The 10 Coolest Features Of The 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing

Cadillac is one of the original carmakers of the American auto industry. From the start, the company produced high-quality cars for people who could afford to pay more for a better vehicle. Since then, Cadillac has been synonymous with luxury, creating some of the most iconic and most sought-after vehicles in North America. Over the years, Cadillac has introduced some clever cars with innovative technologies that blazed trails and inspired greatness. However, it has also cranked out some real duds, like the infamous V8-6-4 and the poster child for poor badge engineering, the Cimarron.

The current constitution of the company is one that produces desirable vehicles that have the latest technology and the performance chops to keep up with the Europeans and the Japanese. The halo car for this new generation of Cadillac is the CT5-V Blackwing, a supercharged brute of a luxury sedan that runs performance numbers to intimidate the fastest of Italian coupes. The CT5-V comes well equipped and offers many desirable options to suit the tastes of most any discerning luxury performance car buyer and we found it to be a quite compelling package. Of the many to be included on a new Blackwing, these are the 10 coolest features on offer.

10. Hand Crafted V8

The engine is the heart of a car. While a 1980s subcompact tends to retain the anemic heart of a dying goat, the Blackwing holds a powerful block of aluminum and steel. The Blackwing is produced at the GM Assembly Plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky alongside the Corvette. The engine is a modified version of the LT4 pushrod V8 found in the Corvette and Camaro ZL1, according to Car and Driver. The engine is fitted with an Eaton supercharger and produces a whopping 668 horsepower. 

The engines are hand-built and each one features a plaque with the signature of the individual who built it. The car is also utilizing 3D printed parts throughout as a measure of attention to detail and a streamlined process. With the kind of power and hand-built attention this engine gets, Cadillac is pushing their sports sedan into the kind of territory where Italian supercars generally reside. Performance figures are impressive. Motor Trend's test figures come up with a 0 to 60 mph time of just 3.6 seconds and a quarter-mile completed in 11.5 seconds at 127.5 mph. Cadillac has come a long way from the days of the Cimarron.

9. Magnetorheological Dampers

The suspension system in the CT5-V Blackwing is super trick. While the name of the dampers, or shocks, is a bit of a tongue twister, the most important feature of note is magnets. Car and Driver tells us the dampers themselves are more or less the same as any others. The difference in operation is the addition of powerful magnets around them and iron particles in the fluid inside. This allows the magnets to be electrically activated to vary the amount of resistance the dampers provide. Therefore, the suspension can be adjusted electronically with precision measured in milliseconds.

This type of suspension is fairly new on consumer vehicles and is mostly reserved for high-performance cars such as the Lamborghini Huracan and the Blackwing's cousin, the Corvette. This means that not only can the CT5-V get down a track as fast as its competitors, but it will stick to the curves as well. The added feature of such a dynamic system is it can be programmed to keep the ride smooth like a Cadillac should be when it's not on the track.

8. 6-Speed Manual Transmission

The manual transmission has been around as long as the car. 6-Speed manuals have been around in production cars for a couple of decades or more. One might question why this is a cool feature, but it definitely is. Cadillac has used automatic transmission exclusively for decades. That makes sense for a car that is committed to delivering only the most luxury possible but it doesn't necessarily make the most attractive choice for a true driver's car like the CT5-V Blackwing. Giving buyers the choice of a manual transmission is very cool.

For years, people wanting luxury and speed have been going to the Germans for their best sports sedans while Cadillac has focused on something else. It is not clear what, but creating engaging and fun to drive cars was not it. Fortunately, the CT5-V Blackwing comes equipped with a 6-Speed manual transmission, complete with three pedals and a shift lever in the center console, and Motor Trend listed it as a strength in their review. While this may be the first manual in a Cadillac in decades, it will be the last as the brand is going all-electric very soon.

7. Performance Data And Video Recorder

The CT-5-V Blackwing is obviously a car oriented toward the performance car enthusiast. It offers loads of power, a manual transmission, sporty styling, and also a data recorder. Various companies have offered aftermarket solutions for drivers who want to track their performance with real-time information from track days and racing series. It is increasingly a factory option, with GM first offering one in the 2014 Corvette. For the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, GM is debuting their upgraded Performance Data Recorder 2.0.

Cadillac says it will give drivers the power to record detailed aspects of their driving with HD 1080p recording from a front-mounted camera, including interior audio. Additionally, 34 channels of performance data can be retrieved for full analysis after a drive. GM Authority explains that the system was developed with legendary British engineering firm Cosworth, and is compatible with Cosworth Toolbox. In addition to the wealth of driving data available, the system can also be used during normal driving as a dashcam as well as in valet mode to catch potential mischief when taking the Blackwing for a night out.

6. Carbon Ceramic Brakes

The one thing that is most important to how fast a car can go is how fast it can stop. There is no use making a car that can shoot to 100 mph if it can't be shut down in a hurry. The old muscle cars with massive engines and drum brakes proved to be pretty dangerous machines in the real world. The good news with the Blackwing is that Cadillac teamed up with Brembo to offer a carbon-ceramic brake package. The bad news is that it is a $9,000 option.

The Brembo name is well known in the world of high-performance cars and motorcycles. They offer aftermarket products for sports cars of all types and are regularly contracted by manufacturers to outfit their fastest vehicles with the ultimate stopping power. Brembo says this is the first time to install carbon-ceramic brakes on a Cadillac, and that it is a sophisticated and capable system. The package includes six-piston calipers up front with four-piston calipers in the rear with copper-free friction material pads to optimize comfort and performance. Calipers are also made from aluminum and choosing the Brembo package will not only offer superior stopping power but also saves 63.5 pounds of weight.

