Cadillac Blackwing models will use 3D-printed parts, like this shifter medallion
When Cadillac debuts the highest-performance Blackwing variants of its CT4-V and CT5-V sedans next year, they’ll be some of the only cars on the market available with a manual transmission. They’ll also be the first Cadillacs to use functional 3D printed parts in production. General Motors has touted its 3D printing prowess as it tested parts in its successful racing ventures on and off-road, but until now, those parts have been experimental. The 2021 Blackwing models will use an electrical harness bracket and a pair of HVAC ducts that have been 3D-printed and will highlight the milestone with a 3D-printed medallion on the shifter.
The CT4-V Blackwing is expected to be powered by a twin-turbo V-6 and the larger CT5-V Blackwing will get a version of the supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 used in the Camaro ZL1. Both Blackwing models will be the only Cadillacs to come standard with a six-speed manual transmission. A 10-speed automatic will be optional. Cadillac points out that the CT4-V Blackwing is the only car in its class with a manual transmission available. The Blackwings join their Alpha-platform cousin, the Chevrolet Camaro, as the only RWD cars in GM’s portfolio to have three pedals. The diminutive Chevrolet’s Spark is GM’s only other member of the shrinking three-pedal club in the U.S.
In order to make the financial case to keep manual transmission available, Cadillac commissioned a survey to see how open buyers were to shifting their own gears. It found that 60 percent of Americans know how to drive stick and about 16 percent were somewhat or very interested in learning. Manual driving know-how was most prevalent in drivers 18-34 years old and among drivers with higher income. There probably wasn’t a lot of overlap among those two categories, but it gave Cadillac confidence to offer the Blackwing models with what it claims to be a quieter and more durable six-speed than in previous models, so we’ll take it.
Cadillac plans to roll out both of these high-performance sedan in the summer of 2021.