By on January 13, 2022

Bradley Iger/TTAC

2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Fast Facts

6.2-liter supercharged V8 (668 horsepower @ 6,500 RPM, 659 lb-ft @ 3,600 RPM)

Six-speed manual gearbox, rear-wheel drive (10-speed automatic transmission optional)

13 city / 21 highway / 15 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

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

Base Price: $84,990 (U.S) / $87,798 (Canada)

As Tested: $108,115 (U.S.) / $101,348 (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.

Back in 2016, I had plenty of nice things to say about Cadillac’s flagship performance model of the day, the third-generation CTS-V. But while Cadillac’s naming conventions have become much more convoluted over the past six years, on paper the CT5-V Blackwing seems like more of the same: A big, boosted V8 still remains under the hood, and it’s still underpinned by an updated version of GM’s Alpha platform. The interior still isn’t on par with its German rivals, and because it’s still rear-wheel drive, it’s still a few ticks behind its all-wheel-drive competition in the sprint to 60 MPH.

Yet despite these objective facts, the CT5-V Blackwing proves to be a stone-cold revelation. Yes, the re-introduction of the six-speed manual transmission plays a significant role in that, but there’s much more going on here than just the availability of a third pedal. Not only has Cadillac addressed virtually all of the shortcomings that held the CTS-V back from venturing into instant-classic territory, they’ve refined and improved the formula in so many subtle ways that the CT5-V Blackwing feels like a totally different car.

And it’s not just fun on a good back road – it’s a joy to drive even under the most mundane, everyday circumstances. Quite frankly, I think this Caddy might go down in history as the high-water mark for sports sedans powered purely by internal combustion.

To understand exactly what the CT5-V Blackwing is, one must decrypt a bizarre series of corporate decisions that have taken place at Cadillac over the past few years. First off, this car does not get its motivation from the twin-turbocharged, 4.2-liter dual-overhead-cam Blackwing V8 that was found under the hood of the now-out-of-production CT6-V. Despite the fact that it was built from scratch and exclusive to Cadillac, the engine was unceremoniously sent to the boneyard (alongside the CT6-V itself) after less than 1,500 examples were produced in total.

Secondly, while the V models used to be Cadillac’s top-tier performance models and V-Sport models served as the mid-range offerings, the V models are now the midrange offerings while the Blackwing models are now the top dogs despite the fact that none of them actually have Blackwing engines. No amount of mental gymnastics will allow you to arrive at a logical explanation for this strategy, but thankfully there’s a lot to like here anyway.

Bradley Iger/TTAC

Like the CTS-V before it, the CT5-V Blackwing gets its motivation from a modified version of the supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 V8 used in the C7 Corvette Z06 and sixth-generation Camaro ZL1. Here it makes 668 horsepower and 659 pound-feet of torque for gains of 28 hp and 29 lb-ft over its predecessor, but the big news on the powertrain front is what that engine is hooked up to.

GM’s lethargic eight-speed automatic has been tossed out in favor of an honest-to-goodness six-speed manual with automatic rev-matching as the default gearbox. A 10-speed automatic transmission is also optional, and buyers who opt to go that route will score a pair of magnesium shift paddles as well as slightly more urgent acceleration, but this is a situation where rowing your own is more than worth a minor sacrifice to performance. The CT5-V Blackwing’s clutch is perfectly weighted, requiring just right amount of effort to feel substantial but not so much that it gets cumbersome in traffic, and the engagement point is spot-on. Add a shifter with smooth engagement and short throws and you’ve got a drivetrain package that makes the CT5-V Blackwing satisfying to pilot regardless of whether you’re hunting down apexes or just cruising around town.

Bradley Iger/TTAC

Far more subdued than the banshee wail of the twin-screw mounted on top of the Hellcat Hemi, the LT4 offers just a hint of blower whine here and there, and it’s entirely masked by the active exhaust system as soon as the revs start to climb. Off-throttle in its sportier drive mode settings, the quad-tipped system offers up just the right amount of pops and crackles to keep things interesting without being obnoxious. Pin the throttle to the floor and the three-pedal CT5-V Blackwing is capable of hitting 60 MPH in 3.6 seconds, and it’ll keep pulling past 200 MPH if you let it, but the Caddy’s charms aren’t limited to just tire-melting grunt.

Bradley Iger/TTAC

Outfitted with fourth-generation Magnetic Ride Control dampers that process changes in road conditions four times quicker than the previous system, along with stiffer spring rates, unique hollow stabilizer bars, and higher-rate bushings than the standard CT5-V, the CT5-V Blackwing’s ability to manage mid-corner bumps, high-speed undulations, and dance its way around faster corners is flat-out world-class. The Blackwing’s Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber isn’t as aggressive as the ultra-sticky Pirelli Pzero Corsa rubber that you’ll find on a BMW M5 CS, but the Cadillac makes up for it with better steering and more outright poise.

