By on March 20, 2019

Not giving up on a segment many Americans have already crossed off their shopping list, Cadillac debuted its strategically placed CT5 sedan this week, sparking no shortage of debate as to its aesthetic attributes.

While one man’s opinion holds about as much weight as a feather, this author gives a thumbs-up to the CT5’s Escala-inspired front clip and a hearty thumbs-down for rear flanks that seem to mimic the Nissan Versa sedan — or perhaps a mid-2000s Maxima. It won’t be the only new sedan Caddy unveils this year. Following on the CT5’s heels is a sedan that brings its trunk game to the party.

We’ve known for some time (since the Johan de Nysschen days), that Cadillac’s aging ATS, CTS, and XTS would give way to a brace of new sedans, though a flurry of trademark filings lent doubt to the second model’s name. Wonder no more.

Speaking to Automotive News, Cadillac President Steve Carlisle said the CT4 will be that next vehicle, due for a debut later this year. Carlisle wouldn’t comment on the smaller of the two vehicles beyond that.

Nor would Andrew Smith, the brand’s executive director of global design, who told the publication, simply, “Boring sedans are dead. I think awesome sedans are going to be around for a while.”

One hopes. Still, the CT5 and CT4’s predecessors suffered from declining sales and damaged residuals brought on by excessive incentivization. Perhaps enough purists exist to make this venture worthwhile; time will tell.

Of course, new cars have to hit the streets before appearing on auto show floors, and the rear-drive CT4 has been spied tooling around in a camo cloak. See these spy pics at GM Authority for a taste of what the CT4 offers. Compared to its larger sibling, the CT4 adopts a less coupe-like roofline and a more pronounced trunklid. The two both share a face drawn from 2016’s Escala concept vehicle.

Powertrain configurations remain a mystery. The CT5 carries a standard turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that will most definitely appear in the CT4, with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engine serving as an uplevel upgrade. Both mills put the power down through a 10-speed transmission.

Carlisle’s comments imply we’ll see this vehicle in the flesh at this fall’s L.A. Auto Show.

[Image: General Motors]

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50 Comments on “Cadillac’s Second Sedan Shoe Drops This Year, and It Has a Name...”


  • avatar
    JimZ

    I’m sorry, I thought you said it has a name.

  • avatar

    Watch out Lincoln Cadillac is coming back. If you cannot make cars you are not a real automaker. Ford please do not cancel the MKZ and Continental.

    • 0 avatar
      wooootles

      Still lagging in sales by a 2:1 margin vs Cadillac. At least these upcoming sedans aren’t just shiny versions of a Ford, like the entire Mercury lineup.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      No automaker can survive building cars nobody wants to buy, particularly struggling marks that need volume to justify their existence. It is a shame that sedans are no longer the main course in the automotive landscape, or even on the menu for most, but I think we can all understand and forgive given the marketplace. This is just one of many changes that the market demands. Wagons, manual transmissions, bench seats, cassette players, column shifters, etc, etc. Businesses cannot fight the consumer on trends.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      ” Ford please do not cancel the MKZ and Continental.”

      either buy one or shut up.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        Up in the Northeast, I see a lot more current MKZs than CTSs. Not sure why. The MKZ is another Ford tragedy of letting a good platform (Fusion) die on the vine. It is in need of a revamp, to be sure. Now that won’t happen and, I predict, it will soldier on because there is some market for it.

        Our MKZ has turned out to be a better car than I expected. With the right options (non-turbo big motor, AWD to cuire the awful Ford FWD torque steer), it’s a better sports sedan than the CTS it replaced. Cool options like the massaging seats and the glass roof separate it from the crowd.

        This new Cadillac, like the XT-6, has abandoned the edgy styling that made the last-gen CTS stand out. Meh is all I can say…

  • avatar
    Rocket

    A CT4 in the current crossover-crazy climate is a mistake. With lower investment costs, they’d pick up nearly as many additional sales with a CT5 wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      wooootles

      They already have XT4/XT5/XT6 though? They’re as boring as they’re gonna get but the non-enthusiasts will probably eat them up.

