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Enthusiasts should check out the most powerful Cadillac before -deciding to go European.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - 2022 CT5 V-Series Blackwing is the most powerful Cadillac every built and is made to take on the best performance sedans in the world.
 Cadillac changed everything about itself in 2002. It was a bold move, and perhaps a little bit desperate, to change the way the brand was perceived. GM's historic luxury brand came out with a new mid-size sedan called the CTS. Unlike prior Cadillacs, the new car was low, angular, and sporty. You could even get it with a manual transmission, which had disappeared from the Cadillac lineup in the 1950s. To drive home the point, they even had Led Zeppelin provide the soundtrack to their TV ads. This was a whole new Cadillac, designed for a new generation. In 2004, they launched the CTS-V, with a powerful engine and track-ready suspension and brakes.

The CTS had a good run, and was replaced by the CT5 for the 2020 model year, and Cadillac again upped the ante for performance. The CT5 V-Series offered more power and performance than ever before. Cadillac is now undisputedly GM's performance brand, and the top performing model is the CT5 V-Series Blackwing. That's a long name, but it's worth learning it for what you're getting in this car.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The 2022 Cadillac CT5 V-Series Blackwing comes with a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 rated at 668 orsepower and your choice of a six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission.

The CT5 Blackwing carries a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine with 668 horsepower and 659 pound-feet of torque. Power is delivered to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic.

Let's dispense with one old myth right away: The automatic transmission is faster than the manual, but the manual gearbox is more fun. With the automatic, the CT5 Blackwing will hit 60 MPH from a standing stop in just 3.4 seconds. The manual is a heartbeat slower at 3.6 seconds. Just to compare, that acceleration is the same as a Lamborghini Murcielago; one of the fastest exotic cars in the world 20 years ago. In the decades since, exotics have only trimmed 10ths of a second off that time, making the Blackwing a competitive performer with the fastest cars ever made.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - Inside, the 2022 Cadillac V-Series CT5 Blackwing is equal parts luxury and performance. And yes, that is a manual shifter for the six-speed transmission.

Oh, you can also exceed 200 MPH in the Blackwing, if you can find a place to do it. I suggest the Bonneville Salt Flats. There's nothing to hit and you won't end up in prison.

Inside, the CT5 Blackwing is equal parts luxury and performance. It's a nice leather interior with all the comforts and conveniences. You also get some race-inspired cues like a red stripe around the top of the steering wheel so you can tell which way is up when drifting around a curve at full opposite lock. There's also a lot of carbon fiber trim in case you might forget that this supercharged beast is a sports car.

All the tech and nice audio quality you could ever want is there. It works. I tried it but really didn't pay that much attention to it. The Blackwing is a car you can drive

to work every day, but no one's choosing it based on the touchscreen.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The supportive front sports bucket seats in the 2022 Cadillac CT5 V-Series Blackwing help hold the driver in place during hard cornering.

On the road, the Blackwing is everything you'd expect. The suspension is tight but won't jar your fillings loose on Portland roads. The engine provides massive amounts of power. Only self-control will save your insurance rates and driver's license. The car is tremendously enjoyable, and if you like to run track days, you'll be able to humiliate drivers of European sports sedans with impunity. There's even an optional performance data and video recorder to memorialize your achievements.

The 2022 Cadillac CT5 V-Series Blackwing retails for $106,295 as we tested it. You can shave that back down under $100,000 if you drop the optional carbon fiber packages and the ultraview sunroof. Those don't really improve performance anyway. The base price of $83,995 plus $995 destination puts the Blackwing on par with other top performance-luxury sedans, so if you're shopping Mercedes-AMG or BMW M, you'll really want to check out Cadillac before you make a decision.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The 2022 Cadillac CT5 V-Series Blackwing is long, low and racy, with all the performance an enthusiast could want.

2022 Cadillac CT5 V-Series Blackwing

Base price: $83,995

Price as tested: $106,290

Type: Midsize sedan

Engine: 6.2-liter supercharged V8 (668 hp, 659 lbs-ft)

Transmission: 6-speed automatic; 10-speed automatic

EPA estimated mileage: 13/21

Overall length: 194.9 inches

Curb weight: 4,123 pounds

Final assembly: Lansing, Michigan

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