Caddy goes into AMG territory in the full-size class

Introduced in 2015 as a spiritual successor to the Cadillac Fleetwood, the CT6 slots above the XTS and is the company’s largest sedan on offer. Designed to go against the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, and Audi A8, the CT6 is available with four different drivetrains, including a plug-in hybrid model. Come 2018 and Cadillac finally decided it’s time to offer a high-performance version of the sedan under the V-Sport badge. The new trim joins similar versions of the CTS and XTS in the brand’s V-Sport lineup, but benefits from a more powerful, brand-new V-8 engine.

Revealed alongside the facelifted version of the standard CT6, the V-Sport gets all the new design features, some of which are borrowed from the Escala concept, plus a few extras for added sportiness on top. The new V-8 engine is arguably the main highlight of the CT6 V-Sport, as it produces more output than any other Cadillac engine to date, except for the supercharged V-8 in the CTS-V, and enables the sedan to compete against the Mercedes-AMG S63 and the BMW M760Li xDrive. Let’s find out more about it in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Cadillac CT6 V-Sport.

Cadillac CT6 V-Sport Exterior

- * Escala concept design features
- * New grille
- * Black window trim
- * Revised bumper
- * Decklid spoiler
- * Sportier side skirts
- * New headlamps and taillights

2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport Exterior
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The headlamps aren’t as slim as the concept car, but they’re definitely sleeker and have a more aggressive design

If you wanted to know how a performance version of the current CT6 looks like, you won’t get to find out because the V-Sport package was added to the facelifted model. The revised CT6 borrows styling elements from the Escala concept and needless to say; it looks significantly different for a mid-cycle upgrade. Up front, we can see a new grille that’s almost identical to the Escala. All Cadillac did was add the upper chrome trim. A sportier mesh with a honeycomb-like design replaces the regular CT6 grille with horizontal slats.

The headlamps aren’t as slim as the concept car, but they’re definitely sleeker than the old CT6 and have a more aggressive design with narrower, more angular edges. The signature vertical lights are carried over with minor changes but, because the headlamps are slimmer, they seem longer toward the lower apron. Another big change is that Cadillac dropped the three-piece intake layout in the bumper. The side vents are now smaller and sit higher in the fascia. The center vent, on the other hand, is taller and significantly wider, which gives the V-Sport model a sportier stance.

2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport Exterior
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The new taillights are joined by a new chrome strip that stretches the entire width of the fascia

The profile remained unchanged save for a few minor tweaks, but that’s not surprising for a mid-cycle facelift. Upgrades specific to higher performance models include black window trim, more muscular side skirts, and unique, multi-spoke 20-inch wheels wrapped in performance-oriented tires. The rear end boasts the most noticeable updates. The first thing that catches the eye is the new headlamps design. While the vertical layout is still there, the lamps no longer extend toward the rear window. Instead, a thin, almost triangular element was added toward the license plate recess, creating an upside down L shape. I’m actually glad Cadillac did this, as the old taillights looked too mundane for a flagship sedan.

The new taillights are joined by a new chrome strip that stretches the entire width of the fascia and descents toward the sides to go under the lights. The trunklid now has an integrated spoiler, while the license plate recess is wider. Down below, we can see a mildly revised diffuser-like element with chrome tailpipes in a quad configuration. The V-Sport exterior is rounded off by "V" badges front and rear.

Cadillac CT6 V-Sport Interior

- * Leather upholstery
- * Carbon-fiber trim
- * Upgraded infotainment system
- * 10-inch display
- * New rotary controller
- * hands-free Super Cruise
- * New Rear Camera Mirror

2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport Interior
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The 10-inch screen is operated via a new rotary controller that includes volume and seek forward/back controls

Cadillac didn’t release too much information about design changes in the facelifted CT6, so it’s safe to assume that it continues with the same layout and features. Unfortunately, there’s no info as to what the V-Sport package adds either. Cadillac did release two interior shots, and we can see a sportier seat design and carbon-fiber trim on the dashboard, but the sedan should also have some "V-Sport" badges on the floor mats and the door sills.

