners like Hennessey has become either increasingly difficult or increasingly fun in recent times depending on how you look at it. Cadillac made serious waves when it introduced the 640 horsepower CTS-V, its engine lifted from the potent Corvette Z06. For many, that’s more than enough to play with, it comes from the factory as standard, fully warrantied and backed by GM. For buyers, there’s less incentive to pursue aftermarket options like a Hennessey performance kit. Unless, of course, you need power heading into the four digit-range.
Hennessey’s upgrades include forged aluminum pistons, twin ball bearing turbochargers, a fuel system and injector upgrade, dual wastegates, air-to-air intercooler, dual K&N air filters, a new stainless steel exhaust system, a custom HPE camshaft, and an electronic boost controller. All added up, the car spews anywhere from 750 horsepower to 1,000, in case the 640 from the GM factory is unsatisfactory. The two turbos will bump out the stock Eaton TVS1740 supercharger, Automobile Magazine said.
A refined bodykit helps ensure that all that power is adequately deposited to the asphalt, and inside, the car gets Hennessey-embroidered headrests and Hennessey premium floor mats. The company notes that a transmission upgrade will be required, however, in order to handle the extra oomph exerted from under the hood.
Years ago — well, prior to the introduction of the Bugatti Veyron — 1,000 horsepower was unheard of. This was a figure reserved for dragsters, funny cars, and racing vehicles. A road-legal application of four-digit horsepower was a pipe dream, but here we are. Dodge is skirting over 700 horsepower in a sub-$70,000 family sedan, while the holy grail of horsepower has been bumped to 2,000 as cars like Koenigsegg’s Regera push through 1,500.
This puts Hennessey in a bit of a spot — with the price of horsepower crashing, tuners like the Texas company must prove to the world that they still have enough to offer to make their packages worthwhile. The new CTS-V can breach 200 miles per hour fresh off the assembly line, which comes on the heels of Hennessey’s previously tuned CTS-V coupe, which sported 1,066 horsepower (up from 556) and cracked 220 miles per hour.
“A couple of years ago, the State of Texas gave us the opportunity to test one of our specially tuned CTS-Vs – our VR1200 Twin Turbo coupe. It ran 221 mph on State Highway 130, near the Circuit of the Americas”, said the company founder, John Hennessey. “It was still pulling on when we ran out of road. I believe that our 2016 Twin Turbo CTS-V will have a top speed approaching 240 mph,” he added.
Cheap horsepower aside, and all the aforementioned considered, we think that Hennessey will strike a chord with the new CTS-V. At the very least, it’s an alternative to the stock car, and there’s always a market of people looking for something unique. On top of that, and most importantly, it further emphasizes that Cadillacs have the power to be cool again — something the company hasn’t tasted for a very long time. And that is worth its weight in gold.
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