2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing Aero: Definition of “Obsessive”

When you want to go very fast, you pay very close attention to how the air flows over, under and around a vehicle

By Gary S. Vasilash

The ’22 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing has a 472-hp, 445 lb-ft of torque 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 that propels the car at up to 186 mph.

But the car isn’t about straight-line speed as much as it is about track performance, so the engineering team took the Cadillac Racing Dpi-.R race car as a template, put the CT4-V Blackwing digital model in over 300 computational fluid dynamics simulations and put physical models in a five-belt rolling road wind tunnel at the GM Technical Center (it seems that the five-belt setup allows a more accurate assessment of what goes on beneath the vehicle than wind tunnels without five) and came up with aero packages to help its performance.

The radius of each V on the 2022 CT4-V Blackwing optimizes airflow. (Image: Cadillac)

As Tony Roma, Cadillac V-Series Blackwing chief engineer, puts it: “With the CT4-V Blackwing, we create net downforce that is incredibly rare in production vehicles. What this means is that the car gets pressed down into the road the faster you go, giving it more grip, greater stability and inspiring the driver to confidently explore its full capabilities. Not only have we produced our most track-capable sub-compact sedan ever, but we continue to work with our racing counterparts to explore the limits of physics to make better cars.”

So there is a front underwing with air strakes to control the airflow (Scott Sier, aerodynamics performance engineer at Cadillac: “Thanks to components like the underwing, we were able to work with design to generate downforce without the use of large wings that didn’t fit with the design.”).

Front dive planes to increase grip for the front tires by pushing the front down (see previous quote).

A rear spoiler with a functional 3-mm Gurney flap for more downforce.

Brake cooling ducts that are not only 3D printed (how techy is that?) but work to keep the rotors cool and direct air around the front control arms.

Front fender vents that exhaust built-up pressure in the wheel wells as well as remove hot air from the engine bay.

A front splitter, rocker moldings and extensions and a rear diffuser, all of which reduce lift and provide high-speed balance.

A flat underbody for airflow management.

Rear control arm covers, which minimize air buildup around the rear wheel wells and the control arms.

But the most remarkable one of all: the mesh on the grille has V-shaped inlets that have two different textures that work to control and direct air.

Sure, the grille makes a huge difference in air flow management, but the textures on each of those little elements?

That is serious aero.

The Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing & CT5-V Blackwing: Yes, “Cadillac”

If when you think “Cadillac” you think of something big and lush and lumbering like the Escalade (no offense to the SUV, but it is 211 inches long and weighs up to 6,015 pounds, a.k.a., three tons), then the 2022 V-Series Blackwing vehicles are going to absolutely upend that notion: The CT5-V Blackwing is powered by a hand-built (think about that for a moment) 668-hp. 6.2-liter supercharged V8 mated to a six-speed manual TREMEC transmission; the sedan has a top speed of over 200 mph.

Then there’s the CT4-V Blackwing, which is smaller, a subcompact, and is certainly no slouch, as it is fitted with a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 such that it has an estimated top speed of 189 mph. Equipped with the optional 10-speed automatic (which is also available for the other car), it has an estimated 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds.

2022 CT4-V Blackwing (left) and CT5-V Blackwing (right): engineered to perform. (Image: Cadillac)

Of course, when you go fast you also need to, well, stop, so there are serious Brembos deployed, with the CT5-V Blackwing featuring the largest factory-installed brakes in Cadillac history: 15.67 x 1.42-inch front rotors and 14.7 x 1.1-inch rear rotors. (There is also a lightweight carbon-ceramic brake package available, which is helpful in track situations, in particular, as it reduces unsprung mass by 53 pounds and rotating mass by 62 pounds.)

At this point you might be wondering why these vehicles are being named with their full names. That’s because you can go to a Cadillac dealership and buy a CT4 or a CT5. Or you can buy a CT4-V or a CT5-V.

The Blackwing execution is a whole different thing.

And so to that end, on this edition of “Autoline After Hours” Tony Roma, chief engineer of Cadillac V-Series Blackwing, provides a deep dive into the features that they’ve brought to the vehicles in order to make them track-capable vehicles straight out of the dealer’s showroom.

Roma talks with “Autoline’s” John McElroy, Chris Paukert of Roadshow by CNET and me.

Roma says that their objective was to make a vehicle that is “light, nimble and precise.”

Which is arguably what some people might not think about when it comes to Cadillacs.

Then McElroy, Paukert and I discuss a variety of other subjects, including Cadillac’s electric future (Roma is also the chief engineer for the forthcoming, ultra-luxury Celestiq electric vehicle), the agreement between Google and Ford and the whole issue of data monetization, January sales and a whole lot more.

And you can see it all here.–gsv