Back in 2018, Cadillac set out to completely revamp its trim level hierarchy. Known as the Y trim level strategy, the new approach was launched in conjunction with the 2019 Cadillac XT4 (which was all-new for the 2019 model year) as well as the 2019 Cadillac CT6 (which was refreshed for the 2019 model year). The Y trim level approach created two distinct branches of vehicles – those focused purely on luxury and those focused on a sport-luxury experience.
Cadillac Society created a graphic of the Y trim level hierarchy when the new strategy was launched, and we’re now doing so again today – since the structure has changed slightly over the past few years. Let’s dive right in.
All Cadillac models start out as the base Luxury moniker, which is seen at the stem of the graphic above. Moving up the graphic sees the stem split out in two distinct forks: one that represents the spectrum of luxury-oriented vehicles, which emphasize comfort and more traditional decorative accents, and the other that focuses on sporty, performance and high-performance models, and more modern accents.
The Luxury branch is comprised of two trim levels – Luxury and Premium Luxury.
Currently, all Luxury and Premium Luxury Cadillacs (with the exception of Escalade) start out with the turbo-charged 2.0L engine (production code LSY) as the base powerplant, which can be identified by the 350T moniker, as per Cadillac’s torque-based nomenclature. Meanwhile, some models, such the CT4 and CT5, offer a more powerful engine option.
For instance, the Cadillac CT4 offers the upgraded turbocharged 2.7L I-4 engine (production code L3B) on the Premium Luxury model. The engine is rated at 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, and models with the engine wear the 500T badge. In the case of the Cadillac CT5, the optional engine is the twin-turbo 3.0L V6 (production code LGT). The engine is rated at 335 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque, and models with this powerplant are identified by the 550T badge out back.
Luxury and Premium Luxury models also feature more traditional styling elements, including bright chrome/chrome-like accents as well as classy wood grain interior trim pieces.
Some models on the Luxury spectrum feature specific suspension tuning that favors a smooth ride over a sporty one. A Platinum Package is available on most Premium Luxury Cadillacs.
The other fork of the Cadillac Y Trim level strategy represents Sport models, to include Sport, V-Series (formerly V-Sport) and V-Series Blackwing models. These models favor a sporty driving experience and a more aggressive stylistic by way of blacking out most (and sometimes all) elements finished in chrome on the Luxury and Premium Luxury models. Inside, models on the Sport brand feature aluminum or carbon fiber accents.
From a powertrain standpoint, Sport models feature standard engines, while V-Series models build on that formula with more powerful powerplants. The V-Series Blackwing vehicles represent the highest echelon of Cadillac’s performance models with the most powerful engines and highest levels of (track-focused) capability. The two current Blackwing models include the CT5-V Blackwing and CT4-V Blackwing.
While “regular” V-series models sometimes offer the Platinum Package, V-Series Blackwing vehicles do not offer a Platinum Package as of this writing.
To sum it all up, Cadillac’s Y Trim strategy starts with the Luxury models as the base before branching out into two distinct trims – Premium Luxury and Sport. Premium Luxury models favor more luxurious ride and handling characteristics while also featuring a more traditional traditional appearance, with bright chrome accents. Sport models emphasize more sporty ride/handling attributes and more aggressive styling.