We always pay close attention to the new product announcements from other General Motors vehicles, and in particular, we have a keen interest in some of the performance equipment rumored for the just-announced Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing performance sedans.
One of the weight-saving items the Cadillac team was considering to offer on both cars are magnesium alloy wheels which are lighter and stronger than traditional aluminum wheels, and they have the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any other metal.
Cadillac had been testing the magnesium wheels on both its models as an upgrade to the forged aluminum wheels that will come standard on the performance sedans. However, just before the Blackwing’s reveal, Cadillac postponed the magnesium wheel upgrade for the 2022 model year with 2023 being the soonest they might appear.
While mostly found exclusively on race cars, “mag wheels” can be found on various performance vehicles that include Porsche’s GT3RS where they can cost up to $20,000 for the set.
It’s been rumored that the C8 Corvette Z06 may be getting a set of carbon fiber wheels much like those on the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 track pack. That rumor was bolstered in part due to a set of carbon fiber OEM test/validation wheels made by Carbon Revolution which were spotted for sale on eBay last February with GM part numbers.
When asked by Car and Driver why Cadillac as testing magnesium wheels vs carbon fiber, they responded with “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.”
GM offered magnesium wheels previously on the Corvette, with the lightweight mags appearing on the C5 Corvette from 1998-2004. Made by Speedline in Italy, the C5 wheels were pricey at first with the N73 option costing $3,000 in 1998. However, by 2004, they were just $995 for the set. A total of 8,645 Corvettes were equipped with the N73 option representing just 3.6% of all 1998-2004 C5s.
The Corvette team has been hiding the C8 Z06 prototype wheels behind circular covers that are zip-tied to the rims, however, a spy photo obtained exclusively by CorvetteBlogger caught a camouflaged C8 Z06 without its covers last October as the team was testing at Grattan raceway. At this time it’s not known whether the engineering team will opt for the carbon fiber wheels or go with magnesium as a performance upgrade to a standard aluminum alloy wheel.
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