By on March 18, 2019

If you’ve been on the internet lately in any capacity whatsoever, you’ll recognize the term ASMR. Deployed in everything from driving videos to mildly NSFW speaking sessions, the use of autonomous sensory meridian response is designed to trigger a physical response in viewers via sound. Cadillac has chosen to bake this into its reveal of the new 2020 CT5 sedan.

We’ll leave judgement of that decision up to you. We’re here to talk about the car, a machine which – glory of glories – is not another crossover.

This CT5 hews to Cadillac’s new naming convention and is intended to replace both the ATS and CTS. Continuing the brand’s effort to haul drivers out of the likes of an A4 or 3 Series, the CT5 is constructed atop a version of the Alpha platform upon which the old CTS rested. That car turned its wheels in anger when asked, so we hope for the same from this new sedan.

Two engines will be on tap. A turbocharged 2.0-liter will be the standard mill, while a twin-turbo 3.0-liter is offered as an option. No power ratings were given, but these same gas burners make 237 and 404 horsepower, respectively, in the big-brother-with-a-murky-future CT6. Expect similar output in this new car. Both are paired with GM’s 10-speed automatic, and note the naturally aspirated V6 is AWOL.

Cadillac takes care to note the Alpha platform is a RWD/AWD architecture, so expect the CT5 to be a Caddy that zigs using all four of its wheels, at least as an option.

From a design perspective, the CT5 takes its direction from the Escalade show car, at least up front. It trades the running-mascara headlight treatment for a set of horizontal peepers similar to the ones found on the new XT6 crossover. Around the side, stylists have given a unique treatment to the C-pillar, one which is pronounced with chrome trim and muted when murdered out. Comparisons to the current Honda Accord are being bandied about by keyboard warriors, at least for this part of the car.

A pair of trims were shown in official photos, made up of Premium Luxury and Sport varieties. This falls lock-step with the rest of Cadillac’s lineup. No word on a hawt CT5-V model, or even a V-Series trim, but one is sure to appear once noise has died down for these initial trims.

The CT5 will be built at GM’s Lansing Grand River facility, which received an investment of over $200 million to build the next-generation Cadillac sedan. We will have boots on the ground when the CT5 makes its public debut next month at the New York International Auto Show. Those boots will be warned to watch out for suspiciously alluring ASMR sessions.

[Images: General Motors]

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108 Comments on “Listen Closely: Cadillac Reveals New 2020 CT5 Sedan...”


  • avatar
    Unionwolf

    First the XT6 looks like a Pilot, now the XT5 looks like an accord..

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I think its rather handsome.

  • avatar
    jatz

    “That car turned its wheels in anger when asked”

    Cadillac used to mean you were high enough up the food chain to have lesser people do the angry.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    That C-pillar is O-D-D

    That is also one hell of a potential power spread, I’d rather have an option in the 300/300 range of hp v lb ft.

    • 0 avatar
      Hydromatic

      That C-pillar is the mother of all DLO Fails. At first glance, I thought Cadillac done went and Cimarroned itself again by dressing up a Chevy Cruze.

    • 0 avatar
      Blackcloud_9

      C-Pillar treatment on cars usually doesn’t bother me as much as it does some around here – Floating roof-line, anyone? – but you’re right the rear treatment is rather odd. I actually think it looks a little better when accentuated by the chrome in the 4th picture. I also really like that dark-cherry metallic color used on that car. Of which there will probably be a sum total 4 cars built in that shade – including that pre-production model seen here. The rest will be white, off white, silver, light gray, dark gray and black

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Hmmm – that’s a bit of a departure from the standard hard-edged Arts & Science look. More Audi-esque / Accord. It won’t sell very well – CUV 4-evah! – but I like it.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Ye gods that actually looks pretty good. Pity on the drivetrain options.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      How so? I would agree on the 2.0, but a 404 HP 3.0 does not sound too terribly awful to drive..

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The I4 shouldn’t be offered, should have been 3.6 and 3.0T.

