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.
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.
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- 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.
- Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.