Cadillac takes on the Europeans with the CT4 Blackwing
Performance sub-brands like Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and Audi Sport have pretty much owned the all-around luxury-performance sport sedan market for decades. Sure, you can get a very powerful Dodge Charger Hellcat or even the Cadillac V-Series, but the Europeans have dominated public perception of luxury, handling, and overall performance.
Cadillac may have just changed all that with the CT4 V-Series Blackwing. Let's break that down a bit so you know what we're talking about. The CT-4 is Cadillac's small sedan. It's about the size of a BMW 3-Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The V-Series is Cadillac's performance sub-brand, with a variety of performance enhancements. The Blackwing name is reserved for the top-performing, most luxurious sport sedans in Cadillac's lineup. So this car is the top of the top tier.
What you get with the CT-4 Blackwing is a twin-turbo V6 engine rated at 472 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque, passed to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission that's every bit as crisp as any manual offered by the Europeans. The Blackwing uses an adaptive suspension with magnetic ride control for a smooth, firm ride that works well on the Northwest's rough roads, or the smooth tarmac of a race course. Cadillac also gifts the Blackwing with huge Brembo brakes so that you will never experience brake fade.
Inside, the Blackwing offers two-tone heated leather seats, Alcantara microfiber suede trim, a performance data and video recorder, and advanced features like a head-up display. Most of those are optional, and you can see the price difference reflected in our information box. The Blackwing isn't cheap, but it is state-of-the-art.
On the tech and safety side, the Blackwing provides an eight-inch touchscreen center display, and a 12-inch driver information dashboard. Audio is courtesy of AKG and all the usual refinements like OnStar and navigation are included. A full suite of advanced driver assistance systems is likewise standard, including front and rear park assist and a high-definition rear view camera.
The tech is all good, but that's not the reason to buy a CT4 Blackwing. This is a car you buy for the driving experience, and that's where the Europeans have reason to be worried. This car is phenomenal. Detroit has never had a problem making horsepower, but the Blackwing also delivers razor-sharp steering response, strong grip on the road, flat cornering, and a predictable handling experience. The CT4 gives you the confidence you need to take it to the race track at full throttle, hard braking, and an apex-clipping line through the corners. Best of all, you'll do all that in perfect comfort.
The 2022 Cadillac CT4 V-Series Blackwing starts just shy of $60,000, but the option packages have value, so expect to spend the as-tested price to get the full value of the car. Plussed-up, the price is about the same as the BMW M3 Competition, so you can compare apples to apples. If you have been thinking this is your year for the sedan you have always wanted, don't buy anything else until you've test-driven the Cadillac Blackwing.
2022 Cadillac CT4 V-Series Blackwing
Base price: $58,995
Price as tested: $75,435
Type: Compact sedan
Engine: 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 (472 hp, 445 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 6-speed manual
EPA estimated mileage: 15/23
Overall length: 187.2 inches
Curb weight: 3,422 pounds
Final assembly: Lansing, Michigan
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