2022 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing 9

Brembos On Blackwings: Inside Cadillac’s First-Ever Carbon-Ceramic Braking System

The 2022 CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing are the highest-performing vehicles from Cadillac, particularly the latter with its hand-built 668-horsepower supercharged V8. The brainiacs at General Motors have a long and cherished history of concocting glorious V8 powerplants. But for vehicles like the newest Blackwings, having oodles of power is just part of the equation.

Setting The Stage

We sat down for a chat with Daniel Sandberg, President and CEO at Brembo North America, host of the Brembo RED podcast, and a true dyed-in-the-wool car enthusiast. We talked about the first-ever carbon-ceramic brake package for Cadillac with the CT5-V Blackwing, the issue of sustainability in manufacturing, and Brembo’s racing heritage.

Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday

Since the brand’s inception in Paladina, Italy, Brembo has been at the forefront of Motorsports on a global level. “For Brembo, racing remains the most important test bench for innovations and technologies that are applied to road cars,” Sandberg explained. “In over 46 years of Motorsports, Brembo has captured 500 professional racing titles.”

Like Brembo, Cadillac has been making a lot of noise in the world of motorsports. In January 2020, Cadillac won its fourth straight Rolex 24 Daytona race, and Brembo’s been along for the ride since the beginning. “Brembo supplies the stopping power for the winning Cadillac Dpi-V.R. racecar at the IMSA WeatherTech Championship,” Sandberg said. “That extensive racing experience forms the base of the brake system designed for the Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwings.”

2022 Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V-Blackwing.
2022 Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V-Blackwing. Photo: Cadillac.

Championship Pedigree

With four consecutive Rolex 24 Daytona championships under their belt, Brembo has an established history with Cadillac’s V-Series cars. Both the CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing have standard cast-iron brake discs with six-piston Brembo front and four-piston rear calipers. And for the first time, optional Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes are available for the CT5-V Blackwing, making it the first Caddy to have carbon-ceramic brakes.

“We are glad that Cadillac will now offer this option for future CT5-V Blackwing owners and enable them to save 28.8 kg (63.5 lbs.) in unsprung weight,” Sandberg added.

Lighter Means Faster

As the late, great Colin Chapman said: Adding power makes you faster on the straights; subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere. The Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing’s optional Brembo carbon-ceramic brake package includes six-piston monobloc front aluminum calipers, four-piston aluminum rear calipers, 15.7-inch front rotors (each weighing just 16.5 lbs.), and 14.6-inch rear rotors weighing just 12.8 lbs. each.

All told, Brembo’s carbon-ceramic brakes weigh 64 lbs. less than the standard cast-iron anchors for the CT5-V Blackwing. Reducing unsprung weight improves handling, sharpens the steering, and enables the vehicle to deliver a better power-to-weight ratio. “In addition to this significant weight savings, the carbon-ceramic material improves the dynamics of the vehicle, as well as ensuring excellent performance, a more athletic feel, low dust, and should last the life of the vehicle under normal use,” Sandberg said.

Brembo brake rotor for the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing.
Photo: Brembo North America.

Copper-Free Braking Performance

Brembo’s carbon-ceramic brake package for the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing features unique copper-free friction materials to comply with existing brake pad regulations. In the early 1990s, studies showed that automotive brakes accounted for 35 to 60 percent of the copper in California’s urban watershed. And in 2010, California and Washington passed laws to reduce copper in automotive brake pads from < 5 percent by weight to 0.5 percent by 2021.

“Copper-free legislation throughout the world, including the U.S., has been developing for over a decade to minimize the amount of copper dust finding its way into the environment,” Sandberg explained. “Brembo has been developing copper-free materials for its brake systems supplied to customers worldwide who have been preparing for the enactment of this legislation.”

Copper is a vital element in improving the braking feel, heat dissipation, and cold-weather performance of automotive brakes. Additionally, copper has distinctive properties that prevent shuddering and brake squeal. “Copper is replaced by different materials with the same technical requirements, the main one being heat dissipation,” Sandberg added.