        • 0 avatar
          eManual

          Agreed. Anytime I can purchase a car with a “bulletproof” engine such as the 3.6, it perks my interest. I worship at the altar of the GM 3.8L push-rod. No turbos – they have more costly maintenance in airplanes and cars.

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            The LFX and LGX 3.6 engines have been very good from anything I have seen and two dealerships we do business with have said they are very low in warranty work or repairs. I had a 2013 Impala with the 3.6 and it was 100% bullet proof with well over 100K trouble free miles. My buddy had a 2012 Impala with the same engine and 180K miles with zero issues. He now has a 2015 Epsilon Impala with the same 3.6 and well lover 100K that his wife drives with zero issues. My other long time friend that is co-owner of a used dealership gets 3.6 engines in all the time from say 2012 on up and some of these vehicles have come in with well over 200k and run as new.

            The 3.6 engines that had timing chain issues were the older LLT versions in the Enclave, Traverse and Acadia along with the older 3.6 PFI engines in the Malibu’s and W-body Lacrosse. Even then if the proper Dexos oil was used and changed on a proper basis I have seen plenty of these go well over 100K without ever having a timing chain replaced. Others have had issues with bad chains and tensioners with as little as 20K miles so it varies.

        • 0 avatar
          eManual

          Agreed. Anytime I can purchase a car with a “bulletproof” engine such as the 3.6, it perks my interest. I worship at the altar of the GM 3.8L push-rod. No turbos – they have more costly maintenance in airplanes and cars.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            eManual… Get an Impala, XTS, Lacrosse while you still can!

          • 0 avatar
            markmeup

            yep. another one of the reason i love my 300S a rock solid, normally aspirated motor

          • 0 avatar
            mburm201

            Unfortunately the 3.6 has not been bulletproof. They have had frequent and expensive timing chain problems. I would love to get a Lacrosse sometime, but the 3.6 is off my list for now.

    • 0 avatar
      markmeup

      “Pity on the drivetrain options” yes… still hard to swallow on anything that says ‘Cadillac’ on it.

    • 0 avatar
      RedRocket

      Go talk to Mercedes and Audi about their 2.0 turbo engines. An E-class Benz has the 2.0T as standard these days.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    >>A turbocharged 2.0-liter will be the standard mill

    You get a 2-liter. And you get a two-liter! And you…! etc

    I’m surprised some enterprising company doesn’t come up with the 2.0L-G engine, generic for any car maker to use.

  • avatar
    markmeup

    can’t make this go away…

    ‘THIS’ is CETI Alpha 5 !!!

  • avatar
    ajla

    I think it looks good. I didn’t expect to like the rounded roofline, but it has a bit of a late 40s vibe to it.

    Other thoughts:
    0. Using the HT2000 as the base engine would be a travesty. I’m hoping they plan to use a much livelier and more powerful 2.0T over what the CUVs get.
    1. I’m guessing the V6 will be behind a huge paywall. Outside of Infiniti and Genesis that’s pretty much the norm for this class in 2019, but still would be disappointing.
    2. Hopefully there is an off button for the “stop/start”.
    3. I see wood in the interior. So that makes me happy.
    4. Hopefully any “V” version uses a V8. A hybrid or PHEV version wouldn’t hurt either.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Re the 2.0T: potentially the 4-CLY REGAL AWD might be faster than the base Caddy due to using the older higher powered engine.

      Sad that GM released its 2.0T engines in reverse order, declining power generation after generation.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “pretty much the norm for this class in 2019, but still would be disappointing”

      When you brand is far behind and you’re product is not in a class du jour, being pretty much the norm is not recipe for success.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      “Hopefully there is an off button for the ‘stop/start’”

      Brand manager meeting: “Do we have to call it ‘Stop Defeat’?” “Wait is there a button like that in real life?”

      Conversation between longtime Cadillac customer and sales associate during walkaround: “So I press this to stop the car.” “No you press that if you don’t want the car to stop.” “While it’s going? That sounds dangerous.” “No – while it’s stopped – you press that to keep the car going while it’s stopped.” Etc Etc Etc

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Unfortunately, we can write the script before this car ever hits the showroom floor.

