2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing Highlights
3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 (472 horsepower at 5,750 rpm, 445 lb-ft at 3,500-5,000 rpm)
Six-speed manual transmission, rear-wheel drive
15 city / 23 highway / 18 combined (EPA, MPG rating)
15.2 city/10.2 highway/13.0 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base price: $58,995 (US) / $65,948 (Canada)
As tested: $70,235 (US) / $75,083 (Canada)
Prices include destination charges of $995 in the United States and $2,300 for transportation, PDI and A/C taxes in Canada and, due to differences in cross-border equipment, cannot be directly compared.
The deck was stacked against the CT4-V Blackwing long before it rolled into my driveway. My seat time in Cadillac’s latest compact sports sedan came after not only a stint in the sadly stylish but otherwise very good BMW M3 G80, but also the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, the latter being arguably the largest sports sedan which was never produced. Yes, the CT5 occupies a different space (and price) in the market, but these two cars are so similar in styling that it’s easy to confuse one with the other at a glance.
Perhaps it has to do with the fact that they’re both built on a modified version of GM’s Alpha architecture, a platform that also underpins the sixth-generation Camaro. This certainly bodes well for the CT4-V Blackwing from a dynamic standpoint, but ultimately this commonality is a two-way sword.
Don’t get me wrong – the smaller Blackwing does a lot of things right, and it also does several important things better than the M3 while undercutting it by more than 10,000. The CT4-V Blackwing is a truly great car to drive. The problem is that it does not exist in a vacuum.
Since the Blackwing moniker now represents Cadillac’s class-leading performance offerings (but not the engine that drives them), the CT4-V Blackwing has a range of lightning-fast hardware. Aerodynamic elements like the front splitter, fender vents, rock extensions and rear spoiler are on hand to channel air properly, while black accents and unique mesh grilles add visual drama . Look past the updated bodywork, however, and it’s clear that the CT4-V Blackwing essentially picks up where the ATS-V left off.
Under the hood is an all-aluminum 3.6-liter V6 with direct injection, twin turbocharging and 24-valve DOHCs. The power plant largely carries over from the ATS-V, but revisions to the air intake and engine calibration allowed Cadillac engineers to squeeze eight more ponies out of it for a total of 472 horsepower. Maximum torque remains unchanged at 445 lb-ft.
The standard gearbox is a six-speed manual with nifty features such as lift-free shifts and automatic rev-matching, but those who’d rather not row themselves can jump for the 10-speed automatic. optional. Either way, power is sent to the rear and channeled through an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. The combination is said to be good for a 0-60mph sprint in 3.8 seconds with the automatic or four seconds flat with the six-speed, and the CT4-V Blackwing will keep pulling for up to 189mph.
When it comes time to master the speed, the CT4-V Blackwing is fitted with six-piston Brembo calipers and 14.96-inch rotors up front, while four-piston units and 13.4 discs inches are fitted at the rear. The 18-inch forged wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires developed specifically for this car.
There are also the required stiffer spring rates and bushings, reinforced stabilizer bars and additional braces to improve structural rigidity, but the big new feature at the front of the chassis is the adaptive dampers. Like the CT5-V Blackwing, fourth-generation Magnetic Ride Control dampers are part of the deal with the CT4-V Blacking, and Cadillac says they’re not only capable of adapting to changing road conditions four times faster than the previous generation, they also extract more accurate information, which benefits both ride quality and high-performance stability.
The cabin doesn’t stray far from the CT4-V’s playbook, but 18-way adjustable sports seats up front and a unique leather-wrapped steering wheel with a V-Mode button and Performance Traction Management switch cover the most important bases, while a customizable 12-inch digital gauge cluster with Blackwing-specific graphics adds to the sport-luxe vibe. An 8-inch center touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android auto handles infotainment duties, and a 14-speaker AKG sound system eliminates traffic jams.
Cruising around town on the far-from-perfect tarmac of Los Angeles, the CT4-V Blackwing offers a ride quality that’s significantly superior to the BMW M3 – or anything else in this segment, for that matter. It manages to control body movement while remaining surprisingly compliant in Tour driving mode, and paired with a shifter that’s far more satisfying to use than the BMW’s rubbery six-speed, the CT4-V Blackwing commits to driving even under totally banal conditions. conditions.
But as has become modern Cadillac tradition, the interior just doesn’t live up to the best Europe has to offer. The sports seats are a highlight – comfortable when you need them to be bolstered aggressively enough for more spirited work – but other elements like the switchgear and cheap infotainment system are constant reminders of downsizing efforts GM costs. The latter earns a few points for fast and fair input response, you know, not being the abyssal Cue system used in the ATS-V, but it’s just a bit low compared to the systems used in the CT4 -V Blackwing nearest rivals.
The Caddy earns points in the canyons thanks to its excellent chassis and well-tuned steering. Combined with MRC magic in Sport and Track riding modes and a braking system with linear response and tons of stopping power on tap, the CT4-V Blackwing is easy to acclimate to and generally hard to destabilize whatever whatever PTM setting you’re using.
But the canyons also highlight a missed opportunity. While the V6 has great response for a turbocharged mill and plenty of mid-range thrust, it seems to be a serious deficit to the base M3’s probably underrated 473bhp straight-six. Perhaps more importantly, with its relatively low 6,500 rpm redline and generally uninspiring soundtrack, no matter how the active exhaust dampens it, this engine just doesn’t feel particularly special. Considering the fact that this platform was designed to accept a V8 from the start, it’s hard not to wonder how much of a game-changer the LT1 (or LT2, for that matter) might have been in this application.
Pious hope, I know. In fact, Cadillac says this car and the CT5-V Blackwing will be the last Blackwing models powered by any type of internal combustion, so things aren’t exactly going the way of the big, naturally aspirated V8s.
Fortunately, the CT4-V Blackwing has other charms to offer, and overall it’s a much stronger effort than its predecessor.
What’s new for 2022
The CT4-V Blackwing is apparently the successor to the ATS-V. In addition to its twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 engine, the Blackwing offers a six-speed manual transmission with automatic rev-matching and zero-lift shifting as standard, but a 10-speed automatic with shift paddles. shifting is optional. The Blackwing includes a range of performance-focused chassis hardware that goes beyond what you’ll find in the standard CT4-V, as well as aerodynamic and exterior aesthetic upgrades. Bespoke sports seats and a unique leather-wrapped steering wheel with a V-Mode button and Performance Traction Management switch are also part of the package.
Who Should Buy the 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing
Enthusiasts who want an M3-like driving experience for less money and without the nose, but don’t mind sacrificing a noticeable amount of luxury and straight-line performance to get it.
[Images © 2022 Bradley Iger/TTAC]
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