2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Has A 6-Speed Manual And More Power Than The BMW M5 CS

What’s in a number? A lot when they happen to be 668, 659 and 200+.

Those are the headline grabbing numbers associated with the 2022 CT5-V Blackwing, which is the most powerful Cadillac ever created.


Starting under the hood, there’s an upgraded version of the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that powered the CTS-V. It features Rotocast aluminum cylinder heads, titanium intake valves, and a “track-capable wet-sump oiling and vent system with an external oil separator and drain-back.” There’s also a revised exhaust system and an improved intake which provides 46% better airflow.

Thanks to these modifications, the hand-built engine produces an impressive 668 hp (498 kW / 677 PS) and 659 lb-ft (893 lb-ft) of torque. That’s 28 hp (21 kW / 28 PS) and 29 lb-ft (39 Nm) more than the CTS-V.

It’s also worth noting the CT5-V Blackwing blows the competition out of the water as the BMW M3 Competition has 503 hp (375 kW / 510 PS) and 479 lb-ft (649 Nm) of torque, while the Mercedes-AMG C63 S packs 503 hp (375 kW / 510 PS) and 516 lb-ft (700 Nm) of torque  The Blackwing is also more powerful than the BMW M5 CS and Mercedes-AMG E63 S, despite being significantly more affordable.

Getting back to the performance specs, GM estimates the CT5-V Blackwing will accelerate from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 3.7 seconds with the optional 10-speed automatic transmission. Keeping your foot planted on the accelerator will enable the car to eventually hit a top speed in excess of 200 mph (322 km/h).

The Six-Speed Manual Returns To The Range-Topping V-Series

While the previous CTS-V was available exclusively with an eight-speed automatic, the CT5-V Blackwing comes standard with a six-speed manual. It features a short shift ratio, a transmission cooler and a twin-disc clutch that promises to deliver a great pedal feel. The DIY gearbox also boasts active rev matching and “no-lift shift” technology. The latter allows drivers to shift gears without lifting their foot off the accelerator.

Customers can also opt for a 10-speed automatic that has been tuned for the high-performance nature of the supercharged V8. It features a “Tap Shift / Manual Mode,” which enables drivers to use the magnesium paddle shifters to select and hold a gear until they decide to change it.

The behavior of the automatic can be adjusted via the car’s various driving modes. Cadillac says Sport Mode allows for “real-time interpretation of driving conditions” and adjusts the gearbox to “reduce shift busyness and improve performance, while retaining aggressive driving dynamics.” Dynamic Performance Mode, on the other hand, is “calibrated specifically for V-Series Blackwing to deliver track focused shift patterns and automatically activates when high g forces are experienced in Sport or Track mode.”

Rear-Wheel Drive Only

Cadillac isn’t jumping on the all-wheel bandwagon, as the CT5-V Blackwing is available exclusively with rear-wheel drive. That might turn some people off, but the company told journalists they “didn’t add anything… that wouldn’t improve track times and performance.”  As a result, the performance sedan won’t follow in the footsteps of the Germans.

While it eschews all-wheel drive, it is equipped with an electronic limited slip rear differential. It’s optimized for each driving mode and each Performance Traction Management setting and enhances grip by sending torque to the rear wheel with the most traction during hard cornering.

Speaking of the rear end, the CT5-V Blackwing eschews the previous cast iron housing for a new aluminum one that weighs more than 22 lbs (10 kg) less. There’s also a high-performance differential cooler and an integrated heat exchanger.

Sticking with the performance theme, the model has a sport-tuned MacPherson strut front suspension with revised hydro bushings for improved ride response. Engineers also added a handling link with cross-axis ball joints for improved lateral control and quicker steering response.

Out back, there’s a five-link independent rear suspension with stiffer bushings, stiffer rear knuckles and beefier rear cradle mounts. The rear toe link also has cross-axis ball joints for increased stability and driver confidence.

Furthermore, there are stiffer spring rates, hollow stabilizer bars and the latest version of Magnetic Ride Control. The latter process changes in road conditions four times faster than its predecessor and features an inertial measurement unit for more precise readings.

The Blackwing is underpinned by Cadillac’s familiar rear-wheel drive architecture, which has been upgraded for high-performance duties. Among the changes are a shock tower brace, an underside shear plate and a thicker rear cross member for improved rigidity.

The Biggest Brakes Ever Installed On A Cadillac

Rounding out the performance highlights are standard 19-inch forged aluminum wheels that are wrapped in specially developed Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. Cadillac also noted the wheels have been designed to allow for larger rotors and this enables the CT5-V Blackwing to have the largest braking system in Cadillac history.

The standard braking system has six-piston Brembo front calipers which grab onto discs that measure 15.7 inches (398 mm), while out back there are four piston calipers and 14.7 inch (374 mm) discs.

Drivers can also opt for a carbon-ceramic braking package that has cross-drilled rotors, better heat management and greater resistance to wear under extreme conditions. They’re significantly lighter than the standard brakes as they allow for a 53 pound (24 kg) reduction in unsprung weight.

A Familiar, But Purposeful Exterior

While the CT5-V Blackwing looks similar to the CT5-V, there are a number of changes that have been validated in wind tunnels and on the track.

The most noticeable differences are up front as the Blackwing has enlarged air intakes and unique mesh inserts. The model also has a front splitter, extended side skirts and a rear spoiler. Other highlights include air deflectors, ventilated front fenders, underbody panels and a unique rear diffuser.

If the standard aero package isn’t enough, buyers can opt for a carbon fiber package. Cadillac didn’t say much about it, other that it helps to reduce lift by 75%.

A Sportier Cockpit With Plenty Of Carbon Fiber

Moving into the cabin, there are three interior trim levels. The base trim features leather sport seats with heating, ventilation, massage and 18-way power adjustment. Drivers will also find a high-performance steering wheel which has carbon fiber trim, a serialized number plate, a V-Mode button and a Performance Traction Management switch.

Other standard features include a 12-inch digital instrument and a 10-inch infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay. The CT5-V Blackwing also boasts carbon fiber trim, a wireless smartphone charger and a 15-speaker AKG audio system. Rounding out the highlights are a head-up display and a Surround Vision system with a recording function.

Higher level trims add carbon fiber performance seats with slim headrests to accommodate helmets. The upper level trims also have classier door panels, an expanded color palette and a suede-like microfiber headliner.

Speaking of options, customers can get a Performance Data Recorder which acts like a dashcam and records at a resolution of 1080p. It also captures audio and “34 channels of performance data for detailed analysis.”

All in all, the CT5-V Blackwing appears to improve on its predecessor by adding more performance and technology. Despite this, it remains true to its roots and is once again available with a manual transmission. Pricing begins at $84,990, including a $995 destination charge, and Cadillac will begin accepting reservations momentarily.


Updated: February 2, 2021 — 12:25 am

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *