Cadillac: Lovers of Metric and Rounding, Rejoice!

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
cadillac lovers of metric and rounding rejoice

What fresh hell is this, you might mutter after hearing what Cadillac’s up to. Not only does General Motors’ luxury division plan to maintain its alphanumeric naming convention on future models, it also plans to add additional badging for the 2020 model year. The badges are numbers, designed to give both the owner and passer-by a sense of what’s under the hood.

No, it isn’t a return to prominently displayed cubic-inch engine displacements. It’s a torque figure.

In newton-meters.

That’s what Cadillac President Steve Carlisle wanted to talk about in Detroit Wednesday, telling journalists that the nomenclature will appear on all models for the coming model year. The first model to gain the exterior numbering is the midsize XT6 crossover.

While previous XT6 imagery showed no hint of this new badge strategy, a press photo handed out at the event shows an XT6 liftgate with a chromed “400” resting just below the right-side taillight. If only it was cubic inches…

Cadillac’s intentions seem legit, though Twitter wags can be forgiven for questioning whether his was all an early April Fool’s joke.

If you’re wondering why the XT6’s standard 3.6-liter V6 warrants such a designation (the mill’s 271 lb-ft of torque works out to 367 newton-meters), it’s because Cadillac rounded up. This will be the case on all models, apparently. The brand doesn’t want any badging that doesn’t end in “00” or “50,” though a “T” will be added to signify a turbocharged engine.

“We’re not talking about displacements any more,” Carlisle said, as reported by RoadShow. “Its purpose is to communicate power and performance, not just for ICE engines, but also for other propulsion.”

Carlisle didn’t saw what type of designation an electric model might gain. Will Cadillac muscle Fiat aside for 500e badging rights? Time will tell.

Addressing Cadillac’s apparent disdain for freedom units, the brand boss said, “It’s metric, it’s universal, it’s global, we have to think about all the markets that we’re doing business in.”

He added, “Engineers certainly prefer newton-meters.”

Not since the Ford Galaxie 500 7 Liter has an American automaker given such credence to the idea that customer-chasing panache can be mined from the stuffy, cold metric system. Regardless, it can be argued that Cadillac’s power designation badges are slightly less confusing and irritating than those found on European-market Audis.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • Johnny_5.0 Johnny_5.0 on Mar 15, 2019

    What do you do when the other "premium" dead brand walking starts turning things around with SUVs/CUVs and gives you a powertrain thumping? You pick the number that inflates the best on conversion! I'm ordering 563 badges for my SS. Oh wait, the rounding, make that 600 badges (even though I should round down to 550!). This is truly pathetic, and I hope Lincoln has slightly more class.

  • Johnny_5.0 Johnny_5.0 on Mar 15, 2019

    Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to mourn the passing of DeadWeight. He was killed by an aneurysm after reading a TTAC story about Cadillac putting optimistically rounded Nm related badges on their cars. His family pleaded with him to stop reading stories about GM. He just couldn't quit, and now he's gone to that great pick n' pull in the sky.

  • Jim Bonham Full EVs are not for everyone, they cannot meet all needs. Hybrids do a much better job of providing the benefits of EVs without most of the drawbacks. I have a hybrid sedan with plenty of room, plus all the bells and whistles. It has 360 hp, AWD, does 0-60 in just over 5 sec.(the instant torque is a real benefit), and I get 29 mpg, average. NOT driven lightly. I bought it used for $25k.Sure, it's a little heavier because of the battery, motor, etc., but not nearly as much as a full EV. The battery is smaller/lighter/cheaper and both the alternator and starter motor are eliminated since the motor assumes those functions. It's cool to watch the charge guage show I'm getting energy back when coasting and/or braking. It's even cooler to drive around part of the time on battery only. It really comes in handy in traffic since the engine turns off and you don't waste fuel idling. With the adaptive cruise control you just let the car slowly inch along by itself.I only wish it were a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV). Then, I'd have A LOT more EV-only range, along with even more of that instant torque. The battery would be bigger, but still a fraction of the size of a full EV. I could easily go weeks without using much, if any gas (depending upon my commute) IF I plug it in every night. But I don't have to. The gas engine will charge the battery whenever it's needed.It's just not as efficient a way to do it.Electric companies offer special rates for both EVs and PHEVs which lower your operating cost compared to gasoline. They'll even give you a rebate to offset the cost of installing a home charger. You can still get federal (up to $7,500, plus some state) tax credits for PHEVs.What's not to like? My next daily driver will be a PHEV of some kind. Probably a performance-oriented one like the new Dodge Hornet or one of the German Hybrid SUVs. All the benefits, sound, feel, etc., of a gas vehicle along with some electric assist to improve fuel economy, performance, and drivability. None of the inherent EV issues of cost, range anxiety, long charging times, poor charger availability, grid capacity issues, etc. I think most people will eventually catch on to this and go PHEV instead of going full EV. Synthetic, carbon-neutral eFuels, hydrogen engines, and other things will also prevent full EVs from being 100% of the fleet, regardless of what the politicians say. PHEVs can be as "clean" (overall) as full EVs with the right fuels. They're also cheaper, and far more practical, for most people. They can do it all, EVs can't.
  • Ron rufo there is in WaSHINGTON STATE
  • ToolGuy @Chris, your photography rocks.
  • ToolGuy No War for Oli.If you have not ever held a piece of structural honeycomb (composite sandwich) in your own hands, try it.
  • ToolGuy You make them sound like criminals.
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