History of the V1 CTS-V

History of the 1st Generation Cadillac CTS-V

First-GeneraTion Cadillac CTS-V (2004-2007)

First-GeneraTion Cadillac CTS-V (2004-2007)

The first-generation Cadillac CTS-V, which was released in 2004, was put forward as the car marker’s answer to the growing demand for combining performance and luxury in automobiles. In the years before the car’s release, the Cadillac team at General Motors had struggled with how this could be achieved, and the brand was generally on the downturn. However, they knew that a quick answer would be necessary to fight off the growing imports of the BMW M and Mercedes AMG models, as well as capture young and new customers.

Most observers and critics will later recognize that it was initially this pressure to keep their German rivals at arm’s length that led to the shift to their “Art & Science” design language, which aimed for boldness, authority, and modernity. In addition to this, Cadillac needed to replace its aging Catera, whose sales had already begun to dwindle at the turn of the new century. Essentially, it was the combination of these conditions that led to the CTS-V hitting the assembly lines for 16 consecutive years.

General History of the 1st Gen Cadillac CTS-V

The first-generation Cadillac CTS-V was manufactured in Lansing Michigan, at the Lansing Grand River Factory and was mostly built on General Motor’s Sigma Platform. The CTS-V was also one of the first cars that integrated Cadillac’s new design system, opting to use bold lines, sharp angles, and tall headlights throughout the car, which are features that can barely be found in older models, such as the Catera.

However, the improvements also went beyond the exterior of the car. Under the hood, the CTS-V also featured a powerful 5.7 liter LS6 V8 engine, which had up to 400 horsepower, as well as a Tremec T-56 manual transmission. However, both the Tremec transmission and the LS6 engine were borrowed from Chevrolet’s stunning C5 Corvette Z06.

However, the team at Cadillac was sure to make additional enhancements to allow the car to go beyond, “corvette-like” performance, and ensured that driving stability, durability, and luxury were also achieved. These features allowed the CTS-V to surge past its competitors, which has made it a combination of features that many modern cars still covet today.

2005 CTS-V

After the blazing success of the 2004 CTS-V, not many changes were introduced to the 2005 version of the General Motors car. This meant that it also made use of a 5.7 liter LS6 V8 and the Tremec T-56. This powerful engine and further enhancements by General Motors also meant that the car could go from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds.

However, while this release did not change much, it helped to begin to lay the groundworks of cementing the CTS-V as the future of the Cadillac, as many of the strengths that the brand is known for today can find their roots in the 2005 and 2004 CTS-V. As General Motors opted for a two-year assembly line cycle for the first generation of the CTS-V, no notable changes were made to the car’s exterior this year and it generally used the stuck to the same chassis as the 2004 model.

2006 CTS-V

After two highly successful years on the road, the Cadillac team at General Motors introduced a variety of changes to the 2006 CTS-V to keep the car up to date with the trends of the time. Naturally, this meant that a new engine was required. This ultimately led to the decision of dropping the LS6 engine for an overhead, 6.0 liter LS2 V-8 engine. This new engine allowed top speeds of up to 163 mph (262 km), with the car also being able to reach a quarter of a mile in just 13.1 seconds.

In 2006, Cadillac ensured that the CTS-V stayed true to its ability to deliver race-track performance while still being luxurious and quiet enough for the standard driver. This was mainly done by using double-valve cylinder heads, a dual exhaust, and enhancements to the car’s induction system. However, although the LS6 engine was replaced, the highly powerful Tremec T-56 transmission was retained in this newer model. This was highly beneficial in keeping the level of noise down while also ensuring that the steering felt stable in your hands.

In terms of the car’s design, the Cadillac team at General motors placed improvements in aerodynamics at the forefront of their chassis changes, which came in the form of an aero-splitter and stainless steel mesh grilles blanketing the bumper. In addition to this, the sides of the car also featured an aero rocker to help improve airflow. General Motors also made slight tweaks to the interior to allow owners to gain an improved driving experience. These included lowering the center armrest for easier gear changes and also opting for a three-spoke steering wheel with aluminum bezels.

2007 CTS-V

While 2007 marked the end of the first generation of the CTS-V Cadillac, not many changes were made to the car’s interior or exterior. This meant that the LS2 engine was maintained in this model as well as the Tremec T-56 transmission. However, slight changes and refinements were made to the steering to ensure increased control of the car.

Cadillac CTS-V Fun Facts

  • The first-generation CTS-V was featured in the highly successful 2003, science fiction movie, The Matrix Reloaded, starring Keanu Reeves. It is believed that the producers desired a car that would complement the themes of the film, which led to General Motors offering the then-unreleased CTS-V to Warner Bros.
  • The first-generation CTS, which acted as a lower-powered version of the CTS-V, was nominated for the North American Car of the Year Award in 2002. However, it ultimately lost out to the Nissan Altima.
  • The team at General Motors decided to use the letter “V” to mark the series in an attempt to pay homage to the Cadillacs produced after the second world war, as those cars sported a V-shaped ornament beneath its logo. This “V” also stands for victory.
  • As the first-generation CTS-V made use of the Z06 engine, it was often referred to as the Z06 with four doors, mainly due to the car’s excellent performance and speed despite being a Sedan.

The Legacy of the First Generation CTS-V

To most observers and critics, the first-generation CTS-V largely marks Cadillac’s return to greatness after a tumultuous few years at the company. In essence, the design decisions and bold changes made by Cadillac ensured that the cars embodied the statement, “you don’t have to choose.” General Motors and the Cadillac team ensured that all CTS-V owners could have it all, with speed, performance, and luxury all wrapped up in a sedan.

This proved true when the first-generation CTS-V was famously able to put out a lap time of 8 minutes 19 seconds at the Nürburgring Nordschleife track in Germany, proving that it could keep up with rivals such as Mercedes and BMW. This meant that if you wanted, you could take your car down to the track and blow past anyone, while still being able to take your car for a cruise on the road without much bother.

The first-generation CTS-Vs were also known for their remarkable durability, as most owners barely ever needed to bring their cars to repair shops. The combination of all these factors resulted in over 10,197 cars being produced and sold in the United States, with General Motors shipping 2461, 3508, 3052, and 1176 units respectively between 2004 and 2008. This rousing success ultimately led to the continuation of the series and the redesign and development of a second-generation of Cadillac CTS-Vs beginning in 2008. Hide Post Preview

More CTS-V History: 2nd Gen (2009 - 2015) · 3rd Gen (2016 - 2019) · CT5-V 4th Gen (2020 - ??) CT5-V/CTS-V

CTS-V Gen 1 Performance Parts Offered by Synergy