The expected take rate proves manuals still matter.
The Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing have finally arrived and they're glorious not to mention quite expensive, particularly the latter. Why? Because it combines a supercharged V8 with a six-speed manual. Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz no longer offer that mix with their respective high-performance super sedans. Sure, you can get a new BMW M3 with a manual, but it doesn't have a V8. That's one of the key selling points Cadillac is emphasizing. In fact, according to its chief engineer Tony Roma, "Part of the reason why we're [offering manuals] is because other [automakers] aren't doing it anymore."
Speaking to Autoline After Hours (the complete interview is included below), Roma made clear that the luxury and performance brand wanted "to build the cars we want to drive - the cars that resonate with enthusiasts."
Quite clearly, both Blackwings are targeted directly at enthusiast customers. Roma added that the Blackwing nameplate now represents everything Cadillac is capable of doing regarding high performance and track vehicles. Offering three pedals, despite the faster shifting optional 10-speed automatic, is proof that Cadillac understands the demands of its enthusiast drivers.
"Even though they're not faster these days... There's a very visceral connection with the car with a manual trans and [with] being that much more involved in the process of driving, and I think that fits the purpose of [what] these cars are," Roma said. Cadillac appears extremely confident the manual will be a hit with Roma adding about a quarter of all previous V-Series vehicles available with a manual were sold with one.
The latest prediction is that the manual in the new Blackwings will have a 25 percent to 35 percent take rate. Not convinced of this? Roma had this to say:
"I use this statistic and people are surprised. On the second-gen V-Series where we had a coupe, a sedan, and a wagon. The wagon was the highest take rate for a manual transmission, which is not necessarily intuitive until you think of who buys the wagon and they're kind of the most hardcore."
Although Cadillac definitely has zero plans for a CT4 or CT5 wagon, let alone a Blackwing version, it's still comforting to hear at least one performance brand's confidence and belief that manuals still matter.