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How to measure a Supercar -- Cadillac V-Series


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How to Measure Supercars: Cadillac V-Series

Supercar is a frequently mis-used term.

My daily driver Cadillac STS-V has 469+ hp, carries enough luggage for a cross-country family trip, and corners like a racetrack tuned sports sedan. Last evening we piled in 5 adults for dinner and a show — no sweat. Poise, power, control, performance, and the luxury of room for people & gear; that is what makes for an ideal Grand Touring car.

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Bruce

2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing

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No complaints about the seating before or after dinner. There was a question about if my Cadillac had mufflers ( Corsa exhaust ) and some comments about rapid vehicle dynamics. The nav system did in fact show an icon for the planned restaurant.

Bruce

2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing

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I've taken out a couple for dinner in the CTS-V. The ride was good enough so that our guests asked if a computer in the car helped it fight lean in the corners through the electronic suspension. He was a bit confused when I said "It doesn't lean." I didn't go into keeping the suspension roll axis passing near the center-of-gravity to prevent lean while preserving suspension compliance and such because these people weren't engineers or sports car people. They did get the impression during the rides to and from the restaurant that they had never seen a car anything like the CTS-V.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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Yes vette motor is cool but I still am not on board with adding supercharger. Power on demand, improved fuel economy in light throttle settings and so on. I think most agree the non blown vette motor is a nice power package. They seem to sell a lot of vettes.

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I'm sorry, I don't understand. You don't like the supercharger?

The supercharged models are designed from the ground up, just like turbo engines. A supercharged engine will have a mild, high-lift cam suitable for good economy in normal driving. Some of the LS engines have Active Fuel Management (AFL) which lets cars cruise on four cylinders. The only significant disadvantage for economy is a low compression ratio. Reliability has proven excellent, according to local sources.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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I kinda like 556 SEA-certified horsepower in a well-mannered daily driver with good fuel economy and nice manners in town and on the road, and excellent reliability. I don't know of another way to get that without a supercharger. You can get most of it, except for the seamless, instant throttle response, with turbochargers but I don't know about the impact of the drive turbine on exhaust flow and its impact on fuel economy when you aren't using the boost.

The LS engine in all-aluminum block and heads is only about ten pounds heavier than a Northstar, I have heard. It's 6.0 or 6.2 liter, depending on the application, whereas the Northstar is 4.6 or 4.4 depending on whether it's the normally aspirated or supercharged version. I don't know how much the supercharger weighs but I suspect that most of the weight is in the coolant in the intercooler. I don't know the weight of the excellent 320 hp DI VVT V6 that is the standard engine for the CTS.

I recall a lot of talk from VIN "Y" owners some years ago about how the VIN "9" motors were hot-rods that had no bottom end torque (I recall a 50 lb-ft lower torque mentioned in one post) and shook at idle, when the VIN "9" engines have the same smoothness requirements as the VIN "Y" motors and the torque for any given RPM below about 5000 is about 10 lb-ft, above which it surpasses that of the VIN "Y" engine. I've driven lots of VIN "Y" cars as loaners for service while my 1997 ETC was in warranty and they drive much the same as the ETC, with the same smoothness and quietness. The only really noticeable difference is the top end of each gear when you nail it. The most important real disadvantage of the VIN "9" engine was a couple of mpg on the road, probably due to the 3.71 final drive ratio in place of the 3.11 used with the VIN "Y" motors. My point? Don't say you don't like it until you try it. You really don't know until you have driven one for a couple of days.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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The LS7 engine from the C6 Corvette Z06 or the upcoming remade Camaro z/28 is 7L normally aspirated and makes 505 hp. It is by all accounts a great engine. I am of the more-is-better school with the LSA s/c 6.2L CTS-V engine at 556 hp. The next CTS-V will likely make more power, but the LSA will give way to the s/c new 5th gen LT1

I would love to see the LS7 in the ATS-V but expect higher output TTV6.

Bruce

2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing

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The Corvette ZR1 has a supercharged 6.2 liter LS9 that differs from the LSA in its forged pistons, higher compression ratio, and higher capacity supercharger for 638 hp, all to provide 82 more horsepower than the LSA. The supercharged LS or its successor is top of the line and the future of high-end Corvette motors.

