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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Spying: Cadillac's Flagship Is Alive!

    Cadillac's flagship sedan is a go!

    The rumors of the flagship emanating from Cadillac have been written and talked about for the past few years. But as of this week, the flagship appears to be given the green light as evidenced by spy shots.

    While General Motors has made sure to layer on the cladding to disguise many details of the new flagship, there are a few items we can pick out. For one, the design ideals from the new CTS are very apparent in the flagship's design with sharp-edges and a blocky design. We can also make out the large grille up front.

    The new flagship is rumored to be riding on GM's new Omega rear-drive platform. Powertrains are up in the air, but we wouldn't be surprised if the twin-turbo 3.6L V6 is one of the engines available. Transmissions could range from an eight-speed all the way to a ten-speed.

    As for the name, many reports say it could be LTS.

    Source: Autoblog, Automobile Magazine

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.


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    3.6L Twin-Turbo doesn't make for a fitting power plant for any flagship. The car needs a V8 or better yet a V12 -- or at least have the option for one.

    Base engine? Both the S-class and 7 series have 6 cyl base models. I can't see GM investing in a proper DOHC V8 for this, so it will probably get a corporate pushrod V8.

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    3.6L Twin-Turbo doesn't make for a fitting power plant for any flagship. The car needs a V8 or better yet a V12 -- or at least have the option for one.

    Base engine? Both the S-class and 7 series have 6 cyl base models. I can't see GM investing in a proper DOHC V8 for this, so it will probably get a corporate pushrod V8.

    Agreed. The Audi A8 has a V6 base and the V8 only makes 420 hp, and the Jaguar XJ has a supercharged V6 as the base, so the 410 hp twin turbo six is fine for a base engine. But that is your price leader, the real big car buyers will want a V8 or more, so they have to have that. Plus a diesel or plug in hybrid or something because you seem low tech if you don't have a green model.

    It is good to see they finally have a car in the works to enter into the big boy class. The question will be will it have the hardware and build quality to compete with the S-Class, and if it does, will the Cadillac badge have the cache to convince people to pay $100,000 for it. Really I don't know why anyone would buy an LS460, 7-series or A8 over an S-class, the S-class is so superior to all them. I could see someone buying an XJR or Quattroporte or Panamera because they want a sporty car and a close personal relationship with their mechanic, but the S-class moved the goal post in this segment, the rest are 5-10 years behind it seems.

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    They already have a proper V8 in the LT1. No reason for a DOHC mill that weighs more, makes less power and does not exactly have better fuel economy. I see no imperative to do a DOHC V8.

    However, if they wanted a flagship engine, they might do a V12. By sharing the pistons, rods, valves and the majority of parts with the ubiquitous LFX, they can easily put together a 7.2L V12 which doesn't cost too much to develop and won't cost too much to build. Most of the development cost associated with a new engine is actually in getting the combustion and aspirational systems right. If you are using combustion chambers, pistons, valves, intake geometries and fuel maps that are identical to that of the proven LFX 3.6L V6 it all comes down to just tooling for a V12 block crank casting and a longer crank forging. The engine won't exactly be "Supercar" grade -- something befitting a LaFerrari -- but it'll be more than competent enough for a luxury cruiser which is what Caddy is building. Expect about 640 bhp @ 6800 rpm and 550 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm, which is exactly double that of the LFX V6. It'll drink regular 87 octane just fine too.

    This also opens the door to a renewed XLR based on the Corvette platform, but powered by this V12 instead of the LT4 supercharged V8. The corvette will actually be faster and lighter, but the V12 Caddy XLR will sit more comfortably next to an Aston Martin on the boulevard.

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    I hope the Elmiraj Coupe is coming, too. Dan Neil from the Wall Street Journal thought that it was the be concept car at the Detroit Auto Show;

    BEST CONCEPT CAR // Cadillac Elmiraj

    Breathing a louche, incorrigible air all its own was the Cadillac Elmiraj, a superbly rendered vision of a pillarless hardtop coupe that appears to be 80 yards long. This car was at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance last year, but I failed to notice it. On the stand in Detroit, it was captivating, American exceptionalism on four wheels, every bit the aesthetic rival of the Mercedes-Benz's lurid S-class coupe.

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304549504579320783889893014

    If the S-Class gets a coupe and sedan, then so should Cadillac.

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    3.6L Twin-Turbo doesn't make for a fitting power plant for any flagship. The car needs a V8 or better yet a V12 -- or at least have the option for one.

    Yet based on so many people comments here on this Forum, rich people never look under the hood nor do they even know what propels their auto forward, so a proper performance from a V6 TT or Supercharged would be fine. It sure has not hurt Jaguar or any other luxury maker that has scaled down their car engine size.