More significant info is available in the tech department, with the V-Sport using an upgraded infotainment system with smartphone-like features and a more intuitive interface. The 10-inch screen is operated via a new rotary controller that includes volume and seek forward/back controls for the audio system, as well as shortcut buttons for fast access to the most frequently used apps. A large center dial can be used to operate primary features of the most frequently used apps, scroll menus and lists, and select other apps to be displayed.

2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport Interior
- image 774623
Like the standard model, the V-Sport benefits from the full suite of active safety features

Other features include a 4G LTE internet connection, the hands-free Super Cruise driver assistance, a five-watt wireless charging port, and rear-seat infotainment media input with USB, HDMI, and Wi-Fi. The CT6 also gained Cadillac’s second-generation Rear Camera Mirror with frameless design and zoom.

Like the outgoing and the standard model, the V-Sport benefits from the full suite of available active safety features, which includes Forward Collision Alert, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Forward/Reverse Automatic Braking, and Safety Alert Seat.

Cadillac CT6 V-Sport Drivetrain

- * All-new V-8 engine
- * 550 horsepower
- * 627 pound-feet of torque
- * 10-speed automatic transmission
- * Standard AWD
- * Revised chassis
- * Brembo braking system
- * Performance-optimized Track mode

Cadillac is Being Greedy, Won't Let Chevy Use That New Biturbo V-8 For The Corvette
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Output is rated at a whopping 550 horsepower and 627 pound-feet

Arguably the biggest upgrade to the CT6 line lies under the hood of the V-Sport, which uses a twin-turbo, 4.2-liter, V-8 engine. A brand-new design, the mill uses a "hot V" configuration, which transposes the conventional layout of the cylinder heads’ intake and exhaust systems to mount the turbochargers at the top of the engine. This virtually eliminates turbo lag and reduces the engine’s packaging size.

Output is rated at a whopping 550 horsepower and 627 pound-feet, which is a bit surprising given that Cadillac didn’t go much past the 400-horsepower mark with other models. Until the V-Sport, the most powerful CT6 was the 3.0-liter V-6 version, which comes with 404 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of twist. By comparison, the V-Sport delivers an extra 150 horses and an additional 227 pound-feet.

2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport Exterior
- image 774624
The V-Sport comes pretty close to the AMG versions of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class in terms of output

The big news is that the V-Sport comes pretty close to the AMG versions of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class in terms of output, as it falls only 53 horsepower and 37 pound-feet short off the Mercedes-AMG S63. I know that falling short isn’t something that requires a party, but given that Audi doesn’t offer an RS8 model yet, the V-Sport joins a very exclusive niche that only includes the AMG S63, AMG S65, and the BMW M760Li.

The new V-8 mates to a 10-speed automatic transmission with narrow steps between gear ratios for optimal speed and maximum power at almost all vehicle speeds. The all-wheel-drive system is standard, as is the mechanical limited-slip rear differential, which increases traction at the limit and provides more predictable performance during spirited driving. A V-Sport specific suspension setup improves roll control, cornering capability, and steering response, while the modified steering and Magnetic Ride Control damper calibrations offer more precision.

2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport Exterior
- image 775924
Stopping power comes from new 19-inch Brembo brakes developed specifically for this model

Stopping power comes from new 19-inch Brembo brakes developed specifically for this model and Brembo monoblock, fixed-opposed, four-piston calipers. The summer tires were also developed exclusively for this car are tuned to deliver track-capable performance, while retaining the comfort you expect from a big sedan. Finally, the V-Sport comes with a performance-optimized Track mode that changes various settings for those weekends at the race course. When activated, this mode maximizes Magnetic Ride Control damper control settings, remaps steering efforts for sportier, dynamic feedback, and gives the Active Rear Steer track-tuner specifics. The stability control features become sportier, while the active exhaust valve calibration delivers a more aggressive sound.

I know, taking such a big sedan to the race track is ridiculous, but hey, it’s better to be prepped just in case a few customers actually want to lap the Laguna Seca in a full-size four-door.

