Having owned a '05 supercharged V with power delivery very similar to the '09 model, there is more power than can be used by the rear tires until one is 100+ mph in fourth gear.
So the 0 to 100 mph where all of us drive 99.9999% of the time, AWD wins.
Did I mention snow?
We all know the CTS V's initial marketing target was the BMW M5. I came very close to buying a 2003 M5 until I test drove the 2004 V. We also all know that the only options you got with an M5 were a sunroof and maybe some variable color selections - but basically the same as the CTS V. Now they may be offering a SMG option on the new M5 (much better than a plain auto IMO). If you want a coupe you buy an M3 which caters to a different audience. If you want AWD you're plain out of luck. These cars have been, and will likely continue to be, GM's target. If GM markets a "V" coupe they need to rename it so it is distinct from the 4 door sedan. If this strategy has worked for Bavaria, it will work for GM. But don't assume that just because you build something you perceive there is a market for that you will have success. However, I think GM has proven with their latest models that they can compete with the rest of the world. So have at it, GM!
I have to confess something. Today, I saw a CTS4. It was awesome. It made me look at this site...and dream towards the new V in 2010 for me.
I'm relatively new to this forum and am seriously considering a new V even though I live in snow country myself. I'm one who's going to buy a 6AT version rather than the 6MT as the wife needs to be able to drive my car in an emergency, and simply never had the aptitude for manual driving. I CERTAINLY consider myself an enthusiast, otherwise I would be looking at the regular CTS, which is a fine car. I'm an import buyer and I feel that GM has outdone itself with the CTS. I plan to reward them with a purchase.
On to AWD.....I currently own an Acura RL, which has a full-time vectoring AWD system. With engine mods and stickier tires, takeoff is seamless and smooth even at WOT. The AWD system is such that it sends much torque to the rear wheels in turns, and then to the outside rear wheel, which is caused to turn faster. The result is that the car is less prone to understeer than it might be in the turns (the car is ostensibly FWD-designed, with the AWD system added on). Thus, it has some advantage even in dry weather. It is a beautifully designed system. The only problem is that it weighs 200 pounds. I bring this up to say that if GM put a similar system on the CTS-V, there could be some handling benefit.....my RL, also with modded suspension, handles turns like a car 1/2 its 4k pound size in the twisties.
Would I buy such a beast? I'm not sure, would depend on driving dynamics. I'm already assuming that if I buy the CTS-V, it'll be the RWD version and I'll be looking for a set of nice-looking 17's to put some Blizzaks on. Before FWD became all the rage 25 years ago, people were sliding around my VERY snowy region with RWD cars donned in snow tires and heavy salt bags in their trunks. I'm sure I'd survive. I see plenty of people around here driving their Corvettes during the winter, in fact!
Now you might say that GM has learned their lesson and put a totally redesigned rear end into the 09 V. It certainly appears to be bullet proof since it has a cast iron housing now. But will it hold up to higher hp and torque the 09 will push through the rear wheels? The assymetric half shafts should help reduce wheel hop so maybe it will be fine - and maybe not.
My point is there is still uncertainty that the rear end can handle the new duty. Now suppose we add another drive train including transfer case with an additional differential and 2 half shafts to drive the front wheels. Not only will that add weight (likely more than 200 lbs to handle the V's output) but won't it also increase the probability of drive line failure since you have over twice as many parts that can now fail? I don't think you need to do a reliability and maintainability analysis to figure out that if this has been a trouble prone system in the past, it is highly likely it would be even more trouble prone if you double the complexity.
So, maybe I'm a purist, but I happen to think that you design vehicles for their intended use and making a snow capable vehicle out of a V sounds like a good conceptual idea - but based upon the V's past track record, it doesn't sound like the best idea to me.
So you're saying that if there's more parts, there's a more chances for failure? Okay, that's a possibility I guess, but what about the idea that your differentials failed simply because there's too much power for them? In that case, adding AWD to the mix will reduce the load on the rear diff. And I'm not totally following your logic on how a cast iron housing is going to make the rear "bullet-proof". Were there actual housing failures on the Gen. 1 cars? Were there failures that are directly resulting from some structural problem with the old housing? And finally, forgive my ignorance on this one, what was the Gen. 1 housing made of? Not busting you here, I'm being serious. I guess I always assumed the housing was cast iron. Guess not. Was it aluminum?
