By on January 31, 2022

Bradley Iger/TTAC

2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing Fast Facts

3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (472 horsepower @ 5,750 RPM, 445 lb-ft @ 3,500-5,000 RPM)

Six-speed manual transmission, rear-wheel drive

15 city / 23 highway / 18 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

15.2 city / 10.2 highway / 13.0 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $58,995 (U.S) / $65,948 (Canada)

As Tested: $70,235 (U.S.) / $75,083 (Canada)

Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States and $2,300 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

The deck was stacked against the CT4-V Blackwing long before it rolled into my driveway. My seat time in Cadillac’s latest compact sports sedan came after not only a stint in the unfortunately-styled-but-otherwise-very-good G80 BMW M3 but also the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, the latter of which is arguably the greatest sports sedan that’s ever been produced. Yes, the CT5 occupies a different space (and price point) in the market, but these two cars are so similarly styled, it’s easy to mistake one for the other at a glance.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that they’re both built on a modified version of GM’s Alpha architecture, a platform that also underpins the sixth-generation Camaro. That certainly bodes well for the CT4-V Blackwing from a dynamics standpoint, but in the end, that commonality is a sword that cuts both ways.

Don’t get me wrong – the smaller Blackwing does a lot of things right, and it also does several important things better than the M3 does while undercutting it by more than 10 grand. The CT4-V Blackwing is a legitimately great car to drive. The problem is that it doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

Bradley Iger/TTAC

Since the Blackwing moniker now represents Cadillac’s top-tier performance offerings (but not the engine that they’re motivated by), the CT4-V Blackwing boasts an array of go-fast hardware. Aero bits like the front splitter, fender vents, rock extensions, and rear spoiler are on hand to channel the air properly, while black accents and unique mesh grilles add to the visual drama. Look past the updated bodywork, though, and it’s clear that the CT4-V Blackwing essentially picks up where the ATS-V left off.

Under the hood is an all-aluminum 3.6-liter direct-injected, twin-turbocharged, 24-valve dual-overhead-cam V6. The power plant largely carries over from the ATS-V, but revisions to the air intake and engine calibration have allowed Cadillac engineers to wring another eight ponies out of it for a total of 472 horsepower. Peak torque remains unchanged at 445 lb-ft.

Bradley Iger/TTAC

The standard-issue gearbox is a six-speed manual with trick features like no-lift upshifts and auto rev-matching, but those who’d prefer not to row their own can spring for the optional 10-speed automatic. Either way, the power is sent rearward and channeled through an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. The combination is said to be good for a 0-60 mph sprint in 3.8 seconds with the automatic or four seconds flat with the six-speed, and the CT4-V Blackwing will keep pulling all the way to 189 mph.

When the time comes to rein in the speed the CT4-V Blackwing is outfitted with six-piston Brembo calipers and 14.96-inch rotors at the front, while four-piston units and 13.4-inch discs are equipped at the rear. Eighteen-inch forged wheels come wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires that were developed specifically for this car.

There’s also the requisite stiffer spring rates and bushings, beefed-up sway bars, and additional bracing to improve structural rigidity, but the big news on the chassis front is the adaptive dampers. Like the CT5-V Blackwing, fourth-generation Magnetic Ride Control shocks are part of the deal with the CT4-V Blacking, and Cadillac says they’re not only capable of adjusting to changing road conditions four times faster than the previous generation, they also pull in more accurate information, which in turn benefits both ride quality and high-performance stability.

Bradley Iger/TTAC

The cabin doesn’t stray far from the CT4-V’s playbook, but the 18-way adjustable sport seats up front and a unique leather-wrapped steering wheel with a V-Mode button and a Performance Traction Management switch cover the most important bases, while a customizable 12-inch digital gauge cluster with Blackwing-specific graphics adds to the sport-luxury vibe. An 8-inch center touchscreen display with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android auto handles infotainment duties, and a 14-speaker AKG audio system kicks out the jams.

