Competes with: Audi S3, BMW M240i, Mercedes-AMG A35, BMW M240i
Looks like: A baby CT6-V in so many ways
Powertrain: 320-horsepower, turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder with 10-speed automatic transmission; rear- or all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Early 2020
We just got our first look at the final piece of Cadillac’s three-sedan showroom of 2020 after having seen the CT5 at the 2019 New York International Auto Show in April. Cadillac revealed the all-new CT4, but only in its hottest form — the V-Series — at an event in Detroit yesterday. This aims to be Cadillac’s entry-level sedan, a counterpart to the XT4 subcompact crossover aimed at younger buyers. GM’s luxury brand plans to unveil the rest of the CT4 lineup in the next few weeks, but it gave a peek at the high-performance model the same time it unveiled the larger CT5-V sedan.
Styling on the CT4-V closely mimics the big CT6 sedan. It doesn’t look too different from the outgoing ATS, but Cadillac insists it’s a big bigger. The CT4 appears to share some panels with the outgoing ATS, like the doors, but the rest of its styling is completely new. The fastback profile, with a long hood and short deck, look a lot like a miniature version of the CT6 and do without the unusual Honda Accord-like beltline kick-up that appeared on the CT5. Changes for the V-Series are minor and include dark mesh grilles and accents, a unique rear spoiler, quad exhaust tips and standard 18-inch wheels. Those wheels come with high-performance summer tires on rear-wheel-drive models. All-wheel-drive models get all-season tires, but you can swap them for summer run-flats if desired.
The interior styling of the CT4 differs from that of the CT5 due to its smaller dimensions. It’s tidier, but features all the bells and whistles of the larger Cadillac sedans, especially in loaded V-Series trim. That trim brings a unique instrument cluster and special V-Mode button on the steering wheel, the latter adjusting the car’s various drive systems to their most aggressive performance modes. The biggest departure from the CT5 comes in the backseat, where a shorter wheelbase makes for a lot less legroom in the CT4. Cadillac designers insist the backseat has more room than the outgoing ATS, but I’m not sure where that room is to be found. The V-Series also features dark leather with orange piping — but, as for any special trim, we’ll have to wait to see what the regular CT4 offers before we can draw any comparisons.
Under the Hood
Powering the CT4-V is a turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine cranking out 320 horsepower. It’s mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission that drives the rear wheels, with all-wheel drive optional. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same powertrain that sits in base versions of the new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup, albeit with higher-performance tuning. (Cadillac and Chevrolet are both GM brands.) The CT4-V gets a mechanical limited-slip rear differential, unlike the electronic one in the larger CT5-V. But like the larger car, it receives Brembo front brakes and new, fourth-generation Magnetic Ride Control electronic shock absorbers. Those shocks go only on rear-drive cars; the AWD CT4-V gets ZF passive shocks.
The CT4-V does without the Performance Traction Management system of the bigger CT5-V, but has a launch-control program for quicker acceleration runs. And thanks to the new electrical architecture that’s been adopted to GM’s Alpha platform (CT5, CT6 and Chevrolet Camaro), Cadillac’s novel Super Cruise semi-autonomous highway hands-free driving system will be available sometime after the car goes on sale (Cadillac would only say it comes in the 2020 calendar year).
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There’s no word yet on pricing for the new CT4-V, but like the rest of the new 2020 V-Series models, it’s positioned as a hotter version than the CT4’s coming Luxury, Premium Luxury and Sport trims, though not necessarily the hottest version. Cadillac said that it should come in about $4,000 to $5,000 more than the CT4 Sport, providing a more accessible performance sedan instead of a track-oriented beast. That model is likely to be shown to us in the coming months, as Cadillac insists performance is in its heritage and part of the plan going forward.
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