- cadillac has revealed that it will offer magnesium wheels on its upcoming blackwing sports sedans.
- the v-series blackwing models are higher-performance versions of the ct4-v and ct5-v.
- these new variants will go on sale in the summer of 2021.
magnesium wheels have been used for decades in professional auto racing, prized for their light weight. cadillac claims that magnesium has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any commonly available metal. but magnesium wheels are virtually unheard of in current production vehicles, though chevrolet offered them as an expensive option on some fifth-generation (c5) corvettes. now cadillac is bringing true mag wheels to the street as an option on its 2022 ct4-v and ct5-v blackwing high-performance models.
from the teaser photo gm released, its new mag wheel won't look very different from the hundreds of aluminum alloy wheel designs currently spinning around on today's vehicles. its one distinguishing feature is a small "mg" logo stamped into the wheel rim, the symbol for the element magnesium.
cadillac says that the new forged mag wheels will reduce unsprung weight—we assume this means in comparison to the car's standard aluminum alloy wheels—though the company hasn’t revealed by how much. cadillac also claims that the lighter wheels and will improve ride-and-handling. they could improve acceleration as well. the laws of physics agree, but it will take driving and testing the mag-equipped cars back-to-back with those on the standard wheels to see exactly how much the dynamics actually improve.
asked why it chose magnesium wheels rather than carbon-fiber rims like those ford fitted to the mustang gt350r, cadillac responded that "magnesium wheels help reduce mass at the center, allowing for more flexibility with the spoke design and better shock/vibration absorbance. in our testing, magnesium alloy wheels produced a better ride quality due to its vibration dampening."
this actually isn't the first time parent company general motors has offered true magnesium wheels on one of its production cars. chevrolet sold magnesium wheels for several years as an option for the fifth-generation (c5) corvette but apparently dropped the expensive and rarely purchased item in 2001.
"nice mags!" is a phrase you heard often in enthusiast circles if you were around in the 1960s. (of course you heard it, ceppos. you were there!—ed.) it referred to "mag wheels," a term derived from the exotic-looking, lightweight magnesium wheels prevalent on post-war racing cars. but it was actually a misnomer; magnesium wheels were virtually never installed on production cars back then; they were expensive, prone to corrosion, and thought to be too fragile to handle the hard impacts and bad weather encountered in street use.
many of the muscle cars prevalent in the sixties were equipped with stylized, stamped-steel wheels that were often chromed and painted. for reasons lost long ago, they were dubbed "mags." there is one type of car, however, on which magnesium wheels have found wide use: the hot rod. rodders long ago appropriated magnesium wheels from race cars—halibrand-style mags used on old sprint cars and indy roadsters from the fifties and sixties have been long-time favorites—for their cool appearance as well as their light weight. today, many of those original designs are recreated in aluminum.
we'll have to wait until these new cadillacs are revealed, likely in spring 2021, before we know if "nice mags!" is a phrase we'll be hearing once again.