As a consolation for not getting a heated steering wheel in our $60,000 Cadillac CT4-V, GM offers a $25 bill credit for the car. If you don’t have a rear parking aid, there’s an additional $50 off. So $75 in credits for two features that are held hostage by the global semiconductor shortage, but are actually essential for a luxury car. Really GM? The price of an Uber ride to the airport?
The shortage and lack of any real discount for the missing features is a real shame, both for customers who have ordered (or might consider) a CT4 and for GM, which is stuck building cars without essential features, on cars that define themselves through their luxurious features. In Canada, especially for those who drive luxury cars, a heated steering wheel is much like underfloor heating in the ensuite bath: anyone who has ever dealt with it can no longer live without it.
It’s also a shame for the CT4-V. The subcompact sports sedan is otherwise a pleasant car for a reasonable price, as it has AWD, a plethora of features and plenty of poke. At $48,000 to start for the V-series, the CT4-V gets excellent brakes, tight steering and an engine that really surprises considering it only runs four cylinders.
Most four-cylinders are about as exciting as electric weed beaters; but Cadillac managed to squeeze 325 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque out of this turbocharged 2.7-liter. Hit the throttle hard and the AWD claws forward like a cougar chasing rabbits. No, sonorous exhaust fumes don’t stand much in the way of calming the inner soul, but the return to 100 km / h is thrilling. Shifting can be controlled automatically by the 10-speed gearbox or performed via magnesium paddle shifters. (While some have reported weird mapping or a lack of refinement in the 10-speed transmission, we had no issues.) Fuel economy averaged 9.6 l/100 km in a mix of highway and city driving.
Handling, too, was neat and composed, even when pushed hard, reminiscent of the rear-wheel drive ATS this car was modeled after. It’s no Carrera, of course, but it’ll devour country lanes with a casual disregard for physics, remaining as composed in tight S-turns as it is in big corners, delivering the kind of playfulness to be found in something with a much higher monthly payment. Selectable drive modes, a customizable “My Mode” and V Mode change transmission shifting, suspension, steering and braking feel, as well as front-rear torque distribution. It is simply fun to drive fast in this car. It definitely has to be compared back-to-back with the limited edition CT4-V Blackwing and its 472 horsepower twin-turbocharged V6. That car starts at just over $65,000 before options.
Track Test: 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing
Car Review: 2021 Cadillac CT4 Premium Luxury
Therein lies a problem. The fastest and best CT4 Blackwing costs just $5,000 more than our CT4-V AWD with mediocre options. As such, our Cadillac didn’t feel all that special, even though the design is very good and looks good in its beautiful skin of ‘blaze orange metallic’, paired with a black leather interior lined with orange piping. It’s a brilliantly beautiful GM product to be sure, but it never felt like the driver was getting royal treatment – this because of a nameplate that earns its reputation as a car for the kings and queens of the industry. Compared to a similarly priced Mercedes, BMW or Audi, the CT4 didn’t have enough premium features.
Yes, the head-up display is great and the configurable 12-inch digital dash is easy on the eyes, but the tiny 8-inch infotainment touchscreen is much the same as an Equinox’s. At least there are real buttons, wireless charging, and CarPlay instead of silly, touch-sensitive controls that drive most users crazy. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, and the electronic shifter has a good sound when put into park. But why is safety so over the top that I have to fasten my seatbelt to back up and pull out of the driveway to park on the street? Console storage is not abundant. Space in the back seat is limited, but the trunk can easily fit three large golf bags.
And then there’s the current shortage of chips that eliminates the availability of a heated steering wheel, an ordeal that portends a difficult electronic future should this be the last days of internal combustion at Cadillac. Sure, GM could retrofit the CT4-V to warm our hands in the winter, but for many that could just be a case of too little too late. How about $7,500 off a CT4-V now instead of $75?