2020 Cadillac CT4: GM's Gateway to Entry Level Luxury

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
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2020 cadillac ct4 gm s gateway to entry level luxury

With the reveal of the CT5 out of the way, Cadillac has been working on getting the CT4 ready for the limelight. Debuting the whole fleet today, General Motors’ replacement for the Caddy ATS doesn’t seem too bad on paper. Unlike many luxury models positioned at the entry level, CT4 comes with rear-wheel drive and a minimum of 237 horsepower. It’s also a sedan ⁠— proving that Cadillac has yet to give up on car sales. While we’ve no idea if that’s prudent in a crossover-crazed society, it’s worth applauding.

CT4s will be separated into Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Sport trims with the CT4-V serving as a mid-grade performance option. Meanwhile, Blackwing variants will replace the V-Series as Cadillac’s top performance line.

As previously indicated, all models come with rear-drive as standard. However, GM said all-wheel drive will be available across the lineup. Similarly standard is the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, producing 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, and eight-speed automatic. As with the CT5, models equipped with the powertrain will be graced with the 350T badge ⁠— which Cadillac said denotes the vehicle’s torque in “Newton metres.” The last time I heard someone talking about torque in Nm, they had a German accent. Obviously, this isn’t worth dwelling upon but I’m not certainly going to let that stop me since I’ve often accused the brand of copying Deutschland to a fault. Fortunately, this and the car’s gigantic turning circle (37.1 ft RWD/38.0 ft AWD) were the only things that furrowed my brow that didn’t involve connectivity. More on that later.

Optional for Premium Luxury, and standard on the CT4-V, is Cadillac’s 2.7-liter inline-four with a 10-speed automatic. Customers can expect 309 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque inside the former and 325 hp with 380 lb-ft in the latter. Active Fuel Management, automatic stop/start, and a sliding camshaft are supposed to maximize efficiency in both of the 4-cylinder engines.

Dimensions are roughly comparable to the ATS. Overall length is 187.2 inches, making it a smidgen longer than its predecessor. But it’s not as wide (77.7 inches with the mirrors) or as tall (56 inches). While not as broad the ATS, CT4 offers a bit more personal space in every direction. Head and leg room don’t change much but there’s actually a marked improvement in shoulder and hip room, even in the rear. Curb weight is roughly 3,500 lb — with the RWD Luxury trim coming in at 3,461 pounds and RWD V-Series hitting 3,616.

Cadillac is promising an “exhilarating driving experience” regardless of which CT4 you choose. MacPherson-type struts in the front, Five-link independent in the back. V-Series cars upgrade by adding Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 and a mechanical limited-slip differential (RWD only). Luxury and Premium Luxury trims get 11.8-inch front rotors, while the Sport and CT4-V trims have 12.6 inchers and Brembo six-piston front calipers. Everybody gets 12.4-inch rotors in the back.

Tech is a big part of the CT4 experience. Obviously, driving modes abound — with the Caddy offering Tour (normal), Sport, Snow, and Track. All are said to tweak the vehicle’s steering and brake feel, shift points, suspension settings, and “sound character.” There’s also a personalized My mode, letting you tailor each characteristic for yourself, and a V-button for badasses who purchased the CT4-V.

Standard equipment across the lineup includes keyless entry and push-button start, dual-zone climate control, 8-inch central display, LED interior lighting, premium audio, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and high-definition rearview camera. The Premium Luxury trim adds leather-trimmed seating, 18-inch wheels, universal remote, and a bunch of safety tech.

CT4 Sport makes the exterior look a bit more menacing by adding some dark bits, body-matching door handles, unique taillamp lenses, and a rear spoiler. A fatter steering wheel with magnesium shift paddles, some alloy pedals, and bolstered seating completes the package. CT4-V puts some carbon fiber on the grille, spruces up the exhaust, and puts V badges just about everywhere there’s room. You also get wireless charging and a Bose audio system.

Ironically, Cadillac is also proudly touted implementing GM’s new digital vehicle platform would allow for “continuous vehicle improvements through over-the-air updates and enhanced cybersecurity measures.” But anyone who’s ever used the internet knows the only surefire way to avoid malware is to simply stay offline. I think always-on internet has little business being in a car but GM promises it will be totally cool and safe. Super Cruise is supposed to become available in 2020.

The automaker seems to think that’s the kind of stuff younger buyers want, as it outright said the CT4 was specifically designed to appeal to “a new generation of sport-luxury customers.” Maybe they do but it would have been nice to see the model focus a bit more on the fundamentals and less on snazzy digital stuff. We’ll have to wait to see what it’s like from behind the wheel before passing judgement. But this feels kind of like the ATS… just with more computers.

Cadillac plans to start taking orders for CT4 later this year. While that’s probably going to be relatively soon, expect a handful of updates between now and then — as there are still a few stones left unturned.

[Images: General Motors]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

Consumer advocate tracking industry trends, regulation, and the bitter-sweet nature of modern automotive tech. Research focused and gut driven.

