Detroit, MICHIGAN—Seldom are new cars kept a total secret until the moment the wrap is pulled—a key tidbit always seems to leak out.

But when it comes to these models, Cadillac managed to keep everything secret other than the fact the two replace the ATS-V and CTS-V.

The new “dynamic” duo represent the next phase of the brand’s V-Series, which is celebrating 15 years of making go-faster models, some of which are approaching legendary status.

The launch of the next-gen V-Series puts the CT4-V and CT5-V along side the CT6-V. Both the newbies get the V-Series blacked-out grille, distinctive headlight treatments, quad tail pipes and some very nice interiors with supportive seats and the latest in-car technologies.

Outwardly, the two look very good—mean, but in a conservatively purposeful way. First impressions said sleeper.

While the V legend has rapidly become the stuff of overlooked lore, the two new models come up a little shy in terms of outright performance.

The CT4-V and its 2.7-litre turbocharged in-line four pushes 320 horsepower and 369 foot-pounds of torque at 1,800 rpm through a 10-speed automatic transmission and the rear wheels (or, as an option, all four wheels). However, compared to the 464 hp produced by the ATS-V it replaces, it is a tad shy.

The good news is it sits on the stiffer Alpha platform and earns Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 (on RWD) or ZF MVS passive dampers (on AWD). Regardless, the suspension, says Cadillac, promises precise handling and a steering feel that’s second to none. It also gets monster Brembo brakes and sticky P255/55R18 tires. It will, in short, wow the driver.

The CT5-V ups the ante and uses an expanded version of the Alpha platform and a larger 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 that makes 355 hp and 400 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,400 rpm. It, too, works with a 10-speed automatic and drives the rear or, as an option, all four wheels. Both drivetrains work with an electronic limited-slip rear differential and P245/40R19 Michelin Pilot tires.

On the surface it looks good, but given this is a car trying to fill the tires of the CTS-V and its 640 hp and 630 lb.-ft. of torque it, too, comes off looking rather meek. Many pundits had predicted a detuned version of the CT6-V’s 4.2-litre twin-turbo V8 engine — it delivers 550 horsepower and 627 lb.-ft. of torque.

While it is true that, with new models, you launch at a starting point and build to a thumping crescendo, outwardly the next-gen V-Series models seem to have taken a step backward. Perhaps this is just the launch phase and the CT4-V will inherit a boosted version of the V6, and the CT5-V will get a derivative of the 4.2-litre V8. Yes, ever-tightening emission regulations and fuel economy requirements are killing the fun, but to this extent?

Elsewhere, Cadillac’s Super Cruise hands-free driver assistance system feature eases the chore of highway driving and is available for use on 208,000 kilometres of highway in both Canada and the U.S. It is an option on both new V-Series models.

At the reveal, Cadillac said this was “just the beginning,” which opens the door to V-Series versions of, perhaps, the XT4 and XT5 — the thought of an Escalade-V is a little to farfetched even for devout Cadillac fans!

The CT4-V and CT5-V sedans will hit dealer showrooms early next year. And while pricing was not announced, Cadillac did say these will be the most affordable V-Series cars ever!

Source: Driving

May 31, 2019