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2021 Cadillac CT6-V: A Failed Muscle Car

In the era of smaller engines and growing tiny turbos, Cadillac had a serious task in front of them. Make the world’s population once again turn to American Luxury Muscle. Since 2004, Cadillac has done just that, with the CTS-V, a great high performance sports car with aggressive looks that has been ranked near the top of its segment for over a decade. However, in 2019, Cadillac decided to pull the plug on it in order to refresh their vehicle lineup for the foreseeable future. Along to the grave, went the the smaller ATS-V, another great vehicle who’s had its funding slashed.

What’re We Working With?

The 2019 CTS-V had a piping hot supercharged 6.2L V8 churning out a whopping 640 horsepower that was pulled straight from the C7 Corvette, a heavy hitting, low revving pushrod engine with a large block platform. This however, means the successor has some huge shoes to fill. The CT6-V comes with a twin turbo V8, a vast disparity from the past, rated at 550 horsepower coming from a GM small block with around 640 pound-feet of torque from the crank. This, paired with an automatic 10-speed automatic just doesn’t make much sense to anyone. The pushrod engine, as expected revs lower than most, with the redline at 6,000 rpms, and the CT6-V spends most of its time shifting on quick pulls rather than going through them methodically, making it, erm… may I say, a pain to drive. It’s annoying, it’s a departure of the V performance lineup of the past. It’s not astoundingly quick, a 0-60 time of 3.8 seconds and a 12.2 1/4 mile time my say otherwise, but the low gears don’t provide a lot of torque, and you have to wait for the dual turbos to spool before any sort of boost becomes evident. It’s no longer a muscle car in our opinion, it seems like Cadillac threw it together with newspaper and superglue and said, “here’s an extension of one of the most high performing brands of all time.”

Car And Driver/Cadillac

The Outside Looks Lackluster

The exterior styling of the CT6 is nothing to write home about, it looks eerily similar to the CTS-V, as if Cadillac was trying to play us a facade and try and maintain their audience. It’s almost as if they went only 50% in on the entire refresh idea and wanted to keep the exterior as similar as possible. However, menacing running lights, paired with the new Blackwing Package’s aero features make for an aggressive look. Quad exhaust pipes in the rear and Brembo brakes keep up the villain appearance and push the car into AMG and M-series territory. Tires are also heavily a huge plus, with sticky Pirellis gripping the V to the ground.

How’s The Inside?

Cadillac, first and foremost, has always been America’s luxury brand. The CT6-V tries to emulate that in a sports car form, and it comes close, but it’s not quite there. Cheap materials litter the inside, with plastic on the dash, infotainment screen and the steering wheel. Vinyl, something my 2019 Kia Optima had, sticks out on the doors and various trim. The CT6-V seats 5, and has plenty of room in the back, as well as adequate cargo space. As expected, it comes with high end features, that are expected on all Cadillacs, and doesn’t lack in the features department. The infotainment system, Cadillac’s CUE, is intuitive and relatively easy to use.

Our Verdict

The CT6-V seems thrown together, as a filler product as the CT6’s future is up in the smoke as of now. As Cadillac refreshes its product lineup, sedans seem to be getting the cut, while crossovers and SUV’s seem to take the helm. The car never seems quick and always stuck between gears in a rut. The reported top speed from Cadillac is a measly 149 MPH, a sharp contrast from the outgoing CTS-V’s 200 MPH. The CT6-V seems like a poser, and something that was rushed, overall, it’s not very impressive, especially when you start to take into account the nearly $92,000 starting price tag.