Cadillac CT6 V-Sport Prices

2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport Exterior
- image 775921

Cadillac has yet to announce pricing for the CT6 V-Sport, but it’s safe to assume it will become the most expensive model in the lineup. Given that the XTS V-Sport comes with a $7,000 premium over the Platinum model, the CT6 V-Sport, which uses a brand-new V-8, should add between $10,000 to $15,000 to the Platinum model. With the latter priced from $85,290, the CT6 V-Sport could fetch close to $100,000 before options. This sticker would make it more expensive than the range-topping Escalade, but still more affordable than its German competitors.

Cadillac CT6 V-Sport Competition

Mercedes-AMG S63 / Mercedes-AMG S65

2018 Mercedes-AMG S63-S65 High Resolution Exterior
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The AMG-prepped version of the S-Class is arguably the most potent and popular vehicle in this small niche. Updated for the 2018 model year with minor tweaks inside and out, the AMG S63 gained a new engine. Mercedes dropped the old 5.5-liter V-8 in favor of the newer, twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8, a unit that increased the sedan’s output to 603 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. In this car, you’ll be able to hit 60 mph in only 3.4 seconds. If you fancy V-12 engines, Mercedes still offers the AMG S65 model. Unlike the S63, the S65 continued with the twin-turbo, 6.0-liter V-12 of the pre-facelift model, which delivers 621 horsepower. Although slightly more powerful, this sedan needs 4.2 seconds to sprint to 60 mph. Although more powerful, the AMG S63 and S65 are significantly more expensive than the Cadillac. While the AMG S63 retails from $147,500, the AMG S65 fetches a whopping $229,500 before options.

Read our full review of the Mercedes-AMG S63.

BMW M760Li xDrive

2017 BMW M760Li xDrive High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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While it has yet to offer a proper M version of the 7 Series, BMW launched the M760Li xDrive, the most powerful variant of the sedan yet. Fitted with sporty styling features that are very similar to other M models, the M760Li comes with all the oomph it needs to give the competition a run for its money. Powered by a twin-turbo, 6.6-liter V-12, the Bimmer hits the streets with 600 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of twist, enough to send it flying from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. Much like the Mercedes-AMG S63, the M760Li xDrive is notably more expensive than the CT6 V-Sport, coming in at $156,700 before options.

Read our full review of the BMW M760Li xDrive.

Conclusion

2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport Exterior
- image 774626

The CT6 V-Sport is a bold and much-needed move from Cadillac. With the CT6 already a worthy rival for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the BMW 7 Series, Cadillac needed a performance-oriented version of the sedan really bad. The surprisingly good news here is that the brand opted to develop a brand-new V-8 engine instead of using the same V-6 offered in other V-Sport sedans. And not just any V-8, but a unit that delivers enough power to make the CT6 the most powerful Cadillac ever after the supercharged CTS-V. The CT6 V-Sport should help the American brand narrow the gap against its German competitors.

  • Leave it
    • Not quite as powerful as the AMG S63
    • Has a lot to prove

References

2017 Cadillac CT6 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Cadillac CT6.

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Read more Cadillac news.

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Read more New York Auto Show news.

Press release

Cadillac today unveiled the CT6 V-Sport, the first-ever V-Performance model of its top-of-range sedan. The introduction of the high-performance variant coincides with a makeover of the entire CT6 lineup that incorporates the newest iteration of Cadillac’s design language featured on the Escala Concept. The Cadillac V-Sport portfolio currently includes the CTS V-Sport and the XTS V-Sport.

“Cadillac V-Sport is the embodiment of our passion to deliver an exhilarating driving experience without compromises,” said Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen. “The all-new CT6 V-Sport provides the perfect balance of performance and luxurious refinement.”

The CT6 V-Sport boasts an all-new Cadillac 4.2L Twin Turbo V-8 Cadillac -estimated at 550 horsepower (410 kW) and stunning 627 lb-ft of torque (850 Nm) that elevates the CT6’s performance to a new plateau and offers drivers an unparalleled experience behind the wheel. The engine is a clean-sheet design and introduces unique design elements developed to balance performance and efficiency with compact, mass-efficient packaging.

