Cadillac offers not one, but two performance sedans.
Cadillac has not one, but two performance sedans in its arsenal, compact and medium-sized models to take on the best of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. The CT4 and CT5 are the latest weapons at Cadillac’s disposal and will soon be joined by range-topping Blackwing editions, themselves designed to win on the track.
Cadillac prices the 2021 CT4 from $34,390 to $46,990 and the 2021 CT5 from $37,990 to $50,390. All prices include the $995 destination charge. Both models seat up to five and come with standard rear-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive.
As for the upcoming Blackwing editions — arriving by summer — the CT4-V Blackwing is priced from $59,990 and the CT5-V Blackwing starts at $84,990. Yes, the price leap is staggering, but the engineering enhancements largely justify the cost.
The CT4 measures 109.3 inches between the wheels and the CT5 comes in at 116 inches. Both models, though, have small trunks measuring 10.7 and 11.9 cubic feet, respectively. That’s well below the industry average and may cause some customers to look elsewhere to meet their needs. Fortunately, Cadillac has a trio of crossovers and the prodigious Escalade SUV to consider instead.
The Cadillac sedans are more similar than they are different, with bold front fascias marked by gaping grilles and plenty of LED accent lighting. Squared edges, chiseled sculpting, and a falling roofline in the CT5 are touches of note. Both models feature pushed-in trunks that are style-makers, but this feature explains why the trunk space is small.
Inside, the CT5 has the better of the two interiors, although neither are especially eye-catching. This is one area where Cadillac needs to improve if matching the Europeans is to happen. Otherwise, the cabins are modern and the controls are smartly arranged.
If you’re looking for a true family sedan, the CT5 is the better choice. That said, the larger sedan has a sloping roofline, so tall people may find the rear bench seat lacking. The CT5 has better rear legroom than the CT4, thus it would be our choice in carrying as many as five average-sized individuals.
Tech & Safety
You’ll find a selection of audio choices in both models, with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone compatibility standard. USB ports, a head-up display, and a wireless charging pad are other features of note. We give Cadillac props for its outstanding infotainment system, which is user-friendly and largely free of aggravation. We can’t say the same for some competing models such as the Lexus IS, for example.
On the safety front, both models come with standard automatic emergency braking, but be mindful of upgrading as you’ll pay extra for features such as adaptive cruise control and reverse automatic braking. Even some mainstream brands include these features as standard equipment.
The big news for 2021 is that both models now offer Cadillac’s stellar Super Cruise system. It represents one of the most advanced driver-assist systems available. Indeed, when activated, Super Cruise allows for hands-free driving on certain closed-access highways. This system is significant as it does two things:
1), Super Cruise reduces driver fatigue, especially on long trips and,
2) the system introduces drivers to what’s coming down the pike, namely fully autonomous driving. We’re not there yet, but the tech is promising and the potential is nearly limitless.
Cadillac supplies two engine choices with the CT4. Most trims come with a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Available on some trims and standard in the V-Series is a 2.7-liter dual-volute turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 325 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission works with the first engine, a 10-speed automatic comes paired with the upgraded engine.
The CT5 uses the same base engine as the CT4, but it utilizes a 10-speed automatic transmission to send power to the wheels. Optionally, customers will find a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine with 335 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque. Once again, a 10-speed automatic is utilized.
The standard engines get the job done in both models, but it’s more suitable for the lighter and smaller CT4. In the CT5, the added vehicle weight along with a full contingent of passengers makes the standard engine work harder. Thus, we think upgrading to the V6 turbo is the better pick. Notably, the larger turbo available in the CT4 matches the performance of some small-block V8 engines; the twin-turbo V6 in the CT5 is just as robust.
Both Cadillac sedans offer predictable handling and a smooth ride, although the CT5 is the more enjoyable of the two. We don’t always recommend upgrading to all-wheel drive, but in this case, we do for anyone who regularly engages in spirited driving. All-wheel drive is also advantageous on slippery roads, especially on mountainous backroads.
Waiting on the Blackwings
When the range-topping Blackwing models appear, the CT4 will have a 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine, while the CT5 will share the same 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine that has powered select Corvette models in the past.
If you emphasize speed, the CT5 will have only a 0.1-second advantage in its 0-60 mph time versus the CT4, reaching that threshold in 3.7 seconds. That’s amazingly close for high-end performance sedans priced $25,000 apart, something that won’t be lost on savvy shoppers.
See Also — High Performance and the Cadillac CT4 Line
Exterior photos copyright Cadillac. Interior photos copyright Stumpwater Media Group, LLC. All rights reserved.