The 2021 Cadillac CT4-V may not have the firepower of the previous ATS-V or the new CT4-V Blackwing, but don't be too quick to write it off. Compared to the discontinued ATS-V with 464 horsepower, the CT4-V's tame 325 hp seems like an immediate step in the wrong direction. It is only when you take a step back to examine Cadillac's larger plan that the lack of power starts to make sense. The 2021 Cadillac CT4-V and its large sibling, the CT5-V, were not direct replacements for the ATS-V and CTS-V. In fact, both have now been surpassed by the new Blackwing models.
Without the Blackwing's performance credentials or the CT5's size, the CT4-V is the brand's most attainable performance sedan in the US. While it technically offers similar space as the old ATS-V, the turbocharged four-cylinder under the hood means this is a V model that competes less with the M3s and C63s of the world and more with smaller competition in the likes of the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 and Audi S3. The 2.7-liter turbo four-cylinder unit produces 325 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque, all of which is controlled by a 10-speed automatic that sends power to the rear wheels in standard configuration or to all four if you're willing to spend around a grand more. Is it worthy of the "V" nomenclature? Our Cadillac CT4-V review of an AWD model aims to answer that question.
Although the 2021 CT4-V model is mechanically unchanged, Cadillac has introduced a few welcome features. The CT4-V now comes standard with wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto, making it more convenient than before to sync your phone with the car's infotainment system. A new steering wheel, Buckle to Drive, and SiriusXM 360L are further additions. You can also spec a new 12-inch HD digital gauge cluster, while the latest version of Cadillac's Super Cruise system with lane change on demand is available. Infrared Tintcoat and Rift Metallic now adorn a refreshed color palette for the new Cadillac CT4-V.
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2.7L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
The CT4-V is quite easily recognizable as being part of the CT4 range, with only subtle styling changes acting as hints of the improved performance you'd expect on a V-badged Caddy. 18-inch wheels wrapped in summer performance tires are standard, but you can get 19s too. Numerous gloss-black accents help make the appearance a little more sinister, as do new grilles, a subtle rear spoiler, and quad-exit exhaust tips, while LED headlights with pretty cool vertical running lights are the most eye-grabbing design feature. If you like, you can also add a power sunroof for a small fee.
The CT4-V's dimensions include a length of 187.2 inches with a wheelbase of 109.3 inches. This makes it longer than a Mercedes C-Class. Width excluding the mirrors is 71.4 inches and height is 56 inches. Base curb weight is a modest 3,616 pounds, but you can expect that to rise a little if you opt for the all-wheel-drive system (3,761 lbs). However, it is worth noting that Cadillac says the AWD system is offered more as a convenience than anything else, as the platform this car shares with the Camaro was always intended to be rear-drive only.
Two no-cost color options are available, with Summit White and Black Raven as your choices. If you're willing to spend a little extra, you can have a choice of Velocity Red or four metallic colors. These are all $625 and include Satin Steel, Evergreen, Shadow, Wave, and Rift. Last year's Red Obsession Tintcoat and Royal Spice have fallen away for 2021. Infrared Tintcoat is available too, but it's an extra $1,225. The Wave Blue shade on our tester seems like a fine way to escape the monotony of white or black without spending too much on paint. Black brake calipers are standard, but you can have blue or red for $595 extra.
The CT4-V returns good performance specs. Cadillac quotes a 0-60 mph time of 4.8 seconds for the CT4-V or 4.9 seconds if you opt for all-wheel-drive. Top speed will likely be around 155 mph. What's worth noting, however, is that this isn't a car built just to go in a straight line. Cadillac has fitted it with a proper mechanical limited-slip differential and adaptive magnetic dampers, though you lose the latter on the AWD models. Still, it does have launch control and an in-car timer. With this timer active, we found it difficult to match Cadillac's quoted times, but other tests have seen more success. Getting the turbo spooled with the combination of AWD sluggishness proved for a less than head-jerking launch. The four-pot at least seems to keep punching high into the rpm range, likely due to its 0.7-liter displacement advantage. The standard rear-wheel-drive setup is light and grippy, but the AWD version is not as quick to change direction as some rivals with similar setups.
