Apologies in advance to those who already know this, but a lone V at the end of a Cadillac’s name no longer denotes the fastest, most powerful version of that particular model.
Those are now called Blackwings, and since there are no black wings – or, y’know, twin-turbocharged engines – attached to the car you see here, the four-cylinder 2022 Cadillac CT4-V is merely the mid-performance version of Caddy’s entry-level sedan.
It’s what M Performance is to BMW. Sportier and more powerful than the base CT4 but not the full, world-beating performance car that might grace the cover of Fast Cars Are Cool, Eh? magazine. As a result, the CT4-V has the bones and a lot of the dynamic makings of a proper sport sedan; but as a complete package, it ultimately leaves a bit to be desired.
Aesthetically, the CT4-V is generally alright looking from the front and the side but admittedly quite awkward from rear angles. In any case, Cadillac has added the option of this Blaze Orange Metallic colour to the CT4 range for 2022 that helps the car visually stand out.
Interior design isn’t bad either. General Motors (GM) and Cadillac, in particular, have come a long way when it comes to cabin materials and while most of the CT4-V’s interior does consist of softer plastics, cool, glossy carbon fiber, attractive alloys, and nicely stitched leathers, some parts do still feel jarringly cheap. The most notable one being the grey plastic piece in between the centre vents and the infotainment screen that houses the infotainment system’s physical home button.
Under the hood of the CT4-V is a 2.7L turbocharged four-cylinder making 325 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. This tester happens to be equipped with all-wheel drive, but rear-wheel drive is standard.
Purely in terms of forward thrust, this powertrain is fairly capable, able to get this sedan to highway speeds in a sufficient hurry. In terms of refinement and character, however, it would not feel out of place in a Chevrolet Malibu.
The sound it makes when you step on it would best be described as a characterless drone, managing to be unexciting by performance car standards and too harsh by luxury car measures. In another universe, I may have been willing to forgive this on account of it being a four-cylinder; but the one in which we live – where Mercedes-AMG, Hyundai’s N performance sub-brand, and even Honda have all crafted turbo-fours that aren’t a complete chore to wring out – I don’t think I should let Cadillac off so easy.
Not helping matters is a 10-speed automatic transmission that frankly feels janky. Paddle-operated manual shifts happen relatively slowly, while the paddles themselves feel and operate cheaply. Outside of full-throttle redline upshifts, meanwhile, swaps between gears feel straight-up mushy.
Driving Feel: 9/10
Much more positively, though, the CT4-V provides an excellent showing in the corners. The Alpha platform, which is also used in the bigger CT5 and the Chevrolet Camaro, is no joke when it comes to balance and poise, and this car feels properly planted and controllable through bends as a result.
Steering rises to the occasion, too, by being well weighted, precise, and exhibiting a relatively good amount of feel. It’s got that endearingly tactile feedback you get from older BMWs, as well as the Kia Stinger/Genesis G70 twins. Piloting the CT4-V through winding backroads, it felt almost unflappable but wasn’t completely stoic, either.
Brake pedal travel is remarkably short even by sport sedan standards, making it feel purposeful and your inputs that much more immediate. There’s little to no dead zone at the top in the sportiest drive mode, but it manages this without becoming jerky.
Fun, predictable, and focused, the mid-performance CT4 is one of the better handling luxury sedans out there.
When you’re done carving corners and ready to head back home, adaptive cruise control works well at keeping a steady pace and away from other vehicles. There’s no Super Cruise-style lane centring, so the onus of keeping the car pointed in the right direction is still very much on the driver. (The hands-free functionality was discontinued for this year due to the global semiconductor shortage, according to a company spokesperson.) But lane-keep assist with lane departure warning serves as a small safety net.
Other safety features include front pedestrian braking, enhanced automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and a Teen Driver function that locks certain safety systems in the on position and produces in-car report cards.
As-tested, this Cadillac CT4-V came with a good helping of creature comforts and tech doodads, but quite a few of them are bundled in optional packages. For example, the Technology package brings along a cabin air ionizer, 12-inch digital gauge cluster, and head-up display, and is probably worth the additional $1,555. The sunroof is a $1,295 à la carte add-on.
A 15-speaker premium sound system sounds middlingly alright; nothing to write home about in the context of luxury sound systems, but nothing to complain about, either.
The $700 Climate package is supposed to add heated and ventilated seats, as well as a heated steering wheel, but likely another victim of the microchip shortage, cars built between certain dates didn’t actually come with these equipped, including the unit tested here. (Funnily enough, the heated and ventilated seat buttons were still present but didn’t do anything.)
