With the Cadillac CTS-V, the premium brand set its sights on building an American performance sedan (briefly a coupe and a wagon, too) that was capable of beating the best competitors from Europe. A new video from Cars Evolution chronicles the changes to the sporty Caddy over 15 model years and three generations.
The CTS-V arrived for the 2004 model year using the LS6 5.7-liter V8 from the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 during the same period running through a six-speed manual. It made 400 horsepower (298 kilowatts) instead of the 405 hp (302 kW) in the 'Vette. To handle the power in comparison to a regular CTS, the engineers added components like a revised suspension with larger anti-roll bars and Brembo brakes.
The original engine lasted for just two years until 2006 when the CTS-V received the LS2 6.0-liter V8. The output figures were the same as the LS6, but the bigger powerplant offered a wider torque band. These models also had an improved rear differential.
Gallery: 2018 Cadillac CTS-V: Review
The second-gen CTS-V came for the 2009 model year, and it introduced some major upgrades. Rather than the previous naturally aspirated V8, there was now the LSA 6.2-liter supercharged V8 under the hood. This allowed the output to increase to 556 hp (415 kW) and 551 lb-ft. A six-speed automatic was available in addition to the six-speed manual. The ride received a huge improvement from the MagneRide damping system.
Cadillac also began offering the CTS-V in different body styles. For the 2011 model year, a coupe and wagon joined the sedan.
The third-gen CTS-V replaced the previous model in 2016. A supercharged 6.2-liter V8 was still under the hood, but this was the new LT4 making 640 hp (477 kW) and 630 lb-ft (854 Nm). The ability to get a manual transmission was gone, and the only choice now was an eight-speed automatic. This iteration was brief, lasting until just the 2019 model year.
When the Cadillac CT5 debuted as the CTS' replacement, its V model packed a twin-turbo V6 making 355 hp, which was a far cry from the last CTS-V. The good news is that the CT5 Blackwing should pick up the torch by reportedly offering around 650 hp (485 kW).