Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V track rats will add the Blackwing name, but not the engine

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When the first CTS-V arrived in 2004, it became clear that Cadillac meant business. Keen to shed its geriatric reputation and bold enough to target BMW M and AMG, Cadillac’s V-Series quickly built a reputation for formidable, no-excuses performances. From the original CTS-V came the second- and third-generation versions as well as the wickedly agile ATS-V. The next cars to carry that track-capable mantle, Cadillac announced today, will be the Blackwing variants of the CT4-V and CT5-V.

Where does that leave the current CT4-V and CT5-V, you ask? Think of them as mid-tier performance models on par with Mercedes-AMG’s C43/E43, BMW’s M340i/M550i, and Audi’s S4/S6. None of the aforementioned cars are full-bore AMGs, M, or RS models built to handle track abuse, but they’re plenty fast and capable on the street.

If the Blackwing name sounds familiar, that’s because it was used on the short-lived dual-overhead-cam twin-turbo V-8 that powered the now-defunct Cadillac CT6-V. The future of that engine remains unclear, although at one point there was a deal coming together to send the high-powered 4.2-liter to Italy for use in an upcoming project from Manifattura Automobili Torino (MAT).

2020 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing rear three quarter camo

“The Blackwing name has come to represent the very best of Cadillac performance engineering, craftsmanship and technology,” said Brandon Vivian, Cadillac’s executive chief engineer. “The new CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing build on the brand’s respected legacy of ultimate-performance driving experiences and elevate them even further.”

Speaking to Hagerty via email, Cadillac spokesperson Stefan Cross went a step further. “The term Blackwing has grown to represent more than an engine for Cadillac.”

These new V-Series Blackwing models will combine “specially tuned chassis, vehicle control technology, and engines,” according to Cadillac’s press release. Read between the lines and you might notice that leaves room for a tuned version of an existing engine, rather than a totally unique engine exclusive to Blackwing models. Currently, the CT4-V uses a turbocharged 2.7-liter inline-four good for 325 hp and 381 lb-ft of torque, while the CT5-V relies on a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 making 360 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. Both cars are exclusively mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, but the upcoming Blackwing models will offer a real-deal three-pedal manual transmission—an option that’s becoming increasingly rare even among high-performance vehicles.

It’s tough to say at this point what we’ll see under the hood of these burly Blackwings, but at the very least we have to expect output will increase from the outgoing 464-hp ATS-V (3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6) and 640-hp CTS-V (supercharged 6.2-liter V-8). We reported earlier this year that there are rumors the DOHC Blackwing V-8 won’t fit into the CT4 and CT5, and Cadillac confirmed with us that the 4.2-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine is not on the table. From where we’re sitting, that leaves the supercharged LT4 V-8 as the next most likely suspect.

Cadillac already blesses the CT4-V with a “V-Series performance chassis,” Brembo front brakes, a mechanical limited-slip differential, and Magnetic Ride Control, while the larger CT5-V adds GM’s adjustable Performance Traction Management stability control system and electronic limited-slip differential. No doubt the Blackwing models will ratchet the hardware quotient up even further with more aggressive rubber and stouter brakes; Cadillac is claiming that both the CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing set lap times seconds faster than the outgoing ATS-V and CTS-V.

Especially in light of current events, it’s not clear yet when the Blackwing models will officially launch.

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