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.
Cadillac is upping the ante on the CT4 and CT5 for the 2021 model year. As both cars were introduced last year and the upgrades represent fairly comprehensive changes to both vehicles, this refresh is quite curious. Either General Motors spent the pandemic being more productive than we initially presumed or this is a desperate effort to make these cars more appealing to Americans. U.S. Cadillac sales decreased by 41.4 percent in the second quarter of 2020, so we’re inclined to believe either scenario.
The biggest change the manufacturer would like you to know about the ability to option GM’s Enhanced Super Cruise system. While still limited to divided highways, it technically offers hands-free driving on a limited basis… though that’s technically true of all vehicles with decent wheel alignment. Super Cruise is a bit fancier than that and will offer the ability to changes lanes and is no longer limited to the V-Series trims, starting in 2021.
For its last model year, the Cadillac ATS boasted rear-wheel drive, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and an MSRP of $35,495 plus destination. Two years later, the newest and smallest addition to the Cadillac range keeps the recipe more or less the same, only the starting price of the 2020 CT4 rings in a couple grand lower.
Less power, less price, but perhaps more buyers?
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.
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.
“2.7L Turbo” — that’s General Motors’ preferred description of the large-displacement four-cylinder found in Chevrolet’s 2019 Silverado 1500. When wearing a Cadillac crest, however, the motor generates additional grunt and serves as the main motivator for the new CT4-V, a sportier version of Caddy’s new compact.
The CT4-V (seen above) debuted alongside the hotter version of its midsize sibling, the CT5-V, in an event held in Detroit Thursday night. No, the regular CT4 was not there. After getting over the shock of a V-badged Cadillac with a four-banger mill, guests were confused to learn that there may be additional V-badged versions of these two sedans.
It’s a period of flux for Cadillac’s sedan lineup, one that mirrors the changes occurring across the segment as a whole. Old models are out, and in their place, a range of updated and restyled offerings aim to rekindle America’s love for traditional four-doors.
Fewer restyled offerings, one should note. As nameplates bleed out of the marketplace, Cadillac’s passenger car range will shrink from four models to three next year. We’ve already seen Caddy’s plan for its CTS successor — the Escala-inspired CT5 seen above — but the brand’s second sedan shoe has yet to drop.
You won’t have to wait long for the ATS’ replacement. The CT4 drops the curtain on May 30th, and, as many expected, both it and the CT5 will appear with V-badged performance editions.
Not giving up on a segment many Americans have already crossed off their shopping list, Cadillac debuted its strategically placed CT5 sedan this week, sparking no shortage of debate as to its aesthetic attributes.
While one man’s opinion holds about as much weight as a feather, this author gives a thumbs-up to the CT5’s Escala-inspired front clip and a hearty thumbs-down for rear flanks that seem to mimic the Nissan Versa sedan — or perhaps a mid-2000s Maxima. It won’t be the only new sedan Caddy unveils this year. Following on the CT5’s heels is a sedan that brings its trunk game to the party.
You don’t mess with the Johan.
Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen isn’t known for sitting back and letting armchair analysts pontificate on General Motors’ luxury brand.
In reply to The Detroit Bureau’s August 25th piece about Cadillac’s future product plans — which includes details on Cadillac’s aboutface on a planned flagship sedan — de Nysschen jumped into the comments and set the record straight.