Cadillac is ramping up the performance of its lineup-topping CT6 luxury sedan for 2019. The CT6 will be available as a V-Sport model for the first time, joining the CTS and XTS V-Sports among Cadillac’s not-quite-full-on-V offerings. However, the CT6 V-Sport is significant not only because it’s a new model but also because it debuts an all-new twin-turbocharged V-8 engine.
The twin-turbo 4.2-liter V-8 is exclusive to Cadillac. Built from a blank slate with knowledge gained from General Motors’ racing programs, the new engine makes 550 horsepower at 5700 rpm and 627 lb-ft of torque from 3200 to 4000 rpm. A “hot V” setup, which puts the turbochargers atop the block between the heads, aims to minimize turbo lag while making the engine more compact. The forced-induction V-8 is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. (The new engine also will be available on non–V-Sport models, where it will have 500 horsepower and 553 lb-ft.)
Naturally, the V-Sportification brings upgrades to other mechanicals as well. The V-Sport has specific tuning that stiffens the suspension to abate body roll, and the standard Magnetic Ride Control dampers have been re-calibrated. A mechanical limited-slip differential is fitted, and the steering has been retuned. The V-Sport rides on 20-inch wheels hugged by performance summer tires, and four-piston monoblock Brembo brake calipers should give drivers confidence in the left pedal. Cadillac also added a sport exhaust system with active valves for a livelier soundtrack. A Track driving mode alters the all-wheel-drive system’s torque split, the stability-control mapping, the specially tuned rear-wheel steering, and the suspension firmness.
To visually distinguish the V-Sport from the rest of the CT6 lineup, there’s a dark, “V-inspired” mesh grille and LED headlights. Lower-body aero pieces provide a sportier look, the windows are outlined with gloss-black trim, and a rear spoiler finishes the package. The V-Sport sits at the top of a refreshed CT6 lineup, which will be divided into Luxury and Sport trims, a strategy similar to that of the Mercedes-Benz E-class. The entire refreshed 2019 CTS lineup shows influences from the Escala concept, with horizontal styling elements incorporated into the reworked front and rear ends.
Curiously, Cadillac’s Super Cruise suite of driver-assistance systems is not offered on the V-Sport, but there is plenty of other news on the technology front. A revised rear-camera mirror can tilt and zoom, the 360-degree-view monitor includes a video-recording function that activates when the security system is activated, pedestrian detection and automated braking now work when backing up as well as when going forward, and the wireless device charging capability has been enhanced. Most welcome, however, may be the changes to Cadillac’s much derided CUE infotainment interface, which gains a rotary controller and a volume knob (yes!) as well as shortcut buttons to primary menu functions.