Image: GM

Cadillac: Lovers of Metric and Rounding, Rejoice!

What fresh hell is this, you might mutter after hearing what Cadillac’s up to. Not only does General Motors’ luxury division plan to maintain its alphanumeric naming convention on future models, it also plans to add additional badging for the 2020 model year. The badges are numbers, designed to give both the owner and passer-by a sense of what’s under the hood.

No, it isn’t a return to prominently displayed cubic-inch engine displacements. It’s a torque figure.

In newton-meters.

That’s what Cadillac President Steve Carlisle wanted to talk about in Detroit Wednesday, telling journalists that the nomenclature will appear on all models for the coming model year. The first model to gain the exterior numbering is the midsize XT6 crossover.

While previous XT6 imagery showed no hint of this new badge strategy, a press photo handed out at the event shows an XT6 liftgate with a chromed “400” resting just below the right-side taillight. If only it was cubic inches…

Cadillac’s intentions seem legit, though Twitter wags can be forgiven for questioning whether his was all an early April Fool’s joke.

If you’re wondering why the XT6’s standard 3.6-liter V6 warrants such a designation (the mill’s 271 lb-ft of torque works out to 367 newton-meters), it’s because Cadillac rounded up. This will be the case on all models, apparently. The brand doesn’t want any badging that doesn’t end in “00” or “50,” though a “T” will be added to signify a turbocharged engine.

“We’re not talking about displacements any more,” Carlisle said, as reported by RoadShow. “Its purpose is to communicate power and performance, not just for ICE  engines, but also for other propulsion.”

Carlisle didn’t saw what type of designation an electric model might gain. Will Cadillac muscle Fiat aside for 500e badging rights? Time will tell.

Addressing Cadillac’s apparent disdain for freedom units, the brand boss said, “It’s metric, it’s universal, it’s global, we have to think about all the markets that we’re doing business in.”

He added, “Engineers certainly prefer newton-meters.”

Not since the Ford Galaxie 500 7 Liter has an American automaker given such credence to the idea that customer-chasing panache can be mined from the stuffy, cold metric system. Regardless, it can be argued that Cadillac’s power designation badges are slightly less confusing and irritating than those found on European-market Audis.

[Image: General Motors]

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