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    More likely that they make a special LT-1 variant just for Cadillac than do a V12. Probably force feed it in some way that is different than any Corvette might have.

    Don't know exactly what GM's rating of the engines for the LTS, but with a 410HP TT V-6 on the shelf I think the step up should be more than just the extra 50HP the LT-1 delivers... the supercharged V8 can easily be offered in a 490HP-510HP trim with a tune around 600HP-620HP as their top offering. I agree in doubting GM will do a V-12 for this thing...

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    ZL-1, I was suggesting a turbo LT-1 in my post.

    Remember, the El Miraj is powered by a twin-turbo 4.5 liter DOHC V8 with 500 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. I think it certainly would be sufficient motivation for a step-up engine over the 3.6TT with all of those lb-ft coming on low in the rpm band. Could Cadillac actually build that?

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    ZL-1, I was suggesting a turbo LT-1 in my post.

    Remember, the El Miraj is powered by a twin-turbo 4.5 liter DOHC V8 with 500 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. I think it certainly would be sufficient motivation for a step-up engine over the 3.6TT with all of those lb-ft coming on low in the rpm band. Could Cadillac actually build that?

    Cound be nice...they could in theory develop a V8 from the DOHC V6, right? As a Caddy exclusive.

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    its a BITD sort of thing but really about what sort of buzz features the buyer demographic expects.

    i would say in 2015 or whenever, the market would be fine with the 3.6tt as a base engine. i do believe they will expect a DOHC v8, and that it would be appropriate for it to also be turbo. i think forced induction / turbo is becoming requisite in luxury cars.

    i think the tt v12 is a fantastic idea for a specialty model.

    i don't think the bare small block is what this kind of buyer wants or expects regardless of whether it is perception or other. I don't think the supercharged corvette mill is out of realm for say a V+ series or something. I don't think we are in the place anymore where it is a good idea for Chevy and Cadillac to share engines of any kind in uplevel trims or specialty models.

    Still dig the Cadillac sixteen.

    AWD should be built on about 80% + of this flagship. Myself I would enjoy to see a base ATS with AWD.

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    The basic issue with building a V8 (as opposed to a V12) out of the 3.6 LFX engine is that it is a 60 degree engine and a 60 degree V8 -- while interesting and in fact beneficial from a packaging standpoint -- is not a well balanced design. For an engine destined for a flagship model this is fact may have a greater negative impact than using a big displacement small block V8. Afterall, the degree of vibrations from a 6.2 liter class 90 degree V8 is very much acceptable in cars like the C/E/S63 AMG models. A V12 on the other hand will be able to not just share the 3.6L engine's internal parts but also be made on essentially the same assembly line. A V12 -- even for M-B or BMW -- was, is and will always be a specialty model with limited volume. It helps when it does not need or have unique pistons, valves, and everything else. Most importantly though, a V12 -- like an Inline-6 -- is naturally of perfect harmonic balance without relying on counterweights and/or balance shafts.

    One thing many people fail to recognize is that the Pushrod V8 -- irrespective of costs -- is not inferior to a DOHC V8. It is in fact superior in most aspects. It produces more power for a given external dimensions and/or engine weight. It has better fuel economy than DOHC designs of the same displacement or output. In fact, it tends or have equal or better fuel efficient compared to turbocharged DOHC designs of a similar output but significantly lower displacement. The only thing is not good at is in delivering very high specific outputs and than only matters with regards to displacement taxes. But, as good as GM's LT1 and LT4 direct injected, VVT packing pushrod engines with cylinder shutoff, they are products that cut a balance between performance and costs. For instance, they could have had cam-in-cam independent valve timing, but they don't because a synchronous VVT setup has 70~80% of the additional benefits for half the additional cost. They could have had a variable cam profile setup (ala VTEC or Variocam plus), but they used the oil galleys and collapsible lifters for shutting down half the cylinders for fuel economy benefits instead. They could have been lighter had they splurged on magnesium block and/or titanium rods, but they stuck to aluminum and steel so they can have a $52,000 Corvette which not only beats the 911 but beats it at half the price. They dould also have got 30~40hp more out of those engines by increasing compression ratio by another half point or 1 point, but that would have mandated 91 octane fuel all the time when GM wanted 87 octane compatibility.