Tooling around town on LA’s far-less-than-perfect tarmac, the CT4-V Blackwing delivers ride quality that’s flat-out superior to the BMW M3 – or anything else in this segment, for that matter. It manages to keep body motions in check while remaining surprisingly compliant in Tour driving mode, and paired up with a shifter that’s far more satisfying to use than the BMW’s rubbery six-speed, the CT4-V Blackwing is engaging to drive even under totally mundane circumstances.

Bradley Iger/TTAC

Bradley Iger/TTAC

But as has become modern Cadillac tradition, the interior just isn’t on par with the best that Europe has to offer. The sport seats are a highlight – comfortable when you need them to be yet bolstered aggressively enough for more spirited work – but other elements like the cheap-feeling switchgear and infotainment system serve as constant reminders of GM’s cost-cutting efforts. The latter wins some points back for fast input response and just, you know, not being the abysmal Cue system used in the ATS-V, but it’s just a bit low-rent when compared to the systems used in the CT4-V Blackwing’s closest rivals.

The Caddy wins some points back out in the canyons thanks to its excellent chassis and well-tuned steering. Combined with the MRC magic in the Sport and Track drive modes and a brake system with linear response and tons of stopping power on tap, the CT4-V Blackwing is easy to get acclimated to and generally tough to unsettle regardless of what PTM setting you’re using.

Bradley Iger/TTAC

But the canyons also highlight a missed opportunity. While the V6 has an excellent response for a turbocharged mill and plenty of mid-range shove, it feels like it’s at a significant deficit to the base M3’s likely-underrated 473 hp inline-six. Perhaps more importantly, with its relatively low 6,500 RPM redline and generally uninspiring soundtrack regardless of how the active exhaust attenuates it, this engine just doesn’t feel particularly special. Considering the fact that this platform was designed to accept a V8 from the get-go, it’s hard not to wonder what a game-changer the LT1 (or LT2, for that matter) could have been in this application.

Wishful thinking, I know. In fact, Cadillac says that this car and the CT5-V Blackwing will be the last Blackwing models powered by any sort of internal combustion, so things aren’t exactly trending in the direction of big, naturally aspirated V8s.

Fortunately, the CT4-V Blackwing has other charms to offer, and on the whole, it’s a much stronger effort than its predecessor.

What’s New For 2022

The CT4-V Blackwing is ostensibly the successor to the ATS-V. Along with its twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 engine, the Blackwing scores a six-speed manual gearbox with auto rev-matching and no-lift upshifting as standard, but a 10-speed automatic with paddle shifters is optional. The Blackwing includes an array of performance-focused chassis hardware that goes above and beyond what you’ll find in the standard CT4-V, along with exterior aerodynamic and aesthetic upgrades. Bespoke sport seats and a unique leather-wrapped steering wheel with a V-Mode button and a Performance Traction Management switch are also part of the package.

Who Should Buy The 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing

Enthusiasts that are seeking an M3-like driving experience for less money and without the snout, but don’t mind sacrificing a noticeable amount of luxury and some straight-line performance to get it.

[Images © 2022 Bradley Iger/TTAC]

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33 Comments on “2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing Review: Greatness Adjacent...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    “it’s hard not to wonder what a game-changer the LT1 (or LT2, for that matter) could have been in this application.”

    It is *mystifying* that aside from the Northstar in the STS, modern RWD-based Cadillac cars haven’t used a V8 in anything but the most expensive trims. And even then, sometimes not.

    And, there’s no fuel economy gain to it. This gets an 18 EPA rating (19 with the 10A) and the old CTS V-Sport got 19. A Camaro SS 6MT get 19 (20 with the 10A), a Charger 392 gets 18 and an IS500 gets 20.

    “this engine just doesn’t feel particularly special.”

    Aside from the Quadrifoglio this is a near universal problem with a turbo V6.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Forget it Ajla, its Poletown.

      (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poletown_East,_Detroit)

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      My guess is product segmentation and upsell.

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      @ajla:
      Spot on; plus 10 points.

