The Cadillac CT4 is forgettable, with a mediocre base engine and a somewhat underdone feel. But the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing we review here is a completely different kettle of fish and totally transforms the CT4, exploiting the talent of GM's Alpha 2 platform shared with the Camaro, and giving class rivals a serious run for their money. But which class is this, exactly? The car's external dimensions suggest that it competes with the compact BMW M3, but Cadillac classifies it as a subcompact sedan, along with the Audi RS3 and Mercedes-AMG CLA 45. Make no mistake, that twin-turbocharged 472-horsepower V6 is right on par with the 473-hp M3, and in terms of power output and handling, it trades blows with the M3 too. It's a bit of a shame, then, that the extra external size does not translate into a larger rear seat or trunk; the RS3 edges it out on both counts. This matters little, as Cadillac hasn't tacked a silly price tag on the hottest CT4-V, and there's nothing to touch it currently in the USA for M3-rivalling performance and handling for M2/RS3 money. The availability of a manual gearbox is shared with few rivals in this class and makes the CT4-V Blackwing even more irresistible.
There are three special editions added to the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing range for 2023, designed to celebrate the automaker's success in the IMSA SportsCar Championship. Each of the three special editions will visually represent either the Watkins Glen, Sebring, or Road Atlanta racing circuits visited by the IMSA series, and only 99 examples of each will be built.
For the regular CT4-V Blackwing, there are some new exterior colors added to the mix, including Radiant Red Tintcoat, Argent Silver, and Midnight Steel Metallic, all at an extra cost.
Last of all, a recording function is added to the surround-view monitoring system. The starting price of the 2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing increases by exactly $2k over last year's model and now breaches the $60k barrier.
Its $60,995 MSRP means that the price of the new Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing sedan is now over $60k for the first time. This is for the six-speed manual version; if you want the ten-speed automatic, it will cost you $2,275 extra. This excludes the destination fee of $1,395.
See trim levels and configurations:
3.6L Turbo V6 Gas
We don't care which heavyweights you bring to the fight, the 2023 CT4-V Blackwing has the measure of all of them. The Camaro platform has been expertly set up, and adaptive MagneRide dampers are standard, so the Blackwing is incredibly composed and feels light on its feet. It exhibits balanced, delicate RWD handling and rapid steering with far more feel than you get from an M3's tiller. Yet the ride is superbly compliant, in utter contrast to the typical harsh-riding M car. The six-speed manual gearbox holds up its side of the bargain, and the Brembo brakes are powerful, so you don't even care that the manual is slower than the auto, such is the satisfaction of interacting with the car. Said ten-speed auto mostly bangs through the gears with alacrity but isn't as sporty as it could be, occasionally slurring shifts and downshifting reluctantly. The engine produces the numbers, launching the automatic to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, but it's aurally underwhelming as it whirrs to its modest 6,500-rpm redline with fake augmented engine sounds piped in. Fortunately, you can change the intensity of this sound manually.
The CT4-V Blackwing is a superb car. It costs RS3 money but provides the power and top-class RWD handling dynamics that puts it on an equal footing with the mighty M3, while comprehensively beating the BMW on everyday ride comfort. The chassis makes the car, and the Cadillac engineers have outdone themselves with the ride/handling combination they've engineered into the Blackwing. The cabin materials are not as upmarket as some rivals', and it doesn't make the best use of the real estate provided by the larger body, but at this price, we'll forgive these small foibles. It's the best buy in this class and truly a Cadillac to shout about. We just wished the engine struck a more operatic tone.
There's only one trim, so it's down to whether you want a manual or automatic and which extras you add. You already know the ten-speed auto is quicker and more efficient, but we would go for the wonderfully interactive manual. You can add some of the cosmetic packages to personalize your Blackwing, but we'll rather spend on tech the car is missing, such as the adaptive cruise control and automatic reverse braking in the $900 Driver Assist package and the head-up display in the $725 Technology package, both relatively cheap additions. We feel a bit cheated that leather isn't standard, so it's up to you to decide if it's worth $4,900 extra.
The most popular competitors of 2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing: