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The Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing asks if I bought the wrong car

Never miss a new car review!

I hope you know by now that I have no agenda with each review. I simply tell you what I discover in a (hopefully) amusing fashion. The Car Gods, they know. So it was serendipitous when I received an email about the CT5 V Blackwing while this Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing was parked in my driveway:

Happy Day:  The blackwing CT5 is an amazing drive, everything you wrote about it is true no BS.  Driving it is an experience.  My M3 doesn’t sound like that, and everything you wrote about feeling like Maverick when you drive it is spot on.

– Eric

Eric traded in his G80 M3 for the CT5 V, and bless his soul for taking my review to heart. Can the 5’s little bro take P1 as well?

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing

2024 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing Quick Take

Get one:

Superb chassis balance and feedback. Fast. Comfortable. Good-looking. Downright cheap for what you get.

Don’t get one:

Sounds like a Dyson. Still not up to par inside. No one knows what it is.

Soul Score: 9

This is a car made for you and I. How sad the world will be when they are gone.

The 2024 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing Overview

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing

I feel bad for car designers. Fully unleash them, with no budget constraints or pedestrian concerns, and you get something like an F1 car. Travel further down the road of street legality and sales ability, and suddenly the bean counters wake up.

“Take this out, it costs 5 cents per car!”

Repeat that cycle over and over (and over) until you get something like a Saturn SL1. Yuck. Do the good guys ever win?

As a matter of fact they do, and this CT4 V Blackwing is proof. It’s not really necessary in Caddy’s lineup, and it’ll never sell in monster numbers like the M3. Yet here it is. I can tell the designers gave a damn – it’s full of Easter eggs.

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing

Though they look a lot alike, the CT4 is smaller, slightly downmarket, and missing the amazing supercharged V-8. In its place, a twin turbo V-6. Well, something had to go; this car starts at just $61,495.

But really, what ultimately shows who won with this car is the driving experience. Beautiful. Stupendous. Five stars.

I’m not crying, you are.

I convinced Eric. Can I convince myself?

Performance Score: 9. Have an issue, here’s a tissue

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
Press the V button for maximum attack.

On paper, this car is really close to the M3. Power (472), curb weight (3,860), transmission (auto and manual) – hell, even the color. But they are by no means identical, a point I will start with under the hood.

Engine

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
I find anything less than full sport mode to be too sluggish.

In the pantheon of great engines, no one has ever placed a twin-turbocharged V-6 at the top. But this one is definitely in the upper third of that triangle. With 472 horses and 445 lb-ft of torque, this 3.6 liter engine is super smooth, explosive, and fun to drive.

What it is not is an inline-six or a supercharged V-8. The M3’s engine is much smoother, more eager to rev (with a higher red line), and an overall more thrilling thing to wind out each day. As for the CT5, its base price is around $83,000, making the V-8 a $20k premium. It’s worth it, but it’s also not my bank account.

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
The sound out of four pipes is uninspiring.

Another minus point for the CT4 is sound. I’m afriad that aside from a few pops and burbles in sport mode, it’s just not very inspiring. The words “vacuum cleaner” may have escaped my lips on more than one occasion. Maybe an exhaust would help.

I digress. Please know that the CT4’s engine is still wonderful, with a big whack of torque off the line. It’s so powerful that spinning the wheels at anything below 40 is pretty easy, as is kicking out the tail for some antics. We’ll miss engines like this in a few years, it’s just that we’ll miss the others a bit more.

Transmission

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
Ten speeds is a lot, but it’s very intuitive.

You’ll be happy to know that I would give you a hall pass. The ten-speed automatic transmission (no one really needs ten speeds) is wonderful, responsive, and as good as any ZF transmission in the German rides.

Actually, it’s better. Putting an M3 in full Sport + means having the transmission attached directly to your spine to ensure it snaps it in half with each upshift. It also hannnnnnngggsss onto gears forever. Bro, I’m coming to a red light, not the starting line at Monza.

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
The transmission can handle race track duty, or loafing around town.

