Enthusiasts will be pleased.
Anyone disappointed by the new Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V shouldn't count GM's luxury brand out just yet, because more powerful "Blackwing" models are on the horizon.
The 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing models will bring the V performance brand back to its former glory by exceeding the performance benchmarks set by the old ATS-V and CTS-V. Ahead of the new models' respective reveals, Cadillac is slowly leaking out new information about such details as optional magnesium wheels and carbon fiber seats.
Now, the American luxury brand has confirmed a bit of information that was previously only hinted at: both the CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing will come standard with a six-speed manual transmission.
Cadillac hasn't offered a manual transmission option since the ATS-V left production, and the previous-generation CTS-V didn't offer one at all. Cadillac says the new manual transmissions will be built using additive manufacturing - or 3D printing - for certain components, marking the first time GM will ever have used 3D-printed parts on a production car. But it's not just the transmission; things like HVAC ducts, electrical harness bracket, and a fetching shifter medallion (pictured below) will also be produced using that technology.
In fact, because of how expensive it is to develop a new transmission option for two niche enthusiast models, the cost and waste savings delivered by 3D-printing certain components might have played a significant role in making the stick-shifts feasible.
Not only that, but Cadillac even says the new transmission is both quieter and more durable than the one it replaces.
"A lot of work went into making the manual possible in both vehicles," says Mirza Grebovic, Cadillac's Performance Variant Manager. "It's something we know V-Series buyers want, and it's something we knew we had to have, so we used innovative processes to make it happen. There are a few ways to really get that connected feel with the vehicle and the manual transmission is probably the most obvious one."
A 10-speed automatic transmission will also be available, but with rivals from Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and elsewhere all declining to offer a manual option, the Blackwing will enter the market with a unique advantage.
As part of its market research on the manual option, Cadillac commissioned a Harris Poll asking Americans about their knowledge and willingness to drive a manual. Only 66% of surveyed American adults self-report being able to drive a stick, but 40% of those who can't are somewhat or very interested in learning. In other words, there's a market there that's ripe for the taking.
Manual lovers can collectively rejoice when the 2022 CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing arrive in summer 2021.