Review: 2022 Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwings Prove American Muscle Is Not Dead Yet
Rip-roaring engines and precision-tuned performance yield some of the most fun you can have with four doors
A while back my daughter likened the engine sound from a big V8 to a dinosaur’s roar. The comparison was both adorable and unknowingly apt. Much like the dinosaurs, V8s are facing imminent extinction as we fast-track the automotive world into an electric future.
But the internal combustion engine is not dead just yet. Even as Cadillac is currently making its big debut on the EV stage with the Lyriq, the legendary American marque has also introduced the V8-powered Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing and its V6 sibling the CT4-V Blackwing, which they describe as the fastest Cadillac production models ever. In order to see if this is American muscle worthy of a last stand, I drove both rip-roaring sedans like it was the last thing I’d do.
Savage Power and Focused Performance
Both of these speedy beasts pack brutish punches. The smaller CT4-V Blackwing’s 3.6-liter V6 generates 472 horsepower and 445 lb-ft of torque, and shoots the sedan off to 60 mph in just under four seconds (with an automatic transmission). But for those keen on even more power (cue Tim Taylor barking) the slightly larger CT5-V Blackwing is jacked. With a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that generates 668 horsepower and 659 lb-ft of torque, it catapults to 60 mph in as little as 3.4 seconds.
Speaking of transmissions, while both are available with a 10-speed automatic gearbox, the pair I drove featured the standard six-speed manual. Yes, you read that correctly: standard manual transmissions. The duo are also rear-wheel drive only. Dinosaurs are cool!
Behind the wheel of the CT4-V is simply a delightful place to be for anyone who loves to drive. It’s precise, poised and responsive in all sorts of spirited situations. The electronic limited-slip differential and the Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 suspension team up with an adroit traction control system to keep the car hemmed to whatever line you choose through twists in the road. Plus, an optional carbon fiber aero package provides race car-like downforce for even more grip. Honestly, you could drive the CT4-V Blackwing from your house to the track for some actual racing and bang out laps without even changing the tires (Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summers come standard). Automatic rev-matching provides for no-lift upshifts, so you can push like hell without defiling the transmission while standard Brembo brakes, or optional carbon ceramics, ensure you’ll be able to stop, even from the 189 mph top speed.
But as good as the CT4-V Blackwing is, the CT5-V is even more fun. It’s faster, of course, plus the added power gives a joyful effortlessness to throwing the tail out and bringing it back in line such that it feels like a moral imperative in every corner. Sure, you can get the rear to wiggle some in the CT4-V, but not like this. It’s just a savage beast — a T-Rex with doors.
While the CT5-V Blackwing does have the same suspension, traction control and transmission features, it is a larger car with a beefier stature so it’s not quite as nimble, but still seems well glued to the road. On highways and under more subdued driving, both Blackwings cruise beautifully. But in stop-and-go traffic, their manual transmissions become rather tiresome almost as fast as they get to the quarter mile. Something to consider for commuters in highly populated areas.
The CT5-V Blackwing is a bit of a thirsty animal as you’d expect, getting 13 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway, while the V6 in the CT4-V gets 15/23 mpg (1 mpg more in the automatic version). But while that smaller motor sounds great when you’re hammering the throttle, it’s nothing like the V8. Loud and thunderous even at mid-range RPMs, it’s a sound that turns heads and will leave toddlers on the lookout for Jurassic-period beasts.
Not Too Shabby on the Inside
Both models I drove were well appointed. The cabin provides a satisfactory luxury environment, though some bits and bobs still have a cheap plastic feel. The upgraded performance sport front seats with heat and ventilation would be an option I’d tick off, though the massage function is barely perceptible. The AKG premium sound system is nice in both models and loud enough to drown out most of the engine sound, though I have no idea why you’d want to do that.
The CT4-V features an eight-inch center touchscreen display to manage the Caddy’s infotainment suite and car settings. You get two more inches in the CT5-V, but both get wireless Apple Car Play as well as Android Auto.
Safety features like front pedestrian braking, automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, safety alert seat, rear seat reminder and the HD rear-vision camera are all standard. But if you want Cadillac’s adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping features, they are only available as options and only if you choose the 10-speed automatic.
For track-focused customers, the pair also offer an optional performance data recorder for tracking hot laps in 1080p as well as telemetry and engine data. Yes, please.
The automotive world is going electric and so is Cadillac. So, barring some major, unimagined circumstances, these will be the last gas-powered, high-performance sport sedans the brand will offer. But the pair will certainly not go gently into that good night. Rather they will roar their way down the road to the end.
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