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Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac XLR, Cadillac STS, Automotive News
Jan 09, 2008 (8:03 am)
I've been reading some of the initial reports of this car since it broke cover. All I have to say is:
The old CTS-V was pretty much an afterthought. The original CTS was first penned in 1999 and by the time it shipped to dealers in January '03, it was considered Cadillac's last chance to be relavent, not the start of various cars based on this one. So when a hot-rod was proposed, the original car hadn't even been designed for it in mind. So GM had to do the old fomular of hot-rodding that they started in the 1960's with the original Pontiac Tempest. Stick a big engine in this car, find an appropriate tranny, some new tires, firm the suspension and go. That alone proved to be difficult since Caddy's own Northstar wouldn't fit in the engine bay (too wide)...again, a problem when the car wasn't even designed for this possibility. But Chevy had a nice compact LS engine from the Corvette and they were relatively cheap to build. And it's not like Cadillac hadn't been shipping OHV engines every year since 1951...after all, they got the whole OHV thing started in the first place.
So the 2004 CTS-V shipped to generally good reviews and modest sales. Part of those sales problems could be blamed on some of that car's limitations. The car had lots of nice power, but the 6-speed transmission didn't have the finesse of a BMW tranny...heck even a Honda. Who puts a foot brake in a performance car? No auto tranny option (they sell much better as Mercedes will attest). The car had to have structural bracing retrofitted to handle the extra power. The wheel wells really only handled 18" rubber well instead of larger wheels. The car was notorious for its wheel hop problems because the rear transaxle couldn't remain stable with that much power (and owners found the rear transaxle easy to break in normal use). Finally, the interior, already maligned in the base CTS was really out of its league compared to BMW and Mercedes in this price class.
Fast forward to this car. I think GM has pretty much thrown down the gauntlet with this vehicle. The old CTS-V was always a "great vehicle for the price". I think that Cadillac wants this to be "a great vehicle, period". Let's look at what's changed. First, the donor platform was designed with this vehicle in mind from day 1. That means that all the jury rigged stuff in the last car is gone, replaced by thoughtful design. Type of engine, wheels, brakes, transmission choices, styling..everything was designed from the start of the vehicle program. The old LS engine was pretty nice...400 HP...most powerful Caddy ever when introduced. But the Mercedes E55 would go past that quickly and the E63 and BMW M5 would show that 500 HP was required to play with the big dogs. The Corvette team again let Caddy borrow one of it's crown jewels...a detuned LS9 capable of 550 HP. That's more HP than the Corvette Z06 (although the Z06 still weighs 1200 lbs less!). But with so much power, it now had a favorable power-to-weight ratio of its competitors and something they don't have...dump truck torque capability. 550 ft.lbs of torque is simple scary.
The transmission? In addition to a better manual gearbox, a six speed auto tranny with paddle shifters is now an option (amazing for a car with this much torque). Wheels are 19" now with wide enough rubber for this application. The wheel hop problem has (hopefully) been banished with different diameter axles (the Corvettes have this too). The interior is already class leading (or certainly close to it), some upgrades set the CTS-V apart from its lesser stablemates. The old seats were pretty much the same seats as the normal car with sude inserts to keep you from sliding around. This time, GM just said "screw it, no one will argue with a Recaro seat". The new seats are 14 way with microfiber inserts and big thigh bolsters and taller headrests...no swishing around in these seats. Microfiber even made it to the steering wheel to replace normally slippery leather or wood. And the old foot parking brake? Banished. Halle-freakin'-lujah. This needs to be in the base car ASAP.
It still may be a few months before any of the press gets to drive this thing, but on paper it looks like GM left no stone unturned with criticism of the old car. Even the press release says the target bogeys were the M5, E55 and E63. No pressure there guys. Nice to see you shooting for the lead. When the new CTS was introduced, my dealer's son told me "Gee, have we killed the STS?" Well, yes they did. The CTS-V now puts the STS-V on the trailer as well. Since the STS's days are numbered, I'm not even sure GM will bother with a refresh and just concentrate on the next, larger flagship. And how long do you think it'll be before the XLR-V gets its refresh, complete with this engine from its sister Corvette.? Exactly.
