Three years ago, Cadillac performed (a much-needed) revamp of its model hierarchy by introducing the Y Trim Level Strategy, creating two distinct branches of progressively more-expensive and feature-rich models based on their emphasis on either luxury or performance. While the Y structure still applies to the current Cadillac trim level hierarchy, the specifics of the hierarchy have changed since 2018. As such, we’re here to shed some light on what the current hierarchy looks like and what it includes.
As we can see, the Cadillac trim level strategy keeps the familiar Y shape, per the strategy introduced in 2018. The base models continue to be called “Luxury”, which then splits off into distinct directions, with more traditional, luxury-oriented trims taking one path, and sport-focused trims taking another path.
However, while Cadillac’s original Y trim strategy included a clear progression for the Luxury branch, with the base-level Luxury leading to Premium Luxury and then to the Platinum trim level, the new hierarchy now designates the Platinum that can be purchased on top of the Premium Luxury trim as a package, rather than as a standalone trim level. It’s worth noting that the Platinum package is not available for all Cadillac models. For instance, the XT4 and CT4 do not currently offer a Platinum package.
Above the “regular” Premium Luxury resides the same trim but with a more powerful engine offered on some Cadillac models. For instance, the “regular” Premium Luxury trims of the Cadillac CT4 and CT5 are powered by the turbocharged 2.0L I-4 LSY engine rated at 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. However, both models also offer a more powerful engine in the Premium Luxury trim. In the case of the CT4, the more powerful optional engine is the turbocharged 2.7L I-4 L3B rated at 310 horses and 350 pound-feet of torque. In the case of the CT5, the more powerful optional engine is the twin-turbo 3.0L V-6 LGY rated at 360 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque.
A similar scenario holds true for the Cadillac XT5, which features the LSY engine as standard on the Luxury and Premium Luxury trims, while offering the more powerful 3.6L V6 LGX engine (310 horsepower, 271 pound-feet of torque) as an option on the Premium Luxury model. Meanwhile, the Cadillac XT6 takes a slightly different approach, giving the “base” Luxury model the LSY engine, while equipping the Premium Luxury model with the LGX as standard. The XT4 nor the Escalade currently do not offer a more powerful engine option.
Then we have the Sport branch, which is slightly more complex. Above the base-level Luxury is the Sport, followed by the higher-performance V-Series, with the latter replacing V-Sport in the lineup. What’s more, the Platinum package is available on both, the Cadillac Sport and the Cadillac V-Series models.
Finally, sitting at the top of the Sport branch of the latest Cadillac trim level strategy are the Cadillac Blackwing models. As of this writing, these are represented by the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing, which are offered as the most track-ready sedans Cadillac has ever produced.
Cadillac introduced the Y-trim level hierarchy in order to more effectively address the varying tastes and demands of modern luxury car buyers. Luxury and Premium Luxury models provide a more traditional appearance, with chrome and other shiny accents on the exterior and more traditional materials (like wood grain) on the inside. Some of these models also feature a more relaxed damper configuration for a ride that prioritizes smoothness over performance.
By comparison, Sport models replace the shiny chrome bits with black accents on the outside and brushed aluminum or carbon fiber on the inside. Some models also feature dampers tuned for more spirited driving. V-Series models build on that with higher levels of performance, while V-Series Blackwing models turn that performance up to the max.
To note, this latest iteration of the Cadillac trim level strategy was first introduced with the 2019 Cadillac XT4, all-new 2020 Cadillac XT6, 2020 Cadillac CT4, and 2020 Cadillac CT5, and refreshed 2021 Cadillac XT5. The all-new, 2021 Cadillac Escalade also follows the Y trim level strategy, though the flagship SUV technically treats Platinum as a trim level (as opposed to a package) available on top of Premium Luxury and Sport models. GM made this distinction to make it easier for dealers to order the Platinum versions of the Escalade, though the result to the customer is identical to treating Platinum as a package on other models.