Cadillac Becomes Latest Automaker To Embrace Oddball Nomenclature

Audi unveiled its horsepower-based nomenclature back in 2017 and it appears Cadillac has decided to one up them with an even more absurd system.

According to Car & Driver and Roadshow, Cadillac is moving to a new torque-based nomenclature. If that wasn’t odd enough, the American luxury brand isn’t even going to use American measurements. Instead, it will be loosely based on Newton meters (Nm) of torque.

The new nomenclature will debut on 2020 models including the XT6 crossover. That model has a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces an estimated 310 hp (229 kW / 314 PS) and 271 lb-ft (367 Nm) of torque. Under the new naming system, the model will be badged as the XT6 400 as Cadillac will “round each number to the nearest 50.”  That’s pretty deceiving as 367 Nm (271 lb-ft) is closer to 350 Nm (258 lb-ft) than it is to 400 Nm (295 lb-ft).

The move is pretty strange and it’ll be further complicated by a decision to add a “T” moniker to turbocharged models. However, V-Series variants will reportedly skip the nomenclature altogether.

Like Audi, Cadillac is adopting the nomenclature ahead of its shift to electric vehicles. As Cadillac President Steve Carlisle explained to Roadshow, “We’re not talking about displacements anymore.” He went on to say the nomenclature’s purpose is to “communicate power and performance, not just for ICE [internal combustion] engines, but also for other propulsion.”

The executive also said they decided to use a Newton meter based nomenclature as the measurement is “universal” and is preferred by engineers. It probably also doesn’t hurt that Newton meter numbers are larger than their pound-foot equivalent.

  • TrevP


    • Mr. EP9

      Really Dumb.

      • Bo Hanan

        Incredibly dumb.

        • Spurious Squirrel

          400 dumb…

          • Dennis Scipio

            No comment.

          • Dennis Scipio

            I don’t know what to say about this.

  • Mr. EP9

    Stupid idea.

  • Merc1

    What an incredibly dumb decision. Oh well someone inside GM wants Cadillac and GM itself to fail and fold. How else could you explain the XT6 and now this?


    • Cobrajet

      It’s not going make things any better for them, but it won’t make things worse either.

  • JTL2017

    Couldn’t this be considered misleading?

  • Rocket

    A pathetic attempt to mislead customers who have no clue what the number means. How embarrassing when potential XT6 customers learn the Aviator puts that number to shame in base configuration (542nm), and more than doubles it in hybrid (813nm) … without rounding. Cadillac might regret drawing attention to a number that’s not terribly competitive for the segment.

    • Merc1

      Their saving grace will be that the average consumer doesn’t know or care about torque and they really don’t know what a Newton Metre is.


      • Rocket

        I could see Lincoln having some fun on social media. By drawing attention to it, Cadillac is risking consumers learning how uncompetitive it is less than 400 n-m is. It’s just idiotic.

    • Dennis Scipio

      What is nm?

      • Rocket

        Newton-meter … the figure Cadillac claims is “universal”. Most American have never heard the term, and have no idea what it means.

        • Dennis Scipio

          Oh okay, similar to Foot Lbs of Torque then, right?

          • Rocket

            Exactly. 1 lb-ft is 1.356 n-m.

    • Cobrajet

      It won’t matter, they will just know the engine they have relative to the model lineup.

  • Ben

    And yet Lincoln, who’s whipping Cadillac’s bum, is going back to actual names such as Navigator, Aviator and Nautilus. Stop trying to be German Cadillac, stick to your heritage.

    • Merc1

      An actual name and a number would have been awesome like DeVille 400 with the number denoting the actual horsepower.


    • CJKnox

      ” Stop trying to be German Cadillac, stick to your heritage.”

      Cadillac says: Nein!

    • Craig

      “Stop trying to be German Cadillac, stick to your heritage.” SO TRUE I thought it was worth repeating.

    • Cobrajet

      Cadillac named their cars with numbers before they did with names. The Cadillac Sixty Special was the last one that did so, which later was given the name the Fleetwood.

  • no25

    Finally, something stupider than Infiniti changing all it’s models’ names to “Q_”

  • brn

    Cadillac is doing their part to help us transition to the metric system.

    Good for them.

    • danno

      Us? Since when was USA transitioning to metric?

  • Merc1

    If they had designed a stunning crossover (think Aviator) a name like one of those recent concepts + a number that denoted the HP would have been awesome. Yet instead we get a warmed over Chevy with a number that denotes something most American consumers know nothing about. GM = Failure.


  • eb110americana

    ‘Cause “XT6 400” just rolls off the tongue. It sounds like some off-brand Super-Soaker or vacuum, not the pinnacle of American luxury.

    They should name all their crossovers and SUVs after the Escalade. So things like “Promenade” and “Esplanade.” And do something the Germans and Japanese would never do: badge it in classy cursive script–you know, like the Cadillac badge.

