The Cadillac CT5‘s mission is to compete on equal footing with the sport sedans built by the German trio of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz along with Japanese brands Acura, Infiniti and Lexus. But the times, they are a-changing. The sedan no longer represents the pinnacle of automotive luxury and internal-combustion powertrains are nearing their sunset. The 2022 Cadillac CT5 (along with its smaller sibling, the CT4) represents the end of the line for Cadillac’s gas-burning four-doors. Fortunately, it’s a compelling ambassador for the segment (especially when at its most invigorating: the 2022 CT5-V Blackwing).
The CT5 is larger than its price point suggests. For the money, you’d be looking at a BMW 3 Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but it’s closer in size to the 5 Series and E-Class , albeit with less interior room (especially for cargo). The CT5 drives quite well and is stylish and well equipped. Its price-to-size ratio also gives it a unique proposition to attract buyers away from the Europeans – not to mention the availability of an all-American, supercharged V8.
What's new for 2022?
The big news for 2022 is the introduction of the CT5-V Blackwing, Cadillac’s new replacement for its former top dog, the CTS-V. With 668 horsepower and an available manual transmission, the Blackwing is pretty much the final word in American internal-combustion sport sedans. Finding one will be difficult, however, as they are virtually unavailable for test drives and some reports indicate that all of Cadillac’s 2022 model year allocations may already be spoken for.
Elsewhere, Cadillac made some adjustments to the CT5’s color palette (sorry, green fans, you missed your chance, but orange is now an option) and available equipment, largely to compensate for supply shortages on the manufacturing side. Super Cruise packages will be available later in the model year.
The Cadillac CT5 interior can best be described as “nice enough.” Unfortunately, "nice enough" isn’t quite good enough to compare favorably with Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Volvo. We'd say it's not good enough to compare with cross-town rival Lincoln, either, but they don't sell sedans any more. The overall design of the CT5's interior is reasonably good, if evocative of previous-generation BMWs, but it's let down by some noticeable cheap-feeling bits and pieces that feel like they came from one of GM's non-premium divisions ... because they literally came from one of GM's non-premium divisions. By contrast, you won't find Camry switchgear in a Lexus.
Cadillac has a brand-new infotainment system that will be launching in the new Escalade SUV, but the CT5 sticks with the brand’s oft-maligned touchscreen interface (previously known as CUE). As much as customers and journalists have complained about it over the years, the latest (and likely last) version found in the CT5 works pretty well. All the necessary functions are easy to find, and the touchscreen is quick and responsive. And if you really don’t like the interface, there are physical buttons for the climate control and a pair of dials for audio. We also like the redundancy of the large console-mounted control knob and the smaller knob under the screen, which are better at scrolling through lists, including on Apple CarPlay. Wireless CarPlay and Android Auto are standard equipment on all CT5s.
At 193.8 inches long on a 116-inch wheelbase, the CT5 is bigger in every significant exterior dimension than the segment-defining BMW 3 Series. Still, with the exception of 2.7 additional inches of rear legroom, which is a solid notch in the CT5’s favor, it’s about the same size inside. Four normal-sized adults ought to fit fine inside.
You used to be able to store a Buick in a big Cadillac sedan trunk. No longer. Despite being so much bigger on the outside than a BMW 3 Series, Volvo S60, Audi A4, etc., its meager 11.9-cubic-foot trunk is at best no better. Compared to a BMW 5 Series', the CT5 trunk is considerably smaller and as we discovered in this luggage test, it's not shaped in a way that makes good use of the space it has. Simply, CT5 owners will find it much more difficult to fit all their luggage into the Caddy than its competitors.
Some of our testers have also had an unusually hard time finding a good driving position in the CT5, pointing a finger (or in this case, toe) at the placement of the throttle and brake pedals as the primary point of pain. Other testers reported no such problems. Something to note during a test drive.
