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Cadillac Adopts Confusing Torque-Based Numbering System For New Models

Cadillac will adopt a torque-based numbering system on their future models that uses Newton-meters instead of pound-feet.

The first-ever Cadillac XT6 delivers a compelling blend of spaciousness, safety, and convenience.

Cadillac will adopt a new and confusing torque-based numbering system for all their future vehicles, starting with the new XT6.

Most of the time when you see a number on the side of a car or truck, it’s usually the engine displacement. Occasionally it might denote horsepower, or it might say V8 or V6 to show the general engine configuration because people still believe that it somehow matters, and that’s pretty much it.

Cadillac plans to mix things up by showing their engine’s torque figures on the back. In Newton-meters instead of pound-feet.

Yeah. We’re a little confused on this too.

Starting with the 2020 model year, each new Cadillac model will get torque figures in Newton-meters added as a badge. This will include all new CT and XT models and starts with the upcoming XT6 mid-size crossover.

And if the strange unit of torque measurement wasn’t enough, things will get even more confusing. The XT6 will come with a 3.6-L V6 engine with 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque. That equals 367 Nm, so you’d expect Cadillac to slap a “367” badge on the back. But no, instead they’ll round to the nearest 50 Nm to make things look nice, so the XT6 will get a “400” badge.

Since every 50 Nm equals 37 lb-ft of torque, there can be some significantly incorrect badges on these cars.

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So why the switch? Cadillac President Steve Carlisle spoke Wednesday about the changes and provided a few reasons, starting with the advent of electrification.

"We're not talking about displacements any more," Carlisle told CNET. "Its purpose is to communicate power and performance, not just for ICE [internal combustion] engines, but also for other propulsion."

The first-ever Cadillac XT6 Premium Luxury model provides an elevated level of refinement.
via Cadillac

He means fully electric powertrains of the sort that Cadillac plans to start selling in the very near future.

And the other reason? "It's metric, it's universal, it's global, we have to think about all the markets that we're doing business in." Translation: Europe and Asia tend to prefer Newton-meters of pound-feet, and Cadillac wants to expand their appeal in these markets.

But don’t be entirely filled with despair. Cadillac’s V-models and Escalade SUV will be exempt from the new numbering system, so at least Cadillac’s best vehicles won’t be all that confusing.

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