By on March 11, 2020

Cadillac’s CT5-V debuted so far away from its predecessor that you have to wonder what the brand’s marketing team was thinking. Whereas the CTS-V represented a monumental jump in performance over the CTS, its modern-day replacement barely offers more than the Premium Luxury trim with an upgraded engine option.

Stepping out of the CT5 and into V territory is only slightly more meaningful than purchasing an appearance package. The turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 is tuned to make an extra 25 horses in the CT5-V, offering a grand total of 360 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. The brand has clearly tried to soften its V-badged models for broader appeal, but enthusiasts cried foul. This wasn’t because Cadillac had built a cheaper, softer sedan but due its overt use of the performance emblem. There’s not enough distance between a V6-equipped Premium Luxury model and the base CT5-V for it to seem truly special.

Don’t be disappointed if you were considering one. General Motors has promised that completely insane performance Cadillacs are still to come. While the presumed Blackwing variants appear to have been scrapped, CT5 test mules have been spotted running mystery V8s in the past and new rumors have all but confirmed a variant with a manual transmission. 

Photos recently leaked to The Drive show the model with a manual gear selector jutting out from between the front seats. The outlet suggested the item may have been ripped directly from the Camaro (which also rides on the Alpha 2 platform) and surmised that Cadillac would probably send the supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 on one last mission. With promises of the smaller Blackwing still fresh in our minds, it seems odd GM would go back to the same engine that made the old CTS-V such a brute. Still, there’s no obvious alternative, leaving little reason for us to presume (or complain about) anything different — especially with Blackwing nixed.

When questioned, Cadillac said ultra-performance variants of the V-Series are still in development and the company cannot confirm or deny anything. Basically, it’s supposed to be a big surprise and the automaker doesn’t want it ruined before any official announcements can be made. The Drive’s grainy images also show the more hardcore CT5-V with a unique steering wheel, rejiggered Corvette seats and some exterior enhancements (e.g. rear diffuser) to indicate it’s not to be taken lightly. It also shows that Cadillac is aiming substantially higher with this model than it did with the standard V.

Additional details should drop in the coming months as the industry attempts to reschedule debuts slated for the now-delayed New York Auto Show. While that could push an official announcement back to August, we’re under the impression that GM still plans to let the important information loose in April.

[Images: General Motors]

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18 Comments on “Hotter Cadillac CT5-V Spotted With Manual Transmission...”

  • avatar

    Are they planning on making a Cadillac CT5 with more power than my lowly Chevrolet sedan? Yea there are rumors but they shouldn’t have made a ‘V’ series car with such a half arse no frills engine.

    I bet no one thought that first sentence would have ever been uttered 40 years ago.

    • 0 avatar

      “I bet no one thought that first sentence would have ever been uttered 40 years ago.”

      In 1980 when Cadillac V8 made 150hp vs 155hp for the Chevy 305? Really a hotted-up “normal” Chevy car has been a thing since the 50s.

      • 0 avatar

        Cadillac’s “exclusivity” up until the late 70s was partially to do with constraining production. Production was deliberately kept below demand and that also drove up the resale value of Cadillacs. You could also count on Cadillacs as being more carefully screwed together than their GM counterparts.

        Cheaping out and chasing volume are the nails in Cadillac’s coffin.

      • 0 avatar

        @ ajla – I agree that Chevy really started meddling with the Sloan hierarchy in the ’55 model year. You could still argue, though, that Cadillac’s proprietary V8s had Chevy beat from an NVH/torque/engine longevity standpoint up through the ’79 model year.

        But yes, the difference wasn’t as marked as it had been from 1914 through 1954. And from ’55 on, it’d be virtually impossible to say Chevy wasn’t better from a bang-for-your-buck standpoint.

        – – –

        @ PrincipalDan, I agree except on the timeline. I’d have to reread some Ate Up With Motor, but a former Chevrolet exec or two went to Cadillac in the mid-’60s and basically said, “Herp derp, we should be moving more metal!” That’s when the erosion of the brand’s cachet started. Look at the steering wheel of a ’67 de Ville versus a ’66. Yeah, there were safety criteria that had been added to the mix, but the ’67 clearly reflects some cost cutting. By the late ’70s, Cadillac already had lost much of its cachet.