Just one engine and transmission configuration is available for the CT4-V. The same 2.7-liter turbocharged four-pot that is found on a lesser CT4 is fitted, but here it produces a stronger 325 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. As alluded to earlier, the power delivery of this engine is good but does not come without lag at low rpm. The engine is very refined and smooth most of the time, but when you lean on the throttle, its truck origins seep through. In a luxury performance car like this, the engine seems louder than it needs to be and thus feels overworked. Nevertheless, that's to be expected for a four-cylinder engine, and when cruising or in traffic, it's not as overtly obvious.
The 10-speed automatic gearbox, when everything is left in Tour mode, seems a little reluctant to change up when you get past the first half of the ratios, which means that you may need to shift up manually to get back into the torque curve. Put it in Sport or Race mode and the throttle response is sharpened, as are the shift times, which makes acceleration a lot more exciting. Cadillac even includes a cool V mode button on the steering wheel, which can be configured to the driver's preferences. Overall, this is a competitive setup, but a little more power would be welcome. Still, we are used to the old ATS-V, so perhaps this car is just right if you don't expect too much.
Since the CT4-V rides on the same Alpha platform as the Camaro, we weren't surprised to find that it drives exceptionally well. The steering is direct and precious, and the chassis feels playful and connected when you push it through corners. Opting for the V model gets you a limited-slip differential and GM's fabulous Magnetic Ride adaptive suspension. Sadly, when you opt for AWD like our tester, the latter option is deleted. With fixed ZF passive dampers, the CT4-V's ride feels lackluster and the AWD system feels like it strips away more fun than it adds. We can tell there is still an enjoyable platform here, but opting for AWD limited our pleasure considerably. Driving enthusiasts should stick to RWD, while buyers with weather concerns might as well opt for the standard CT4 with AWD, as it seems silly to get the V model with four driven wheels.
The brakes are also very good, as you'd expect from Brembo units, with good initial bite and easy modulation whether slowing to a sudden stop or just stopping in traffic. In addition, you can get the discs lined in a fade-resistant coating that helps with both short- and long-term responses. This makes them easier to use in traffic than carbon-ceramics, which need heat to operate effectively and are also notoriously expensive. Overall, the CT4-V is comfortable, smooth, athletic, and well-balanced. The only downside is a slight weight problem, which you'll only really notice if you drive something like a CLA 35 or S3 just before or after a run in the Caddy. What is telling is that the CT4-V is now compared to these smaller, lesser models from a performance perspective, whereas the ATS-V it technically replaces was always a bona fide M3 rival, Since the CT4-V is the only RWD-based vehicle in that class, it could lure in some driving enthusiasts who don't want to pony up for the larger options.
Official consumption figures for the CT4-V as claimed by the EPA are 20/29/23 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles for the rear-wheel-drive model, while the all-wheel-drive version is fractionally worse, scoring 28 mpg on the highway and identical figures for the other two cycles. With a 17-gallon gas tank, this means that you can expect around 391 miles with mixed driving.
The CT4-V's interior is a pretty attractive, if surprisingly small, place to be. Despite the size advantage it has over its direct rivals, it feels a lot more cramped inside than those competitors. The materials also feel more "Buick" than bonafide Cadillac. Nevertheless, it looks sleek and modern, with decent materials, an attractively simple button and console layout, and a small infotainment screen with attractive graphics. However, the angle of that screen means that the sun can interfere with legibility at times and only one size is available. A healthy options list can add ventilated, heated and massaging seats, along with wireless charging. This year, a new 12-inch HD gauge cluster also becomes available.
The CT4-V seats four in relative comfort or five in a pinch, and this is where the additional length should benefit it. Except, the back seat only offers 33.4 inches of legroom, which is less than in the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe. At least the headroom is good in the back seat and up front, but if you're of a larger frame, you may find yourself bumping elbows with the person riding shotgun fairly often. Our tester didn't offer ventilation or massage, but we found the seats themselves to be a bit stiff and awkwardly positioned for a 5'8" frame. When it comes to getting in and out, there are no major complaints.
The CT4-V comes standard with a Jet Black interior with leatherette-upholstered seats, while various soft-touch plastics and aluminum accents help break up the interior, but you can have genuine leather for $1,500 more, although some other extras have to be thrown in to make this configuration possible, thus raising the price by at least $2,100 on the AWD model and $2,700 on the RWD model. Jet Black seats with perforated centers are the first option, but you can have a Sangria scheme with Jet Black accents and perforations too (on selected trims). Unless you opt for Sangria, the CT4-V's interior feels pretty drab.
