After considering every single new vehicle available to Canadians in the Premium Performance Car segment, weighing different criteria and tabulating votes, one car has emerged victorious.
That car is the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, which has been voted by our jury of more than 20 automotive journalists as the winner of the Best Premium Performance Car in the 2023 AutoTrader Awards.
“At its core, this is a machine that’s silly for the sake of it,” AutoTrader’s Road Test Editor Dan Ilika said in his review. “Forget the electrified future and live in the now, because the CT5-V Blackwing is one of the best cars ever built.”
This super sports sedan is powered by a 6.2-litre V8 that’s hand-built, signed by its maker, and fitted with a newly developed compact supercharger that helps it generate 668 horsepower. This highest-performing of Cadillac sedans is rear-wheel drive and equipped with a six-speed manual transmission.
Though Cadillac is on the brink of a major shift to electric vehicles (EVs), the CT5-V Blackwing captures the magic of decades of motorsports-validated engineering and puts the full arsenal of the brand’s modern performance tech, features, and systems at the tips of the driver’s fingers and toes. The result is “diabolically delightful,” as Ilika writes in his review.
The key draws to this rocket-propelled luxury plaything come down to the numbers: two-wheel drive, three pedals, four doors, six manually shifted gears, eight supercharged cylinders, and a tremendous power-to-price quotient. Think of the CT5-V Blackwing as a four-door C7 Corvette ZR-1, and you can see why it’s so special.
On value, the CT5-V Blackwing serves up impressive power for the dollar, giving drivers access to almost double the output of some similarly priced contenders.
The Blackwing is also packed with innovative features. For instance, Magnetic Ride 4.0 takes ride and handling balance into next-level territory with upgraded damper and control tech, while a user-friendly traction and performance management interface gives the driver easy access to the specific performance capabilities demanded by the situation.
On user friendliness, the CT5-V Blackwing serves up four spacious seats, an easy-to-use infotainment system and performance features, and automatic rev matching and no-lift shifting for the six-speed manual, which make it easier for drivers of all stripes to take in maximum enjoyment and refinement.
Engineering excellence and crushing performance go hand in hand in this machine. Despite the massive power output and startling soundtrack from under the hood, Cadillac’s latest electronic chassis and driveline systems make the CT5-V’s rocket-thruster output easy to access and manage. A sophisticated traction system ensures laser-straight launches and drama-free rear-end grip in most driving, and the suspension can read both road surface and body motion data in real time, making millisecond tweaks to the shocks to keep things comfortable and composed, even in severe use. Further, an animated and informative performance interface lets drivers quickly dial in their favourite performance driving settings.
End result? The Blackwing is an engaging, high-tech, high-performance, precise, confidence-inspiring toybox full of goodies and personality that drivers will enjoy for years to come, as it’s sure to become a future classic. But when people aren’t driving like they’re being chased, the sedan can also soak up laid-back highway cruises with comfort and panache. That duality is very important.
The CT5-V Blackwing easily outgunned the runners up in this category – including the formidable BMW M3/M4, Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman, and the Porsche 911. Choosing a winner amongst these contenders is no easy task. Ultimately, our panel of more than 20 automotive experts considered the CT5-V Blackwing a leader in its segment because of its overall execution, immense personality, and how that contributes to outstanding value.
Though the CT5-V Blackwing’s roughly $98,000 asking price (and fuel bill) aren’t for everyone’s budget, the return-on-investment lands in off-the-charts territory for drivers after a flexible and stunning performer with four doors, three pedals, and sufficient firepower to outrun just about anything else available at this price point – and many machines far above.