Entry price: $44,495
Price as tested: $52,040
There’s always an air of excitement when my test drive schedule includes a Cadillac with a “V” in the model nomenclature … indicating Cadillac’s style of high performance. And that’s the case this week as we get our first drive in Cadillac’s all-new compact class CT4-V, the little brother to CT5-V and CT6-V Series luxury performance sedans.
All of Cadillac’s past and current V-Series examples promote luxury and performance, and the higher the model number the more the performance enrichment. Important is Cadillac’s dedication to this luxury performance class, with many autonomous examples along the way. And, with the exception of sharing some of the Corvette drivetrains dating back to the early 2000s, many a CTS-V has been heralded as some of the best performance sedans, wagons and coupes ever built.
Cadillac’s current and most powerful V example is the Blackwing 4.2-liter Twin-Turbo V8. Currently available in limited numbers only in the CT6-V or CT6 Platinum models where horsepower ratings are 550 and 500, respectively, and torque numbers climb to 640. Unlike the mass produced engines, each Blackwing V8 is hand assembled by a single technician who signs his/her name engraved in an engine ID plate when finished. All this takes place in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where the Corvettes are also assembled. So, there’s no need for much critical problem solving when it comes to where one thinks a Blackwing style V8 will appear in the future. (Blackwing, by the way, is the species of a Merlette “black duck” type bird that appears in the Cadillac logos dating back to 1908).
On to the all-new “little brother” CT4-V, delivered in beautiful Black Raven exterior color with Jet Black/Sangria (deep maroon) two tone interior. Of all the vehicles driven this year, the CT4-V is one of the best looking overall, thanks to a brilliant motif that is both opulent and performance bred. Thanks to standard V items like 18-inch pearl nickel plated wheels on Continental SSR summer tires coupled to special performance mesh grille, aero ground effects additions and slippery deck lid and spoiler, you will surely notice any of Cadillac’s V-Series models when they pass you on the highway.
Powered by a 325-horsepower 2.7-liter turbo four-cylinder, the CT4-V is up to just about any challenge. It took me a while to get used to the fact that the CT4-V is not powered by a V6 or V8, but once I got to drive the new compact more and more I was pretty content. No, it’s not going to give the rush of the former Corvette style LSx/LTx or current Blackwing powered V examples, but going zero to 60 in a bit over five seconds is nothing to fret about.
The special Dual-Volute Turbo setup deserves extra note as it utilizes two spiral chambers that send forced air to a single turbocharger that quickly eliminates any turbo lag. As the turbo spins quicker with excellent efficiency, boost increases and you end up with 380 lb. ft. of torque from the little four. It’s very impressive albeit a little noisy when in full acceleration. A GM 10-speed automatic is the only transmission available, and you can manually shift via paddle shifters if desired. Fuel mileage is 20 city and 28 highway, both acceptable considering what’s under the hood.
Our tester came with AWD underpinnings, while a rear-drive only CT4-V is also available which pushes the highway mileage to 29. If you choose the rear drive, GM’s magnetic ride is standard fare and something not offered on the AWD model. Regardless of choice, both models are great handling machines and come with performance traction management that assists in overall grip abilities.
Revisiting the design, the special vertical LED headlights make for outstanding style, as they also flare inward in fine fashion. The rear taillights are also similar and all of the Cadillac insignias are in place with the black body trim and chrome noticeable yet not overdone. The rear features a quad exhaust design which is a V-Series notable. The brakes are performance Brembo discs and as for safety all of the modern high-tech items are either standard or part of the optional driver packages.
Inside, the CT4-V is well done. The front leather heated and ventilated bucket seats hold you in place when cornering, with 18-way power adjust and four-way lumbar ready for your input. The dashboard is nice with sporty gauges and there is a V mode button on the steering wheel where you can enter ride controls and other performance augmentations. Most important is a console button that allows choices of Tour, Sport, Snow/Ice and Track driving setups along with a new “My Mode” custom setting all of which automatically alters RPM, steering and shifting calibrations along with exhaust throatiness.
Our tester also featured a head-up display, 8-inch touch screen with Apple and Android compatibility, a wireless phone charging mat, alloy pedals, nice phone pocket holder on the console and a 14-speaker Bose stereo infotainment system with SiriusXM. Rear seat passengers will need some seat positioning assistance from driver and front passenger for additional legroom, but other than that the overall roominess is good. Surprisingly, there’s no USB port for rear passengers.
Our tester came with $6,550 worth of options, including a climate package, technology package, driver assist package, enhanced interior package, driver awareness selection, rear cross traffic, and a navigation Bose upgrade. The retail price came in at $52,040 with $995 delivery included.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 109.3-inches, 3,616-lb. curb weight, 10.7-cu.-ft. of cargo room, and a 17-gallon premium fuel tank.
In summarizing the new, compact CT4 V-Series, luxury overshadows performance a bit which I believe is what Cadillac wants to accomplish in this price range. This isn’t discounting the effort the engineers put into the peppy four-cylinder, but if you’ve driven either a Twin Turbo V6 CT5-V or a Blackwing Twin-Turbo V8 CT6-V, you’ll better understand my CT4-V luxury over performance distinction.
The new Cadillac CT4-V is a winner, hands down. If you don’t want the basic non-V CT4, pricing starts at just $33,900 for the CT4 Luxury with a 2.0-liter Turbo. Your Cadillac rep will explain everything in detail when you visit or order online via a dealer chat or call.
Likes: V-legend power, handling, one of the best looking cars on the road.
Dislikes: Tight rear legroom, no rear USB port, paddle shifts not precise.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.
Test Drive column: All-new 2020 Cadillac CT4-V
Entry price: $44,495