The 1st generation CTS-V had a stainless steel mesh front grill. This became a hallmark of the V-Series. You can quickly and easily tell if a Cadillac is a V-Series by looking for the mesh upper grill and other highlights, such as V Series badges.
When the 2nd Generation CTS-V arrived in 2009, the front grill looks like a stainless steel mesh, but is a molded plastic piece. Some Critics were quick to claim that this was done to save money, and was an inferior solution to the metal mesh of the first generation V.
Actually, the Designers at Cadillac changed to the molded piece in order to attain a 3-dimensional grill for artistic purposes. The stainless steel mesh looked great from front on or at an angle, but in close up photos or direct light one could see right through the stainless mesh to the mechanical bits beneath. I like mechanical parts, as I am a function over form guy. But from an artistic point of view, one function of the grill is to have some depth to it to hide the internal mechanical bits. The new molded V-Series grill gives the same great mesh look, but also has some depth to it so that it looks great from a variety of angles, and doesn’t expose the mechanicals behind it.
In terms of cost, the Wags assume that a molded “plastic” grill is less expensive than stainless steel mesh. In fact the new grill may be MORE expensive, but it also improves the appearance of the V-Series. That is what I like to see — continuous, thoughtful improvements in these great Cadillacs.