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  • DweezilSFV DweezilSFV on Sep 13, 2019

    Looks like a first gen Cruze. Ridiculous super size styrofoam console eating up space inside. Over and out in three years

  • Drew Cadillac Drew Cadillac on Sep 19, 2019

    The exterior looks pretty good, but this car is tiny and should in no way be called a "Cadillac". I thought that Cadillac had learned its lesson regarding tiny cars when they presented the Cimarron in the early 1980's. For some reason there's a belief that Cadillac has to offer "entry level" vehicles. As if someone is going to buy a Cadillac as their first car and then stick with the brand for the rest of their life. If that theory were valid, then Cadillac should offer tricycles for kiddies. Or maybe even baby strollers. After all - customer for life! The reality is that Cadillac has rightly meant the top of the line car, for people who frankly have a lot of money to spend. It meant a very roomy car, plush ride, first class interior, with all the bells and whistles (i.e. latest electronic gadgets). When you rode in a Cadillac, you were experiencing something different and great, that you'd aspire to own yourself, if/when you too had the big bucks. Instead of sticking with a very successful plan, Cadillac decided that their path should change to being an imitator of BMW, but at a cheaper price. So if BMW gives the public cramped, hard-riding cars, then so will Cadillac. If BMW sells cheap entry level cars, then so will Cadillac. One problem of following BMW is that by the time Cadillac has copied an existing BMW product and brought it to market, it's 5 years or so behind that product, due to development and production time. The other glaring problem is that if the public wants to buy a BMW, they'll buy a BMW, not a car that screams "BMW wannabe for the budget minded". If GM wants to sell cramped, hard-riding, cheap little cars - they should do so under that Chevrolet name. By putting this mediocrity on the market under the Cadillac name, people will think "Oh I've been in a Cadillac, it's nothing special". Yet, they really will not have experienced what Cadillac is supposed to be, or at least what it was back when it was the leading luxury brand in the US market. IF Cadillac is going to make a dimensionally small-ish car, it should still be very roomy for driver and all passengers. How can this be accomplished? Really the only way would be to make it a two seater. But that would take original thinking, something clearly lacking at GM, especially Cadillac. I'm sure if someone suggested making this a 2 seat only, "personal luxury" car, someone at GM would say "but but but BMW makes a small 4 passenger car, they don't make a small 2 passenger car". Which is exactly the point. Let the other brands cheapen themselves for "entry level" while Cadillac retains actual luxury standards. Cadillac should stand out in the luxury field, as a pioneer of its own course, rather than being a meek follower of others. It's so sad to see the decline of this once-great brand, run into the ground by unworthy idiots who don't have a clue about what Cadillac means or should be. Or frankly how to be a profitable brand, since this is actually a business, not a plaything.

  • Carsofchaos Bike lanes are in use what maybe 10 to 12 hours a day? The other periods of the day they aren't in use whatsoever. A bike can carry one person and a vehicle can carry multiple people. It's very simple math to figure out that a bike lane in no way shape or form will handle more people than cars will.The bigger issue is double parked delivery vehicles. They are often double parked and taking up lanes because there are cars parked on the curb. You combine that with a bike lane and pedestrians Crossing wherever they feel like it and it's a recipe for disaster. I think if we could just go back to two lanes of traffic things would flow much better. I started coming to the city in 2003 before a lot of these bike lanes were implemented and the traffic is definitely much worse now than it was back then. Sadly at this point I don't really think there is a solution but I can guarantee that congestion pricing will not fix this problem.
  • Charles When I lived in Los Angeles I saw a 9-5 a few times and instanly admired the sweeping low slug aerodynamic jet tech influenced lines and all that beautiful glass. The car was very different from what I expected from a Saab even though the 900 Turbo was nice. A casual lady friend had a Saab Sonnet, never drove or rode in it but nonetheless chilled my enthusiasm and I eventually forgot about Saabs. In the following years I have had seven Mercedes's, three or four Jaguars even two Daimlers both the 250 V-8 and the massive and powerful Majestic Major. Daily drivers of a brand new 300ZX 2+2 and Lincolns, plus a few diesel trucks. Having moved to my big farm in central New York, trucks and SUV's are the standard, even though I have a Mercedes S500 in one of my barns. Due to circumstances with my Ford Explorer and needing a second driver I found the 2006 9-5 locally. Very little surface rust, none undercarriage, original owner, garage kept, wife driver and all the original literature and a ton of paid receipts and history. The car just turned 200,000 miles and I love it. Feels new like I'm back in my Nissan 300ZX with a lot more European class and ready power with the awesome turbo. So fun to drive, the smooth power and torque is incredible! Great price paid to justify going through the car and giving her everything she needs, i.e., new tires, battery, all shocks, struts, control arms, timing chain and rust removable to come, plus more. The problem now is I want to restore it and likely put it in my concrete barn and only drive in good weather. As to the writer, Alex Dykes, I take great exception calling the 9-5 Saab "ugly," finding myself looking back at her beauty and uniqueness. Moreover, I get new looks from others not quite recognizing, like the days out west with my more expensive European cars. There are Saabs eclipsing 300K rourinely and one at a million miles and I believe one car with 500K on the original engine. So clearly, this is a keeper, in love already with my SportCombi. I want to be in that elite club.
  • Marky S. I own the same C.C. XSE Hybrid AWD as in this article, but in Barcelona Red with the black roof. I love my car for its size, packaging, and the fact that it offers both AWD and Hybrid technology together. Visibility is impressive, as is its small turning circle. I consider the C.C. more of a "station wagon" by proportion, rather than an “SUV.” It is fun to drive, with zippy response and perky pick-up. It is a pleasant car to drive and ride in. It is not trying to be a “Butch Off-Roader”, or a cosseting “Luxury Cruiser.” Those are not its goals or purpose. The Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD is a wonderful All-Purpose Car (O.K. – “SUV” if you must hear me say it!) with a combination of all the features it has at a reasonable price.
  • Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.