Jaguar Century: 100 Years of Automotive Excellence

But how do copper-free brake pads affect braking performance and the overall feel of the car? “The customer should not see or feel a difference with a copper-free pad,” Sandberg answered. “Brembo has gone to great lengths to keep the performance, pedal feel, and longevity of the friction the same as pads with copper.”

Customized Touch

Brembo and Cadillac are offering up to four caliper hues for the CT5-V Blackwing. You can choose between Edge Red, Harbor Gray, Royal Blue, and the exclusive Tech Bronze unique to Cadillac. “The intent was to give the caliper the look of Brembo’s flat-anodized bronze racing calipers – again, a nod to the racing heritage of Brembo,” Sandberg said.

All four calipers in Brembo’s carbon-ceramic brake package for the CT5-V Blackwing have electronic sensors to monitor brake pad wear, a first for a Cadillac. The sensors regularly check the thickness of the brake pads as you drive. When the pads are worn to minimum levels, the system activates a warning light on the dashboard to alert the driver.

Brembo brake calipers for the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing.
Photo: Brembo North America.

End of an Era?

Blackwing epitomizes the ultimate in Cadillac performance sedans. The CT4-V Blackwing’s 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 pumps out 472 horsepower and 445 lb-ft. of torque. Power goes exclusively to the rear wheels with either a six-speed Tremec manual or an optional 10-speed automatic transmission.

Equipped with the latter, the CT4-V Blackwing accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and has a top speed of 189 mph, enough to draw anxiety from BMW M3/M4 drivers at the next set of lights.

Meanwhile, the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is probably the last breed of American V8 sedans. With its supercharged engine churning out 668 horsepower and 659 lb-ft. of torque, an automatic-equipped CT5-V Blackwing (a Tremec six-speed manual is standard) goes from zero to hero in 3.7 seconds and has a 200+ mph top speed. The next Blackwing models will likely be all-electric, but we’re excited either way.

“I have always loved these Cadillac sedans for handling and performance. The Blackwings are going to be the ultimate performance sedans on the road today,” Sandberg said. “I hope GM gives me an opportunity to drive this car on the track soon.”

Us too, Dan. We’ll see you on the track.

Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.

Brembo Specs: CT5-V & CT4-V Blackwing

Cast-Iron (Standard): CT5-V Blackwing

Front

  • Copper-free brake pads; pad area 142 cm2.
  • 398 x 36 mm cast-iron two-piece disc; disc weighs 16.6 kg.
  • Brembo monobloc all-aluminum six-piston caliper (M6.30/34/38).

Rear

  • Brembo electronic parking brake.
  • Copper-free brake pads; pad area 42.7 cm2.
  • Brembo two-piece all-aluminum four-piston caliper (P4.28/32).
  • Brembo 374 x 28 mm cast-iron integral disc; disc weighs 11.1 kg.

Carbon-Ceramic (Optional): CT5-V Blackwing

Front

  • Brembo 400 x 38 mm carbon-ceramic two-piece disc; disc weighs 7.5kg.
  • Copper-free ceramic pads; pad area (142 cm2) designed for performance and comfort.
  • Brembo monobloc all-aluminum six-piston caliper (M6.30/34/38) with radiated pistons.

Rear

  • Brembo Electronic parking brake.
  • Copper-free brake pads; pad area 74.6cm2.
  • Brembo 370x 34 mm carbon-ceramic disc; disc weighs 5.8kg.
  • Brembo monobloc all-aluminum four-piston caliper (M4.30/34).

Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing Braking Specs

Front

  • Copper-free brake pads; pad area 113.7 cm2.
  • Brembo monobloc all-aluminum six-piston caliper (M6.30/34/38).
  • Brembo 380 x 34 mm cast-iron two-piece disc; disc weighs 12.53 kg.

Rear

  • Brembo Electronic parking brake.
  • Copper-free brake pads; pad area 39.8 cm2.
  • Brembo two-piece all-aluminum four-piston caliper (P4.28/32).
  • Brembo 340 x 28 mm cast-iron integral disc; disc weighs 8.45 kg.

Photos & Source: Brembo North America, Cadillac.