Aiding in that effort here is the optional carbon ceramic brake system, which sports the largest rotors ever bolted up a production Cadillac (15.75 inches up front, 14.6 in the rear). The pedal is reassuringly firm and the response is linear, and that makes it easy to be precise with the stopping power, but it’s also blissfully free of the grabbiness at the top of the pedal’s travel – an issue that’s still common with contemporary carbon ceramic brake systems in normal driving situations. And speaking of normal driving, the Caddy’s ride quality around town is simply unrivaled in the segment, delivering compliance that beats the air suspension of the Mercedes-AMG E63 S while also keeping body motions firmly in check.

Bradley Iger/TTAC

Although the interior is one area where the Europeans remain clearly ahead when it comes to materials and overall quality, the Blackwing’s cabin is still a reasonably pleasant place to spend time. The 18-way adjustable heated and ventilated sport seats strike a great balance between comfort and performance, offering enough lateral bolstering to keep you securely in place when the driving gets interesting without making it a literal pain in the ass to get into and out of the car. And while the 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system doesn’t offer anything exceptional in terms of aesthetics or features, it’s still a huge improvement over the incredibly frustrating Cue system that was used in the CTS-V. Here the input response is quick, it supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and it comes standard with a decent sounding 15-speaker AKG audio system. That satisfies the majority of my personal infotainment demands, but those who’re looking for a wider range of built-in features might find the Cadillac system to be a bit underwhelming.

But anything that the CT5-V Blackwing might be lacking in terms of opulence or cachet it more than makes up for with heaps of supercharged V8 grunt, excellent chassis tuning, and sheer charm. Some of its rivals might be a bit quicker but none of them offer this level of involvement, and considering the fact that Cadillac has already announced that the current Blackwing models will be the last V models motivated by internal combustion, traditionalists would be wise to smoke ‘em while we’ve got ‘em.

Bradley Iger/TTAC

What’s New For 2022

The introduction of the CT5-V Blackwing puts a new apex predator at the top of Cadillac’s performance lineup. Along with its rowdy supercharged V8, the Blackwing scores more performance-focused chassis and suspension tuning, track-ready brakes and cooling, aerodynamic upgrades, and an array of interior and tech upgrades. The CT5-V Blackwing also marks the return of a six-speed manual transmission to Cadillac’s mid-sized sports sedan, but a 10-speed automatic is also available for those who would prefer to let someone else handle the gear changes.

Who Should Buy The 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing

Anyone who’s looking for a track-tuned, rear-wheel-drive sports sedan that’s more well-rounded than a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye and far more engaging to drive than the usual suspects from Europe.

[Images © 2022 Bradley Iger/TTAC]

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47 Comments on “2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Review – That Rare Moment When Everything Clicks...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    My only problem with this car is that I only have two kidneys, and I’d have to sell both to buy it.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Car & Driver thinks it’s amoung the best in the segment.

    https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/comparison-test/a37962857/2021-audi-rs7-vs-2021-bmw-m5-competition-cadillac-ct5-v-blackwing-compared/

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I love the colour. Sweet car. Cadillac finally did something right. Was that by accident? Cue the infinite monkeys theorem. I miss DeadWeight.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Wow! Cadillac finally gets one right.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    Too little too late. This is a car that is too late to party.

    Honestly if I were GM I would have kept CT6 and made this one the smaller offering.

    I am not sure what planet GM operates on. In our country we enjoy large cars. Caddy is known for large cars. So what do GM do? They kill their large car, and offer two smallish vehicles.

    I actually think CTS was even better looking. But hey, I am probably too old school and enjoy softish floaty cars and don’t care for higher performing German autobahn type cars.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      I introduce you to the Cadillac Celestiq EV!

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        If the Celestiq shares ANY of the Lyriq’s styling, it’s going to bomb hard, which I am convinced is what’s set to happen with the Lyriq. That thing’s just awful-looking. And, yes, I know – the Lyriq’s “reservations” are “sold out,” whatever that means. Doesn’t matter. The thing’s ugly, and it’s not going to sell.

        They should slide the Ultium platform under the Escala. THAT would work.

      • 0 avatar
        pmirp1

        Norm the Silverado electric and Hummer electric have me interested. The Equinox electric may serve a purpose. I hope the Blazer electric is a manly SUV like the new Bronco. Those are the electrics I am interested in.

