by Jay Traugott
Cadillac knows what's coming. Its parent company, General Motors, has committed itself to an all-electric vehicle future starting in 2035. Fortunately, the 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing, the most powerful sedan in its class, is here right now. Consider it a grand celebration of internal combustion. The 2022 CT4-V Blackwing has arrived as a direct rival to some of Germany's most potent high-performance luxury sedans. As the successor to the dearly departed ATS-V coupe and sedan, the CT4-V Blackwing is not only a suitable daily driver but also a formidable track star thanks to its powerful engine, lightweight focus, and numerous other suspension and braking advancements.
At a time when automakers are quickly shifting to electrification, the CT4-V Blackwing and its larger sibling, the CT5-V Blackwing, cater directly to buyers who aren't interested in making the big EV jump just yet or simply desire lots of power and performance from a luxury sedan.
See trim levels and configurations:
3.6L Turbo V6 Gas
The CT4-V Blackwing features a number of exterior elements not found on the base CT4 or CT4-V, such as a mesh grille, large secondary grilles, and aerodynamic aids including a front splitter, rear spoiler, mid-body panels, rear diffuser, and rocker extensions. There are additional underbody panels to further help reduce drag. Full LED lighting is standard. Buyers can also select the optional carbon fiber package that tacks on additional aero for an incredible 214 percent lift reduction.
Cadillac went to great lengths to ensure aerodynamic perfection by conducting full-scale testing in a rolling wind-tunnel.
All CT4-V Blackwings come with staggered 18- and 19-inch forged aluminum alloy wheels front and rear. There's a cool motorsport-inspired multi-spoke design available in two colors, both with a laser-etched V-Series logo. The also standard Brembo brake calipers are available in four colors, including a unique bronze appearance.
Aside from incorporating generous amounts of carbon fiber, Cadillac also gave due consideration to track day necessities. The heated front seats were designed to provide solid support when cornering and are highly adjustable to accommodate drivers of any height. Buyers can add ventilation, lumbar massage, and sueded microfiber trim. Best of all, there's an optional high-performance seat design with a slim headrest that can accommodate racing helmets. It's also been ergonomically designed for easier manual shifting.
Even the optional, thick carbon fiber steering wheel is special with its 14.5-inch diameter and easy to access V-Mode button and Performance Traction Management switch.
Cadillac will offer three interior trim levels: Base, Mid-level, and Up-level, though things like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and wireless phone charging are standard. Also part of the package is a 14-speaker AKG premium audio system and a configurable 12-inch HD display with unique V-Series graphics and customizable performance settings. A Performance Data Recorder is optional.
It's all magic under the hood where the twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 is placed. Total output comes to an impressive 472 horsepower and 445 lb-ft of torque. Cadillac describes the engine as an "evolution" of the version that powered the ATS-V. Expect a top speed of at least 189 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds (with the automatic). Power is routed to the rear wheels through a Tremec-sourced six-speed manual or an optional 10-speed automatic. Both gearboxes underwent extreme track testing validation.
Cadillac also fitted the sedan with specially developed Michelin Pilot Spot 4S tires to provide the ideal track and daily driving balance. Another major highlight is the latest version of GM's outstanding Magnetic Ride Control suspension. An electronic limited-slip differential has also been further optimized for every driving mode and each Performance Track Management setting. Other notable performance-related highlights include a MacPherson front suspension and a five-link independent rear setup. The rear-wheel-drive platform itself has a stiff structure for greater steering response, handling, and comfortable on-road feel.
The 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing is priced from $59,990 and sales are already underway. The first 250 examples are numbered special editions that come with extra goodies, such as a special track day experience. Dealers will soon begin taking orders for the non-launch editions and deliveries will commence this summer.
Cadillac is tapping into a small but exclusive segment here. The automaker tells us the CT4-V Blackwing's rivals will include the Audi RS3 and Mercedes-AMG CLA 45. BMW does not currently offer a rear-wheel-drive-only small sedan, though the excellent M2 coupe could certainly be considered a competitor. Not only are combustion-engined vehicles living on borrowed time, but so is, perhaps, the entire sedan segment.
Buyers these days have been drifting towards crossovers more than ever, with Audi, BMW, and Mercedes all offering high-performance SUVs. Cadillac has yet to introduce a Blackwing-badged SUV of its own, but later this year's its first-ever battery-electric, the Lyriq SUV, will debut. For now, the 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing is a champion of the high-performance luxury sedan class and though it may be a dying breed, it should be celebrated for as long as possible.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing: