As a competitor to Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and BMW, the CT-5 has to look both tough and sophisticated. The designers nailed this one. PHOTO: CADILLAC

As a competitor to Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and BMW, the CT-5 has to look both tough and sophisticated. The designers nailed this one. PHOTO: CADILLAC

Cadillac CT5-V: Performance, style and value

If there’s such a thing as a bargain luxury-performance sedan, this is it

With much talk centred on the coming electric-vehicle revolution, it’s interesting that Cadillac continues to offer an expanding assortment of performance sedans that lean on internal-combustion engines.

Cadillac will indeed be a leader for parent company General Motors’ electrification effort, but in the meantime the new V-Series sedans growl and snort delightful sounds with pistons, turbochargers and gasoline. Bottom line? Enjoy them while you can.

The midsize CT5-V – the subject of this review – and the smaller CT4-V are equipped with higher-output powertrains (plus a number of specialty features) that separate them from their less-sporting relatives.

Being sedans, the pond they swim in is dominated by BMW, Lexus, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. The four brands also offer assorted performance models. For BMW, they get the M badge. For Lexus it’s the letter F, Audi builds S and RS variants and Mercedes-Benz has its AMG models.

For Cadillac, it’s all in the V.

The first-ever CT5-V builds on the precision-focused details of the all-new luxury sedan introduced earlier this year to offer elevated road performance and an engaging driving experience. PHOTO: CADILLAC

The first-ever CT5-V builds on the precision-focused details of the all-new luxury sedan introduced earlier this year to offer elevated road performance and an engaging driving experience. PHOTO: CADILLAC

The CT-5, which was launched for the 2020 model year alongside the CT4, shares styling DNA with Cadillac’s three XT-class utility vehicles, particularly in the shape of the grille. The result is a sharp- and smart-looking sedan with subtly sculpted body panels that will neither offend or cause passersby to point and stare.

The CT5 is about 18 centimetres longer than the CT4 and has a wheelbase that’s greater by the same amount. With the difference mostly going to the CT5’s passengers, trunk room is only slightly greater than the CT4’s.

The gauges, switches and steering-wheel controls are intuitively laid out and the 10-inch high-definition touch-screen has a convenient volume knob (some vehicles make you go to the screen). The fussy pistol-grip shifter isn’t as intuitive as a conventional lever, but it’s better than dials or buttons.

The base CT5 uses a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder producing 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Optional is a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V-6 with 335 horses and 405 pound-feet. A 10-speed automatic transmission directs power to the rear wheels, or optionally to all four.

The CT5-V is something else. You get a 360-horsepower version of 3.0-litre V-6 and the kind of content you would expect/want in a performance sedan, such as an electronic limited-slip rear differential, sport suspension with constantly adjusting (1,000 times per second) dampers, Brembo-brand brakes and a traction-management system originally developed for the Chevrolet Corvette. Each of the modes – Dry, Wet, Race and two Sport levels – vary the traction and stability settings, or the system can be turned off for intervention-free driving.

As with the standard CT5, the V is available in rear- or all-wheel-drive, which is significant in terms of traction and four-seasons suitability. (The AWD test car was shod with winter tires.)

The car makes some fantastic noises during acceleration. Push the “V”-mode button on the steering wheel for custom performance settings including one that makes the exhaust even louder.

It might look like the normal CT5 interior, but there’s a Race mode and two levels of Sport mode, paddle shifters and a little “V” button on the steering wheel the makes the car sound louder. PHOTO: CADILLAC

It might look like the normal CT5 interior, but there’s a Race mode and two levels of Sport mode, paddle shifters and a little “V” button on the steering wheel the makes the car sound louder. PHOTO: CADILLAC

At each gear change under moderate to hard acceleration, there’s a short and sudden ‘BLAAAP’ noise – also common to Audi and Mercedes-Benz competitors – and will likely give CT5-V owners a thrill. Until it gets annoying and they change exhaust modes.

According to Cadillac, the CT5-V can reach 60 mph (96 km/h) from rest in a reasonably quick 4.6 seconds, which feels about right.

Fuel consumption is rated at 12.7 l/100 km in the city, 9.1 on the highway and 11.1 combined.

Pricing starts at $53,300 for the RWD model and $55,500 for the AWD version. Among the option packages is Cadillac’s latest semi-autonomous Super Cruise system that for 2021 comes with lane-change-on-demand capability (which does exactly what you think it would do).

Other extras include a panoramic sunroof, driver’s- and passenger’s-seat lumbar massage, illuminated door handles and sill plates and a 15-speaker Bose-brand audio system. Key active-safety technology is included, such as emergency braking and blind-spot warning, but lane-departure warning and active cruise control are optional.

The question is whether the CT5-V’s attributes put it in the same league with the BMWs and Audis of the world. The answer is absolutely. The bonus is that the Cadillac costs less, which makes it a terrific value.

Compared with the CT4, the CT5 has about 18 more centimetres of space between the front and rear wheels, which means the rear-seat space is quite generous. PHOTO: CADILLAC

Compared with the CT4, the CT5 has about 18 more centimetres of space between the front and rear wheels, which means the rear-seat space is quite generous. PHOTO: CADILLAC

What you should know: 2021 Cadillac CT5-V

Type: Rear- /all-wheel-drive midsize sedan

Engine (h.p.): 3.0-litre V-6, twin-turbocharged (360)

Transmission: 10-speed automatic

Market position: Cadillac is attempting to compete with other premium-level models by offering a range of sophisticated sedans with reasonable levels of luxury plus available performance powertrains.

Points: The CT5’s styling is attractive and Cadillac adds just enough to the V to make it distinctive and athletic. • Potent twin-turbo V-6 and 10-speed automatic transmission make a great team. • Surprising that a complete array of dynamic safety technologies is not standard. • Blackwing model with a considerably more powerful engine is slated for 2022.

Driver assist: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (std.); active cruise control (opt.); front-emergency braking (std.); lane-departure warning (opt.); pedestrian detection (opt.)

L/100 km (city/hwy): 12.7/9.1 (RWD)

Base price (incl. destination): $53,300

BY COMPARISON

BMW M340i xDrive

  • Base price: $62,900
  • A 382-horsepower turbo inline six-cylinder is standard, as is all-wheel-drive.

Lexus IS 500 F Sport

  • Base price: $75,000 (est.)
  • Upcoming 2022 RWD model uses a 5.0-litre V-8 that puts out 472 horsepower.

Audi S4

  • Base price: $66,400
  • The sporty version of the A4 runs with a turbo 349-h.p. V-6. AWD is standard.

– written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram

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