Special Coverage

New York Int’l Auto Show

General Motors Co. will round out its lineup of high-performance Cadillac passenger cars at the New York auto show later this week, unveiling the CTS-V Sport Wagon.

In addition to foreshadowing the next V-Series product from Cadillac, the show car also hints at future color and trim directions from the 108-year-old luxury marque.

The uber-wagon is seen as a shot across the bow of German auto makers, sending the signal that GM’s re-launching of the brand in Europe carries plenty of weight, despite newly revised sales goals.

While wagons sell tepidly in the U.S., they fly off the lots in Europeand high-performance models grab sensational headlines. With a 556-hp, supercharged V-8 engine making 551 lb.-ft. (747 Nm) of torque, the CTS-V Sport Wagon should announce Cadillac’s return with authority.

The CTS-V Sport Wagon goes into production at GM’s Lansing Grand River, MI, assembly plant in late 2010, the auto maker says, with initial sales in North America followed by export to Europe and the Middle East.

GM expects to finish hammering out the details for re-launching the Cadillac brand in Europe by May, and a start-of-sales date has not been released. Plans are for some 3,000 deliveries annually in the region, much more achievable than a previous target of 25,000.

In addition to helping give the brand a bigger presence in Europe, the high-performance wagon further raises the cache of the Cadillac name in its home country, says Clay Dean, director-advanced design at GM and head of the Cadillac styling studio.

“The people who buy these sorts of cars are unlike any other,” he tells Ward’s on the sidelines of a recent GM media event. “They also might drive a (Lamborghini) Gallardo. For them, a car like this is a statement.”

The V-8 engine GM squeezes into the CTS-V Sport Wagon is the same motor under the hood of the CTS-V sedan, upcoming CTS-V Coupe and Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1.

Its Eaton Corp. supercharger features a pair of 4-lobe rollers for improved efficiency and noise, vibration and harshness characteristics, compared with typical 3-lobe models.

Transmission choices include a 6-speed manual gearbox or 6-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted shift controls.

Four specially designed Brembo brakes provide stopping power, while 19-in. forged aluminum wheels are skinned with specifically engineered Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires.

GM’s vaunted, fast-reacting magneto-rheological technology suspension, Magnetic Ride Control, comes standard.

Unique to the CTS-V Sport Wagon show car is a Midnight Silver exterior first seen on the Cadillac Sixteen concept earlier in the decade. It is complemented by Liquid Silver-finished wheels and a black chrome finish on the grille’s mesh insert.

Inside, the show car is trimmed in black leather with Alcantara accents, including the Recaro seats.

“The CTS-V Sport Wagon is a natural extension of both the V-Series and the CTS lineup, offering an uncompromising performance car to enthusiasts who want the extra room of a wagon,” Don Butler, vice president-Cadillac marketing, says in a statement.

“The V-Series Sport Wagon is another hallmark of the dramatic presence and power of Cadillac vehicles.”

GM declines to provide projected sales volumes for the CTS-V Sport Wagon but says it will offer the car on a limited basis.

jamend@wardsauto.com