  • avatar

    There was a time when *Cadillac meant something… and it wasn’t being a stick-shift sports car. I don’t understand this need to chase the BMW of yesterday. I know, I know – no one wants the Cadillac of the past.

    I grew up with two Fleetwoods – a ’77 and a ’81. They were big and comfortable. And they had a presence on the road. In reality they were rather mediocre vehicles that could sometimes induce motion sickness. But even my teenage friends would get excited when I got to borrow one.

    *not that I would turn down a free one!

  • avatar

    GM has certainly castrated Cadillac over the last 6 months. The black-wing engine at least gave hope, and now that is even gone.

  • avatar

    Such a self-own. They could have avoided all the controversy and probably gotten a lot of positive press for the car just by calling the 3.0TT variant “Vsport” and this upcoming V8 version “V.”

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed, dal. I wonder if they’ll employ the lame tactic of giving the V8 trim some sort of “Better than V” designation. See, e.g., Chevy’s use of Bel Air, Impala, and Caprice (which are really better understood as tiers or trim levels rather than model names). Bel Air went from top to second with the introduction of Impala and then from second to third with the introduction of Caprice. It’s all rather stupid, and it bugs me that marketers and, apparently, many consumers buy into such nonsense.

      I also get annoyed by things such as Lexus’ rebadging of the the NX 200t and IS 200t, respectively,, to NX 300 and IS 200.

  • avatar

    If there is a brand / trim level i could care less about. It would be this caddy.

    utter total dumpster fire sheet.

  • avatar

    Sooooo they removed the manual from Corvette but you can get one in a Caddy? I’m sure all 3 buyers are excited about this.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    GM has tried to out European the Europeans with Cadillac, with insignificant market gains or increases in profitability.

    The previous CTS-V and in particular the wagon were very good vehicles. But how many purchasers/leasers did they convert from European vehicles?

    The Escalade is Cadillac’s bread and butter. And what is it. A mediocre, slightly out of date vehicle, that has a lot of bling and a lot of presence. Made for slow cruising and ‘showing off’.

    Which is exactly what Cadillac should be about.

    Create an oversized, over engined, overly opulent, land yacht. Grossly over price it. Produce less of these than you can sell.

    Then watch brand image regenerate.

  • avatar

    The average Cadihack buyer probably couldn’t figure out how to use a stick shift. Since most Cadihacks are hideous to look at, I don’t understand why Cadihack is bothering adding a manual transmission. I love manuals, but the fools who buy this brand’s products are stupid, blind, and have no problem with cramped vehicles costing over $50k. Honestly that CT5 is hideous – it looks like a current Honduh Accord (no beauty) that mated with a Chevrolet Impala (no beauty).

  • avatar

    I might actually consider one. Not because I’m all enamored of Cadillac, but because who else will sell me a nice-ish sedan with a big engine and a stick? Not Alfa, Audi BMW, Genesis, or Mercedes. Or Acura or Infiniti or Lexus. And, yes, I know rumor has it that some “base” version of the M3 might come with a manual. But rewarding that “stick shift drivers only want less power and fewer features” nonsense is something I’d prefer not to do.

  • avatar


    The “Cadillac” Accord Sport!

  • avatar

    It doesn’t matter. Cadillac is still on the road to oblivion thanks to the GM incompetent Executive Clowns and their herds of Yes-Men under them.

  • avatar

    Cadillac needs to stop chasing the Germans. Period. They have tried for almost 20 years and have failed miserably.

    Cadillac needs to start building American luxury cars again. Lincoln finally realized this and it’s starting to work for them.

  • avatar

    “Yay, I am so happy this car exists!” – the internet

    Didn’t Mark Reuss say this is Cadillac’s last chance? From a business perspective, how does stuff like this or the dead Blackwing engine help? GM is an effing mess man

  • avatar

    The CT5 is one of the few GM vehicles that is not an embarrassment. It is no where near as good as the CT6-v, but it is the best GM can muster today.

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