      • 0 avatar
        Rocket

        Exactly … the non-enthusiasts. Enthusiasts need to haul stuff, too. Joe/Jane Enthusiast won’t be buying an XT4, and he/she can’t buy a CT4 or CT5.

        • 0 avatar
          wooootles

          Who are you kidding, the enthusiasts will have a white, midsize 2WD work truck with vinyl seats and manual transmission if they wanted to haul stuff. At least that’s what the internet told me.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Wrong. I had a CTS wagon and it was like being the only immigrant from a microscopic country. The SRX outnumbered it, at least, 20-1. When my CTS was in for service, I had an SRX loaner and the difference in functionality was substantial. The maximum height of a box that could be carries in the CTS was 19 inches and almost 28 in the SRX. That’s the reality of CUV popularity, unlike wagons with vestigial cargo areas and sedans with mailslot trunk openings, you can actually get real-world stuff in a CUV. People like that.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I don’t see any reason to use a dual-prong approach in this segment for Cadillac. CT5 and CT6 would be plenty.

    Giving the ATS a new hat and a different alphabet-soup name isn’t going to result in success.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Yeah, I thought the whole point of the CT5 was to consolidate the ATS/CTS lines because the dual-prong approach was a failure. Now they’re bringing out a smaller version?

      I have a feeling this has more to do with having a lower-cost vehicle to sell in China.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      The CT5 and CT4 are supposed to be smaller than the CTS and ATS than they replace.

      People actually want smaller cars?

  • avatar
    Robbie

    Cadillac in 2020! Why oh why?

  • avatar
    jack4x

    With the seeming demise of the 3.6L I could see this being 4 cylinder only. Another nail in the coffin.

    Even the Cimarron had an optional V6

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Nothing in this class is turbo-4 only. They might do it Alfa style though and put a V6 behind mega-bucks paywall.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Is there a GM V6 that would be worth a “mega-bucks paywall” The Alfa V6 has the Ferrari DNA (and glorious sound) that makes it worthwhile. Not sure on a Cadillac.

        • 0 avatar
          wooootles

          @Art Vandelay the CT6’s 404 hp 3.0TT can be on a V-sport version, just like the 380hp 3.0TT on the M340i, the 385hp 3.0TT on the C43 AMG… the 3.0TT on the S4… yeah looks like the segment hall all of these performance-lite trims on their 6cyl models

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          None of the mainstream midsizers were turbo 4 only and now they almost all are. Someone has to “dare greatly” and be first.

          I could see there possibly being a V-sport or V-series with the 3.0TT later on, but it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if this launched as 4 cylinder only.

  • avatar
    MrMem0ry

    This seems like yet another strategic blunder. Why does Cadillac think that they need to produce a small car? We all remember the Cimmarron, yet they don’t seem to: it was a failure! Cadillac should stick to what people associate it with: a substantial car with presence, sculpted just enough, comfortable with competent handling and good performance. No one is going to track one of these, so who’s kidding who?

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      You meant to say “We all remember the ATS, yet they don’t seem to; it was a failure!”

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Gazis

        Scott2

        In its 6 years on the market ~ 150,000 ATSes were sold in the U.S. Most in its first few years. The ATS-L has also been one of Cadillac’s best selling models in China in that time. GM recouped it’s R&D costs a long time ago
        Iit also did very well in most comparison tests, and resale value is very comparable to its German competitors.

        How is it a failure?

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Gazis

        Scott2

        In its 6 years on the market ~ 150,000 ATSes were sold in the U.S. Most in its first few years. The ATS-L has also been one of Cadillac’s best selling models in China in that time. GM recouped it’s R&D costs a long time ago
        Iit also did very well in most comparison tests, and resale value is very comparable to its German competitors.

        How is it a failure?

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Solid assessment. I like the front but honestly it looks like Cadillac stuck it onto some stillborn Saturn that never came to market when the division bit the dust. It will sell in the dozens.