      2- GM sux. This car/ car line will be an orphan in a year or two. BMW M and 3 series will be around forever. I dont like driving orphans.
      3- GM sux. Cadillac sux worser. I just checked out an Escalade. $85,000. NO BLIND SPOT NOR REAR CROSS TRAFFIC as standard. That speaks to the company’s true thinking about YOU. (you are a pigeon to be fleeced. The dummies ( you ) will figure it out and buy the higher option package)
      4 – Blackwiz will be in the shop more than a Lexus
      5- Blackwiz will wind up in the hands of boy racers and auto supplier execs. After all, if they drove the Lexus they really wanted, it would get keyed.
      6- Blackwiz is a good car say some. As usual, GM gets it right just before then stop production.

      I dont want no Blackwiz.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I think the EPA rating on the Cadillac 4.5/4.9 was 15/24, I observed 15/23 in my 5.0 Townie in 2009. But get ready for 19 with ten, count ’em ten, speed transmission. Do you know what else gets 19 city consistently? Take a guess…

      “It is *mystifying* that aside from the Northstar in the STS, modern RWD-based Cadillac cars haven’t used a V8 in anything but the most expensive trims”

      Not really, they don’t want to sell Cadillacs instead they sell Oldsmobiles. Because what is Buick/Oldsmobile in practice? Semi premium without the full out lux that Cadillac is supposed to provide. So the monster kick ass CTS-V is a Cadillac but you will pony up for it but the volume money is made in 80%-90% of sales in the lesser trims.

    • 0 avatar
      DAC17

      I own a CT4 BW, and I don’t get it. For the 98% of people who are never going to track this car, where does the (apparently not proper) power level become ridiculous? Cadillac clearly felt a need for both a turbo 6 and a SC V8. I can’t see how 472/445 feels less than special (at least to me). We seem to complain about everything these days. If you want “special”, step up to the CT5V BW.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    Why would one buy this car, instead of a Tesla Model 3/Y?

    I just ordered a 3-row Tesla Model Y (I expect to take delivery in July), and I didn’t even consider a Cadillac as an alternative. I’m buying a front-row seat to the future of automotive technology, and Cadillac’s too-little-too-late EVs aren’t even close — and the CT4 is last century’s technology.

    So, why would someone buy Cadillac’s offering here? It’s slower, costs more, and pollutes more than a Tesla.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      It has a manual transmission.
      Also, traditional door handles, UI knobs and gauge layout.
      And Magneride. And better factory tires.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Here’s a tough one, which example will be on the road in ten years? I mean its quite a bout, in this corner its the people who brought you Northstar vs in this corner known uneconomical battery replacement.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “CT4 is last century’s technology.”

      Dude, please. …and batteries are 19th Century technology as is the diesel engine and they all work to some degree. You are not somehow superior for embracing the 1890s-1900s.

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      People who think they’re going to attend track days more than 100 miles away would be my guess.

    • 0 avatar
      aja8888

      I could get it serviced at 10 different locations within a 15 mile radius of my house and not have to make an 800 call and wait 6 days for a call back (maybe longer).

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree

      Well, maybe because they want a different experience. Despite what some people think, Tesla is not the be-all and end-all of modern transportation. Moreover, it seems they sacrifice quite a bit of quality and longevity in their quest to get the best-on-paper specs, which are often difficult to achieve in the first place.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Because Tesla interiors, to be frank, are crap at the price point. Cadillac’s aren’t the best in the business but they are substantially better.

      This particular Cadillac also has better suspension tuning than any Tesla.

      The Tesla powertrain is superior but it’s not the only part of the car.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “The Tesla powertrain is superior but it’s not the only part of the car.”

        Ironically for a very long time GM products had excellent drivetrains but substandard, well everything else. Could Tesla be the new old GM?

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          This is a surprisingly good analogy.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I have much respect for the mfgs whose drivetrain is solid and/or overbuilt even if the rest of the car is phoned in. If an economical million mile Model S becomes possible it might pique my interest.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          “…The Tesla powertrain is superior but it’s not the only part of the car.”

          Ironically for a very long time GM products had excellent drivetrains but substandard, well everything else. Could Tesla be the new old GM?..

