2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing Review: Greatness Adjacent

January 31, 2022 16:08
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Quick Facts

2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing Fast Facts

3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (472 hp at 5,750 rpm, 445 lb-ft at 3,500-5,000 rpm)

Six-speed manual transmission, rear-wheel drive

15 City / 23 Highway / 18 Combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

15.2 city / 10.2 highway / 13.0 combined. (NRCan rating, L/100km)

base price

$58,995 (US) / $65,948 (Canada)

As tested

$70,235 (US) / $75,083 (Canada)

Prices include $995 destination surcharge in the United States and $2,300 for freight, PDI and A/C tax in Canada and cannot be directly compared due to cross-border equipment differences.

The deck was stacked against the CT4-V Blackwing long before it rolled up my driveway. My seat in Cadillac’s latest compact sports sedan came not only after a stint in the sadly stylized but otherwise very good G80 BMW M3, but also after the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, the latter of which is arguably the best sports sedan ever produced. Yes, the CT5 takes up a different space (and price range) in the market, but these two cars have such a similar style that it’s easy to mistake one for the other at a glance.

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that they’re both built on a modified version of GM’s Alpha architecture, a platform that also underpins the sixth-generation Camaro. That certainly bodes well for the CT4-V Blackwing from a dynamic standpoint, but ultimately that commonality is a double-edged sword.

Don’t get me wrong – the smaller Blackwing does a lot of things right, and it also does some important things better than the M3, undercutting it by over 10,000. The CT4-V Blackwing is a legitimately great car to drive. The problem is, it doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

Since the Blackwing name now represents Cadillac’s peak performance (but not the engine that motivates them), the CT4-V Blackwing features a range of fast hardware. Aero parts such as the front splitter, fender vents, rock extensions and rear spoiler are present to channel the air well, while black accents and unique mesh grilles add to the visual drama. Look beyond the updated bodywork, though, and it’s clear that the CT4-V Blackwing essentially picks up where the ATS-V left off.

Under the hood is an all-aluminium 3.6-litre direct-injection, twin-turbo, 24-valve, dual-overhead-cam, twin-turbocharged V6. The powerplant is largely inherited from the ATS-V, but revisions to the air intake and engine calibration have allowed Cadillac engineers to wring out eight more ponies for a total of 472 horsepower. Peak torque remains unchanged at 445 lb-ft.

The standard gearbox is a six-speed manual with useful features such as lift-less upshifts and automatic rev-matching, but those who prefer not to row themselves can jump for the optional 10-speed automatic. Either way, the power is sent to the rear and routed through an electronically controlled differential lock. The combination would be good for a 0-60mph sprint in 3.8 seconds with the automatic or four seconds flat with the six-speed manual, and the CT4-V Blackwing will keep pulling all the way to 289mph.

When it’s time to rein in speed, the CT4-V Blackwing is fitted with six-piston Brembo calipers and 14.96-inch rotors at the front, while four-piston units and 13.4-inch discs are at the rear. equipped. Forged 18-inch wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires specially developed for this car.

There are also the required stiffer spring rates and bushings, reinforced anti-roll bars and additional bracing to improve structural rigidity, but the big news at the front of the chassis is the adaptive dampers. Like the CT5-V Blackwing, the fourth-generation Magnetic Ride Control shocks are part of the deal with the CT4-V Blacking, and Cadillac says they can not only adapt to changing road conditions four times faster than the previous generation. , they also retrieve more accurate information, which in turn improves both ride quality and stability at high performance.

The cabin isn’t far off the CT4-V’s playbook, but the 18-way adjustable front sport seats and a unique leather-wrapped steering wheel with a V-Mode button and a Performance Traction Management switch cover the key bases, while a customizable 12-inch digital gauge cluster with Blackwing-specific graphics adds to the sporty luxury look. An 8-inch central touchscreen display with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android auto takes care of infotainment tasks, and a 14-speaker AKG audio system clears up the glitches.

The CT4-V Blackwing rides around town on LA’s far less-than-perfect tarmac, delivering a ride quality that’s absolutely superior to the BMW M3 – or anything else in the segment, for that matter. It manages to control body movements while remaining surprisingly docile in Tour driving mode, and paired with a shifter that’s much more satisfying to use than the BMW’s rubbery six-speed gearbox, the CT4-V Blackwing exciting to drive even under totally everyday driving conditions.

But as the modern Cadillac tradition has become, the interior is no match for the best that Europe has to offer. The sport seats are a highlight — comfortable when you need them to still be supported aggressively enough for more spirited work — but other elements like the cheap-feeling switchgear and infotainment system serve as constant reminders of GM’s cost-cutting efforts. The latter wins back some points for quick input responses and just, you know, it’s not the terrible Cue system used in the ATS-V, but it’s just a little low compared to the systems used in the CT4 -V Blackwing’s closest rivals.

The Caddy wins back some points in the canyons thanks to its excellent chassis and well-tuned steering. Combined with the MRC magic in the Sport and Track riding modes and a linear response braking system and tons of braking power on tap, the CT4-V Blackwing is easy to get used to and generally hard to derail, no matter what PTM setting you have. reuse.

But the canyons also mark a missed opportunity. While the V6 has excellent response for a turbocharged mill and plenty of mid-range pushes, it feels like it’s significantly short of the base M3’s probably underrated 473 horsepower inline-six. Perhaps more importantly, with its relatively low 6,500rpm redline and generally uninspiring soundtrack, no matter how the active exhaust muffles it, this bike just doesn’t feel particularly special. Considering that this platform was designed to accept a V8 from the get-go, it’s hard not to wonder what a game-changer the LT1 (or LT2, for that matter) could have been in this application.

Wishful thinking, I know. In fact, Cadillac says that this car and the CT5-V Blackwing will be the last Blackwing models to be powered by any form of internal combustion, so things aren’t really moving in the direction of big, naturally aspirated V8s.

Fortunately, the CT4-V Blackwing has other charms to offer, and overall it’s a much stronger effort than its predecessor.

What’s new for 2022

The CT4-V Blackwing is apparently the successor to the ATS-V. Along with its 3.6-litre twin-turbo V6 engine, the Blackwing scores a standard six-speed manual transmission with automatic rev-matching and upshifts without a lift, but a 10-speed automatic with paddle shifters is optional. The Blackwing includes a range of performance chassis hardware beyond what you find in the standard CT4-V, along with aerodynamic and aesthetic upgrades to the exterior. Custom sports seats and a unique leather-wrapped steering wheel with a V-Mode button and a Performance Traction Management switch are also part of the package.

Who should buy the 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing?

Enthusiasts looking for an M3-esque driving experience for less money and no muzzle, but don’t mind sacrificing a noticeable amount of luxury and some straightforward performance to get it.

[Images © 2022 Bradley Iger/TTAC]

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