5. AKG Premium Audio System

Sound systems in cars for years felt like more of an afterthought than anything. Although Cadillac's super-premium Eldorado Brougham featured the first transistor radio in a car, not much changed for a while. Cadillac started to feature Bose premium audio systems in the nineties and that has been their standard option until recently. Cadillac has partnered with AKG, a pioneer in the industry for microphones and acoustic design, for their top sound systems.

AKG is an excellent choice of partners and the results have been good. While most of the latest Bose systems include 7, 8, or 9 speaker setups, the latest AKG in the Blackwing is a 15-speaker system to envelop passengers in acoustic luxury. Cadillac lists the AKG system as standard for the Blackwing but has not added in-depth information about it. For the best idea of what to expect, AKG has a more immersive introduction to the AKG experience on its page for the 2022 Escalade, which will be similar to the Blackwing. AKG lists the inclusion of an amplifier with more than a dozen channels fed through 90mm tweeters, 160mm and 236mm mid-woofers, 40mm head restraint speakers, 160mm mid-woofers, and a 265mm subwoofer as well as a dispersion speaker. It should suffice to say this system will sound good in whatever car it is installed. AKG has the know-how to serve up the right acoustics and it is a perfect companion to the Blackwing driving experience.

4. Performance Traction Management

Driving a fast car is fun. It can be a real blast to run down a desolate street with the wheels spinning with clouds of smoke billowing out from behind the rear tires. However, for serious driving, especially when running against the clock, tire smoke is not desirable. In that case, a computerized control system can ensure the car remains firmly affixed to the asphalt and in a forward motion as fast as possible. Therefore, the Blackwing has an advanced traction control system to keep it planted.

Performance Traction Management, or PTM, is not unique to the CT-5V Blackwing as Cadillac has been using it on their V vehicles for a few years but it is a robust performance management system. Motor Authority says it combines the management of traction control, stability control, magnetic ride control, and the electronic limited-slip differential. That gives the computers a lot of inputs and outputs to work with to customize the driving experience and aid the driver in achieving the best track times or maintaining grip or whatever road conditions call for. Jalopnik tested it in a previous V vehicle with less power than the Blackwing and said it can be called up in a semi-hidden menu and gives several options from wet or dry to tour, sport, and track. It was noted that track mode is, of course, the most aggressive and can make for a wild ride.

3. Variable Exhaust

Sports cars would be no fun if they didn't make a good noise. The lack of noise is a complaint of some about electric vehicles. However, the CT5-V Blackwing will not disappoint those wanting a solid grunt coming from the rear of their luxury sedan. 

The Blackwing is equipped with a four-step variable exhaust. Variable modified exhaust systems are nothing new but they are becoming more and more complex and capable. Ths Blackwing is no exception with its ability to remain tame and civilized when getting home from a late night at work while opening up on a fun stretch down the PCH. Car and Driver says that the exhaust can be tamed down to keep the noise at a reasonable, yet hefty 73 decibels while the loudest setting can hit up to 90 decibels, not likely ingratiating your neighbors to you in the process. Still, it makes a pleasant noise to those inclined to enjoy mechanical songs and the heart of the exhaust note is the flap system, according to Cadillac Society. Depending on which driving mode is selected, flaps in the exhaust alter the flow for peak performance with less restriction on the highest performing levels. 

2. 10-Speed Automatic Transmission

If the manual transmission is the coolest, how can the automatic also be the coolest? Maybe that is a legitimate question to ask, but it is easy to answer. The engineering and technology in it are very cool and rather impressive.

The automatic transmission is optional. While most enthusiasts are eager to have their sports sedan equipped with a manual, some folks prefer to let the car do the work, especially since it can outperform pretty much every human. The cool part of this automatic is that, according to GM testing, it is faster than the Porsche PDK double-clutch transmission by up to 36% on a 1-2 upshift. The PDK technology is derived from F1 racing, so this is an impressive feat by GM. Also included in the development of it are thousands of hours of software development and adaptive shift controls to optimize performance. While some prefer the convenience of the automatic, those who want the quickest times should be very well pleased with its performance as well.

1. Styling

The most obvious feature of any car is apparent in the first second of seeing it, the styling. Much goes into the development of a car's style, and the CT5-V Blackwing is the latest in a long line of styling development beginning with the Art and Science design started by Cadillac at the beginning of the century. It was then that Cadillac threw out its more conservative heritage as a manufacturer that specialized in big and boring but comfortable luxury cruisers in favor of more modern lines to compete with European rivals.

The Blackwing is a stunning car with sharp creases and minimal flare. It has a good blend of being edgy without being too blatant and showy. Cadillac says the new mesh grille is not only aesthetics but also increases airflow to keep the car's systems cool and includes a front splitter and rear spoiler to keep the car pressed more firmly to the road. Furthermore, according to Cadillac Society, carbon fiber styling packages are available for the Blackwing. Package 1 includes a front splitter, front-wheel well deflectors, and a rear extra aero spoiler while package 2 includes a grille header, rocker molding, rocker extensions, and rear valance diffuser. These carbon fiber packages will set you back more than $9000 together though. With the other performance and convenience upgrades, this car can be optioned up to a sticker price well over $100,000 but, at the end of the day, it seems to be worth it.