        Those Celstiq stuff must have been designed by committee. It does nothing for me. But like I said I am old school, I watch Caddy Deville and Fleetwood videos of 70s and 80s and 90s for pleasure with chrome and leather everywhere, many don’t find that interesting. so….

  • avatar
    Vae Victis

    “but this is a situation where rowing your own is more than worth a minor sacrifice to performance.” Correction: There is never a situation where rowing your own is more than with a minor sacrifice to performance.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m too poor for this car.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    I think I’m going C8 Z06 over Blackwing for my “peak ICE” purchase but I sure do salute GM for their effort on this car.

  • avatar
    Jeff_M

    Well whaddya know. Thirty years ago Caddys all had automatics and entry levels all had sticks. Now you can hardly buy anything with a stick…but here comes a Caddy with one. Who’d ever have thunk it?

  • avatar
    IH_Fever

    It’s nice! They’ll sell tens of them.

    • 0 avatar
      kosmo

      I believe they sold out in minutes, per Car & Driver?

      • 0 avatar
        pb35

        Just the first 250 reservations are sold out. Caddy is going to build as many as people will buy (and a few more after that). I’ve been on a waitlist since last March but the post 250 units are trickling out very slowly. GM claims supplier issues (chips and carbon fiber) but I’m sure that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

        As good as the car is (so I’m told), GM totally blew this launch in their typical spectacular fashion. Zero communication to the dealers who in turn have zero info to pass on to customers who are patiently waiting. As for me, I’m through waiting and instead going German for the first time since my mkII GTI. GMs gonna GM.

        I had a CTS-V that I sold last summer. I bought it new and negotiated $15k off MSRP. I thought it was worth it at $80k but a Cadillac over $100k? That’s a lot of money for the build quality and service you’ll be receiving. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t awful but my car was at the dealer way more than it should have been.

  • avatar
    cardave5150

    “Cadillac finally gets it right.”

    Based on GM’s history, doesn’t that mean we’re months away from hearing about them discontinuing this car???

  • avatar
    dal20402

    If I were childless, I’d buy one, despite the lack of many opportunities to stretch its legs. They seem that desirable to me.

    As is, I’ll just have to look at the configurator every couple weeks for the next two years and drool.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    If I were childless, I’d buy one, despite the lack of many opportunities to stretch its legs in my area. They seem that desirable to me.

    As is, I’ll just have to look at the configurator every couple weeks for the next two years and drool.

  • avatar
    Opus

    Are those “As Tested” prices reversed?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Looks like a Cruze from the B-pillar on back.

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    Nice car, the CT-5. The Blackwing sure is pricey. I am actually rather surprised that TTAC got one to test. This seems destined to be a very rare unicorn, and a future Barrett-Jackson regular.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Only GM would design a flagship engine for it’s luxury brand, then cancel the new chassis it was supposed to go into, leaving it homeless in all the brand’s cars.

  • avatar

    According to GM authority, this is the worst-selling car in its class. GM gets it right and they still find a way to fail.

  • avatar
    Heino

    The GM that gave me my 1986 Chevy Celebrity Eurosport is doing well.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    No GM product is worth over$100K…. they can keep it!

  • avatar
    cdrmike

    I’m looking for something slower AND that costs an arm and a leg to fuel…..right this way, Sir!

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Must be an amazing car. A bit over the top for me, power-wise, on public roads.

    I’d be all over a CT4-V Blackwing WAGON!

    Peak ICE purchase, indeed.

  • avatar
    SnarkIsMyDefault

    That Rare Moment? I beg to differ. GM has a long history of cars where everything “clicks”, just not in the good way,

  • avatar
    Gregg

    It’s a great driver’s car and an impressive performer. The stick shift is a big bonus. However, why does Cadillac cling to longer overhangs, making the CT5 the size of German midsizers like the BMW 5 and Audi 6, while pricing and interior sizing the car against BMW 3s and 4s, and Audi 4s and 5s? Sure, a lot of people don’t care about efficient packaging. And the Blackwing is in a class of its own. The car is off-putting to me because of the styling detail of the sail panel. Put a window there, or maybe some trim to suggest a floatin roof, or even a clean and unadorned panel. But chrome surrounding black to suggest a window that isn’t actually there? I don’t get it.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    A glowing review of a Cadillac sedan – am I on the right site??

  • avatar
    stuki

    Now GM just needs to fit this into a more relevant package: Strip off two doors, some fripperies, and $30K; and sell it as an ultimate spec Camaro. Then, fit the NA version of the engine into it, strip off another $20K, and sell it as a more available Camaro. Then, we’re starting to get somewhere, as far as relevance to the enthusiast cohorts who could conceivably have some practical use for this kind of power and poise on public roads are concerned.

  • avatar
    Skippity

    Best suspension in the industry.

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