Structural stiffness is an important factor in any vehicle, but especially in those which combine straight-line speed and high cornering forces to the extent of the upcoming Cadillac Blackwing ultra-high-performance luxury sedans.
GM Authority has learned that the 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing are 40 percent stiffer than the “regular” V-Series models, namely the Cadillac CT4-V and Cadillac CT5-V.
While the regular V-Series models are fast, the Cadillac Blackwing versions are in a different league. The CT4-V Blackwing cradles the twin turbocharged 3.6L V6 LF4 engine which produces 472 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque. The CT5-V Blackwing uses the supercharged 6.2L V8 LT4 motor, rated at 668 horsepower and 659 pound-feet of torque. The CT4-V Blackwing has a top speed of 189 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds, while the CT5-V Blackwing is capable of 200 mph and can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds.
These are much higher than the equivalent figures for the the CT4-V and CT5-V, and the tires, suspension and brakes have been optimized accordingly, since the Blackwing models generate greater forces while their higher potential is used, and the vehicle must be able to deal with them. If it is not, then what should be controlled movement of the suspension instead presents as uncontrolled movement of other components, to the detriment of the car’s capability.
On both Cadillac Blackwing models, the bushing on the MacPherson strut front suspension has been uprated, and cross-axis ball joints have been fitted. Both of these improvements have also been applied to the five-link rear suspension, where the knuckles are also stiffer.
Also at the rear, the cradle mounts have been stiffened using two diagonal braces. Forces generated during hard cornering which might otherwise twist the cradle are instead transferred directly into the body structure.
Up front, there is a shear plate, as was also used now-discontinued Cadillac ATS-V and Cadillac CTS-V. “It’s an aluminum spider web, almost,” Cadillac Blackwing chief engineer Mirza Grebovic told GM Authority Executive Editor, Alex Luft, in a recent interview. “If you look at the piece, it looks like a big aluminum plate that connects the front and rear of the body, and reinforces the cradle as well.”
Other items added to increase stiffness include shock tower braces, thicker rear cross members and body shell reinforcements. Grebovic explained that GM had to use “appropriate metals in certain areas”, a job which was made more complicated by the fact that “many of our customers have a sunroof, so we had to take that into account”. Clearly, this was not simply a case of strengthening just any part of the roof that seemed appropriate.
None of these details will be immediately apparent to most Cadillac Blackwing owners, but they are essential to making such high-performance vehicles both as capable and as safe as possible, and we’re sure that owners will certainly appreciate them when behind the wheel. As of this writing, the 2022 Cadillac Blackwing models are slated to go into production this July.