Our Scores:

OVERALL: 5/10

EXTERIOR: 7/10

INTERIOR: 5/10

PERFORMANCE: 4/10

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4 thoughts on “2021 Cadillac CT6-V: A Failed Muscle Car Leave a comment

  1. I really appreciate your efforts with writing reviews on automotive icons. However, there is a great disparity between actually taking a car out for a spin, and just understanding a car based on other reviewers. The CT6-V is a rare car indeed, and so it is understandable why you may not have gotten a chance to see or feel this car in-person. As a petrol-head (and also an EV-fanatic) myself, I have always enjoyed the brutal velocity and great luxurious value the Cadillac’s V-Series cars pack within them. Although the CT6-V has a 90 horsepower deficit when compared to the third-gen CTS-V, we must first understand the difficulty the CT6 and its V-Series variant encountered during their production. Over the past couple decades, Cadillac has become a puppet for testing GM’s new technology with little say over their own luxury vehicles. This changed when Johan de Nysschen took leadership at Cadillac. He envisioned Cadillac to truly become the standard of the world – once again. The CT6 was nearly as long and spacious as the Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class, BMW’s 7-Series, and Audi’s S8, while still weighing a healthy couple hundred pounds less, thanks to infusion of aluminum in its unibody frame. It cost tens of thousands less than its rivals, while being acclaimed for being a full-size luxury sedan that handles like a sports car under its weight class. Due to slumping sales in a crossover-demanding market, the expansion of the CT6’s Omega Platform (not shared with Chevrolet or any other GM entity) was canceled. The Escala concept was initially supposed to give life to the CT8, while the Omega Platform would be utilized across Cadillac’s new crossovers and SUVs. The CT6 was left alone, as a desolated flagship sedan. Mr. de Nysschen’s post at Cadillac was challenged when the dreamt Omega Platform was minimized to just one vehicle. Yet he, and other Cadillac enthusiasts at the company, strived to integrate Cadillac’s performance legacy with their full-size sedan, as the CT6-V (earlier known as the V-Sport). An investment of over $16 million (USD) was required to develop the handmade 4.2TT Blackwing (internal codename LTA) engine. After over a decade since the Northstar engine was developed in the early 2000’s, Cadillac made its own engine – one with astounding performance and a badass name: the Blackwing. By the time this engine was mated to the CT6-V in its limited production, Johan de Nysschen was forced to exit the brand. As someone not from within GM’s large enterprise nor the Cadillac brand, we can only speculate, but it is greatly probable that if Cadillac was allowed to follow the Omega Platform, the CT6-V’s engine would have been way more powerful. It seems that c-suite politics is what killed the legless black merlette embroidered onto Cadillac’s crest and part of the Blackwing emblem. This allowed for a rare-breed of automotive engineering to shine (although momentarily, but shine nevertheless), producing an unsung luxury performance vehicle which could rival the twin-turbo, hot-vee engine-powered competition from Europe, which cost almost double. The CT6-V is a misunderstood muscle car, and also an underrated luxury car, too. It can soar to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds, only 0.4 seconds slower than the midsize CTS-V, speaking of which has to borrow the LT4 from the C7 Z06. The CT6-V comes with an infotainment package (quad-zone A/C, two 10″ displays w/remote), a 34 speaker Bose Panaray sound system (developed exclusively by Bose for the CT6, since its first automotive partnership was with Cadillac back in the ’80s), several tech & safety features. The car is electronically limited to a speed of 149 MPHI, but preliminary tests have indicated that it can hit 200 mph, just like the CTS-V, only more efficiently with almost a hundred horsepower less. It comes with everything demanded for in modern luxury performance automobile. The CT6-V won the race in pretty much every aspect, but it has gone unnoticed to even the keenest of enthusiasts. I love this car graciously, and I am really proud to be an owner myself. If you ever wish to experience the beauty, the power, the heart of this car, then let me know, and I will happily offer you a drive of the CT6-V.

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    • for sure man! I’d love to take a spin, just shoot me your email and I’d love to get something set up, who knows, maybe I end up loving it! Loved your insight as well!

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      • Hey, thanks for the swift reply! Of course, I am cool with that. I am in CA right now – don’t know if you’re in CA, too. If not, then we could work something out in the near future – I’m always travelling. Again, thanks buddy for creating this awesome website! I know the big reviewers always get all the hype, but please don’t forget that everyone starts small. All the best with your website! 🙂

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