You might not have noticed, but look closely at some photos of the 2016 ATS-V and 2016 CTS-V, and you’ll see a small cutout in the form of a square between the grille and each headlight. Those cutouts are for a set of retractable headlamp washers — a first for Cadillac’s new ATS and third-gen CTS, since the production units of each model have yet to offer the feature, and something we’re quite excited about.
The presence of the retractable headlamp washer system is important and noteworthy for three reasons:
BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz all offer retractable headlight washers on their vehicles, from entry-level compacts (like the 3 Series, A4, and C-Class) to full-size flagships (like the 7 Series, A8, and S-Class), and on everything in between.
Cadillac did offer a retractable headlight washer system on some trim levels of the first-generation CTS-V and STS-V, while the second-generation CTS-V has a non-retractable system with a nozzle just aft of the headlights. Though functional, that implementation wasn’t exactly appealing to the eyes, and definitely didn’t meet the ingenuity and engineering criteria expected of luxury vehicles.
If you’ve never experienced a retractable headlamp washer systems, it functions in a very straightforward fashion: initiating the windshield washers/wipers initiates the headlamp washers, which spray a high-pressure fluid right on the headlamps, thereby clearing any dirt, snow, ice, or anything else that might be obstructing the lights from illuminating the road ahead.
After the spray cycle, which lasts a few seconds, is finished, the washers automatically retract into the bumper. It’s convenient, and cool.
Most European Union nations require built-in headlamp washer system for vehicles equipped with high-intensity headlamps. And given that Cadillac is planning to dive into the European market around the year 2020, the inclusion of the retractable headlight washers will allow it to sell vehicles in the market.
Cadillac has yet to confirm or mention the retractable headlight washing system in the 2016 ATS-V or 2016 CTS-V. And interestingly, the cutouts aren’t present in all photos of the two vehicles, which is most likely due to the cars shown and photographed so far being pre-production units. Nevertheless, the addition of the system — if indeed a reality — would be very welcome, by making Cadillacs more competitive in light of German rivals, providing one more convenience for Cadillac owners, and allowing the brand to do business in Europe. Plus, the way these retractable system work is just downright cool.
That’s what we call a triple-win, and that’s why we’re stoked about it. Now, let’s see the headlamp washers propagate throughout the entire Cadillac lineup, to the non-V ATS, CTS, CT6, SRX, Escalade, and other future models.