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    Clinging to faint hope that the CT4 does not have the side profile and rear quarter window treatment inspired by the 2011 Chrysler 200 that the CT5 was burdened with.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      When I first saw this the other day I thought of the last Chrysler 200 with more greenhouse. The rear slope makes it look like a sport hatch. The ATS, CTS and CT6 are far better looking and you can see the Cadillac heritage in the styling.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    as many others here mention, DLO uber-fail.

    Literally 99.9% of normie buyers won’t know what I’m talking about. But if Cadillac can’t care/spend the extra money to get the little things right (DLO), I don’t trust it to get the big things right.

    I want Cadillac to succeed, but this Charlie Brown is going to try kicking other footballs.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    “Boring sedans are dead. I think awesome sedans are going to be around for a while.”

    So now we know. Expressive C-pillars, lower door flares and extroverted rocker panels are going to save the segment.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      They will be around for a while… gathering dust on Cadillac dealers’ lots.

      And wasn’t this thing going to have a name?

      They could call it after what it looks like – a modern version of what was for a little while a game-changing bestseller – and name it the Cadillac Citation.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    The C-Pillar on the CT5 is terribly cheap looking.

    Audi does it better on the A5 and A7, and even Honda looks more premium with the Accord. BMW messed with the Hofmeister kink on the new 3-Series but not like this. Hopefully, the CT4 is more graceful.

    Related to this issue, are the CT4 and CT5 the same platform with a different greenhouse like the A4/A5 and A6/A7?

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Even more reputation destroying cars for Caddy.

    I’m sure those 2.0T badges beside the Caddy emblem won’t further marginalize the brand to irrelevance.
    /s

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      Remember, they won’t say 2.0T anymore, they will say ‘400’

      Shut it down.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        2.0T it’s the equivalent to plastic hub caps, automakers even post it on the back of their vehicles to embarrass consumers into moving up to 3+L engines.

        No wonder Cadillac has to go by Newton-Meters, it’s already embarrassing enough to say your division budget is so small you have install 4 cylinders into your supposed American luxury car.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Trash these guys as much as you want, but at the end of they day, it’s not an all-CUV, all the time brand. Thank God for that.

  • avatar
    phila_DLJ

    Already missing the Cruze’s EPIC DLO FAIL? Now you can get it at a much higher sticker price!

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Weak sauce. There’s been some recent Caddys I kind of like, but when I think of actually buying one, I think first of the typical GM dealer experience and just walk away from the idea (worked in a GM store for 15-years).

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    Has Cadillac released a rear three quarters view of the CT5 yet? The article on 3/18 did not show one.

  • avatar
    theoldguard

    I am sad to see the ATS fail. I thought it was one of the best handling cars I have ever driven. I was formed by print, by the Car & Driver of the 70’s and 80’s. Then, handling prowess was the sine qua non. Little else mattered.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I don’t think the handling was ever an issue, or something that anyone in particular asked for. We did ask that GM fix some of the many other issues with the car. Rear seat room was cured by the -L version sold in China, but not brought here. And that gauge cluster that people complained about from day one? GM never fixed it. The first impression on sitting in the car is that Buick had some leftover gauges from the Roadmaster, and now they’re in a Cadillac.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    C’mon , who’s buying Cadillacs these days? The mojo that powered Cadillac had drained away over a decade ago. Their base buyers all died off and their attempt to bring in a slew of new customers hasn’t amounted to more than a trickle. Who can make a creditable argument that shows Cadillac is relevant today? It’s a failure that GM refuses to accept.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Actually, the ATS and CTS (aside from suffering from cramped and cheap-ish interiors) didn’t really suffer from “excessive incentivization.”

    Part of the issue that RenCen had w/ JdN was that he kept a tight lid on subsidizing leases and other forms of incentives.

  • avatar
    outback_ute

    It might have worked if they could convincingly work in a reference to the fastback Sedanettes of the late 40s. I’m not sure how that would translate into a modern car, but perhaps they could taper the roof and reduce the back seat to two seats only to suit?

  • avatar
    nick0264

    Nothing like a big chunk of plastic to fill the designers’ willful C-pillar gesture. It’s evident that GM operates in a complete vacuum.


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