by Gerhard Horn
The Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is the very last of a dying breed. It's a four-door go-faster luxury sedan that slots in between BMW's M3 and M5 size-wise. As standard, it has a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 delivering 668 horsepower and 659 lb-ft of torque, all of which is sent to the rear wheels only. As an added bonus, a manual transmission is standard, but you do have the option of going for a ten-speed automatic. With the latter gearbox, it'll power its way to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds.
With Cadillac now making a big move to electric power - just look at the all-new Lyriq - this car is an epic way to say goodbye to the internal combustion era. It's the perfect blend of old-school power and modern technology, which should keep it on the road for a few years yet. You get more power than any of the German rivals can provide, but at a more palatable price. It's a more-than-worthy alternative to the best BMW M cars and AMG-badged Mercedes sedans.
The CT5-V Blackwing sedan is an all-new model, joining the existing CT5 range. Essentially, it's two things. First, it's a rival for the BMW M3, even though it rocks up at the battle with a supercharged V8 producing 668 hp and 659 lb-ft of torque. In addition to stupid power, it also has Magnetic Ride Control, a five-link rear suspension, and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. Its second goal is to be one of the last hurrahs for internal combustion. GM recently announced that all its cars would be electric from 2035. Chalk the CT5-V up as another example of motoring's finest decade. Since manufacturers know internal combustion is on the way out, they're doing the most while they still can.
The CT5-V Blackwing with a six-speed manual transmission has an MSRP of $83,995. If you want a ten-speed automatic, you'll have to fork over $87,170. These prices exclude the destination charge of $995.
See trim levels and configurations:
6.2L Supercharged V8 Gas
While the engine may be old-school, there's nothing outdated about the suspension. This Caddy has a fully independent suspension setup with an impressive five-link system at the rear. In addition, it comes standard with Magnetic Ride Control, which can automatically change the damper settings in five milliseconds. Add to that an electronic limited-slip rear differential, Brembo high-performance brakes, and Cadillac's Performance Traction Management system, and the result is a sublime driving experience. The latter is activated by engaging the Track mode, which gives you five more modes designed for various track conditions. These include Wet, Dry, Sport, Race 1, and Race 2. More than anything, these various modes help you build confidence as you get to know the car.
For a heavy vehicle with almost 670 hp, the CT5-V is remarkably easy to drive quickly. If you do overcook it a bit, which is highly unlikely considering the sticky Michelin tires, the standard Brembo brakes do an epic job of reigning it back in. In fact, the hardest part is deciding which gearbox to get. The automatic transmission is extremely smart on the track, knowing exactly when to shift up or down. But the manual transmission is more engaging and comes with flat-foot shifting and rev-matching technology. Either way, you'll get a great track weapon. The electric steering provides excellent feel for such a system, and it's easy to loosen the rear end with the loud pedal, but it all happens in a remarkably controllable manner. On the flip side, the magnetic dampers also make the Caddy a perfect daily companion. It settles down and provides a plush driving experience in the city and on the highway. The CT5-V can easily stand toe-to-toe with the best Germany has to offer.
To summarize, the CT5-V is one of those cars that's all things to all men. If we had to pick one car for the rest of our lives right now… Well, the Cadillac would certainly make the shortlist, and that's high praise.
The 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is an epic car. We've said before that it's a great time to be a gearhead, because manufacturers are basically building every model the engineers have been dreaming about for decades. You can now get a Wrangler with a Hemi V8 and a pickup truck with 700 hp. What a time to be alive. The Blackwing is part of this exclusive club of never-to-be-repeated models. We know Cadillac will be going the electric route, which makes sense given its luxury car roots. But not before it gave the world the last supercharged V8 saloon with a manual gearbox, which also happens to be the most powerful production car in its history. In addition to all of that, the Caddy is a great driver's car. The underpinnings are a massive accomplishment. We can only imagine how hard the team must have worked to make a 668-hp saloon feel both docile and agile. In many ways, this car is more of an engineering feat than the M5 and E63. It makes the Germans feel like they cheated, or rather chickened out.
The asking price might seem a bit steep compared to some rivals, but the Caddy comes equipped with almost everything you could possibly want as standard. There are a few bits we'd add, but nothing with a bonkers price tag. It's also worth remembering that the Cadillac sits in its own awkward little segment between the M3 and M5. While it may seem expensive compared to the M3, it's an absolute bargain compared to the latter. And let's not forget that an M3 costs around the same once you start adding goodies like the Competition Package. Without even trying too hard, we got an M3 up to $88,000 by simply adding a few things that are standard on the Caddy. The Blackwing is exceptional, and will go down as a highlight in Cadillac's ICE history.
To get an answer to this, you need to ask yourself two questions. Does daily comfort rank higher than the self-expression that comes with a manual gearbox, and am I a dedicated enough track day driver with enough skill to get the most out of the manual?
We'd have the manual in a heartbeat. The opportunity of having the last supercharged V8 sedan with a manual is too good to pass up on. We'd likely get annoyed with it at times, but sacrifices have to be made. Having said that, we can see a case for going the automatic route. The Cadillac is still a luxury car and an automatic suits it nicely. It's also easier to drive on track as it will do all the shifting on your behalf. You can use the paddles, but the gearbox is smart enough to do all of the grunt work.
We'd have ours in Electric Blue with the $2,890 high-performance seats in Jet Black. The Carbon Fiber 1 Package looks cool and is functional, so we'd have that as well. For an even more stylish exterior, we'd add 19-inch Satin Graphite dark finish alloys, and red brake calipers for some contrast. Finally, we'd go the whole nine yards and get the carbon ceramic brakes. We would use this car on track on a regular basis, so we see it as money well spent. In this build, which is a fully stocked performance car with carbon ceramic brakes, the total price of the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is $102,205 including destination charges.
It's true that you can have the new M3 sedan with a manual transmission for as little as $69,900, but it will be a stock standard car with 473 hp, which is a whole Golf GTI away from the Cadillac's 668-hp output. A more relevant comparison would be the M3 Competition, which has a starting price of $72,800. Even then, you're looking at 503 hp going up against 668 hp. The Bimmer is undoubtedly more scalpel-like in the way it handles, due to a lower curb weight. The M3 Competition is $14,370 less than the automatic Cadillac. That's a big chunk of money, but you get a lot more for your money at the price of the CT5-V Blackwing. Add all of the things you get as standard on the Cadillac, and the M3's price suddenly increases to around $85,000.
When you opt for the Cadillac, you get a larger car that's just as much fun on the road and track. The BMW is slightly more practical thanks to its bigger trunk, but you just can't argue with that supercharged V8. You pay a hefty penalty when it comes to fuel consumption, but it feels worth it. To us, the Cadillac also feels a bit more special. We know it will be the last of its kind, while the M3 is just, well, another M3.
The BMW M5 Competition is a sensational car, make no mistake. It's the daddy of the segment, and the default for a good reason. Still, the Cadillac makes a good case for itself. To compare these two cars, we used the $102,205 CT5-V Blackwing we designed using the configurator. We added high performance bucket seats, a carbon fiber design package, and carbon ceramic brakes. The BMW starts at $103,500 and if you add a comparable array of extras, the price exceeds $130,000. That's including the Competition Package, a few other luxuries, and carbon ceramic brakes. With the Comp Package, the BMW's power increases to 617 hp. Close, but no cigar. We know the BMW M5 is a better car. It's also larger and more practical, but the price gap can't be ignored. The M5 Competition is just such a complete package, however. Choosing between these two cars is extremely difficult. We've been thinking about it for a week, and we're still constantly going between the two. Gun to the head, though, we'd go with the Cadillac.
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