In case you need another reminder of just how crazy things are right now, consider this. You can't get a manual transmission on vehicles like the Chevrolet Corvette, Toyota Supra, or Mustang Shelby GT500. But in 2021, you can have one in ... a Cadillac? The high-performance Blackwing versions of the CT4-V and CT5-V will offer a manual option, complete with three pedals and a lever to swap cogs. And Cadillac swears they'll be better gearboxes.
In a press release earlier this month, the luxury automaker shared some information about 3D printing and the manual options for its forthcoming Blackwing models. That included a single sentence stating the six-speed transmission would be quieter and more durable, but Cadillac's statement was very open-ended and lacked context. Presumably, the gearbox would be quieter and more durable than the Tremec six-speeds used in previous-generation ATS-V and CTS-V models.
The new Blackwing machines will also use Tremec-sourced boxes, but according to Cadillac Society, a higher-flow fluid pump and extra isolation on transmission lines will make these better suited for luxury-sedan use. Tremec transmissions have long been used in a range of hardcore performance machines such as the Dodge Viper and previous-generation Shelby GT500, and while they get the job done, slick-shifting refinement hasn't always been a notable Tremec characteristic. Not bad by any means, but not butter, either.
Gallery: 2021 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Spy Photos
Whether Cadillac's tweaks make a noticable difference remains to be seen, but such concerns are likely small potatoes for row-your-own enthusiasts. Old-school manual transmission options are very scarce these days in high-performance applications, with manufacturers increasingly crossing over to dual-clutch gearboxes with automatic or paddle-shift manual modes. Who could have predicted that a savior for the save the manuals crowd would come from Cadillac? That's especially true after the near-immediate killing of the CT6-V and its Blackwing V8, not to mention the awkward rollout of the CT4-V and CT5-V.
The range-topping Blackwing variants of both sedans – with optional manual transmissions – will finally debut in the summer of 2021.