Specifying Performance for the Cadillac CTS

I have written about my recommended engines for the Cadillac CTS — I would like to see the LLT DI 3.6L 304hp V6 as the Standard Engine, and the L94 or LS3 403 or 426 hp V8s as the Performance/Premium powerplant.

Let’s put these more in performance specification form.

2010 Cadillac CTS

The Current top non-V CTS Performance Sedan will go 0-60 mph in 6.3-6.5 sec, and corner at 0.87-0.9 g on a 200 ft skidpad.   The base CTS sedan with 270 hp V6 is a bit slower and does not corner quite as well; so say 0-60 mph in 7 sec and 0.83-0.85 on a 200 ft skidpad.

I would like to see the current Performance Sedan as the ‘base’ model.  The counter-argument is that some people want the fuel economy of the 3L and are not that focused on Performance, so I am willing to compromise on this point.

For a CTS Performance Sedan with sizzling performance in today’s market Cadillac needs to attain 0-60 in under 5.5 sec, and a consistent skidpad result above 0.9g.  I believe that the easiest way to get there is to put in one of their current excellent off the shelf V8s, but I would be equally happy with a forced induction V6 that brings the power.

The skidpad / cornering issue is weight.  Until the next CTS refresh that seems fixed.  What can be altered is adding more rubber.

With the retirement of the STS this year, now would be a good time to bring the MR suspension to the CTS Performance sedan.  With the right tires and the right tuning that should keep it over 0.9g on the skidpad.

A true CTS Performance Sedan with 0-60 in under 5.5 sec and that corners at 0.9g would still not match the super car CTS-V performance, but it would be a terrific value and aspirational model at its current price point.

CTS upgrade to CTS-V suspension

Okay, after some initial confusion, a set of 2005 Cadillac CTS-V front and rear sway bars and bushings should soon be on the way to await installation on my 2005 CTS.

Cadillac CTS-V Front and Rear Swaybars

Cadillac CTS-V Front and Rear Swaybars

To review, my CTS has the 3.6L engine, but the base FE1 suspension.  The CTS comes with 3 suspension variants, FE1, FE2 Lux, or FE3 Sport.  The CTS-V comes with the FE4 V-series suspension.  The difference between the various suspensions are variations and combinations of springs, shocks, and sway bars.  The sway bars perhaps have the greatest influence on handling.  So for my first step I am going to swap to the CTS-V sway bars and then test.

So, I need to be working now on developing a good way to test the base FE1 suspension.  I am thinking a video test to show how the car looks from outside while cornering, to show lean angle, and a G-meter test to show absolute G’s attainable with each setup.  Stay tuned, or reply with advice!

Best Cadillac skidpad results ever?

I suppose the new CTS-V with magnetic ride suspension is the current Cadillac record holder for ‘official’ 200 foot skidpad performance at 0.92g (as measured by Edmund’s)

The previous CTS-V, XLR-V, STS-V as I have mentioned tended to top at 0.87g on a 200ft skidpad, although Motor Trend did manage to record a 0.90g with a 2005 CTS-V.

In a report on the 2006 XLR-V, Car & Driver notes that although they only measured a skidpad of 0.87g, Cadillac claimed a skidpad of 0.94g was attainable.  Since Cadillac and Car&Driver measure in different places (surfaces and atmosphere and method matter), then not a surprise that they might achieve different results.  But Cadillac’s claim would make the XLR-V the skidpad champion, and not the new CTS-V.

In a 2005 report, Road & Track summarized several V Series and non-V series models performance numbers:

2004 CTS 0.83 g
2004 CTS-V 0.87g
2005 STS 0.81g
2006 STS-V 0.88g (estimated)
2006 XLR 0.87g

In a model update 6/2006, Road & Track noted that the XLR-V would do 0.87g on the skidpad.

So, what we need is a no-holds barred V-Series face off, to determine who the best Cadillac corner carver is.   The test data seems to give the new CTS-V the nod, but until the Cadillac Sedan with the Cadillac Chassis and Corvette engine has gone head to head with the Cadillac Roadster with the Corvette Chassis and Cadillac engine, we just won’t know for sure.