DETROIT, Mich.—On Thursday night, Cadillac took the wraps off a pair of new sporty sedans, revamping its V-Series performance lineup. One of the sedans, the CT5-V, is a souped-up variant of the new midsized four-door that launched at this year’s New York auto show. The second is the CT4-V, a sporty version of the yet-to-be-seen entry-level CT4. But if you were expecting fire-spitting monsters barely suited for the street, you’ll need to reset your expectations; these two new machines are more jalapeño than Habanero.

Cadillac’s V-Series was born in 2004 when the car maker shoehorned the Corvette’s 5.7L V8 engine into its CTS sedan, giving us the CTS-V. Since then, track-focused performance versions of the CTS and ATS sedans (and the CTS-V wagon) have offered an American alternative to cars like the BMW M3 and Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. But rather than turning everything up to 11 on these new models, the dial has been set to somewhere between 8 and 9. “It’s a new take on the V-series. The current cars are only accessible to a fraction of the market. Not all customers want track time,” said Ken Morris, GM’s vice president of global products.


When the regular version of the CT5 debuted in New York, in addition to an all-new electronic architecture it also featured a 2.0L four-cylinder engine. That has been swapped out for a 3.0L twin-turbo V6 for the CT5-V, which provides the car with 335hp (250kW). It will be available with all- or rear-wheel drive, but only with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Its handling has also gotten an upgrade with the introduction of Magnetic Ride 4.0, the latest version of GM’s computer-controlled magnetorheological dampers that it says now provide a faster, better damping response no matter where you happen to be in the car’s performance envelope.

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