Although the CT4-V is a pretty long car, it doesn't have much in the way of trunk space, especially compared to some other smaller sedans. Official cargo volume is given as 10.7 cubic feet, which doesn't sound terrible until you realize that even a BMW M240i coupe has more space, and that's a far smaller car. The 2 Series GC and Mercedes CLA outmatch it too. Still, it's enough for a couple of medium-sized suitcases and perhaps some shopping bags.
In the cabin, the driver and front passenger get a pair of cupholders in the center console, along with generous center armrest bin storage, large door pockets, and a decent glovebox. There's also a spot under the dash for your phone. In the back, cupholders are included too, but not door pockets.
As standard, the CT4-V comes with stop/start technology, low-speed automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, keyless entry with push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, launch control, an HD rearview camera, adaptive magnetic dampers (on the RWD model only), and a timer for those acceleration sprints. It also has more practical features like hill start assist and a long list of options that includes massaging, heated, and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, and full-speed automatic emergency braking. It also can be equipped with reverse automatic braking, a head-up display, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep and lane-change assists, front and rear parking sensors, automatic high beams, cornering LED headlights, LED turn signals, and a power sunroof. Adaptive cruise control and a 12-inch driver info display in the cluster are also available. This year, Super Cruise is also offered, allowing for hands-free driving in certain conditions.
The Caddy features an attractive eight-inch touchscreen display that handles infotainment as standard and features both wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto, along with a pair of USB ports, wireless charging, and voice control. The system works well and responds quickly enough, but navigation is one of the optional extras. You can also control it using a rotating knob on the center console, but we found touching the screen to be more intuitive. We think the screen size is far too small for the luxury segment, but at least the content on it works well. Fortunately, a new 12-inch digital gauge cluster is available this year and it helps to bring the Cadillac more in line with its contemporaries. The sound system is highly impressive, with the Cadillac coming standard with a powerful 14-speaker Bose surround sound setup.
Thus far, neither the 2021 CT4-V nor its lesser brethren have been subject to any recalls, whether in RWD or AWD guise. However, certain 2020 CT4s were recalled for sensor contamination in the electronic brake boost system, an issue that could affect braking performance.
Should anything go wrong, the CT4-V is covered by an impressive six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty along with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty. However, while some other premium manufacturers offer a long period of complimentary maintenance, the Caddy only gets one free visit in the first year of ownership.
Neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA have yet evaluated the CT4's crashworthiness in any guise, so prospective customers will have to gain peace of mind from the Cadillac's various safety systems.
The Cadillac CT4-V comes with an HD rearview camera, rear parking sensors, low-speed automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and hill start assist as standard, but the vast majority of safety features cost extra. These available add-ons include adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, full-speed automatic emergency braking, and reverse automatic braking. You can also have blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, front parking sensors, lane keep assist, lane change assist, and automatic LED headlights with auto high beams and cornering, and LED turn signals. Frontal, side-impact, overhead, and knee airbags are included; in total, the Caddy has eight airbags.
The CT4-V is competitively priced for the segment in which it competes. It's also a solid performer with very attractive styling, a classy interior, respectable fuel economy, and great handling. The Camaro's rear-drive platform that underpins this car has made it an absolute delight to drive, and the gearbox - when in Sport mode at least - is a perfect companion for the boosted four-cylinder motor. We simply can not recommend this car with all-wheel drive, as it loses one of the components that make it a great-driving sports sedan.
As an entry-level luxury sedan though, it's less compelling. Despite being longer than rivals, it's no more spacious nor more practical. It's also a little concerning that the majority of the niceties on the options list are just that - options. With that said, Audi, Mercedes-AMG, and BMW aren't exactly known for cramming everything into one car unless they're going to make the base price accordingly high, and the CT4-V is more affordable than the likes of a CLA 35 when both cars are fully loaded with options. We think that options like the CLA and 2 Series GC feel more premium than the Caddy, but neither offers the same level of driving purity. For enthusiasts who value the driving experience over other concerns, the CT4-V is an intriguing option.