The CT4 V is different. You can adjust the shifting speed here too, but when in full Sport mode, Cadillac decided you don’t need 9th or 10th gear. Brilliant, because it avoids hunting for things as you’re driving like a lunatic. It’s never harsh, just smooth and easy. Bigger paddles on the wheel would be nice though. Seems to be an ongoing epidemic with modern cars.

The manual – first, do know that Cadillac charges you $2,275 for the automatic. I will assume that the manual in this car is just as good as the CT5 V (the best), so as good as the auto is, I’d probably go with the slower manual option while it’s still here.

Steering and Chassis

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
What a great tiller.

This is where the Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing shines. Let’s first make note that this car had on a set of winter tires, so you can imagine how good it would be with some PS4s on.

I quickly learned that this car should be driven in sport mode all the time. Doing so adds heft to the steering wheel, but in a progressive manner. Still easy to park. The result is just like the CT5 – you feel like you’re putting in work and you’re in full control. Aside from a small dead spot just off center (blaming the tires), it’s perfect in response. You can feel the grip of the front-end, something I thought only the G80 was capable of. Maybe Porsche is on this level? Even then, it’s up there with the best of ’em.

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
GM’s Magnetic Ride Control is here, and once again works wonders.

Holding it all up is GM’s Magnetic Ride Control. Magnetic, or Magnificent? Sport mode works here too – the car is firm, but not bone-crunching like an M car. It allows for a bit of lean in the body, just enough to make you feel the weight transferring. Perhaps the car is a bit too soft in comfort mode, but that just emphasizes the drive modes in this car actually work.

Put it all together, and this car is just so easy to drive smoothly. That’s how you build speed.

Brakes

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
Ceramics aren’t available, but you won’t miss them.

One other big point of differentiation between the 4 and 5 is the availability of carbon ceramic brakes as an option. The CT4 V does not have them, but it’s not really a deal braker (haha, dad joke).

They save 63 pounds in a CT5, but they cost $10,000. Sure, they dust and fade less, but behind the wheel it feels the same. Perhaps the 4’s pedal is too firm, making it sometimes hard to stop smoothly (in comfort mode, it’s too soft). Point here is, the brakes are confidence-inspiring and up to the task of a full track day.

The best way to sum up this car’s performance is how it feels to strap into it the first time. With some cars, it takes awhile to get comfortable enough to go fast. Sometimes, I never get comfortable enough. In the V, I feel just like I do in an M3, and within five minutes I’m zipping around corners like we’ve been dating for years.

Utility Score: 6. Small fry

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
It’s a bit tight back there.

When I think of Cadillac, it’s still hard for me to shake that 70s and 80s vibe of land yachts and dinosaurs. But really, it’s time I grow up – this is a small, maneuverable car that shares a the letter V with DeVille and nothing more.

To prove my point, sit inside. Tight, eh? Not so much in front, that’s fine. But in the rear, it might be hard to fit some rear-facing infant seats without significantly pushing up the front row. At least the trunk works just well, on par with others in the segment.

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
Optional buckets look great, but are a bit tight on the bottom.
Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
Alcantara backings are a nice touch.

The front seats are fascinating. There are standard seats available, and I can only go by what’s online, but they don’t look special and I doubt they have enough lateral support for the kind of moves the CT4 V has. The high-performance buckets this car has is a $4,600 option, and they look a lot better. The back is even wrapped in Alcantara – I had to to add that myself on the M3. But the bottom cushion is narrow, and my left leg was a bit uncomfortable on longer drives. A clutch pedal might make it worse, so just try before you buy.

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
The trunk is fine for daily duty.

Fuel Economy: 8. What a treat

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
Ignore that, it’s just over the last 50 miles.

I drove this car (my wife is nodding in grim agreement), and despite the constant flogging, I averaged nearly 20 MPG overall for the week.

That’s about a mile more than my manual M3, but the Caddy is more powerful, and I’m sure driving it around in Sport without those top two gears didn’t help. The CT5 V was nearly 10 MPG less, in the 13 range, so score one for the little guy.

Features and Comfort: 7. Good enough

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing

This is where things get funny – I swear it’s nearly identical to the CT 5 in almost every detail (hence the same headline and score). Now, the 5 has been updated from that review, so it’s a bit different, but the 4 remains.

