Sharing more than just the spotlight with General Motors Corp.’s new Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week will be a second-generation Cadillac CTS-V performance sedan.

Expected to launch in the fourth quarter as an ’09 model, the all-new CTS-V aims to offer unprecedented levels of performance for Cadillac while maintaining the brand’s focus on luxury and refinement.

“The CTS-V represents the full extension of our design, technology and performance capabilities,” says Cadillac General Manager Jim Taylor. “The V-Series takes the award-winning (’08) CTS sport sedan and elevates it to a position within the club of the world’s most exclusive and capable cars.”

More specifically, the new car aims to one-up the 500-plus-hp BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG with help from a de-tuned version of the Corvette ZR1’s new 6.2L OHV V-8.

Called the LSA, the supercharged, all-aluminum engine is expected to pack 550 hp at 6,200 rpm and 550 lb.-ft. (745 Nm) of torque at 3,800 rpm when Society of Automotive Engineers certification is complete in early April.

Compared with the ZR1’s 620-plus-hp LS9, GM says the Cadillac variant is geared toward a more refined power delivery.

Both engines share the same block and nearly 100 other components, the auto maker says, but the LSA’s 9.0:1 compression ratio is slightly lower and its cast-aluminum pistons and other internal components are less radical than those used for the ZR1.

The LSA and LS9 also share similar forced-induction assemblies. However, the Eaton Corp.-sourced Twin Vortices Series VI supercharger is smaller and produces 9 psi (0.6 bar) of boost vs. 10.5 psi (0.7 bar) in the ZR1.

In addition, the taller engine compartment of the CTS allows a larger, single-brick aluminum intercooler to be mounted atop the blower in place of the LS9’s compact pair of heat exchangers.

Handling the new CTS-V’s nearly 35% increase in power over the previous model will be a reinforced 6-speed manual transmission with a twin-disc clutch and dual-mass flywheel. An automatic gearbox also will be offered for the first time in the form of GM’s heavy-duty Hydra-Matic 6L90 6-speed unit.

Cadillac’s Performance Algorithm Shifting program guides the 6L90’s operation and features three settings for varying degrees of performance. A manu-matic console shifter and steering wheel-mounted paddles offer manual control of the gearbox with rev-matched downshifts.

Chassis tuning for the 4,200 to 4,300-lb. (1,905 to 1,950-kg) high-performance model, as with the standard CTS, was honed on numerous racetracks around the world, the auto maker says.

Notable additions for the V-Series include Magnetic Ride Control, which uses iron-laden, electromagnetic shock fluid to quickly react to changing road conditions, as well as a Performance Traction Management system based on technology used by Cadillac’s championship-winning CTS-V race teams in the Speed World Challenge GT series.

Unique 19-in. forged-aluminum wheels are wrapped in high-performance Michelin Pilot Sport 2 rubber and encircle massive Brembo disc brakes with 6-piston calipers in front and 4-piston units in the rear.

The large wheels and bulging hood hiding the supercharger should make the new CTS-V hard to miss. However, trained observers also will note the addition of heavily revised front and rear fascias, new exhaust outlets and the V-Series trademark wire-mesh grille.

The interior of the ’09 CTS-V shares its hand-stitched leather and high-tech features with the regular model, but is differentiated by suede-like microfiber trim on the steering wheel, shifter and seat inserts. Recaro performance-driving seats with 14-way adjustability replace the stock units, while dark Obsidian trim adorns the door panels and center stack.

Unlike the first-generation model, GM says the ’09 CTS-V will be exported outside North America to Europe, Asia and the Middle East as part of the auto maker’s – and Cadillac’s – ongoing global expansion.

Pricing details, as well as performance and fuel-economy figures, are expected to be available closer to the vehicle’s launch, but a base price near $65,000-$70,000 seems likely and would dramatically undercut the CTS-V’s targeted European rivals.

msutton@wardsauto.com