Cadillac saves its best for last

Cadillac saves its best for last ...

The age of the internal combustion engine is drawing to a close. Cadillac is marking the occasion with two V-series performance sedans that will be the last of their kind to run on gasoline. We have to wait another week to let you know about one of them, but as of today, all discussion of the Blackwing is fair game. I can now say that Cadillac's final-ever V6 powered performance car might be its best-ever performance car. The Blackwing is too big for the street. The V-series cars are Cadillac's answer to BMW's M Division and feature carbon fiber dive planes and splitters, which will engage and reward you on track. I declared it to be more jalapeo than habanero when it was revealed by the American luxury brand. At the time, GM's vice president of global products told us that not all customers want track time. Cadillac explained that it was watering things down with less powerful, cheaper V-series cars. Cadillac realized that some of its customers wanted a track time similar to that of a BMW M3 or Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, which is why it developed the $59,990, 472hp (352 kW), 445lb-ft (603 Nm) car. Last week, we got to know the car at one of our most favorite ribbons of asphalt, Virginia International Raceway. Three pedals and six gears, or two pedals and 10 gears?Cadillac has made the CT4-V Blackwing available with a choice. We spent a lot of time making sure that the brake pedal, the steering, the clutch, the way the vehicle responds--everything is matched that gives you that character That involved ergonomics as well. He said that they spent a lot of time on making sure that the pedals were right for the toe and heel. He added that the side bolsters on the seats were another area of focus to make sure the driver is held properly in place when the Gs begin to increase. There is a no-lift upshift function for those full-throttle moments. "When you do a normal shift, as soon as you move the throttle away from 100 percent, they would open the wastegates and prepare the engine to run in a more efficient mode," Tony Roma, Cadillac chief engineer told me. The alternative is a 10-speed automatic, which Cadillac says is capable of changing gear ratios even faster than the fastest car in the world. You can either use the paddles on the steering wheel to control the gear selection, or you can leave it to the performance-shifting algorithm to do it. The green gear icon on the dash will let you know when it's in this mode. Older readers will probably find this hard to believe, but the programming on the 10-speed transmission is truly remarkable, refusing to get wrong-footed even when driving hard on track.

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