Although the Escalade SUV tends to hog the spotlight, Cadillac’s sedans are still kicking, albeit under new names. Unfortunately, the Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V haven’t been quite as well-received as their ATS-V and CTS-V predecessors were. And the Blackwing V8 that was supposed to be available has been shelved essentially for good. But, for the 2021 model year, the Blackwing name is coming back. And it’s bringing the manual transmission back to Cadillac’s high-performance sedans.
The Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing’s confusing names
Unfortunately, Car and Driver reports, neither the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing or CT5-V Blackwing will actually get the 550-hp Blackwing engine. The V8 was supposed to find a second life with MAT, the company behind the updated Stratos, but Roadshow reports that’s no longer the case. It’s also, Automobile Magazine reports, not going in the 2021 Escalade.
Why the name choice, then? Roadshow reports a Cadillac spokesperson explained, “The term Blackwing has grown to represent more for the Cadillac brand. It now represents the pinnacle of performance and craftsmanship.” The latest V-badged Cadillacs have basically been more M Performance than full-on M cars: sportier, but not sportiest. The Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, then, will be like the BMW M5, not the BMW M540i.
But while the Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing aren’t getting the actual Blackwing engine, they are getting new drivetrains. And the new manual transmissions are only part of the news.
The Cadillac sedans will offer more than just manuals
The current Cadillac CT4-V has a 325-hp 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and 10-speed automatic. The CT5-V, meanwhile, has a 360-hp 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 and 10-speed automatic.
For the 2021 Blackwing variants, though, both sedans will also offer 6-speed manuals, Autoweek reports. In addition, the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing will reportedly receive an upgraded version of the previous-gen CTS-V’s 6.2-liter supercharged V8. Instead of 640 hp, as earlier rumors claimed, it will allegedly develop 650 hp.
The Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing’s engine hasn’t been identified as of this writing. However, based on the CT5 reports, a likely candidate is an upgraded version of the ATS-V’s 464-hp 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6. It’s also possible that Cadillac will fit the current CT5-V’s V6 into the CT4-V Blackwing.
In addition, Car and Driver reports both sedans will likely remain rear-wheel drive. And in photos of the Blackwing prototypes, it appears the CT4-V Blackwing is lower than the standard CT4-V, with different wheels and tires, as well as a front splitter and rear spoiler. Roadshow reports the CT5-V Blackwing will get similar mods, and that both cars’ chassis and electronics will see additional tuning. Cadillac also claims both Blackwing prototypes are faster around Virginia International Raceway than their CTS-V and ATS-V predecessors.
What we still don’t know
Besides the CT4-V Blackwing’s engine, we also don’t have official word of when Cadillac plans on officially unveiling these sedans. Car and Driver reports both are allegedly set for the 2021 model year. However, COVID-19 will likely derail production plans somewhat. Automobile reports the Blackwing sedans have been pushed back to the 2022 model year.
Cadillac has also not released expected pricing for the CT4-V Blackwing or CT5-V Blackwing. The current CT4-V starts at $44,495; the CT5-V starts at $47,695. Car and Driver predicts a starting price of around $60,000 for the CT4-V Blackwing and $85,000 for the CT5-V Blackwing.
That would put the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing at $17,700 cheaper than the BMW M5, which makes 600 hp. And the CT4-V Blackwing would also undercut the BMW M4 Coupe, which starts at $69,700.
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