At the center of the Cadillac Twin Turbo V8 is a “hot V” configuration that transposes the conventional layout of the cylinder heads’ intake and exhaust systems to mount the turbochargers at the top of the engine — in the valley between the heads — to virtually eliminate turbo lag and reduce the engine’s overall packaging size.

“With the introduction of the all-new CT6 V-Sport, Cadillac begins a new chapter in its performance legacy with the introduction of the brand’s first-ever twin-turbo V-8 engine,” added de Nysschen. “It is the centerpiece of the new CT6 V-Sport, an engaging sport sedan infused with DNA of Cadillac’s world-renowned and championship-winning motorsports program.”

The new Cadillac Twin Turbo V-8 is matched with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Its broad, 7.39 overall gear ratio spread enhances off-the-line performance and contributes to reduced engine speed on the highway for refinement and efficiency. Narrow steps between the gear ratios also help the engine maintain the optimal speed for maximum power at almost all vehicle speeds.

OPTIMIZED FOR PERFORMANCE

The first-ever Cadillac CT6 V-Sport includes a bold, dark front with a large V-inspired mesh grille and new horizontal LED headlamps with strong vertical signatures, making it distinctly Cadillac. Lower aero components and Gloss Black side window surround trim provide the performance sport sedan’s chiseled exterior with a dark and distinguished look. New, unique 20-inch V-Sport wheels with summer-only tires[1], lower aero components and spoiler further express the sedan’s performance capabilities.

New, summer-only performance[i] tires developed exclusively for Cadillac V-Sport are tuned to deliver crisp response and track capable performance while retaining isolation and comfort.
Mechanical limited-slip rear differential increases traction at the limit and provides more predictable performance during spirited and track driving.
V-Sport specific suspension tuning for improved roll control, cornering capability and steering response.
A new 19-inch Brembo brake system developed specifically for the CT6 high-performance application.
Brembo monoblock, fixed-opposed, four-piston
Equipped with performance linings and air deflectors that direct air to cool the brakes during sporty, aggressive driving
Modified steering and Magnetic Ride Control damper calibrations
Exhaust system with active valves offering reduced back pressure and more sound character
Tuned for V-Sport model, with a performance oriented exhaust note

TRACK MODE, OPTIMIZED FOR PERFORMANCE

Maximized Magnetic Ride Control damper control
Re-mapped steering efforts for sportier, dynamic feedback
Track-tuned Active Rear Steer
Revised AWD torque split
Unique, track-focused stability controls
Track focused active exhaust valve calibration

“The CT6 V-Sport was developed for driving enthusiasts who want the best of both worlds: a high-performance sports sedan and a luxury car with all the comforts and technology that come with it,” said Lyndon Lie, CT6 chief engineer. “With its lightweight architecture, an all-new Cadillac Twin Turbo V-8 coupled with the tightened suspension and revised AWD torque split, we’ve enhanced the CT6 to be well-balanced and capable of all conditions.”

REFRESHED CT6 LINEUP

CT6 retains a dominant vertical light signature and adds horizontal elements to give the front end a more aggressive appearance. That inspiration continues to the back with the new rear lighting graphic, which is most visible at night.

"The V-Sport gave us the opportunity to accentuate the aggressive dynamics of the architecture," said Andrew Smith, executive director of Cadillac Design. "The CT6 is the first entry that incorporates cues for the new Sport and V-Sport model strategy, which allowed us to make the car look as powerful as it drives."

In addition to the introduction of the CT6 V-Sport, the 2019 CT6 lineup incorporates Cadillac’s new “Y” trim strategy for its models — each model will have Luxury and Sport trims with distinct personas and features. On non-V-Sport CT6 models, new horizontal high-lumen headlights and a revised taillight design refresh Cadillac’s signature lighting, inspired by the Escala Concept.

