I know, I know, a blog article comparing the primary chassis we make parts for to one of the greatest drift sedans to come out of Japan, but hear us out. In the world of drifting, where style meets performance, enthusiasts are always on the lookout for the perfect blend of power, precision, and poise.
In post-COVID times, we've seen a strange increase in the cost of our drifting favorites, so people started to jump outside the norm - in the US that is. The Toyota JZX-100, seasoned in Japan, but rather fresh in the US, and the first-generation Cadillac CTS-V have emerged as contenders in the drifting scene, each bringing its unique flair to the table in terms of big body, 4-door sedans. While the CTS-V is still very new to the scene and has always been seen as a drag-focused car with a weak rear differential, stick around and let us explain.
In this blog post, we'll explore the similarities and differences between these two long-wheelbase sedans and delve into why the CTS-V is earning its stripes as the American counterpart to the iconic JZX-100 platform from Toyota.
Design and Aesthetics
The Toyota Chaser JZX-100 is renowned for its sleek and understated design. With its classic four-door sedan layout, it exudes a sense of sophistication while hinting at the performance potential beneath the surface. Not to mention the vast amount of fiberglass options, from bumpers and overfenders, to hoods and wings.
In contrast, the Cadillac CTS-V boasts a more muscular and aggressive stance. Its bold lines and distinctive grille make a powerful statement on the road, giving it a distinct American flavor that sets it apart from the JZX-100. Where the V lacks is the lack of aftermarket support in the aero department. A few OEM wing options and one carbon fiber front lip option are about all they get at the moment, but maybe more will come - we can only hope.
Power and Performance
Under the hood, the JZX-100 typically features a range of inline-six JZ-based engines, known for their smooth power delivery and tuning potential. Drifters often appreciate the chassis balance and handling characteristics that make it a favorite on the track. With 276hp in stock form (turbocharged), the JZX100 platform makes due, but a few extra ponies would certainly help get that big-body sedan moving quicker.
An endless world of turbocharger upgrade options, fuel system upgrades, and more are available and proven for the JZ engines that make a safe bump in power an easy task in these cars - as long as you're starting with a turbo model. Base model JZX100's can be trickier when it comes to upgrading them for power and performance, but some of us like more of a challenge anyway.
The Cadillac CTS-V, on the other hand, packs a potent LS-based V8 engine, delivering raw American muscle. With impressive horsepower figures, the LS platform has become a favorite for many within the drifting community, finding its way into many Japanese and German chassis. So why not start with one that already has the completed swap?
From 2004-2005, the CTS-V was equipped with a 5.7 liter LS6 powerplant mated to a T56 6-speed transmission. Making a healthy 400hp to the crank, the LS6 can get down in stock form. But, might we also mention how easy it is to slide in a big ol' cam for some chop and to get that wheel horsepower number over the 400 mark?
From 2006-2007, the V was updated with a 6.0 liter LS2 engine that made the same power figures as the previous LS6, but featured a Gen-4 bottom end and some updated electronics. While the LS6 cars are naturally a bit cheaper, both are solid contenders for a track platform and ultimately the same car otherwise.
Time for Weigh In's
A statistic that everyone loves to compare when it comes to cars is the weight. So here's how each car breaks down:
2006 Cadillac CTS-V Curb Weight: 3,850 lbs
1996 Toyota Chaser Tourer V Curb Weight: 3,196 lbs
About 650 lbs is a hefty number. However one might find that the Cadillac is stuffed full of extra insulation & electronics, due to it being 10 years newer. We've found that by gutting the unnecessary interior bits, one could get the car down into the 3,200-3,400 lb range, but hey, that's where the big 'ol cam comes into play that we mentioned earlier.
Dropping the interior weight of a JZX would net you a lower weight, likely in the 2,xxx range, simply by going as far as replacing the OEM seats with bucket seats. So that is definitely an advantage that it has, which is where that stock horsepower number may still stack up against a stock CTS-V on track.
Now let's talk wheelbase. Surprisingly, the CTS-V, while having a little less hanging over the rear wheels in terms of trunk space, edges out the JZX chassis in terms of wheelbase.
2006 Cadillac CTS-V Wheelbase: 113.4"
1996 Toyota Chaser Tourer V Wheelbase: 107.5"
Having that longer wheelbase, for both cars, helps make for smoother (sometimes considered lazier) transitions that are less snappy than shorter wheelbase chassis options, but also much more stability at angle.
