Cadillac CT4 impresses with performance and luxury
When it comes to performance-luxury sedans, the Europeans and the Japanese have dominated the market for a long time. Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Acura, and Infiniti all have their admirers. Yet even though Cadillac was winning on race tracks and delivering standout technology and comfort, the quintessential American luxury brand never quite made it into the performance-luxury club.
That should really change with the 2021 Cadillac CT4. This is a world-class compact sedan that can compete with the best of the premium sedans and win on its merits as well as on price.
It starts with the engine. You can get the CT4 with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, but the one you want is the 2.7-liter twin-volute turbo engine. This powerplant delivers 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Roughly speaking, that's V8 levels of power with four-cylinder fuel economy. The engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission to make the best use of that power. Buyers can choose traditional rear-wheel-drive or Northwest-friendly all-wheel-drive.
With that package, the CT4 delivers 0-60 performance of about 5 seconds, a top speed of 165 MPH, and a quarter-mile time of in the mid-13-second range. Suspension and brakes are commensurate with the engine and driveline, giving you a smooth, firm ride and confident cornering. The CT4 is a compact chassis, so it's precise in its steering and responsive to driver inputs.
Inside, you won't give up any luxury by choosing the CT4. Heated and ventilated leather seats, heated steering wheel, and 18-way seat adjustments make the CT4 one of the most deliciously comfortable cars you can buy. The dashboard tech is state-of-the-art with an eight-inch touchscreen in the center, paired with a 12-inch configurable driver information screen and a head-up display to put critical information in your field of vision. There's a wireless charging pad, too.
The CT4 offers all the latest safety and driver assistance features, and one outstanding feature that is industry-exclusive to Cadillac. That's Super Cruise, which combines lane keeping and adaptive cruise control with super-accurate GPS navigation to give the CT4 limited self-driving capabilities.
Here's how it works: Cadillac mapped every inch of the U.S. and Canadian Interstate highway system, and put that map into the CT4. When you're on the freeway, you can engage Super Cruise and it will keep the CT4 in its lane and following the prevailing traffic speed without your hands on the wheel. There are caveats, of course. The main rule being that the driver must keep eyes on the road at all times, and be ready to take control if something unexpected happens. Despite what other manufacturers may claim, Cadillac Super Cruise is the most advanced assisted driving system on the market today.
After a week driving the CT4, this car earned my personal best rating: I didn't want to give it back. While the American public is in love with SUVs, I still prefer the crisp handling and nimble driving experience of a passenger car, and the Cadillac hit all the right marks for me. If you've been driving an SUV for a while, consider a test drive; you might be surprised how much you like it.
2021 Cadillac CT4 Premium Luxury AWD
Base price: $41,990
Price as tested: $46,865
Type: Compact luxury sedan
Engine: 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (310 hp, 350 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 21/29
Overall length: 187.2 inches
Curb weight: 3,732 pounds
Final assembly: Lansing, Michigan
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