The Cadillac CT4-V starting price of $44,895 before a $1,195 destination and delivery charge applies to the base rear-wheel-drive model. Opting for all-wheel-drive will see the MSRP rise to $45,395. Fully loaded, you'll be spending around $58,000 with all the boxes ticked.
The CT4-V is a standalone model, sitting above the regular CT4 but below the powerful CT4-V Blackwing in the USA. It is powered by a 2.7 turbocharged four-banger that produces 325 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, all of which is sent to the rear wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission. No manual gearbox is available, but you can spec all-wheel-drive.
Leatherette upholstery is standard, as are 18-inch wheels, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment display with wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto, keyless entry and ignition, a limited-slip differential, launch control, and adaptive magnetic dampers. Leather upholstery, massaging front seats, a heated steering wheel, and navigation are among the available options. You can also have parking sensors at the front, adaptive cruise control, and a head-up display. A 14-speaker Bose sound system is standard.
The CT4-V AWD variant adds a bit of extra security in poor conditions and almost identical economy numbers despite its heavier drivetrain. It does, however, lose the RWD model's adaptive magnetic dampers.
If you want leather upholstery, it'll cost you $1,500 on its own, but unfortunately, this upholstery finish only comes with the Climate package, elevating the total cost of the upgrade to $2,700 on the RWD model. Still, it's worth taking because this gives you heated and ventilated front seats with massaging and a heated steering wheel. Navigation is a really cheap upgrade for just $500 extra. However, the Driver Assist package, with its adaptive cruise control, enhanced automatic emergency braking, and reverse automatic braking requires you to spec either heated front seats and a heated steering wheel as part of the Cold Weather package for $600 or the aforementioned Climate package. To get Super Cruise, you'll need to spend $3,100 plus another $600 on the Cold Weather Package or $1,200 on the Climate Package.
There is now a broader range of Cadillac CT4-V sport sedans on offer than last year, with the CT4-V being a standalone model that is reviewed separately from the new CT4-V Blackwing. Only one trim level is available for the V variant of the CT4, but you can choose where the engine sends its power. We urge you to stick with RWD, as the AWD models lose the magnetic ride suspension. We'd certainly consider adding leather upholstery and the Climate Package for $1,500 and $1,200 - if only to treat ourselves to the climate-controlled seats with massage functions. We'd also opt for the Driver Assist package to maximize safety and convenience. Some 19-inch wheels would jazz up the exterior styling, but for $2,350, we'll pass. The Technology Package with the new 12-inch digital instrument cluster is another worthwhile addition. All-in, you can get a CT4-V for just over $50,000.
Another German competitor to the American newcomer is Mercedes-AMG's CLA. A '45' version is available with more power, but the CT4-V is best suited to doing battle against the CLA 35. Despite it being smaller, the Merc is nearly $3,000 more expensive than the Caddy. The Merc produces a respectable 302 horses and 295 lb-ft of twist, but, like the S3, no rear-wheel-drive option is available. Its economy figures are almost identical to those of the S3 and CT4-V too, but the Caddy has the biggest gas tank of the lot, so you'll get more range. The Merc wins in terms of cargo volume, but only just. 11.6 cubic feet worth of space is available behind the rear seats, and the stunning interior with its dual screens is worth buying the car on its own. The CLA also boasts a panoramic sunroof. Overall, the CLA 35 is a better car in every metric. The only reason to skip it and opt for the Caddy would be brand preference or personal taste in terms of the styling.
In terms of raw power, the Audi S3 is well-beaten by the Caddy here, with the 2.0-liter four-pot in the German only producing 288 hp and 280 lb-ft, which is exactly 100 less torque than the Caddy manages. Still, it is a considerably smaller unit. The Audi is cheaper to buy, and scores nominally better economy figures, with 22/29/25 mpg. However, the Audi's all-wheel-drive system is your only option, so no power sliding in the S3. What about cargo volume? Well, the Audi is 0.7 cubic feet smaller in the trunk, so it's nothing to write home about. Still, it can justify this by managing to keep weight down, with the Caddy weighing 300 pounds more in AWD guise. That makes the S3 more eager to change direction. However, the S3 is starting to age, and until the new model comes, the Cadillac has done a good job of being a better car all-rounder.
Check out some informative Cadillac CT4-V video reviews below.