    • MayTheBestCarWin05

      I felt the same way when Mercedes debuted their EQC400

      I thought. What an awful name. But no one will criticize it bc….you know…it’s Mercedes.

      • brn

        What good are standards if you can’t double them?

    • Enter Ranting

      It sounds like a juicer you buy from a huckster at the county fair.

    • Cobrajet

      But what owner will call it by the full name like that, they will just call it their Cadillac.


  • Marc Gruben

    Scratching my head… How did this conversation in the boardroom go?

    Mary Barra: “According to automotive blogs and websites all over, it appears Cadillac has failed in every way possible.”

    Soon-To-Be-Fired Marketing Dude: “Not quite, boss. We haven’t screwed up our model names enough yet. We already use horrible alphanumerics but we haven’t adopted Newton Meters yet.”

    MB: “Oooh! I like it! A new way to fail that no other automaker has ever used! Most Americans don’t even know what Newton Meters are”

    STBF Marketing Dude: “And if we brought back “Cimarron” and combined it with Newton Meters, it would be the biggest fail of all time!”

    MB: “OOOOOOH! Everyone else could stop failing because we would have done it to perfection! You’re fired!”

    Dude: 🙁

  • It wound sound better if they had thousands of something in there… Maybe cc? Oh, wait…

  • LJ

    Were they inspired by the 6000 SUX?

  • Wolverine350R

    I’m not saying I agree with the naming and think it is dumb as well, but how many of you have F-150s? I wonder if the tq number will be on the other side of the trunk like the 3.6 or 2.0T is now?

    Cars will be even more fun then the SUVs
    CTS 400T
    CTS 400
    CTS 600TT
    CTS-V 900SC
    XTS 400
    XTS 500T
    CT6 350T
    CT6 400
    CT6 550TT
    CT6-V 850TT
    ATS 400T
    ATS 400
    ATS-V 650T

    • TheAmerican2point0

      For trucks its either 150/1500, 250/2500, etc. Simple.

      • Wolverine350R

        Yeah, I’m just saying it is a somewhat similar thing. Firebird 400, I assume the GT350 and 500GT Mustang names also have similar roots -but- they were confined to specific high end/more powerful models.

      • Stephen G

        Really, what happened to 10, 20, 30, 40. Those were easy! You knew that a C10 was a Chevrolet 1/2 ton 2WD. A W20 was a 4WD Dodge 3/4 ton. Now F150…is it 2WD or 4WD…nobody knows…could be a Ferarri.

    • MayTheBestCarWin05

      If you read the article they say the V cars will avoid this nomenclature.

  • Paul

    One more sign that Cadillac has lost it.

  • Craig

    More silliness from Cadillac. Why not Fleetwood and Seville and LaSalle and Calais and De Ville and so on?

  • Bash



    Cadillac will never be on the level like BMW or Benz. GM, get rid of your rental luxury brand embarrassment

  • Ok… sorry Americans, using Nexton-meter makes sense ! …but here the use is stupid. As for Audi, a V6, V8 badge is cool, but fake numbers really? Most people have no idea what torque is and how much their car have. Really Americans are talented when it comes to name cars and trims… 1LE, STS, TL1, XTS, LR…

  • FloridaMatt

    This must have been plan B after they could not agree on how many of which emojis to use instead of numbers…

  • Six_Tymes

    long term thinking is always smart. short term thinkers will always criticize

  • MayTheBestCarWin05

    Mercedes: “today we’re introducing our new EV called the EQC400”

    Internet: “yaaay, a new Mercedes!! THE BEST OR NOTHING ARRGGHH. Tesla better watch out”


    Cadillac: “today we introduce a new three row suv called the XT6400”

    Internet: “that name is stupid! Your brand sucks. This name doesn’t roll off the tongue. I’m never buying your cars…ARRGGHH”

    • Merc1

      Yep because unlike Cadillac, Mercedes isn’t struggling to stay alive. It’s still a dumb move by Cadillac and GM.

      The Mercedes system actually makes more sense vs newton metres which most Americans have no clue about.


      • MayTheBestCarWin05

        Cadillac trying to stay alive? No. Trying to stay relevant? Yes.

        Lastly. If a name is stupid. A name is stupid. Doesn’t matter what brand. Or how successful or unsuccessful a brand is. A stupid name is a stupid name.

        • Merc1

          Oh you’re right, GM is trying to stay alive.


          • MayTheBestCarWin05


  • Stephen G

    It’s become abundantly clear that nobody cares what a car is named, especially if it’s numerical. They’re changed constantly. Certainly 98% of the population isn’t going to decode them for sure. They mean nothing.

  • Enter Ranting

    Move from Michigan to SOHO in New York, and back again.

  • Enter Ranting

    Great. Now that that’s settled, how about some vehicles someone cares about?

  • botornot387

    Cadillac to Audi on their naming scheme… Hold my beer!

  • TheAmerican2point0

    Because names are better than numbers

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