Here are the 10 best Cadillacs ever made

Cadillac has always built luxury cars throughout its history and has the honor of being one of the oldest car brands in America. Cadillac has been bought by General engines all the way back to 1909, and has served as GM’s more premium brand ever since – just as Lexus is to Toyota, or Infiniti is to Nissan. Cadillac was the first company to introduce the car as we know it today – bringing the engine to life with the turn of a key, activating the electric starter motor. Cadillac was also the first company to use the V8 engine configuration for mass production use with the L head V8. In addition to these prestigious achievements, Cadillac brought the automatic transmission to the masses in 1941. With this rather big feat in mind, here are 10 of the best Cadillacs ever made, from beautiful and elegant to cool and downright awesome.


10/10 1930-1940 Cadillac V-16

via: YouTube

The Cadillac V-16 was the pinnacle of luxury in the 1930s. Back then, more cylinders meant more luxury, so while most of its competitors had to make do with just 12, the Sixteen had, well, 16. It was – and still is – a beautiful car to behold.

1930 Cadillac V-16 Sport Phaeton by Fleetwood - CLASSIC.COM
via: Classic

The top model was the V-16 Dual Cowl Sports Phaeton, which had a 7.4-liter V16 and produced about 183 horsepower – not much for today, but back then normal cars barely made 50 horsepower. Cadillac created a concept car called the Sixteen in 2003 to potentially bring back the impossible opulence of the 1930s. The concept featured a naturally aspirated 13.6 liter V16, producing over 1000 horsepower. Unfortunately, the 2008 recession hit and Cadillac decided against a production model.

9/10 Cadillac Eldorado from 1953

Cadillac Eldorado from 1954, light blue
mecum

The original Eldorado was the top specification in Cadillac’s line of luxury convertibles. It came with the classic wraparound windshield found on many cars of the era, and had ‘bullets’ in the front bumper, protecting the rest of the bumper from any damage. The Eldorado gets its name from a contraction of two Spanish words, meaning ‘the gilded one’. Eldorado is also a reference to the Colombian mythological city of El Dorado, the famous ‘City of Gold’.

Cadillac Eldorado from 1954, light blue, rear
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The first-generation Eldorado featured a 5.4-liter V8 and a 4-speed Hydra-Matic transmission. It was originally built as a limited production car to serve as the ultimate version of the Series 62, but ended in production for 12 generations.

8/10 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz from 1959

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz at auction
through artebellum. com

The Eldorado Biarritz is probably the car that comes to mind when you think of a Cadillac. The Biarritz, immortalized by a certain Mr. Elvis Presley and with a whole following of pink Cadillacs, is an automotive icon in its own right.

through Hagerty

While the first generation Eldorado was only available as a 2-door convertible, the 4th generation was changed to three body styles: a 2-door convertible, a 2-door coupe, and a 4-door sedan. As with most cars of this era, the 4th generation Eldorado was primarily inspired by the jet age, resulting in huge fins protruding from the rear fenders – undoubtedly this car’s defining feature.

Related: 1959 Cadillac DeVille Barn Find Has Been Hidden For 40 Years

7/10 1971-1976 Cadillac De Ville

Cadillac Coupe DeVille through Mecum Auctions
Via Mecum Auctions

In the 1970s and early 1980s, the “personal luxury car” segment exploded. Cadillac was eager to get in on the sales promotion and created the 1971-1976 Coupe de Ville. It was similar to many of its rivals, but unlike its main rivals – the Lincoln Continental Mark V and Buick Riviera, which only had 6.6-litre and 7.5-litre engines respectively, the Coupe de Ville had a huge 8.2 liter V8 engine – the largest production V8 ever put in a road car.

Classic Cadillac Coupe de Ville Mark V
Via: Motor

Although it is the largest V8 engine ever used, producing only 190 hp and 359 lb-ft of torque, it was then built for cruising extravagance, not setting lap records around the Nürburgring. Anyway, whatever Cadillac did, it worked, because in 1972 they sold a record 194,811.

