Besides more power, V-series models will have enhanced brakes, suspension and steering. The CTS-V's exterior will be distinguished by a stainless-steel mesh grille and restyled front and rear fascias that improve engine and brake cooling.
GM promises 0-to-60 mph acceleration in less than five seconds for the CTS-V and a top speed of more than 155 mph.
Cadillac expects to produce 2,200 CTS-Vs for the 2004 model year and cap production at 10 percent of CTS production for 2005 and beyond.
The rear-drive 2004 XLR two-passenger retractable hardtop and the next generation STS sedan, which bows in 2004, will get V-series versions.
But the performance models will bow about 12 to 18 months after the base cars go into production. Production also will be capped at about 10 percent of a model's production.
Combined CTS, XLR and STS V-series production is estimated at 6,500 annually. For comparison, Mercedes-Benz sells about 8,000 AMG vehicles in the United States.
While pricing has not been announced, Cadillac will follow the lead set by Mercedes-Benz and BMW, a GM source says. Those automakers price their performance models approximately $10,000 to $15,000 above the base vehicle in a model line.
GM's Performance Division is responsible for creating performance vehicles from production models for Cadillac and other GM brands. The CTS-V is the first performance car created by the division.
Under the CTS-V hood will be a reworked Corvette Z06 5.7-liter V-8. The Cadillac version has 400 hp and 380 pounds-feet of torque mated to a transmission not seen at Cadillac since 1940: a manual. The six-speed manual Tremec transmission features an advanced flywheel to reduce noise and vibration.
The Corvette Z06 V-8 has 405 hp and 400 pounds-feet of torque.
While Cadillac is taking the risky step of offering only a manual transmission, the automaker says 50 percent of Europe's performance sedans and coupes sold in North America are sold with a manual transmission.
"Naturally, more volume would come with the automatic, but we had limited resources" and time, Taylor says.
To fit a larger automatic transmission into the car, GM would have to cut a portion of the car's frame and bend the firewall.
"Whenever you get into metal changes, it's a big deal," Taylor says. "That's the issue. So we decided to play our chips on the manual first and circle back and maybe in a couple years put in an automatic."
The CTS-V's suspension was designed by several engineers who race Corvettes, says Stieg Ingvarsson, product manager of V series/Motorsports. They "pushed us to Nuerburgring testing, which has been very, very beneficial not only for the CTS but especially for this car."