INTUITIVE TECHNOLOGIES

Led by the latest Cadillac user experience — the brand’s most advanced infotainment interface — the CT6 offers a connected environment.

The Cadillac user experience is a dynamic platform that offers a smartphone-like experience with an intuitive interface, faster response and improved voice recognition from previous generations. The system can be updated over time to meet a customer’s evolving connectivity needs. It leverages the cloud and available embedded 4G LTE connection to enable personalization, available connected navigation and news, marketplace and entertainment applications via the app store and a new rotary controller that offers users alternative ways to interact with the system.

The new controller includes volume and seek forward/back controls for the audio system; shortcut buttons for fast access to the most frequently used apps such as Audio, Phone, Navigation (if available) and Home; and a large center dial to operate primary features of the most frequently used apps, scroll menus and lists and select other apps to be displayed.

Additional CT6 technologies include:

Super Cruise, the first truly hands-free driver assistance feature for the freeway, is available (non- V-Sport only)[ii].
The 10-inch diagonal Cadillac user experience interface screen has 1080p HD resolution.
Next-generation, 5-watt wireless charging with larger charge area for better phone compatibility[iii].
Available Cloud-connected navigation provides real-time traffic and routing.
Rear-seat Infotainment has media input through USB, HDMI or Wi-Fi connection to a phone.
The second-generation Rear Camera Mirror has a new frameless design and zoom and tilt features.
The full suite of available active safety features includes Forward Collision Alert, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Forward/Reverse Automatic Braking, and Safety Alert Seat

Available Surround Vision provides a 360-degree camera view around the vehicle, displayed on the Cadillac user experience screen, helping the driver avoid nearby objects during low-speed maneuvering
Available industry-first Surround Vision Recorder video recording system can record front and rear views while driving, and 360 degrees of recording if the vehicle’s security system is activated.
Night Vision helps identify people and large animals via heat signatures on a display in the driver information center.
Available Automatic Parking Assist with Braking steers the vehicle and applies the brakes at idle speed to help park in parallel or perpendicular spaces while the driver follows text commands, selects gear, and overrides braking and acceleration as needed.
Available Front Pedestrian Braking provides pedestrian detection indications, alerts and automatic braking to help avoid collisions or reduce the harm caused by one.
New available Rear Pedestrian Detection alerts the driver, when in Reverse, of an imminent collision with a pedestrian by providing visual notification on rear view camera display.

Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver’s responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. The driver should remain attentive to traffic, surroundings and road conditions at all times. Visibility, weather, and road conditions may affect feature performance. Read the vehicle’s owner’s manual for more important feature limitations and information.

###

[i] Do not use summer only tires in winter conditions, as it would adversely affect vehicle safety, performance and durability. Use only GM-approved tire and wheel combinations. Unapproved combinations may change the vehicle’s performance characteristics. For important tire and wheel information, go to https://my.cadillac.com/learn/tires/ or see your dealer.

[ii] Even while using the Super Cruise driver assistance feature, always pay attention while driving and do not use a hand-held device. Visit cadillacsupercruise.com for more information.

[iii] The system wirelessly charges one PMA- or Qi-compatible mobile device. Some phones have built-in wireless charging technology and others require a special adaptor/back cover. To check for phone or other device compatibility, see [my.cadillac.com/learn] or consult your carrier.

2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport

PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS (NORTH AMERICA)

(accurate as of time of publication)

Model:

2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport

Body style / driveline:

AWD, 5-passenger large high-performance sedan

Manufacturing location:

Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, Hamtramck, Mich.

Engines:

4.2L V-8 twin-turbo DOHC DI – 550 hp / 410 kW (est.)

Transmissions:
10L90 Hydra-Matic 10-Speed Electronically controlled automatic transmission (4.2L twin-turbo)

Brakes:

19-inch Brembo brake system developed specifically for the CT6 high-performance application.

Wheels:

20-inch

Wheelbase (in / mm):

122.4 / 3106

Length (in / mm):

204 / 5182

Width (in / mm):

74 / 1879

Height (in / mm):

58 / 1472

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