6/10 Cadillac Seville from 1992

The front of the Seville STS
favcars.com

The Seville was among the smallest of the Cadillacs, and the 1992 4th generation won the Motorcycle trend Car of the Year award, as well as made the Car and driver Ten Best list for the 1992 model year.

via-forocoches

Its success is credited to the Northstar system, featuring a 4.6-litre V8 producing 300 horsepower and going to the front wheels only through a 4-speed automatic transmission. The chassis was modernized with suspension from the Chevrolet Corvette. The Seville can be considered the quintessential American suburban sedan, regularly shown parked in the driveways of homes in many films.

Related: Everything We Know About Betty White’s 1977 Cadillac Seville ‘Parakeet’

5/10 2001 Cadillac Escalade

Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum 2004
Via: Cadillac

The original Cadillac Escalade was a rush job to compete against the newly released Lincoln Navigator. The Escalade was essentially a rebadged GMC Yukon Denali, for about $5,000 more. Initial sales were slow, as the GMC was the less expensive car and offered the same options.

via MOMENTCar

For the second generation, the Escalade was given a face of its own, resulting in excellent sales for the 2004, 2005, and 2006 model years. Much of the Yukon’s optional equipment was standard on the Escalade and had more options than the Yukon ever had. Cadillac also sold the Escalade EXT, a luxury pickup based on the Chevrolet Avalanche, but it didn’t sell well.

4/10 Cadillac CTS from 2003

2004 CTS-V
Via: Cadillac

Introduced in 2002 for the 2003 model year, the CTS was Cadillac’s first manual transmission car since the Cimarron was discontinued in 1988. It was originally powered by a 3.2-liter V6, but the lineup was updated in 2004 with the new 3.6-liter V6, producing 255 horsepower. The 3.2-litre was completely replaced with a new 2.8-litre V6 for the entry-level CTS sold in Europe.

3/4 rear view of the CTS-V 1
Cadillac

In 2005, GM introduced the CTS-V, a high-performance version aimed at the BMW M3/M5, Audi S4/S6 and Mercedes C55/E55 AMGs, among others. It produced 400 horsepower and 395 lb-ft from the LS6 5.7-liter V8, which was upgraded to the Corvette’s LS2 6.0-liter V8. The CTS-V was only available with a manual transmission.

Related: Here’s What the 2003 Cadillac CTS Costs Today

3/10 Cadillac CTS-V Sports Car from 2011

2014 Cadillac CTS-V wagon
Via: Cadillac

The second generation CTS built on the success of the first and got even better. The car had the 3.6 liter as standard and was available in sedan, coupe and wagon body styles. The cars came standard with rear-wheel drive, but could also be had with all-wheel drive.

2014 cadillac cts v wagon rear
Via: Sports car market

The pinnacle of this generation was the CTS-V, specifically the CTS-V Sports Wagon. Every CTS-V (sedan, coupe, and wagon) was equipped with the LSA 6.2-liter supercharged V8, producing 556 horsepower and 551 lb-ft of torque—a vast improvement over the previous model. The CTS-V Sports Wagon came standard with a six-speed manual transmission, but a six-speed automatic was also available.

2/10 2021 Cadillac Escalade

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV Drive
Via: Cadillac

The current generation Cadillac Escalade has been the best yet. The fifth-generation Escalade comes standard with a 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 and, for the first time ever on an Escalade, a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six diesel engine. The diesel gets over 20mpg for rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive models and has an average range of over 550 miles – not bad for a large, luxury SUV.

Cadillac Escalade V3 from 2023
Via Cadillac

The current Escalade is also getting the Cadillac-V treatment for the first time, most likely called the Escalade-V – and will likely come with a slightly tuned version of the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 found in the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

Related: 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V and our high expectations

1/10 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing from 2022

2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing - Front
Via: Cadillac

The Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is a luxury sedan featuring the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 from the Chevy Camaro ZL1, albeit a little tuned to produce 668 hp and 659 lb.ft of torque – all going to the rear wheels via a 6 -gearbox manual gears. It’s a great car!

The 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing High-Performance 4-door sedan
Cadillac

The CT5-V Blackwing harkens back to the CTS-Vs of the last two decades and will likely be the last of the mid-size saloons to feature a massively powerful engine and manual transmission. As Dodge discontinues the Hellcat engine and Ford focuses on electric vehicles, the V8 is quickly becoming a legend of the past. As such, the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is an apt way to say goodbye to the era of ridiculous American V8 power – all in a giant cloud of smoke and the smell of melting tires. Who would have thought Cadillac would be the ones to see?

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