Cadillac – The Swagger Is Back
Fifty years ago, Cadillac proudly proclaimed itself “Standard of the World” and that claim was not idle boast. In 1912, Cadillac won the prestigious Dewar Trophy for manufacturing excellence. At a time when most automobiles were painstakingly hand assembled with considerable custom fitment and component rework – several production Cadillacs were completely dismantled, their parts co-mingled and the cars reassembled with no rework allowed to any of the components. These cars were then driven 500 miles each with no mechanical failures of any kind. A stunning achievement – It spoke to Cadillac’s impressive levels of production accuracy, manufacturing process control and standardization. Mind you, this achievement coming long before the era of advanced metallurgy, CNC machining and Demming inspired total quality management.
For 50 years hence, Cadillac was known as an engineering, quality and design leader, with innovative features such as electric starting, automatic transmissions and some of the most exuberant Harley Earl inspired styling the world has ever known. In those days, a Cadillac in the driveway signified financial wherewithal, social standing and prestige. A Cadillac was truly something special.
The party came to an abrupt end in the 1970s and 80s, as a succession of Middle East oil embargoes catalyzed a precipitous rise in fuel prices. Cadillac responded with a series of engineering fiascoes such as the V8-6-4, Diesel Seville, and the Cavalier based Cimarron. Cadillac compensated for the poor engineering with over the top baroque styling intended to evoke the past glory days. Again, they missed the mark – so that by the 1980’s the only people voluntarily driving Caddies were the white belt/white shoe Florida crowd and the, ahem, “urban adult entertainment managers” with names like Huggy Bear and Sweet Lou. We actually owned a 1982 Coupe DeVille, and it was, speaking bluntly, a piece of utter vehicular excrement. Grim times indeed.
A decade later, automotive sophisticates like Chris are returning to the Cadillac marque. In this hyper competitive global economy, very few companies get the mulligan – and Cadillac is determined to stay in the game this time.
Whether or not Caddy has regained the title of “standard of the world” is debatable, but there’s no denying that the swagger is back. 13 years after it’s introduction, the world class Northstar DOHC 32v V8 remains fresh, potent and competitive. We recently enjoyed some extended seat time in a Northstar powered DeVille and the car positively ate up the Midwestern miles at a refined, leisurely and feloniously illegal 125 MPH plus. The V Series of performance cars is boisterous and pretty darned exciting – all boasting a sub 5 second dash to 60. While the flagship XLR has yet to achieve sales projections, the CTS is selling briskly and the SRX and Escalade SUVs are market leaders. The “Art and Science” design motif is a polarizing, like-it-or-hate-it look, but certainly less controversial than Chris Bangle’s “flame surfacing” styling at BMW. Heck, we even get a Led Zeppelin flavored ad campaign to remind us that Caddy is sincere about wooing the 40 year old market.
Fifteen years ago, Cadillac took a momentous leap by debuting the V-Series, establishing a legacy of refined athleticism conveyed through a succession of acclaimed, distinctive and luxurious American performance sedans.
In a bold move for a brand that was still establishing its performance street cred, the preview for the inaugural 2004 CTS-V was held at Germany’s famed Nűrburgring race course. It was a first for Cadillac, but the CTS-V was a Cadillac like no other. It was the most powerful car the brand had ever produced at 400 horsepower and was offered only with a manual transmission.
“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 V-Series family tree grew to include five vehicle platforms: CTS, XLR, STS, ATS and CT6, with more planned. Including today’s CT6-V, each offered a unique expression of performance and shared a heritage of racing-bred aesthetics and technologically advanced driving dynamics.
“V-Series is a philosophy as much as the unique components comprising each variant,” said Brandon Vivian, Cadillac executive chief engineer. “That means the various V-Series models offer distinctive driving experiences, but always distilled through Cadillac’s unique perspective on spirited performance.”
The scope of what Cadillac could offer evolved from the original V-Series lineup into today’s strategy, where design and performance distinctions are tailored for customers’ preferences for traditional luxury or sport-oriented looks. The V-Series is intended for sport-minded customers, offering enhanced performance capability.
2004 – CTS-V (first generation)
The first CTS-V set many precedents as the first project developed by General Motors’ special vehicle performance team, established in 2002 under the direction of Ken Morris. A 5.7L V-8 rated at 400 horsepower (and later a 6.0L V-8) helped deliver 0-60 times of about 4.6 seconds, while the CTS-V’s Nűrburgring-honed handling elicited words such as “superb” from the press. The CTS-V also established a performance design aesthetic that continues with today’s models, including mesh grilles and darkened exterior trim.
2006 – XLR-V
The V-Series version of Cadillac’s two-seat grand tourer was one of the most powerful cars of its day, thanks to a supercharged V-8 rated at 443 hp that established the legacy of forced induction — whether by supercharging or turbocharging — employed on every V-Series model that followed. The XLR-V was produced through 2009.
2006 – STS-V
Based on a stretched and widened version of the solid architecture that underpinned the CTS-V, the STS-V’s notable features included staggered 18-inch front and 19-inch rear wheels, Performance Algorithm Shifting and ZF Servotronic II steering — one of the brand’s first applications of electric power steering. Power came from a 469-hp version of the supercharged V-8 found in the XLR-V. The STS-V was produced through 2009.
2009 – CTS-V (second generation)
Building on the success of its predecessor, the second-gen CTS-V upped the performance ante with an all-new supercharged V-8 engine rated at 556 hp, which enabled a nearly 200-mph top speed on a test track. It was also the first to include Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control adaptive damping suspension, which has since appeared on every V-Series model. Countless test laps were run around the Nűrburgring, with one of them clicked off in less than 8 minutes on the 12-mile-long Nordschleife (North Loop) — a record at the time for a V-8-powered sedan on production street tires.
2011 – CTS-V Coupe and Wagon
As dynamic in styling as performance, the CTS-V Coupe and Wagon variants have already achieved cult status among performance aficionados. Each featured the same supercharged V-8 and track-tuned chassis as the sedan. The CTS-V wagon’s rarity – only 1,764 produced over a four-year run – makes it particularly sought-after today.
2016 – CTS-V (third generation)
The third iteration was a decidedly more track-focused performer. Its handling prowess was enhanced by the four-mode Performance Traction Management system, which allowed the driving experience to be tailored to different conditions, including a race track. Power came from a supercharged and direct-injected V-8 rated at 640 hp, making it the most powerful Cadillac ever with a top track speed of more than 200 mph.
2016 – ATS-V Coupe and Sedan
These were the first V-Series to employ turbocharging, and like the third-generation CTS-V, each leveraged electronically controlled technologies including an electronic limited slip rear differential to support true track capability. The 464-hp turbocharged V-6 offered a distinctive performance experience and added depth and breadth to the V-Series lineup. Capabilities included 0-60 times of fewer than 4 seconds and a top track speed of nearly 190 mph.
2019 – CT6-V
The CT6-V sedan returns the V-Series to its grand touring roots, while advancing its performance technology legacy with an all-new Blackwing 4.2L twin-turbocharged V-8 rated at a Cadillac-estimated 550 horsepower. Effortless street and canyon road performance is the focus for CT6-V, delivered through its responsive, AWD-enabled handling and driver-focused technologies echoing the V-Series’ 15-year performance legacy. The CT6-V signals a further expansion and elevation of things to come for V-Series, including the expansion of AWD capability.
FAST FACT: The CT4 and CT5 V-Series will make their global debut in Detroit on May 30, representing the next chapter in the V-Series family. And this is only the beginning.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5873050 Cadillac Press Room