User Friendliness: 9/10
As for the buttons and switches that do work, most are placed logically, and I’m glad Cadillac has stuck with as many physical controls as it has instead of relegating everything to a touchscreen – a philosophy that will largely carry on into the brand’s future if the new Lyriq EV is any indication. It’s a pretty simple cabin to navigate, while the eight-inch infotainment touchscreen is one of the better ones on the market in terms of usability. I’m a particular fan of the old-iPhone-style physical home button despite it physically feeling a bit cheap.
“Functional but not very flashy” applies to the screen itself, too, because eight inches is relatively small these days. Heck, a Hyundai Elantra can be bought with a 10.25-inch screen these days. The software’s visuals also look quite basic – a bit like a bare, work-in-progress operating system that’s yet to have a more elegant Cadillac-specific theme applied to it.
Size-wise, Cadillac likes to think of the CT4 as a competitor to the subcompact BMW 2 Series, Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, and, transitively I guess, the new Acura Integra. Unlike that Integra, however, the CT4’s back seats are quite small for a sedan. Rear legroom is usable, but headroom back there is marginal, even for someone of average height. These rear seats should be OK for youngsters, but those who ferry around other adults with any regularity – or are considering the CT4 as a solution to get on the fancier, higher-profit rungs of the rideshare game – should probably look elsewhere.
The Cadillac CT4-V does indeed come standard with the much-vaunted magnetic ride control, but for some reason, the feature is deleted if you get all-wheel drive. Even so, this more traditionally-damped, winter-ready CT4-V still rides quite well. Most bumps are relayed into the cabin, as they probably should be in a sport sedan like this, but they’re also smoothed out just enough to keep things from being truly harsh. It’s a decent balance between comfort and alertness, as far as I’m concerned, but those looking for a more classic Cadillac ride may want to opt for a non-V version.
Road and wind noise is kept out fairly well, while the seats are ergonomically well-done, with little to no pain or numbness after a long drive. Seat bolsters are adjustable, but I would’ve liked if the driver’s seat could be positioned lower.
Fuel Economy: 8/10
This being a turbocharged four-cylinder, fuel economy is quite reasonable for the amount of power on tap. Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has rated the all-wheel-drive CT4-V for 12.0 L/100 km in the city, 8.4 on the highway, and 10.4 combined. After almost 600 mixed test km, I observed 10.9 L/100 km.
The CT4-V starts at $47,798, but after about $12,000 worth of options and $2,200 for destination, the as-tested price came out to $62,378. This feels a bit expensive compared to the other, mostly bigger sport sedans you can have in this price range. For practically the same money, one can get an Acura TLX Type S – a physically bigger car with a superior powertrain. Admittedly, though, the TLX doesn’t feel quite as good as the CT4-V in the corners. Alternatively, a Genesis G70 3.3T Sport goes for an all-inclusive $59,500 and is the clear value winner in this space.
As a complete package, the 2022 Cadillac CT4-V is only an OK sport sedan. On the one hand, it’s a great handler, beautifully balances comfort and sport in its drive, and, a few gripes aside, looks and feels like a sufficiently luxurious item. But its biggest letdown is definitely its powertrain. The fact that it’s also quite small for the money and doesn’t offer anything all that special when it comes to tech makes it a bit of a hard sell.
I hate to dredge up old stereotypes but, historically, American performance cars have had a reputation for prioritizing power over poise. Big, rumbling V8s that were great on the drag strip (or between the lights) but notably out of their element through the bends. With the CT4-V, though, it’s as though Cadillac has overcorrected. The steering, the balance, the road-holding – it’s all extremely well done. But once that road straightens out, there’s little emotional reason to stomp on the gas and wind it out.
|Engine Cylinders||Turbo I4|
|Peak Horsepower||325 hp @ 5,500 rpm|
|Peak Torque||380 lb-ft @ 2,000–4,000 rpm|
|Fuel Economy||12.0 / 8.4 / 10.4 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb|
|Cargo Space||303 L|
|Model Tested||2022 Cadillac CT4-V|
|Price as Tested||$62,378|
$12,280 – No heated steering wheel, -$25; No Park Assist or Reverse Automatic Braking, -$50; Sunroof, $1,295; Technology Package, $1,555; All-wheel drive, $575; Blaze Orange Metallic paint, $900; Jet Black leather with mini-perforated inserts, $2,420; Lighting Package, $300; LTO, Onyx Package, $4,610; Climate Package, $700