For what it's worth, the specific output of the LSA is about 90 hp/liter; the specific output of a Quad 4 HO at 195 hp (1993 model year, I believe) from 2.26 liters is 86 hp/liter. The LSA/LS9 superchargers work with very mild cams to produce driveability and torque, not all-out horsepower.

But, in post #4 above, I was talking about the suspension with no mention of the engine when you came back in post #5 about the Corvette motor. The suspension is what really sets the CTS-V apart on every drive. With 200 less horsepower it would still be a world-class car. Try to look at the whole car, not just the "Corvette motor" which it really isn't. It's a CTS-V motor, designed for that car, not the Corvette.

I'm wondering if a supercharged V6 is in our future. A supercharged 3.0 liter V6 could certainly provide a nice engine for the smaller cars. A supercharger provides a simpler and more reliable approach and better driveability than a turbo, IMHO.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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I would bet the only people that don't like the supercharged motors have never owned one or are old school (emphasis on old :) )...

and think power adders are not cool/macho. The longevity is proven!, the power is obvious and the gas mileage is included. Whats not to like? The only downside I can see is the higher price, just like anything, you want more, you pay more. They also sell a lot of impalas, so maybe that makes it the better choice, joeb ??? I hate negative posts, go post that on the vette board.

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Everyone can like different engines; certainly there are differences and it is a matter of taste, preferences.

I am hooked on blown engines due to the low end torque and huge flat torque band. Both the LC3 and the LSA were designed and built from the start to BE supercharged. Designed to handle the pressure.

Some feel normally aspirated engines are more pure and honest /shrug

I like to hear that high pitched whine and feel the low end torque.

Bruce

2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing

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Heck.. I am old and i "LOVE" supercharged engines....

Always have and I reckon I always will.

I wish I had one... LOL LOL

I know several people with Supercharged engines in their vehicles.... everything from Cadillacs to pickup trucks.

Some day I will be included in that group.

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Bruce

2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing

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Some people prefer one thing and some prefer others, and all of us are entitled to our preferences. That's why we have the upcoming ELR plug-in hybrid with on-board charger, a design that borrows heavily from the Chevy Volt, the Escalade Hybrid, the EXT Escalade truck (!!!), the ATS, and all the rest, plus, of course, the Chevrolet and Buick models and other makes and models. Many people prefer trucks, and pickup trucks rival sedans in yearly sales these days.

My ideal car is a well-balanced sports car, and when there is a choice between vanilla and chocolate, I prefer chocolate. A GT car like the CTS-V is then next thing to a sports car and competes against sports cars like the Corvette and Viper in the Pirelli World Challenge series. And, it has a very useful back seat, something that I haven't had since I traded in my 1977 Monte Carlo station wagon in 1986.

I find the supercharger unobtrusive. If you have a light foot, the car drives like any mild big V8. Normal progress through city streets and traffic is smooth and effortless. A bit more and a big invisible, silent force begins to manifest itself; I call this "tickling the bear," a measure far short of "waking up the bear." As Bruce says, a smooth, silent, and impossibly strong force is at instant command at any speed in any gear should the need arise. The principal use I have had so far is minimizing exposure to visibly unstable 18-wheelers at high speeds and crosswinds, with the additional benefit of minimizing buffeting of the 18-wheeler by my car. A nudge of the pedal followed by a corresponding bump of the Brembos does the job when necessary. As noted by Bruce in our visit before we picked up the CTS-V, it's best not to tickle the bear in any traffic at all because it confuses other drivers in ways that may not be obvious, even if you keep everything safe and legal.

In suburban South Jersey, I find the CTS-V a total sleeper except to the occasional young motorhead. I do get an occasional smile and thumbs-up. The exhaust note is a sustained hum, like a big high-performance straight six. I tell people it's a four-cylinder with an Eaton carburetor.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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Talked to 02 vette owner with 7.0 blown motor, nitrous fogger for IC and nitrous intake setup for emergencies. Said it was fun car

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Anyone who adds nitrous has put the warranty and reliability behind them. The LS7 isn't used with a supercharger, so if there was an intercooler then it must have had an add-on turbo or supercharger. Adding boost to an engine designed as normally aspirated does not produce a reliable engine.

My highly modified 1964 Chevrolet of the 1966-1970 time frame notwithstanding, I look at modified street cars as hot rods, not supercars. My experience with that car, documented previously on Caddyinfo, led me to understand the complexities and interactions in high performance street car engineering before I was 30. Years later, in sharing stories about that car, I observed "Anyone can buld a Ferrari. It takes system engineering to build a Corvette, which sells for a fraction of the cost, performs as well, is mass produced, and carries the same warranty as any other Chevrolet." I'm trying to keep to the topic of Supercars here on this Topic.

