At first, I didn’t like the 2023 Cadillac CT4 V-Series Blackwing. I found it a little too stiff riding and I wasn’t sure the chassis was as well sorted as it should be.
Then I found the space to open it up. Whoo boy.
My initial take faded away as I realized that this is a car that needs to be allowed to play.
As a luxury brand, Cadillac doesn't have the same racing pedigree as other manufacturers that spent a considerable amount of their time at the track during the latter half of the 20th century. But the American brand hasn't ignored motorsports in the subsequent millennia and deserves some real credit for fielding — and winning with — models like the CTS-V.R Coupe (Pirelli World Challenge GT series), ATS-V.R (GT3), and DPi-V.R (Rolex 24 at Daytona, WeatherTech Championship, Michelin Endurance Cup).
Cadillac would like to remind everyone of that fact and has introduced the GTP Hypercar as the keystone of its next attempt to embarrass rival manufacturers on the world racing stage — which will reportedly include the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 2023 CT4-V Blackwing Track Edition, intended for regular customers, is the other part of that equation. To be offered in three flavors, each honoring a different course on the International Motor Sports Associations (IMSA) schedule, the models will exist as a kind of purchasable victory lap.
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.
As much as we like to chide domestic automakers for abandoning traditional cars for the juicier margins of crossover vehicles, they haven’t done away with them entirely. Cadillac even went so far as to introduce Blackwing variants of the CT4-V and the CT5-V in 2021, something many claimed was necessary after the V-Series lost some of its mightiness when the new models arrived. Apparently, General Motors wants its luxury division to keep it up with the Blackwing models while it continues to expand the V-Series lineup.
That’s likely something you won’t hear from passers-by when the Blackwing versions of the Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V sedans appear a year from now.
With the CT6 now dead, this serves as a reminder that the brand’s Blackwing 4.2-liter V8 remains dead and likely futureless, while the name it once bore has now reverted into a lofty trim for Caddy’s remaining sedans.
Emotional response. That’s the end goal of marketing — well, the second-to-end goal, and words and images are what a savvy marketing pro uses to plant that seed in the human brain. Rapidly germinating, the seed quickly grows into a desire to consume. To own. To bolster one’s identity with a product that says something about them, and which makes them feel good in a strange, hard-to-define way.
We’ve all been lured in by slick advertising, product placements, and the like, but products don’t always need a third-party ad agency to boost their image. The manufacturer gets first crack at that.
Which is where naming come in.
Cadillac has pulled the curtain back on its expanded CT4-V and CT5-V sedan lineup, confirming that the brawnier versions of those performance variants will carry a Blackwing designation.
Designed with track days in mind and available with manual transmissions, the CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwings will offer potent power, just not of the Blackwing variety.
As we just covered yesterday, the V-Series application to the Cadillac CT4 and CT5 models will don intermediary performance models, similar to the former V-Sport line. The Blackwing nomenclature will designate top-performing models, redefining what the letter V really means to a Cadillac.
During the reveal of the 2020 CT4-V and CT5-V sedans, General Motors President Mark Reuss said, “Cadillac will make manuals in V-Series.” With four V-Series models across the two sedans, which are the likely candidates to receive three pedals?
With the launch of the new Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V models, enthusiast balked at the mild power outputs and engine configurations. The CT4-V provides 320 horsepower from its 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mill, while the CT5-V’s turbo V6 makes 355 hp. Both figures are significant degradations from the previous ATS-V and CTS-V models, respectively.
Fear not, dear readers. The V-Series moniker has simply moved down-market, effectively replacing the V-Sport line. But this has made room for a new top-tier performance line: Blackwing.
With the 2019 Cadillac CT6-V drawing its power from General Motors’ new 4.2-liter twin-turbo V8, it was only a matter of time before people started wondering where else the “Blackwing” motor might crop up. Thus far, the engine has only appeared in the CT6 sedan — producing an impressive 550 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque.
Future models are likely to include the brand’s Escalade SUV, but the luxury brand wants to put the kibosh on any rumors that the Blackwing will be available under another brand. When asked if the motor would be a cross-brand system by Motor Trend, Cadillac President Steve Carlisle responded with “over my dead body.”
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- Daniel J Until we get a significant charging infrastructure and change times get under 10 minutes, yes
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- Mike What percentage of people who buy plug in hybrids stop charging them daily after a few months? Also, what portion of the phev sales are due to the fact that the incentives made them a cheaper lease than the gas only model? (Im thinking of the wrangler 4xe). I wish there was a way to dig into the numbers deeper.
- CEastwood If it wasn't for the senior property tax freeze in NJ I might complain about this raising my property taxes since most of that tax goes to the schools . I'm not totally against EVs , but since I don't drive huge miles and like to maintain my own vehicles they are not practical especially since I keep a new vehicle long term and nobody has of yet run into the cost of replacing the battery on an EV .
- Aquaticko Problem with PHEV is that, like EVs, they still require a behavioral change over ICE/HEV cars to be worth their expense and abate emissions (whichever is your goal). Studies in the past have shown that a lot of PHEV drivers don't regularly plug-in, meaning they're just less-efficient HEVs.I'm left to wonder how big a battery a regular HEV could have without needing to be a PHEV.