Cadillac V-Series Celebrates 15 Years

The Dark Horse Performance Division Has Shocked The World With Every Entry

From our point of view, the Cadillac V-Series has always been paradoxical. A brand built on having the biggest and plushiest machines on four wheels has been nevertheless shouting from on top of its Warren, Michigan headquarters (née New York City, née GM Renaissance Center) that it provides some of the most thrilling passenger cars on the planet. For some, it’s changed the perspectives of what Cadillac is about.

It all began with the 2004 Cadillac CTS-V. Fitted with a small-block 5.7L LS6 V8 and exclusively to a manual transmission, the four-door sedan got on to 60 mph from a standstill in under five seconds, and cut its teeth around the Nűrburgring Nordschleife during its development. Never mind that your standard Cadillac customer has no idea where that famed German road course is located, the angular CTS-V was a catalyst. Shortly after, the STS-V large sedan and XLR-V roadster entered the fray. But Cadillac V-Series was just getting started.

The second-generation Cadillac CTS-V made an even greater impression. Bashing and brawling to finish under 8 minutes around the 12-mile-long Nűrburgring Nordschleife, the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V set a new record for production sedans around the famed racetrack. It also introduced magnetic ride control to the brand, topped out at nearly 200 miles per hour, and came in sedan, coupe and wagon variations. Its 556 horsepower 6.2L LSA supercharged V8 engine was unmatched by BMW. Today, the second-generation Cadillac CTS-V remains a hot commodity for the aftermarket crowd.

For the 2016 model year, Cadillac introduced the first-ever ATS-V and third-generation CTS-V. The 464 hp ATS-V drove more lively than the F80 BMW M3, but enthusiasts were nevertheless puzzled as to why it had a twin-turbocharged V6, instead of a more signature small block V8. Nevertheless, its vehicle dynamics are telepathic, sharp, and confidence-inspiring. Meanwhile, the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V pushed the envelope for both horsepower, and price. 640 horsepower out of the 6.2L supercharged LT4 V8, shared with the C7 Corvette Z06, gave the $87,000 CTS-V the character of a missile in a mink coat, and had an official top speed of 200 miles per hour. And because of the downforce equipment on the Z06 C7 Corvettes, it was also the fastest vehicle sold by General Motors until the introduction of the 212-mph C7 Corvette ZR1.

Continuing forward, Cadillac will soon launch the 2019 CT6-V performance sedan. Larger than the CTS-V, and more road focused, the CT6-V will exclusively receive the 4.2L twin-turbo, LTA DOHC V8 engine dubbed “Blackwing” with an estimated 550 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque. It’s the first V-Series Cadillac with all-wheel-drive, as well as the biggest. Following the CT6-V will be the Cadillac CT4-V and Cadillac CT5-V, which are set to replace the ATS-V and CTS-V in the lineup.

The Cadillac V-Series story appears far from over, but after 15 years, we’re still wondering if Cadillac ever needed to play Germany’s game in the first place. Regardless, the fact that there are incredible American performance luxury vehicles on the road today, regardless of the brand, is an occasion to celebrate.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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