    When compared to it’s competition over at the MB, BMW, and Audi lots it will fall short because it says Cadillac on the front. Ultimately finding its way to many rental counters across the U.S. to be bought by the value conscious at a later day 2nd hand for 60% of the original MSRP when it has 29k miles on the odo.

    As usual, GM makes great cars for the diehard pre-owned value buyer.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Up until this Cadillac was always good about incorporating styling cues from Cadillacs past, the knife edge taillights suggested fins etc, but I see nothing like that in this car.

    Oh well, slap a landau top on it and someone will buy it

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    Looks not too bad EXCEPT for that absolutely awful rear door/C-pillar junction. It looks especially bad in Sport form since all the black trim makes you notice the terrible design of the rear door window division even more. But with chrome trim it looks too much like an Infiniti which is never a good thing either. How could GM Design get that so wrong?

    Ignoring the usual voices here, I’m sure the thing will drive wonderfully. I bet the interior will be good as well. But that poke in the eye DLO design that I referenced will really be hard to swallow.

  • avatar

    The design is really very chunky and lacks a sense of elegance. The door handles are much thicker than they should be as well. The only angle that works for me is the picture they took while lying down in front of the grille.

    This doesn’t look like the future, it looks like five years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      It all depends on absolute dimensions. The bigger, the truer your statement becomes. The smaller, the more sharp and stately it will look. I very much like it overall, betting on the dimensions working out well in person.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’d say the front three quarters look good, but man, that c-pillar.

    • 0 avatar
      NG5

      Now that you mention it I see that. The trend of minimizing headlights into tiny slits of LED lights often looks bad, but having big lenses make cars look like they’re from the 90s now. The C pillar brightwork reminds me of a fantasy knife you’d see for sale at a mall kiosk.

      Overall though I think it looks good, though.

  • avatar
    Bobby

    If it still has the cramped back seat of the CTS/ATS- meaning insufficient legroom, low seat cushions giving poor side visibility- then there’s really no ‘Improvement’ over the cars it replaces. Same platform, same great driving dynamics, but basically all 2 seater cars with four doors.

    And that plastic trim piece stuck in the C pillars a la Chrysler 200 circa 2011, it just looks cheap and pointless (which is what it is).

    Plus keeping this dumb new alphanumeric naming scheme even though Johan’s now gone is dispiriting. As others have pointed out “Cadillac CT5” is basically saying “Cadillac” 2x (the “C” stands for Cadillac remember) and IMO the C-T-5 letter/number combo just isn’t pleasing to the ear (neither is “X-T-5,” etc). At least the alphanumerics of the competition usually sound somewhat enticing- “LS460” “G70”.

    Another case of a day late a dollar short isn’t going to cut it- they either got to make homeruns or people keeping buying Benzes and Lexuses.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I’m sure you’ll be able to buy the CT5-L version, if you don’t mind it being imported from China.

    • 0 avatar
      RedRocket

      The “C” in CT5 doesn’t stand for Cadillac, it stands for “car” as opposed to SUV. By your logic the XT5 would be made by Xerox.

      • 0 avatar
        Bobby

        Nope you’re wrong RedRocket. The “C” in CT5 does indeed stand for Cadillac and the “XT” suffix used for crossovers stands for “Crossover Touring.”

        Multiple sources confirm this; here’s one:

        https://www.forbes.com/sites/georgepeterson1/2016/03/07/cadillacs-new-naming-strategy-makes-sense/#2698eafc6dad

  • avatar
    Acd

    Overall it looks like an Infiniti but the rear door window shape reminds me of a Saturn Ion for some reason.

  • avatar

    at first glance Citation came to mind.

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    So I could get the caddy with a juiced 4 banger or for 20 grand less get a new Charger with a sweet V8. Boy that’s a tough one. (the price differential is pure speculation and I’m guessing optimistic.)

  • avatar
    Robbie

    Caddilac will still exist in 2020! But why?

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I would love to know which GM stylist said “let’s take the cheater-DLO-panel motif from the Cruze and Regal Sportback…and apply it to our flagship brand.”