First gen CTS-V differentials were sand cast aluminum. Most of the replacements were due to whining/binding on turns, but there were a few cracked or shattered cases from wheelhop or sudden hooks.
The biggest problem (as I see it) was the soft bushings used to mount the differential, combined with the design of the attachment points securing it to the rear subframe. They were all on the same plane (all the mounting bolts ran front to back), and there was enough pinion deflection under hard throttle that you ended up with excessive internal wear if driven hard, and a broken case if driven real hard. In theory, an aluminum case would be plenty durable in this application as long as the pinion angle issues were addressed, but I give the engineers credit for over-engineering this one in an attempt to be certain that it holds up to the power.
The new CTS-V not only uses a cast iron housing, but the diff is secured on two planes (both front to back AND top to bottom), which will correct the pinion angle changes under load. I don't know for certain yet, but I would assume that they're using a higher durometer bushing as well after tracking how many tore or compressed in the first gen.
Lessons learned from the 04-07 are going to make this car pretty awesome.
As was aptly described, the Gen 1 differential housings were cast aluminum. The point I was attempting to make is that the new differential housing will be made of a much denser and heavier material (cast iron has a specific gravity of about 2.5 times that of aluminum) which of course adds more mass. Whether that's a significant weight addition overall is less important than the fact that the original needed to be beefed up structurally as well as the need for some design changes to internal bearing and/or gear components.
I suppose that if you could assure yourself that the power was always equally distributed between the front and rear drive train components you could take credit for this and reduce the design loadings for each. However, that still doesn't negate the fact that you have a lot more moving parts. My experience is that the drive trains on 4WD vehicles - be they trucks or SUVs - have a tendency to develop problems before anything else. So why compound the problem with the V since this has been its Achilles heel in the past?
If one were to design an AWD V with mass production and logic (ha!) in mind, it would use the same rear axle assembly as a RWD V.
Take a 450 rwhp '09 V, now dump the power 60/40 through AWD and it's 270 hp sent to the rear and 180 hp sent to the front. With AWD, wheelhop and its nasty shock loading will be a non-issue. The rear differential should live forever. A nice built in weak link like a driveshaft or clutch would be a good thing.
The key is to ensure the transfer case and new front axle parts are worthy of the power. 180 hp in the front differential doesn't require a Dana 44. It would suprise me not that the CTS4 front setup is over designed to handle the V application. Plug and play one blown 6.2L engine and go.
Owned countless 4x4s and AWD vehicles over the years, some new, some with 200k+ miles on them - zero problems with the drive system.
For the next gen V, AWD, 2-door, hand brake and a bunch of other things are on my four year old wish list in the V forum. I'll live with the pop-tart nav system if we get a handbrake!
P.S. Move the V emblem to the fender where it belongs! The door? Are you kidding me? Kick that person off the V team and put them on something like the next gen Aveo. Cars no one cares about - sort of like Toyotas.
I think we've managed to cover a decent variety of concerns here but let pose one more. I guess a "food for thought" statement more than anything.
It's been my experience that over the years, quite often, people (usually people with more money than brains) produce a car that simply has more power than can be adequately used. Most of the time, these are tuner cars, or special-interest customs but, sometimes, they are actually production cars. The ability to actually utilize the engines power (put the power to the pavement as it were) has often been the ultimate determining factor of what would be considered the maximum power for a given vehicle. Go beyond that point and you have wasted power and/or a dangerous vehicle. But technology has provided an answer that at least to a point, allows the maximum power of a given vehicle to be greatly increased. It's called AWD folks.
Now GM certainly has enormous experience with 4WD (light, medium and even heavy-duty trucks) and to a lesser degree, AWD (mostly brought on by the SUV craze) but, they do not have a whole lot of experience with AWD in cars. And folks those are two totally different beasts IMO. So the question is, can GM produce an AWD drivetrain that will be effective in a performance car?