          I’ve had this discussion with friends before – seems that it would be far easier for a mainstream maker to figure out Tesla’s secret EV sauce then it would be for Tesla to learn how to properly design and build an auto body.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      @Luke:

      OK, not to bag on your new baby, but here’s a list of my Tesla “ain’t buying one” objections:
      1) Weird styling (no offense, but the Model Y is just plain ugly to me)
      2) Wacky ergonomics (including the yoke steering wheel on the Model S)
      3) The awful “IPad Uber Alles” instrument panel (that alone killed the of a Model 3 for me)
      4) The “FSD” BS, which I think is misleading and will probably prove to be irresponsible
      5) Subpar build quality

      And about 5)…I was at the mall yesterday with my girlfriend, and we went to the Tesla boutique store there. She could really care less about cars, but she noticed the quality issues with the Model 3 right away – the “frunk” hood was misaligned, the paint didn’t look great, and when you closed the doors, it sounded like a can of Spam was rattling around in there. This on a $70,000 car? Nope.

      I guarantee you the CT4 in this test was put together about 100% better than any Tesla. I respect Tesla’s EV tech, and I like the way they drive, but it tells you something when someone who’s not into cars at all notices stuff like this right off the bat.

      The days when they could get away with this kind of nonsense are coming to a close rather quickly. Best of luck with yours, though.

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      3 year old Teslas fail the 3 year TUV inspection at a rate of 11%. (Compulsory in Germany)

      No other car company comes close to being that bad.

      I can walk up to any tesla and find 3 body fit issues.

    • 0 avatar
      roadscholar

      Why? Very simple. I enjoy driving cars that make me feel totally involved with the driving experience. That includes ICE feel and sound, throttle and brake response (without regen), etc. Every electric car I’ve ever driven makes me feel like I’m riding a very fast refrigerator. In other words, totally boring. I really should buy one of these manuals once the dust settles and dealers have some lingering on the lot.

  • avatar
    Kyree

    It’s definitely not a 6.0-liter, as is mentioned in your sidebar. But that would be pretty awesome.

    I’ve not driven this, but it seems to be more of a competitor in the subcompact arena, against the RS 3, AMG CLA 45 and M2. And there, it excels, especially since the first two are transverse-FWD-based and can’t be had with manual transmissions.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    @Bradley,

    Will you also be reviewing Lincoln’s performance sedans?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I really, really, really like this car. Along with big brother CT5. I’d have a hard decision between them in a fictional world where I could blow the entire car budget on a sedan with a smallish back seat. Yes, the CT5 has the crazy engine, but this one’s smaller and lighter and has more than enough power for the street.

  • avatar
    John R

    “Considering the fact that this platform was designed to accept a V8 from the get-go, it’s hard not to wonder what a game-changer the LT1 (or LT2, for that matter) could have been in this application.”

    This has always befuddled me since the ATS-V. I get why you would want to have a product in this space (M3 et al), but you don’t have to chase after them in terms of powertrain when you have a honey of compact NA V8 goodness sitting RIGHT THERE.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Cadillac should have had stuff like the Blackwing CT4 and CT5 a long time ago. These are the kind of cars that were needed to shift Cadillac’s image away from floaty underpowered land barges.

  • avatar
    gtluis

    I don’t comment much but if this swan song and the CTV5 BW is it for Caddy, I’ll gladly take this over any Tesla for driving dynamics alone. You guys can keep your appliances.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Based on the mag-ride on my C7 Z51 I have no doubt around town or in the twisty bits this is going to ride better then an M-car. GM gets some things wrong but mag-ride and PTM are the shinning technology stars.

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    What a ridiculous review, even for this site. Of course it has the requisite “cheap-feeling interior” comment that is a requirement for any GM/Cadillac review by auto journos. The reality is that it is not cheap-feeling, nor does it does have a rubber steering wheel like entry-level BMWs. The switchgear is fine. The infotainment system works as well as any of them. And it is by no means slow. But the biggest flaw is that while dissing the CT4 and praising the BMW the author does not mention price. To even raise the comparison without hard performance numbers to point to is either lazy or idiotic.

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