Cadillac is a company that has been going through a bit of an identity crisis with its sedans, and who can blame the company when SUVs and crossovers are the flavors of the month. The CT4-V is here to remedy this, however, as the brand's most attainable performance sedan. While it technically follows in the footsteps of the ATS-V, a 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 competitors such as the Mercedes-AMG CLA35 and Audi S3. The 2.7-liter turbocharged 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? Let's see.
The CT4-V is an all-new model for 2020, as is its lesser base model, the CT4. The engine is borrowed from Chevrolet's impressive Silverado pickup, while the platform is from the Camaro. Nevertheless, pretty much everything else is new, particularly to Cadillac, from the ground up. The wheels, the chassis, and everything in between have been redesigned to help give the CT4-V an ideal 50/50 weight distribution.
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 measures 187.2 inches long 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 lbs, but you can expect that to rise a little if you opt for the all-wheel-drive system. 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 five metallic shades. These are all $625 and include Satin Steel, Evergreen, Shadow, Wave, and Royal Spice. Red Obsession Tintcoat is available too, but it's an extra $1,225. Black brake calipers are standard, but you can have blue or red for $595 extra.
Official claims about the performance ability in terms of acceleration times and top speed have not yet been made by Cadillac, but we wouldn't bet against a low four-second or high three-second 0-60 mph sprint. 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. Still, it does have launch control and an in-car timer. With this timer active, the times achieved are as above, but some independent testing has found slower times. This is mainly due to that extra length and subsequent weight, which makes it a little difficult to get going. In addition, the four-pot seems to run out of gusto at around 5,000 rpm, which means that you have to work for your acceleration a little harder than you'd expect in a performance vehicle, unless you put it in Sport, where the gearbox makes up for the odd torque curve of the engine. 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 version 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 runs out fairly quickly. See, the engine is very refined and smooth for the trucks it's also fitted to, but in a luxury performance car like this, it 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 and the throttle response is sharpened, as are the shift times, which makes acceleration a lot more exciting. Overall, this is a decent 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.
The CT4-V comes with a magnetic adaptive suspension, and it's brilliant. Small and medium bumps are soaked up with ease, while bigger bumps don't unnecessarily unsettle the car either. In Sport, everything firms up and driving enthusiasts will be happy to note that the diff on the rear wheels is not the only part of driving this car hard that feels good. The steering is brilliantly weighted and is as precise as you'd like. It's not M3-good, but this isn't an M3 rival. 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 the brakes 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.
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. Nevertheless, it looks sleek and modern, with plenty of decent materials, an attractively simple button and console layout, and a decent infotainment screen with attractive graphics. However, the angle of that screen means that the sun can interfere with legibility at times. Still, a healthy options list can add ventilated, heated and massaging seats, along with wireless charging.
The CT4-V seats five in relative comfort, and this is where the additional length benefits it. Even rear-seat passengers have plenty of legroom, although headroom and shoulder room are a little worse than in the front seats. There, headroom is good, but if you're of a larger frame, you may find yourself bumping elbows with the person riding shotgun fairly often. Still, at least visibility is good and the seats are comfortable. When it comes to getting and out, there are no major complaints either.
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 a thousand bucks more, although some other extras have to be thrown in to make this configuration possible, thus raising the price to at least $1,600 on the AWD model and $2,200 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), as well as orange piping and contrast stitching.
Although the CT4-V is a pretty long car, it doesn't have much in the way of trunk space. 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. 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, launch control, a rearview camera, adaptive magnetic dampers, 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 an eight-inch driver info display in the cluster are also available, but SuperCruise, a semi-autonomous driving system, will only be available next year.
The Caddy features an attractive eight-inch touchscreen display that handles infotainment as standard and features both Apple CarPlay and 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. Fortunately, the sound system is highly impressive, with the Cadillac coming standard with a powerful 14-speaker Bose surround sound setup.
Thus far, neither the CT4-V nor its lesser brethren have been subject to any recalls, whether in RWD or AWD guise.
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.
Neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA have yet evaluated the CT4's crashworthiness in any guise, but the long list of impressive available safety features should stand it in good stead.
The Cadillac CT4-V comes with a 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.
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. However, despite its length, it's no more spacious than its rivals, 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 thus just as impressive as any of its rivals in almost any department. The biggest disappointment is that the CT4 technically replaces the ATS family, and this V model feels like it belongs in a lesser segment than an equivalent BMW 3 Series.
The CT4-V starts at a base price of $44,495 before a $995 destination and delivery charge for the cheapest model, which is the rear-wheel-drive version. Opting for all-wheel-drive adds $1,100 to the price. 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. It is powered by a 2.7-liter 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 Apple CarPlay and 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.
If you want leather upholstery, it'll only cost you a thousand bucks, but unfortunately, this upholstery finish only comes with the Climate package, which costs an extra $1,200. 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 $800 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.
Only one trim level is available for the V variant of the CT4, but you can choose where the engine sends its power. We'd stick with the lighter RWD version for its marginally better economy figures and, more importantly, its more responsive handling characteristics. We'd certainly consider adding leather upholstery - 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.
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 about $1,500 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 155 pounds more even without all-wheel-drive fitted. 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.
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, which is already almost $2,500 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.
Check out some informative Cadillac CT4-V video reviews below.