    Among other issues.

    This looks inelegant and likely to be surpassed by the competition in the coming months. The FWD 2019 Lexus ES (which I realize is now a full class-size larger) is more elegant, and by all measures whatever Acura is brewing up with the next TLX looks far more promising.

    I’m gonna call this one a fumble.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Yikes.

    It’s a nissan altima from the side if you draw a line between that chrome blip to the rear window for a floating roof. Blobby taillights and weak roofline like a nissan versa, blobby headlights like that new small hunday genesis thing, and I’m sure the rest of the interior design won’t push any envelopes.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    My first thought is of Mike Stoklaska saying, “oh… oh no.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2Cf-6vKVWg

    That side profile… yuck. It’s like they took a 2004 Maxima and added a kink from the Infiniti q60.

  • avatar
    Raevoxx

    It’s not unattractive, but it isn’t memorable either. Solidly “boring” and doesn’t really say “Cadillac” to me at all. [Non-distinct] vertical lighting be damned. Then there’s that HARD DLO FAIL in the back, and most other things the B&B have probably pointed out by now that don’t bear repeating.

    I will point out the front lighting in particular; looks like it fell many steps backward into the past. Doesn’t look edgy, or modern, or pushing any limits, or “Standard of the World”, or anything. No fancy LED lightwork, no new and novel shapes or design…. just looks like they melted the leftover GTO headlamps to fit the hood, slapped some brackets on the side, and called it “Caddy”.

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    How many ways can Cadillac fail. Its almost impressive how creative theya re at designing cars no one will want, unless the deal is too good to pass up. I gues this looks like some sort of forgetable Nissan, another brand only bought for the deal.
    Cadillac will learn a lesson here they should have on the CT6. No one is buying an otherwise uninspired luxury car because it has tech engineers love, tech with high margin, but tech no one really is asking for.

    Make a car i would want to look at and own. This is an epic fail, ts not even apealing as a chevy. Clasic GM gussy up a car and slap a caddy badge on it, because you know the customers are suckers right.

    Thats before we got into things like cue, rough powerplants, transmssions that dont like to downshift and second guess the driver. Pointlessly hard ride for “handling” instead of well thought out compliance. Stop start you cant disable, the list is endless.

    Why would anyone but the clueless buy this car.,

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Looked great to me until I got past the rear doors…and then it all went wrong. That c-pillar styling is a mess.

  • avatar
    FordMan_48126

    Hmm…that side profile has a lot of Infiniti to it. Not so much the current Q50, but the prior Q35 model….almost uncanny in the side profile are the two.

  • avatar
    iMatt

    Who cares what other cars you can draw styling comparisons to? If you squint hard enough any sedan can look like any other.

    The big news is that Cadillac is still scrapping in the sport/premium sedan segment with a potential legitimate contender. That gives me hope.

    Despite the crap that GM produces, I’d still like to see them do well. More choice through competition is good.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    A reasonably priced 500 HP V-8 variant can cover up a lot of styling sins.

  • avatar
    xtoyota

    AND IT STILL WILL NOT SELL
    What a waste of steel :=(

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    re Buickman

    The Citation was a handsome car! Best looking of the X-cars—all of which are better looking than this CT5.

    This one looks good forward of the B-pillar, and horrible aft of B-pillar.

    The C-pillar is hideous!

    Please don’t sully the Citation

  • avatar
    HelloWorld

    That’s a glorified Opel Insignia sedan.

    Proof: https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Opel_Insignia_Grand_Sport_1.6_Diesel_Business_Innovation_(B)_%E2%80%93_Heckansicht,_5._Mai_2017,_D%C3%BCsseldorf.jpg

    (compare to photos #4 and #5 above)

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    You people are nuts. Most of you are so fixated on the C pillar for crying out loud. It’s one little detail. Get over it. This is a good looking car. Good lord people, all negativity all the time.

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    This seems potentially nice.

