Why Cadillac’s New CT5-V Blackwing is a Big Deal.
by Brendan Appel
Yesterday, Car and Driver dropped a story on the upcoming 2021 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing that, in every true enthusiast’s dream come true, will reportedly be available with the 650hp LT-4 engine mated to an honest-to-God six-speed manual transmission! Want even better news? Cadillac confirmed the manual on its website as well. The skeptics out there might be saying right now, “Big deal, like 1% of cars sold today come with a manual. So what?”
If you’re a regular reader here, then you know we truly appreciate the level of analog connectivity a true manual transmission offers the die-hard gearhead. The “fun quotient” of rowing your own gears just cannot be matched by any other type of transmission – no matter how sophisticated. So the big deal is that Cadillac, who went from offering a manual in the 1st and 2nd generation of the CTS-V, then dropping it in the 3rd-gen car, is now recommitting itself to the stick-shift. Moreover, this announcement from Cadillac comes just a few months after a rep told me to my face that “it will never happen.” That level of commitment to the auto-enthusiast gets our attention.
And apparently it gets your attention as well. Within hours of sharing the C&D story, the post was shared over 80 times, with more than 1,100 engagements – on a Facebook page of our size (barely 3,700 followers) shows that the CT5-V Blackwing is creating a huge level of interest. That interest is even more well-deserved when you look at the competition in the super-sports sedan marketplace to see how most manufacturers have left the clutch-pedal crowd behind. Like that badass looking Charger with your choice of Hemi V-8 engines? Not with a manual you don’t! Despite FCA having the setup available in the 2-door Challenger, the 4-door Charger is a “no stick for you!” So, how about the former heavy-weight champion of sport-sedans, the BWM M5? Just to get close to the Blackwing’s expected 650hp output, you’d have to opt for the M5 Competition Sedan (610hp) starting at an eye-watering $110,000 (compared to the Blackwing’s expected $85,000 base price) and the Bimmer saddles you with an 8-speed automatic only; there is no manual option. It’s the same story over at Audi with the RS5 Sportback, which nixed the third pedal years ago. Alfa Romeo’s brilliant but finicky Giulia Quadrifoglio is available with a manual transmission, but only if you live in Europe. What would have been the ultimate sports sedan from Italy sadly lost the third pedal on its trip across the Atlantic, much the chagrin of many awaiting on these shores (myself included) to buy one.
Thus, as I pointed out to the Cadillac PR rep back in February at the Chicago Auto Show, Cadillac will soon own the entire super-sport, manual transmission, sedan market. There are simply no other players! If the new CT5-V Blackwing (which, ironically, doesn’t actually have the company’s Blackwing motor) is even just as good as the last CTS-V but with a manual, it will be a very sought-after car. Also, it may very well manage to pull off something only a handful of other American car models have accomplished: hold its value. If you’ve shopped recently for a late model, V-8, manual transmission sedan, then you’ve probably noticed prices are almost like new, and they’re not falling. Don’t believe me? Go search your favorite used car site for the now-dead Pontiac G8 GXP or Chevy SS with 6-speed manual transmissions. Good ones, you’ll see, are anywhere from 80% of original value on up. The second-generation CTS-V manuals are also doing well on value, although the unicorn of the bunch – the CTS-V manual Wagon – is at the top of the resale leaderboard. Even ten years out, the manual V’s (which are plentiful online) still maintain at least half of their original value, often much more. And if you’re still not convinced that having a manual increases the resale of a performance car, then you haven’t seen the price difference between the last manual Ferrari’s compared with the company’s automatic versions.
But all of this is for naught if you don’t go out and buy the cars we all say we want. Yes, the CT5-V Blackwing is not cheap, but it will provide a value beyond what the Germans can, along with more luxury than what the Charger offers. We’ve been telling car makers for years, “If you build it, they will buy it.” The only question now is, will you buy and reward Cadillac for making the gutsy and right move, or will you prove all the haters right?
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