#4317 of 6195 Re: Ultra V8 axed [bumpy]
Jan 09, 2008 (8:23 am)
The pushrods and rocker arms (SOHC engines also require a rocker arm) do add parts and noise to the valve train. I am not sure how much mass there is relative to the pistons and connecting rods though. But the extra parts in the valve train add noise, and worse, they add delays in the timing which has to be taken into account when designing the cams.
#4318 of 6195 Re: Ultra V8 axed [bumpy]
Jan 09, 2008 (8:23 am)
that may be true in some way but there are many ways to reduce noise. You wont find any appreciable difference in engine noise in a luxury vehicle regardless of engine type. The escalade is as quiet as anything else in its segment. I rented a Lacrosse with the 3800 once and I can assure you there was no thrash from the engine bay. Lexus like quiet.
#4319 of 6195 Re: 2008 CTS-V [sevenfeet0]
Jan 09, 2008 (8:31 am)
I'm all for your enthusiasm but it should be noted the current CTS is on the same platform as the old one. I'm not sure about your theory that the first gen car wasnt meant to have a V series. I would say Cadillac planned to do it from the start and they did a good job for a first effort. The CTS-V had a few flaws but for $50k it was a great car and its axle hop issues wouldnt be a problem for regular owners who are unlikely to do full throttle launches or drag races. That car was far more than a simple 60s type muscle car enhancement. The styling, engine, wheels, tires, transmission and brakes were all upgraded to create a 4000lb car that was ready to tackle the Ring with confidence.
As for the STS, its already been established that it and the DTS will be replaced by one RWD car in 2010 or so. I too believe the XLR will be refreshed with a new interior and more power very soon.
#4320 of 6195 Re: Ultra V8 axed [mr215]
Jan 09, 2008 (8:33 am)
Inside the vehicle, no, thanks to engine covers, dynamic motor mounts, and gobs and gobs of cabin insulation. Outside the vehicle is another story, though.
#4321 of 6195 Re: Ultra V8 axed [bumpy]
Jan 09, 2008 (8:38 am)
the exhaust note is what you hear when an escalade (or other GMT900 SUV) drives by, not the engine. In my experience German cars make a lot more racket outside the car than Asian or GM cars. I have seen many GM SUVs on the streets and never have I found engine noise to be objectionable or even noticeable. Acoustic engine covers are going to mute noise all around so being inside or outside the vehicle is irrelevant. If you really want to hear obnoxious sounds outside of a vehicle listen to a 350Z, G35 coupe or FX or any of Nissan's V8 powered vehicles. They are all loud and annoying to me.
#4322 of 6195 Re: Ultra V8 axed [mr215]
Jan 09, 2008 (8:42 am)
I'm talking specifically about the noise from the engine at idle, not the exhaust.
#4323 of 6195 Re: Ultra V8 axed [bumpy]
Jan 09, 2008 (8:48 am)
I think that you have a valid point. My northstar V8s are very quite at idle after they are warmed up. I think that calling the pushrod designs barbaric is a bit over the top though (that was not your post though). I will point out that the DI 3.6 has a noise problem that is a result of its design.
#4324 of 6195 Re: price ?? Re: CTS-v 09 [mr215]
Jan 09, 2008 (8:49 am)
Lexus is charging $60k for the IS-F and that only has 416hp.
And BMW is charging over $60k for the M3 and that only has 410hp and 2 less doors!!. Better yet, Porsche is charging $60k for the Boxster and that doesn't even have 300hp. Also Lotus is...
I can go on and on and on you know.
By the way, I'll take NA over FI anytime.
Jan 09, 2008 (8:50 am)
I think you need to buy the girlfriend a 09' CTS-V. Sounds like a good excuse.....