The LS7 isn't used on Cadillac to my knowledge. The normally aspirated LS engine has been used in Escalades for some time. Due to the inherent limitations of anything built on a truck chassis in terms of braking and cornering, I don't forsee the LSA or a new supercharged design in an Escalade, although a few years ago I wouldn't have foreseen the performance levels that I see out there for sport-utes today. Even about five years ago I had to run a light to avoid being creamed in my Eldorado by a big sport-ute that was going far too fast to stop at a red light. He slid to a stop right where I had been stopped when I looked around and saw I was clear and nailed it. That impact would have totaled the Eldorado and quite possibly the sport-ute.

joeb - you keep making negative remarks about Corvette motors and such. Have you thought about posting them on a Corvette forum? Corvette motors are not used in production Cadillacs. A quick web search turned up http://www.corvetteforum.com/.

You must be a performance fan, as a long-time owner and driver of a 1996 STS, one of the all-time classics in sport sedans. A lot of people would kill for a car like that. A few years ago, a Corvette was campaigned in sanctioned sports car racing in Europe, using a Northstar engine! The 4.0 liter "Chevrolet" all-aluminum engine used in Indianapolis for two years was a Northstar. The CTS-V uses a supercharged Northstar and has performance levels quite comparable to the CTS-V in my recent experience.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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I think the latest supercharged cars are fine. I have commented at this website for several yrs how I think there should still be a non-blown LS motor in the cts-v. A non-sc version and a sc version. That is what my comments about the vettes in non-sc and sc versions comes from. I am only down or negative on the added complexity of the package. Sure it's effective. It works. But it is pricey. Why can gm afford to get EPA certification for both versions of the vette? Actually 3. The z01 motor is the 7.0. So they certify the 6.2, 7.0, and sc motor.

Oh, the guy with the 02 vette had a special low compression 7.0 motor built for his vette. Yes, it is way beyond warranty stuff. It is not a Z06 car that was modded. Yes, centrifugal sc. IC is air cooled with nitrous spray for additional cooling and nitrous injection setup for emergency situations where he might get beat. Says it is around 800 hp

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The competition guys use an iron LS. From what I have read recently, the aluminum LS engines are almost as strong as the Gen I/II and LT iron engines and the iron LS motors are at least as strong as the Mark VI big blocks. I've also read that the LS is near the end of its run and a successor is already in the works and will appear as soon as the 2014 models.

World Castings Warhawk series of 427 cid and 481 cid street engines come with up to 725 hp. I think your friend may have some wishful thinking involved when he says 800 hp but with a supercharger he might get it. I think the best way to go for a supercharged street motor is to keep it strong and mild and use a lot of boost to get the horsepower with a special cam that uses not too much overlap or intake duration and lots of exhaust duration. VVT could be used to rotate the cam for earlier timing at high RPM to let the flow dynamics work in the faster cycles.

But, a durable engine is the result of careful planning followed by destructive testing of lots of samples with postmortem examinations that result in successfully dealing with issues that emerge as the sample engines produce more and more horsepower and miles. Your best bet with a one-off is to buy a "recipe" from World Castings, which is probably what your friend's engine started out with. You could work with World and other suppliers to come up with such a motor. But a car like that is an interesting and possibly exciting hobby, not a true daily driver, like my 1964 Impala station wagon. I was careful with it and never had any problems after I solve the transition things with new brakes, suspension, and transmission.

I am slowly getting to know the CTS-V and its capabilities. I got a pretty good initial feel for it's highway speed capabilities on the trip back but have not yet explored the sport mode for the suspension or the manual ratchet-shift mode of the transmission to any extent. The car seems to have handling, brakes, and engine control that is far beyond any reasonable demands. I recall the advertising message for the 1990's Northstar: "No Limits!" With 300 hp and Stabilitrak (the 1996 has ICCS1, which with the addition of an accelerometer and gyro becomes ICCS2 == Stabilitrak), the driving limits of the 1990's STS/ETC are world class today. The 1992 STS was Road and Track Car of the Year - with the 4.9. It took me months to find the limits of my ETC and get comfortable with them. I am patient with my CTS-V.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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