The Suspension Similarities
Let's talk suspension. The JZX platform has options - a lot of them. From the OG's at SerialNine, to FDF, Wisefab, and many others. JZX owners have a lot to choose from when it comes to adjustable suspension arms, angle kits, and more.
Sporting a double-wishbone front suspension, most aftermarket options, like the angle kit above, give the JZX platform adjustable everything. An upper control arm, lower control arm, separate tension rod, and front-mounted steering rack make up the JZX's front suspension.
And what do you know, the CTS-V also sports a double-wishbone front suspension and front-mounted steering rack! A key difference here would be the lower control arm being one piece, not offering the removable tension rod like on the JZX. At this moment in time, there are unfortunately no adjustable control arms options for the V like there are the JZX, but don't worry, the team here at StanceCo. has something up our sleeve!
When it comes to the rear suspension, there are some differences between the two. As seen above, the JZX features a multilink suspension with a series of arms, most with adjustable options from companies like SerialNine that give more adjustment than you could ever need. The JZX platform features a true coilover in the rear (spring over shock), whereas the CTS-V features a divorced spring and shock configuration.
Whereas a CTS-V features a trailing arm style rear suspension, almost similar to that of an E46 BMW 3-series. In fact, the CTS-V shares the same struggle E46 owners face with the rear suspension toe-ing out under load. Not ideal for drifting, but can be remedied by adding more static toe-in.
There aren't many areas for rear adjustment on the V, but some owners have converted to a true coilover setup to add an adjustable lower arm for additional camber adjustability. Otherwise, toe arms are almost mandatory to give owners quick adjustments on the fly at the track.
Historically, the JZX-100 platform has been a staple in the drifting world, especially in Japan. Its popularity stems from its availability, aftermarket support, and inherent drift-friendly characteristics. Well known for being work horses at Ebisu, the JZX platform is undeniably a fun and reliable sedan that deserves all of the attention it gets.
Recently, the Cadillac CTS-V has been making (small) waves in the drifting scene, surprising many with its adaptability and performance capabilities. It's a tight, but growing group as more enthusiasts venture out from the norm and experiment with the CTS-V for drifting.
In our opinion, it's earning a reputation as the American counterpart to the JZX-100. Not to mention, it is likely one of the cheapest LS-powered manual cars on the market today. One could be had in the low teens and already have the hard part done, installing an LS drivetrain. However, we can't deny that the JZX platform is more popular, just based on the aftermarket options and media attention it receives.
Both cars benefit from a robust aftermarket scene. The JZX-100 has a wide array of aftermarket parts available, allowing owners to fine-tune and customize their vehicles to suit their drifting preferences. Basically if you need it, it's out there and can be at your doorstep with a few clicks. Like we mentioned above, from angle kits, various coilover options, adjustable suspension components, aero bits, and more, the JZX-100 aftermarket is saturated in the best way possible.
The Cadillac CTS-V is gaining traction in the aftermarket drifting community, with performance upgrades becoming more readily available. This growing support contributes to its increasing popularity among drifters looking for an American twist on the drifting experience. However, the LS platform is tried and true and the amount of shared parts with the Chevrolet Corvette of similar years is a benefit to CTS-V owners.
This is where StanceCo. really hit the ground running with producing parts for the platform. We were crazy enough to jump into the V1 chassis and there were plenty of parts that had to be custom-built, so we figured someone else out there had to have needed these parts too!
Sure enough, there was a surprising amount of people waiting for things like dual caliper kits, handbrake mounts, and more to finally take the plunge in drifting their CTS-V.
In the ever-evolving world of drifting, the Toyota Chaser JZX-100 and the Cadillac CTS-V represent a fascinating clash of styles and cultures. While the JZX platform has a rich history and proven drifting pedigree, the CTS-V is rapidly carving its niche as the American alternative with its bold design and formidable performance. We're excited to see where things go for this chassis in the sport of drifting as time goes on and more aftermarket drifting parts are developed.
Whether you lean towards the refined and proven precision of the JZX-100 or the raw power of the drift-newbie CTS-V, one thing is certain – both cars have earned their stripes in the aftermarket world and serve as amazing performance sedans.