The Cadillac CT5’s standard engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that spins out 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard on every CT5, but all-wheel drive is optional. Cadillac claims a 6.6-second 0-60 with this base engine. It delivers 23 mpg city, 33 highway and 27 combined with RWD. All-wheel drive knocks that down to 22/30/25.
The CT5 Premium Luxury offers an optional 3.0-liter twin-turbo engine that makes 335 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque. It returns 19/27/22 with RWD, while all-wheel drive knocks 1 mpg from the each score.
In the CT5-V, the same engine produces 360 hp and 405 lb-ft. The more powerful version separates itself from the lesser model at around 4,500 rpm, and carries those extra ponies as it approaches its redline just past 6,000 rpm. With a time of 4.6 seconds, the CT5-V is 0.3 seconds quicker to 60 mph than the Premium Luxury. It gets 18/27/21 with RWD or 18/26/21 with AWD.
Then there’s Blackwing – the range-topper. The Blackwing throws out the CT5’s powertrain formula entirely, boasting a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 with 668 horsepower and more than 659 lb-ft of torque. This can be paired to either a six-speed manual (yep!) or the 10-speed automatic. GM says it will do 0-60 in 3.5 seconds on the way to a top speed of more than 200 mph. Fuel economy checks in at 13/21/15 with the manual and 13/22/16 with the automatic.
The base CT5 with its standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine ought to prove adequate for buyers who care more about maximizing fuel efficiency than launching away from stoplights. The turbocharged V6 is much more enthusiastic. Though it feels a little flat right off idle, it comes on strong after a split second of hesitation. The 10-speed automatic transmission is quite good and most drivers will find little reason to use the steering wheel-mounted paddles.
The best thing about the CT5, though, is its excellent chassis. Like the CTS that preceded it (and the smaller old ATS and current CT4, not to mention the current Chevy Camaro), the CT5 rides atop an evolution of GM’s Alpha architecture. Sturdy bones are crucial for a sporting sedan, and the CT5’s stiff structure doesn’t disappoint. Standard multi-valve dampers in all non-V CT5 trims provide a comfortable ride while keeping body roll in check during hard cornering. Cadillac’s much more advanced Magnetic Ride 4.0 suspension is excellent and comes standard on the CT5-V.
Driver Mode Control offers Tour, Sport, and Track options (in addition to Snow/Ice and a customizable My Mode). The CT5-V gets an additional V-Mode to further customize the car. The brakes, which adjust along with the steering and transmission across the various driving modes, feel firm and reassuring, with strong stopping power.
The Blackwing utilizes a special calibration of the Magnetic Ride 4.0 suspension tuned for performance and handling over comfort, but is still an excellent cruiser when not set to its more aggressive, track-focused suspension modes. The boisterous V8 fades into the background at highway speeds, leaving behind a comfortable luxury sedan that soaks up imperfections without numbing the experience. For a in-depth view of what it's like to drive, check our specific CT5-V Blackwing review.
What other CT5 reviews can I read?
Cadillac's final supercharged V8 sport sedan ticks all the boxes.
This lowercase "v" series is probably not the CT5-V you've been expecting.
This is definitely not your granddad's Cadillac. It has just 11.4 cubic feet of trunk space. That's small.
Cadillac has not yet released full pricing for the 2022 model year CT5 apart from the Blackwing model, which starts at $84,990. We do not expect significant price increases for the lower trims for 2022.
For 2021, the base rear-wheel-drive CT5 with its standard 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine started at $37,990 with its mandatory $995 destination charge factored in. Adding all-wheel drive incurred an additional $2,600. You can dig a little deeper with this breakdown of features, pricing and specs of each model here on Autoblog.
Here's a quick rundown of all the available trim levels:
- CT5 Luxury
- CT5 Premium Luxury
- CT5 Sport
- CT5-V Blackwing: $84,990
Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection come standard, but blind-spot warning and lane-keeping assist only come with higher grade models. A Driver Assist package bundles all of the available safety equipment Cadillac offers, but it’s not available on the base Luxury trim level.
The Cadillac CT5 gets a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not yet tested the CT5.