Blackwing twins send off gas-powered Cadillac performance with a bang


Cadillac’s two-decade dalliance with blistering performance cars from its V division has produced some noteworthy machines: The CTS-V wagon is already a desirable collectible, and the ATS-V brought the fight to Germany’s sharpest compact sedans. As GM as a whole prepares for a comprehensive shift to EVs, Cadillac’s Alpha-platform performance sedans are getting a new Blackwing badge for what will likely be their last act. Meet the CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing, the quickest, meanest variants of Cadillac’s midsize CT5 and compact CT4 sedans.

2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing two cars front end driving

2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing

Let’s start small: The Cadillac CT4 is essentially a replacement for the outgoing ATS. And while the ATS-V once represented the pinnacle of Cadillac performance, the CT4-V is now a mid-tier sport model.

The new CT4-V Blackwing boasts a modified version of the twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V-6 from the outgoing ATS-V. Upgrades include revised air intake routing, revised crankshaft counterweights to reduce reciprocating loads, and updated piston oil squirters for better temperature control. This new engine brings 8 more ponies to the party, producing a total of 472 horsepower, while torque remains the same as in the ATS-V: 445 lb-ft. A six-speed manual with no-lift shift is standard, but GM’s 10-speed automatic will be optional. The powertrain spins the rear wheels exclusively, courtesy of an electronic limited-slip differential. Cadillac’s brilliant Performance Traction Management (PTM) system, as in the ATS-V, provides drivers with the ability to dial in the traction control, stability control, and other dynamic settings to best suit their driving ability and preferences on track.

2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing driving rear three quarter

The suspension features GM’s Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, which Cadillac says can process changes in road conditions four times faster than the previous generation. A MacPherson front suspension and a five-link rear setup boast stiffer spring rates, hollow stabilizer bars, and Blackwing-specific bushings. Six-piston front calipers and four-piston rears from Brembo clamp 14.96-inch and 13.4-inch rotors, respectively. Calipers come in four colors: grey, red, blue, or bronze. Eighteen-inch staggered fitment wheels machined from a single piece of billet aluminum will come standard, but Cadillac previously announced that there would be also a magnesium-alloy wheel option to further reduce unsprung mass.

The CT4-V Blackwing’s exterior undoubtedly resembles the car it replaces, but compared to the CT4-V the Blackwing adds unique exterior elements including mesh front grilles optimized for cooling, a rear diffuser, and a rear spoiler. Better cooling up front means the hood vents from the ATS-V are no longer required here, which seems like a plus. There’s also an available carbon fiber package to help reduce on-track lift. We’re hesitant to call this a gorgeous exterior; like the CT4-V, this is a Caddy is best enjoyed from the inside looking out.

Cadillac will offer three trim levels for the CT4-V Blackwing. The standard trim includes Jet Black leatherette seats with 18-way adjustability and a leather-trimmed performance steering wheel. Mid-trim interiors add the heated, leather-and-microfiber-appointed “Blackwing Level 1” seats (with a thin-profile headrest purpose-built to better accommodate a helmet), as well as a high-performance steering wheel that offers button access to V-Mode and the PTM system, and a serialized number plate corresponding to your car’s VIN sequence. Top-trim cars get Level 2 performance seats that add ventilation and massage functions.

The CT4-V Blackwing’s 12-inch HD configurable instrument cluster features nifty tricks like an optimal shift light for manual-equipped cars, a performance timing feature for tracking 0-60 mph and 0-100 mph launches, as well as the available Performance Data Recorder 2.0 software. Between lapping sessions, CT4-V owners can enjoy their favorite tunes, courtesy of a 14-speaker AKG sound system.

This smaller of the two Blackwings will start $59,990 including the $995 destination fee, and deliveries will begin later this summer.

2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing

If the CT4-V Blackwing is a precision pocket knife, the CT5-V Blackwing is a butcher’s cleaver. Cadillac claims a 200-mph top speed for this four-door, and as expected, star power comes courtesy of GM’s beloved 6.2-liter supercharged LT4 V-8 packed under the hood. The monster of an engine, also used in the outgoing 640-hp CTS-V, produces a whopping 668 hp and 656 lb-ft of torque in this application. To account for the 28-horse leap, Cadillac touts efficiencies in the air intake system, new rotocast aluminum cylinder heads, and smaller rotors in the Eaton 1.7-liter supercharger. As with the smaller CT4-V Blackwing, Caddy’s elder sibling boasts rear-wheel drive and an electronic limited-slip diff, with power delivered via a standard six-speed manual or an optional 10-speed automatic. That manual is a big deal; the CTS-V that this new car replaces did not offer a row-your-own option, and neither do the Mercedes-AMG E63 and BMW M5.

The handling hardware is well set up to tolerate the CT5-V Blackwing’s potent powertrain. Cadillac loaded this super-sedan with Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, stiffer spring rates, a MacPherson strut front suspension, and a five-link rear suspension. When a car needs to come down from 200 mph in a hurry, it demands stout brakes up to the task. If judging purely by size, the CT5-V’s 15.67-inch front and 14.7-inch rear rotors are impressive—bigger in diameter than a large Domino’s pizza. Brembo six-piston fronts and four-piston rears clamp down on those hefty discs, and for the first time, Cadillac will offer a carbon-ceramic brake option for hardcore track junkies. Ticking the box for those brakes reduces unsprung weight by a 53 pounds, while also improving heat management and wear resistance. Specially-developed Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires measuring 275/35ZR19 in front and 305/30ZR19 in the rear wrap around 19-inch forged aluminum wheels, with magnesium-alloy wheels available.

The CT5-V Blackwing’s exterior package boasts a lot of the same carbon-fiber goodies as the CT4-V Blackwing, including the front splitter, rear spoiler, and rear diffuser. The bigger Blackwing will also offer an optional carbon-fiber aero package that reduces lift, in this case by up to 75 percent compared to the standard setup. When drivers are hitting the high-triple digits out on track, a package like this will offer welcome stability.

Inside, there are base-, mid-, and high-trim options similar to what we find on the CT4-V Blackwing. The key differences have to do with the seats. Base-trim cars get heated, ventilated leather seats with massaging functionality as well as the high-performance steering wheel. Mid-trim cars net the same Level 2 performance seats as the top-tier CT4-V Blackwings, as well as a suede microfiber headliner and another color option (Sky Cool Grey) in addition to the Jet Black base color. High-trim interiors get the Level 3 performance seat that adds a carbon-fiber back panel—which we saw a teaser for last fall—and a third color option: Natural Tan. The tech suite mirrors that of the CT4-V Blackwing as well, save for a 15-speaker AKG sound system instead of the 14-speaker system in the smaller car.

The CT5-V Blackwing will start at $84,990, including $995 destination fee. Like the CT4-V Blackwing, deliveries will begin later this summer.

If these two sport sedans are the final internal-combustion-powered products from Cadillac’s performance division, we would not be surprised. We expect they’ll be even better to drive than the razor sharp ATS-V and sublime CTS-V, and we hope considerably more people line up at showrooms to buy them. Cadillac’s commitment to driving enjoyment—from the manual transmission being the standard offering here to the fact that these cars even exist in the first place—deserves a hearty round of applause.

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