It’s no secret that Cadillac is hunting… hunting BMW and Mercedes-Benz to lure in their owners and sell them a prestige luxury vehicle. So it would only make sense that the brand offer features comparable to those of its rivals, like carbon ceramic brakes on ultra high-performance vehicles, for instance.
Over the years, Cadillac has resisted the carbon ceramic brake craze, instead electing to equip its high performance V-Series cars with very capable Brembo brake calipers and massive steel rotors. Today, full-fledged Brembo brakes are standard on the ATS-V and CTS-V. But does that go far enough?
As any race car driver would tell you, the redeeming qualities of carbon ceramic brakes are twofold: one, they are light and two, they provide consistent and reliable stopping performance at the track over and over again, without exhibiting brake fade — a term used to describe degrading braking performance usually caused by the worst enemy of braking systems — heat. Indeed, carbon ceramic brakes are very good at resisting heat, reducing rotating mass, and lasting longer than conventional brake systems thanks to a lightweight carbon ceramic compound material. And, as it stands, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi all offer carbon ceramic brakes as options on their vehicles.
It would be an oversight not to mention the fact that in almost every review and comparison test, Cadillac’s V Series vehicles with Brembo steel brakes exhibit better or equal braking performance compared to Mercedes-Benz or BMW vehicles with carbon ceramic units in both overall stopping distance and brake fade resistance — a quality that often surprises even those conducting the comparison tests. So from that point of view, carbon ceramic brakes wouldn’t necessarily improve the performance of Cadillac vehicles. What it would do is add on somewhere in the vicinity of $10,000 to the price of a vehicle. For example, BMW’s M Carbon Ceramic Brakes are a $8,150 option on the M3 and M4. But that might not be the point.
What might be is the fact that many buyers of sports cars of the prestige luxury caliber are looking for performance, but only if said performance is also delivered in a modern, high-tech, even “sexy” way. In other words, the “how” behind the performance can be more important than the “why”. That kind of logic reminds us of the reasons Cadillac used the Twin-Turbo 3.6L V6 LF4 in the ATS-V range, despite having access to GM’s highly-acclaimed 6.2L V8 LT1 that makes the same amount of power, has the same overall mass and placement dimensions as the LF4, while having the added (and subjective) attribute of sounding better. Instead, it seems that the high-tech and sexy image furnished by a Dual Overhead Cam six cylinder with two turbos won over that of a V8 with (not very sexy nor high-tech) pushrod technology, despite similar performance. Carbon ceramic brakes are right along the same line of thinking, and might be worthy of consideration given Cadillac’s quest to recapture sales volume, along with the hearts, minds and respect of the prestige luxury space.
And all that makes us ask: should Cadillac offer carbon ceramic brakes on its vehicles? Vote in the poll and then sound off in the comments just below.