The Cadillac CT4-V is really just a warmed-over ATS

Last week, Cadillac announced that it is releasing two new sedans, dubbed the CT4-V and the CT5-V. Since the launch of the V-Series performance brand, the vehicles in that line have been equipped with very powerful engines and the chassis and brake setup to match, but these new cars signal a change in the V-Series as only a pure performance line.

The CT4-V has some admirable specs on paper. Its 2.7-liter turbocharged engine produces 320 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. That’s a large increase in torque but a drop of 15 horsepower over the mid-level 3.6-liter V-6 engine that is in the outgoing ATS. Torque can be more fun, but the likely reason that this motor is so torquey is because it was designed as a truck engine for the Silverado from the outset. That’s according to the Chevrolet announcement on the engine last October.

Once we start digging deeper into the numbers, it becomes readily apparent that although GM made some changes to the car, the CT4-V is basically a rehash of the ATS Premium Performance trim, albeit with a new engine and transmission. According to the Cadillac media site, the CT4-V has a wheelbase of 109.3 inches, which is an exact match for the outgoing ATS. Overall length grows by about 4 inches, and the new sedan is around an inch taller. Width is the only number that drops—reduced by around an inch.

2020 Cadillac CT4-V rear 3/4 driving
2020 Cadillac CT4-V GM

Both the ATS and CT4-V have the exact same front track width of 60.3 inches and a rear track width of 61.7 inches, which is likely a sign that the suspension geometry underneath is unchanged. Some parts will probably migrate to the new car. It follows, then, that wheel sizes and offsets are carried over (as the track width changes based on wheel offset and size.)

The interior dimensions are almost an exact match, with a few of the measurements changing by tenths of an inch. The cabin should have a very similar feel to the ATS as far as space and proportions are concerned.

Going inside the wheels, we find that the brakes are 12.6 x 1.2-inch units in the front with 12.4 x 0.9-inch units in the rear. The fronts are equipped with 4-pot fixed Brembo calipers while the rears have sliding units. If we flip back to the ATS specs, it was equipped with the same exact package that includes the 4-pot Brembos specially made for Cadillac for their mid-trim models.

The 10-speed transmission is an update over the old eight-speed unit, but the rear differential appears to be carried over. The 2.85 final drive on the CT4-V is an exact match for the 2.85 final drive that was previously used on the 2.0-liter turbo ATS with automatic transmission.

The CT4-V does get some cool performance features, such as a limited-slip rear differential and Magnetic Ride Control on RWD models, but these features were also standard on the ATS Premium Performance trim. It appears that there is some new drive mode tuning in the form of something called V-Mode. The only thing that is really unique to the updated sedan is the availability of Super Cruise, which was previously only available on top trims of the CT6 sedans.

2020 Cadillac CT4-V interior
2020 Cadillac CT4-V GM

Cadillac appears to have taken a hint from the Germans by trying to harness the marketing value of its performance brand, even for lesser-performance cars. But Cadillac seemed to have a decent system in place with the V-Sport trim on the CTS and XTS, which signified that they were performance-minded vehicles but not the full-out V-Series versions. The new way of calling everything a V just seems to make everything confusing, at least until we find out what the planned all-out V models will be called.

While the mixed messages are probably not a net positive for Cadillac at the moment, some are understanding the CT4-V as a lighter ATS-V with less power, but don’t forget that CT4-V is actually a mid-level ATS that weighs 86 pounds more than the vehicle that it is replacing, and it lacks all of the ATS-V’s track-tested, high-performance braking and cooling systems.

Many are expecting the CT4-V to be a more nimble sedan than the ATS, but all the numbers point to more of the same, save for the new generation of magnetorheological dampers, which could prove to offer a significant difference. Some have also pondered that this sedan could be the new budget Cadillac and dip into the low $40,000 or high-$30,000 price range, but based on the equipment offered it is likely it will be much closer to the $48,890 MSRP of the ATS Premium Performance trim that it replaces.

Cadillac hints that it has more to offer as far as the CT4-V is concerned, so we might see a return of a proper performance trim with the 3.6-liter twin-turbo motor from the ATS-V, but at this point, what’s been released appears to be a warmed over ATS with a Silverado motor, a couple of extra gears, and some fancy dampers.

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