Cadillac is celebrating 15 years of V. Since the first V-Series car launched, giving the luxury brand serious performance options for drivers wanting to go fast. So here’s a look back at the V.
That first car was the 2004 CTS-V. Revealed, somewhat ambitiously, at the famed Nűrburgring racetrack in Germany. It was a bold statement as to what the V-brand was intended to be. Cadillac said that the 400 hp 5.7L V8 was the most powerful engine the automaker had ever offered. Thanks to a six-speed stick, the only gearbox offered in the first V, it could hit 100 km/h in under five seconds, and run the quarter mile in 13.1. But this was more than just acceleration. Brembo brakes and a performance suspension gave it a laptime around the ‘Ring that was competitive with the likes of BMW’s M5 and the Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG.
“From the very beginning, Cadillac’s V-Series represented the ultimate expression of our design, technology and performance,” said Mark Reuss, GM president. “It introduced an entirely new breed of performance-minded customers to Cadillac showrooms and helped transform the brand’s traditional image into one with different facets for customers’ varying driving tastes.”
The next V was Cadillac’s luxury roadster. The XLR-V. The Corvette-based XLR used a 4.6L Northstar V8. The V made it 4.4L but added a supercharged to give the car 443 hp. That one bowed in 2006.
V went bigger in 2006. The STS got the V treatment the same years as the XLR. The same 4.4L supercharged V8 as the XLR, with 469 hp. This one was more of a high-speed tourer than the track-ready supersedan CTS. These two lasted just a few years, until 2009.
The second-generation CTS-V arrived in 2009, with a supercharged 6.2L V8 giving it a massive 556 hp. There was a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic available. This was the first V to get Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension, that’s been on every V since. The car could top 300 km/h and had handling that could hold its own with BMW’s M and Mercedes-AMG.
Then, in 2011, Cadillac added a wagon and coupe to the CTS-V lineup, creating the ultimate version of the car. The 556 hp manual wagon. Of course, it was extremely low production.
A third-generation CTS-V followed in 2016. Getting 640 hp but losing the manual transmission. It was, of course, even faster.
That same year, Cadillac moved the V lineup down to the ATS. With a 464 hp turbocharged V6.
For 2019, the CT6 got a V model. Using the all-new Blackwing V8. 4.2L and 550 hp. It sold out almost immediately after preorders opened.
Helping mark 15 years of V, Cadillac will be launching two all-new models next week. The CT4 and CT5 V-Series are set to debut in Detroit on May 30th. Marking a new chapter of fast Cadillacs.