Left to right, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen, Executive Chief Engineer Dave Leone, Design Director Andrew Smith, and GM Global Product Chief Mark Reuss posed with a 2016 Cadillac CTS-V earlier this month in Detroit. Leone talked with The Motley Fool about the challenges of engineering a high-performance luxury car. Source: General Motors Company.

General Motors(NYSE:GM) Dave Leone has an interesting job. As executive chief engineer for Cadillac at a moment when the old luxury brand is making a big-bucks push for global dominance, he is charged with creating cars that can compete with the latest models from brands such as BMW and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz -- some of the very best cars ever made.

Making the job even tougher is this: His mandate isn't just to "compete," it's to beat the Germans at their own game, as Cadillac chief Johan de Nysschen has said repeatedly. 

Leone's latest efforts have been very well-reviewed: The CTS sedan, introduced for the 2014 model year, is an outstanding car. A high-performance version, the CTS-V, is scheduled to hit the market later this year. With a promised 200 mph top speed, it should excite well-heeled enthusiasts and bring more attention to the Cadillac brand. That's its mission.

But how do you "square the circle" of engineering a no-holds-barred high-performance car that also works as an everyday luxury sedan? We spent a few minutes talking to Leone at last month's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and we asked him that question. Check out this short video to hear what he told us.