The price is right

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
It’s still on the cheaper side.

I’ve been in many GM products by now, and the interior quality has gotten better but still very far away from its competitors.

I know I often bitch about pushing everything into a single screen, and the CT4 V does it right by leaving all the HVAC controls out in the open. The entire dash could have been lifted from the CT5. But that screen is so small, it looks cheap and out of place in a car like this. And for the love of baby Jesus, why does it give everything such an obvious blue hue? Come on, GM.

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
This tiny screen has an ugly blue hue to it.

Now is a good time to mention the price and how to option this car. The aforementioned seats might sound expensive, but they include nice leather, an upgraded steering wheel, microfiber backs, cooling ventilation and massaging functions. The digital dash is sort of crammed behind the wheel but still works as well as it does in the 5 or Corvette. There’s even Alcantara on the doors and headliner, but it’s haphazardly placed and isn’t always a premium look.

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
Similar to iDrive, this knob can scroll through screen selections.

Optioned as it is, the $75k as-tested sticker is still $7,000 less than an equivalent M3, but be silly with the check boxes and watch the price climb to over $93,000.

That’s a solid no for me dawg. Instead, focus on keeping the car at 75 or less, and you have yourself a deal.

Curves without the V

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
Forming the hips of a car like the M3 can be expensive, so Cadillac gives you a flat side.

It’s not about badging – this car is subtle in that regard, as it should be.

But there’s no carbon fiber anywhere, nor any big sexy hips like an M3 has, or the typical scoops, scallops and slashes that make other sport sedans intimidating. The rear wheel arches are, for me, the big problem. The CT4 took Ozempic and ended up losing curves in all the wrong places. The butt is droopy too.

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
Blacked out headlights help distinguish the V.
Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
Droopy butt.

And yea, it looks just like the CT5. Actually, the CT5 looks better.

To be fair, you can add a lip and some side skirts for $10,000, but this is a subtle car regardless. Maybe that’s proper. No one will know you are destroyer of worlds.

So after all that, would you buy a Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing?

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing

Last time, I told you that as good as the CT5 V was, no one knew what it was, and that makes for a lonely ownership experience. But I wanted to know for sure.

So on a Sunday morning, I left the M3 at home and took the Blackwing to a local Cars & Coffee event. Not only was I the sole CT4 V there, I was the only Cadillac. Out of perhaps 500 cars? I parked it amongst a sea of me-too BMWs and Infinitis, got out, and hovered just close enough to be able to hear what people said.

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing

You know what? The car got some attention – the right kind of attention, from real enthusiasts. I heard some confusion as to whether it was a 4 or a 5, others asking if it was a real V, or a V lite. One was excited to see it, only to look inside and discover it was an automatic.

I’m happy to report that the car wasn’t left out. But…

I’m the mayor

Not really, but everyone knows me and my car by now. I drive to shows with five other M3s. I meet friends at shows each week, happy to catch up because we all drive the same car.

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing
Caught ya lookin’.

If I bought a Blackwing tomorrow, I have no doubt I’d still be welcome, but it wouldn’t be the same by any means. The CT5 is so good, I wouldn’t care. But the G80 is also very good, and even though the CT4 is a better driver’s car, we don’t own cars in a vacuum.

If such things don’t matter to you, please select this CT4 V (keep the options down), and enjoy it. I didn’t want to give it back. In fact, I became a little attached to it. The sign of a great car.

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing

Eric made the right choice. And if you read this and decide to buy a Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing, please let me know.

You can be my wing man any time.

Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing

2024 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing Specifications

Vehicle Type: Front-engine, rear wheel drive, five-passenger, four-door sedan.

PRICE

Base: $61,495
As tested: $75,710

POWERTRAIN

3.6 liter twin-turbocharged V-6
472 horsepower @ 5,750 RPM
445 lb-ft @ 3,500-5,000 RPM

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 109 in
Length: 187.6 in
Width: 71.4 in
Height: 56 in
Curb Weight: 3,860 lbs

FUEL ECONOMY

Combined / City / Highway: 18 / 15 / 23

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