Cadillac's Newest Badging System Makes Even Less Sense

Cadillac is dropping the displacement-based badging on its cars for a new three-digit system. And it takes some explaining.

Starting with the 2020 model year, all Cadillacs will feature a badge based on their torque output. It won’t be based on lbft, but instead Newton-meters (Nm) — a measurement seldom seen in North America.

The example above is the new XT6, which produces 373Nm from its 3.6-liter V6. Cadillac will round every torque figure to the nearest 50, and affix a “T” after the number for turbocharged engines.

“It’s metric, it’s universal, it’s global, we have to think about all the markets that we’re doing business in,” Cadillac president Steve Carlisle said to CNET about the change. He also added that “engineers certainly prefer Newton-meters.”

On the plus side, at least it makes slightly more sense than Audi’s current badging.

It seems like only yesterday the American luxury brand adopted its latest naming convention. The XT[x] and CT[x] style spread across some of the lineup, but unlike Mercedes’ recent batch of rebranding, it didn’t retroactively apply to existing models. Thus, the alphanumeric CTS and ATS soldiered on, while the Escalade remained the only true name — no doubt thanks to high consumer recognition.

According to Carlisle, vehicles like the Escalade will continue to keep their names, as “special cars get special names.” The V series, which will continue with this year’s CT6-V, will also eschew the new torque-based badges.

The move preempts Cadillac’s first all-electric model, which arrives in 2022. Admittedly, displacement badges don’t mesh with the automotive world’s increasing hybrid/electric makeup. Carlisle wouldn’t disclose which, if any, letter would signify an electric powertrain, however.

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