Car Reviews

2020 Cadillac CT5-V First Look: Injecting More Affordable Power

Track-capable version still to come as part of new V-Series strategy

Track-capable version still to come as part of new V-Series strategy

You can kill a sedan, or you can choose to play in the car game and up the ante with more performance. Introducing the 2020 Cadillac CT5-V with 355 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque under the hood courtesy of a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine. And an even more powerful, track-capable CT5-V is still to come. Gentlemen, start your engines.

This is the high-octane version of the all-new 2020 CT5 sedan that was shown earlier this year, filling the vacancy where the ATS and CTS resided. The CT5 is shorter than the CTS but has a longer wheelbase and continues to use GM’s Alpha rear-drive architecture, though the new sedan rides on a next-generation version of the platform. The CT5-V makes its debut alongside the smaller but still punchy CT4-V.

 

The regular CT5 goes on sale this fall; the CT5-V will follow in early 2020, and after a short model year, the 2021 model will be introduced with Super Cruise, Cadillac’s hands-free highway driving technology. The CT5-V will take on the BMW 3 Series (including performance versions), the Audi S4, and Mercedes-AMG C 43.

The CT5-V comes standard in rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available. The sedan still has a front multi-link strut and five-link rear suspension, but it has been enhanced, and on the CT5-V the latest version of Magnetic Ride Control (version 4.0) is standard.

To distribute power in the CT5-V, the V-6 comes with a 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. No manual transmission—at least for now, GM President Mark Reuss says with a smile.

That is, in part, because there is a higher-level, track-capable version of the CT5-V still to come. No details yet, but more will be shared soon, Reuss says. This will be a V-Series strategy going forward; an affordable V that is $6,000–$7,000 USD more than a Sport model, then a top-level V for those who want ultimate performance. The first two vehicles to adopt this strategy are the CT5-V and CT4-V. The CT6-V has only one level, but it is a doozy with the new 550-hp, 627-lb-ft Blackwing V-8 engine.

“Performance isn’t going to go out of style,” Reuss says. Once Cadillac made the decision to stay in sedans, it knew it couldn’t do it half way.

The regular CT5 base engine is the 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged I-4 that made its debut in the 2019 CT6 refresh, and it gives the sedan 237 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. An optional 335-hp, 400-lb-ft 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 is similar to the CT5-V’s engine but with smaller turbos. Both engines have active fuel management that shuts down cylinders when they aren’t needed. And each is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The outgoing CTS-V has a 640-hp, 630-lb-ft 6.2-liter supercharged V-8.

The CT5-V looks the part with a long hood and dash-to-axle proportions of a rear-drive sedan, wheels pushed to the corners, a lower beltline, and a fastback profile. It comes with unique 19-inch wheels with summer run-flat performance tires standard. The regular sedan has 18-, 19-, or 20-inch wheels with run-flat, self-sealing tires offered. No spoiler or ventilated hood, but who knows what the track version will have? There are Brembo front brakes, a performance traction management system with five drive modes, and launch control.

The CT5 is content as a sedan only; no coupe or wagon is planned at this time. It will be assembled at the Lansing Grand River plant.

Cadillac introduced the V-Series in 2004 with the CTS-V, and over the years the family has included V variants of the STS, XLR, ATS, and CT6.