    Such concerns and the balance sort are somewhat different when you are talking about a Cadillac as opposed to a Chevrolet. Cadillac can, and should, have a dedicated version of the Smallblock V8 which eschews some of the cost and fuel considerations and strive for maximum performance. An LT2 for Cadillac for instance can have cam-in-cam independent VVT, 12.5:1 compression, cam switching VVL replacing AFM, quieter Piezo direct injectors and a magnesium block. Such an engine could push about ~500 bhp / 475 lb-ft from 6.2 liters while weighing about 20~30 lbs less than the 465 lbs LT1. You can probably also "afford" better under the hood dressing than the cheap black plastic covers you find on a Vette -- a cover wrought from an acoustic sandwich which can have a magnesium casing and inner layer with a rubber liner in between, which is not purely cosmetic but also a instrument of refinement. It'll probably cost about $3000~4000 more, but that may be just fine for a Caddy.

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    Couldn't they take a pair of 2.0T four cylinders and put them together on a 90 degree V to form a twin turbo 4.0 liter V8? Mercedes is working on a 4.0 liter V8 for the C63 AMG, but I imagine some variation of that will end up in the E-class and S-class and that 4.6 liter V8 will get phased out.

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    Couldn't they take a pair of 2.0T four cylinders and put them together on a 90 degree V to form a twin turbo 4.0 liter V8? Mercedes is working on a 4.0 liter V8 for the C63 AMG, but I imagine some variation of that will end up in the E-class and S-class and that 4.6 liter V8 will get phased out.

    Yes, you can do a 90 deg V8 by using two banks of cylinders and components otherwise identical to the 2.0T. You won't be building it on the same line as the line-4 though because the banks will be facing 45 degrees away from the inline-4's cylinders. A 4.0V8 will make about 540~550 hp and about 550~600 lb-ft of torque running about 22~23 psi of boost on 9.5:1 compression. Essentially twice that of the 2.0T (LTG) engine. It will however weigh more and take up more room than a pushrod V8 of equivalent output. It'll also cost more and may not offer any fuel economy advantage.

    Mercedes never had a 4.6 liter bi-turbo. The current E63 has a 5.5L bi-turbo of 517 bhp / 516 lb-ft. The next C63 (why they insist of calling it a C63 baffles one) is a getting a 4.0 bi-turbo V8 with ~450 bhp / 500 lb-ft -- the focus here being on response rather than the highest practical output. Still one has to ponder how this powerplant is any better than a 6.2L LT1 pushrod? Horsepower is about the same as the 455~460hp LT1, torque is somewhat higher by 40~45 lb-ft but subjected to turbolag. The engine will undoubtedly weigh more, take up more room and have more potentially maintenance issues. And, it'll be hard press to equal much less beat a projected 16/27 mpg the LT1 can deliver in a C-class sized vehicle.

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    The S550 has a 4.6 liter bi-turbo V8 right now. Since the E550 dies after this year it makes you wonder if the 4.6 liter V8 will be replaced in the S and SL class with the new 4.0 liter and 9-speed combo, and maybe the E550 returns in 2016. Mercedes doesn't really need a 4.0, 4.6 and 5.5 liter V8 in a time when engines are getting downsized and V8s are being pushed to the history books. Some sort of consolidation is going to happen.

    The 3.6 TT is a starting point for Cadillac, they need a V8, and a diesel engine. I don't think GM will make a V12, the bean counters would never allow it. It would be nice to have but I think Cadillac has to see if they can sell this car first, before embarking on development of a V12.

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    The S550 has a 4.6 liter bi-turbo V8 right now. Since the E550 dies after this year it makes you wonder if the 4.6 liter V8 will be replaced in the S and SL class with the new 4.0 liter and 9-speed combo, and maybe the E550 returns in 2016. Mercedes doesn't really need a 4.0, 4.6 and 5.5 liter V8 in a time when engines are getting downsized and V8s are being pushed to the history books. Some sort of consolidation is going to happen.

    The 3.6 TT is a starting point for Cadillac, they need a V8, and a diesel engine. I don't think GM will make a V12, the bean counters would never allow it. It would be nice to have but I think Cadillac has to see if they can sell this car first, before embarking on development of a V12.

    Seems like the 4.7 is doing the heavy lifting across the brand, with the 5.5 being AMG-exclusive. Could the 4.0 also be AMG-exclusive -- and destined for the smaller vehicles like the SLK in addition to the C? Also, why does the E-Class get a 4.6 where every other model gets a 4.7?

    Regarding the Caddy, the LF3 in the CTS Vsport is around -1/-2 MPG off the turbo/blown sixes that the 7, A8, and XJ use. I might see them use the LFX as it is as a base engine if they can gear/tune it properly. Then above that they can use the LF3 and then the LT1. And then the LT4 if they're feeling feisty.

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