    I hope they have learned from the fatally flawed ATS and the squandered opportunities of the recent CTS. If so, this could be a decent success.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    This car looks awkward and stumpy, like someone decided it would be a good idea to ape the BMW GT things. It is also irrelevant in a 2020 reality where Cadillac needs exactly one (big) sedan, and this isn’t it.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    It looks like it will be roomy, but certainly the G70 looks better. I certainly hope this 2.0t is less thrashy than the ATS.It’ll be worth a look if it retained the ATS dynamics.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    Overall I really like it. But as usual with GM there are always some details that put me off. I like the roofline and the front end view from straight on. And I love that the greenhouse, while not 80’s huge, at least doesn’t seem as bunker-like as many cars these days. And what I don’t like, yeah that C pillar. If they had just snuck a small window in it i’d have been ok with it. Even though it’s very Accordish. Another is that black area inside the vertical light elements of the front end. Especially the burgundy car where they have little horizontal fins. Last is from straight on the hip like taper from the hood ridge to the headlights and the headlights themselves, look a little Malibuish to me.

    Edit. Oh and the front end in profile is a bit too blunt.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Absolute power train fail, the old car should never out perform the new car. The V8 CTS is what put people into Cadillac dealerships to begin with. But in an effort to continue their steep descent the 2.0slow is a good move, they’ll finally be able to shutter the brand as they clearly intend on doing.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Well GM is in a race with Hyundai on who can de-tune their 2.0T engines the most. Currently Hyundai is down to 235 and GM is down to 237 on the Cadillac’s and only 230 on the upcoming 2020 GMC Acadia MCE. Nothing like progress!

  • avatar

    There is nothing new in this design. Not bold enough to be a Cadillac. But it is good looking car otherwise if you ignore C pillar and ugly tail lights.

  • avatar

    I thought Cadillac supposed to be GM’s all electric brand.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Weird. It’s almost like they have no clue what they are doing at all.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Well under the current leadership GM is a row boat without oars drifting aimlessly about making fantasyland speeches about zero this and zero that with little substance to back any of it up. Pleasing Wall Street is more important that pleasing customers.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    A Cruzallac. Now we know what those Daewoo designers have been up to since the Cruze was cancelled.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    It is interesting to me that from the second gen cts, ats, 3,Rd gen cts and ct6….I was always completely wowed by how beautiful the caddy sedans were. But there were very much love it or hate it. With Cadillac’s most recent offerings, CT5, XT4,XT6 that wow is gone and in it’s place is something less polarizing, but less interesting.

    I really don’t think this looks like an accord. Looking at side profile, I can forgive the comparison, but front and back no way.

    Probably a wise move to embrace broader appeal, but still can’t help but think this is very muted knowing what Cadillac’s design team is capable of with cars like the Elmirage, Escala, etc. So, maybe a bit disappointed overall.

  • avatar
    07NodnarB

    My eyes do not enjoy the look of the car at all. Ugly. IMO.

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    The new CT5 looks like the current Audi A5 Liftback but the CT5 has a conventional trunk which limits it functional for hauling stuff. Cadillac just seems to be following the Honda Accord in making asportylooking coupe style sedan but could not bring itself to the next level of a lift back aka hatch back car.

  • avatar

    Now that Cadillac has a decent car and engine in the works they take back the domestic luxury vehicle leadership role from Lincoln. Robust sales may come from SUVs, but prestige comes from building world-class touring sedans. Unfortunately, Lincoln does not offer any world-class luxury sport’s sedans. Concentrating on SUVs has not benefited Lincoln since Cadillac still leads in domestic luxury vehicles sales.

  • avatar
    xflowgolf

    Gah. Such DLO FAIL!

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    So Cadillac designers took a Saturn Ion and mated it to a Nissan Versa with some Infinity thrown into the side and called it a day. I say they failed miserably.

  • avatar

    The fact that they decided to cut corners by using that black plastic insert in the C-pillar instead of a real window on their PREMIUM LUXURY BRAND tells me all I need to know. Almost acceptable on a Chevy. Simply inexcusable on a Cadillac.

  • avatar
    David Loving

    A proper Cadillac needs a trunk and fins.


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