I got a chance to spend a week with the Cadillac CT4-V back in 2020, its debut season. It was nice, but maybe a bit underwhelming. At the time though I felt it could stand up against its European mid-sized sport sedan rivals.
The times, however, have changed.
Since then, the world has been torn asunder by covid, chip shortages, and Will Smith slapping Chris Rock.
I’ve also had chance to spend time with some of those Euro sedans; the 230i and M2401, M440i and a Q50 and Q60 to name a few. If I had to be brutally honest, those midsized sports sedans seemed to have a bit more than the CT4 V I had in 2020.
And don’t get me started on the AMG CLA 45 I had for one glorious, too-short, week.
Even the CT5 V, which is bit bigger and has more horses, came my way for a week after that 2020 CT4 V, and helped push it a little farther down the list.
That’s why I was hoping that a new week with a CT4 V, the 2023, would give me a fresh perspective, a new look that could possibly elevate the CT4 V.
Turns out nothing much has changed since 2020, that debut year.
Well, almost nothing that is.
In 2022, the much-heralded Blackwing trim debuted. This top-of-the-line CT4 features a V6 engine with 445 horses (compared to the 380 coming from the inline 4 of the V), and something that is offered on no other Caddy (and few cars on the market today), a 6-speed manual transmission.
To be more than fair there is a great deal sportiness in the CT4 V (even sans the Blackwing designation). Since it’s the top of the CT4 lineup, the V is loaded with leather seating (with front seat massagers), adaptive cruise control, auto-dimming mirrors, ambient lighting inside, automatic high-beam assist; blind-spot monitor and forward collision mitigation, 18-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, sport front seats, a sport steering wheel, and alloy paddle shifters and pedals.
And the V-Series adds a mechanical limited-slip rear differential, Brembo brakes up front, performance traction management and launch control, a sport suspension, adaptive suspension dampers on the rear-wheel-drive variant, and a 14-speaker Bose audio system.
Of course, the V comes with that more powerful inline 4 with 325 horsepower so there’s that. My tester for the week also had the optional Super Cruise, a semi-automated driving system that can be used if you have the subscription. There was also the digital instrument cluster, and a surround view camera system.
The one issue I had with the CT4 V in 2020 was the power under the hood. The CT4 replaced the ATS and the CTS V, the latter of which I had in 2018 and came with supercharged 6.2-liter V8 banging out 640 horses, and I would put up against any Euro rival any day of the God Bless America, week. Of course, the CTS V came out to $103,235, but still, don’t crush my dreams.
I had a week with the ATS back in 2016, and with 464 horses coming out of the 3.6-liter V6 it was pretty much as “just right” as a bowl of porridge on the bear’s table.
Putting all that in perspective then I was hoping the 2023 version of the CT4 V would be able to step up to the plate.
Sadly, it did not.
Sure, I want to wave the American flag; tout the virtues of all things Made in ‘Merica, but the truth is when looking at midsized sport sedans, you must compare the CT4 V to its Euro rivals. And unfortunately, it still doesn’t stand up.
Look I get it, in order to compete in the $46,000 MSRP range, you have to cut corners. However, what you are left with is an interior that seems a bit underwhelming, a small back seat, and a somewhat anemic experience coming from under the hood. You’d think that 325 horses would be enough power. Sadly, you’d be wrong. It’s still an inline 4 cylinder; but even a turbocharged inline 4 can’t keep up with something with even just 2 more cylinders.
The interior, and exterior, styling of the CTS-V and the ATS, wasn’t all that different, yet those two models could easily compete, while the CT4, still falls a little short. And in my mind a lot of that has to do with those horses under the hood.
All that being said, I hope the Blackwing will get the Euro crowd to pay attention. I really do. But I can’t confirm that. At least for now. Hopefully someone at Cadillac will make sure one gets put in the press fleet and I’ll get a chance to. And GM will change my mind.
The 2023 Cadillac CT4 V Series
MSRP (as tested): $54,715
Engine: 2.7 liter inline turbocharged 4 cylinder 325 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 380 lb.-ft torque @ 2000 rpm
Transmission: 10-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 20 city, 29 highway, 23 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested mixed conditions): 31 mpg
Base curb weight: 3,616 lbs.
Length: 187.2 in.
Overall width with mirrors: 77.7 in.
Overall width without mirrors: 71.4 in.
Height: 56.0 in.
Wheelbase: 109.3 in.
Front head room: 38.3 in.
Front leg room: 42.4 in.
Front shoulder room: 55.2 in.
Front hip room: 53.0 in.
Rear head room: 36.5 in.
Rear leg room: 33.4 in.
Rear shoulder room: 53.9 in.
Rear hip room: 52.5 in.
Cargo capacity, all seats in place 10.7 cu.ft.
Basic: 4 yr./ 50,000 mi.
Drivetrain: 6 yr./ 70,000 mi.
Rust: 4 yr./ 50,000 mi.
Roadside: 6 yr./ 70,000 mi.
Free maintenance: 1 yr./ unlimited mi.
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