Cadillac adds torque-number badging to most new models starting in 2020

Based on Newton-meters, with occasionally generous rounding

Few phrases describe huge swaths of America better than a phrase spotted on the back of a top-fuel dragster at an NHRA event: "You can never have too much horsepower or ammunition." If Cadillac CEO and wily Canuck Steve Carlisle has his way, the revised phrase would substitute "torque measured in Newton-meters" for "horsepower." Starting with the 2020 model year, America's luxury brand will add torque figure badges to CT and XT models, beginning with the XT6.

The badge above kinda almost sorta represents the torque produced by the luxury crossover's 3.6-liter V6. That badge did not appear on the XT6 we photographed at the Detroit Auto Show. In U.S. parlance, twist in the XT6 comes to 271 pound-feet. Translated to Newton-meters, that's 367 Nm. Then round that up to the nearest 50, which Cadillac will do, and one arrives at 400. True, the rounding prevents a future of number jumbles like the 2020 XT6 367 vs. the 2021 XT6 419T. Nevertheless, we don't know why Cadillac is rounding to the nearest 50 instead of the nearest 25, since 50 Nm is about 37 lb-ft and could conceal a decent torque increase between model years. A "T" denotes turbocharging, and we imagine there'll be designations for hybrids and electric cars.

We think most modern attempts at engine-based nomenclatures soon get as complicated as ciphers or come unmoored from their original scheme. And based on our experience with The Average Car Buyer, they don't care. A bigger number, no matter what that number represents, means more, which is the important thing. Because America, right?

Maybe not. Carlisle said, "We're not talking about displacements any more," and the new badging will give consumers "a clear understanding of the power differences across the lineup." The brand believes torque provides a better comparison between ICE, hybrid, and EV powertrains and "the balance between fuel economy and performance."

As for the immigrant unit of measurement, Carlisle told CNET, " It's metric, it's universal, it's global, we have to think about all the markets that we're doing business in." Oh, and, "Engineers certainly prefer Newton-meters."

The new nomenclature will not be applied to V-series models or the Escalade, because the CEO holds that "special cars get special names." We should probably take a moment to reassure the CT and XT models that Steve Carlisle thinks you're all special, too. Just a different kind of special.

Cadillac XT6 Information

Cadillac XT6

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