Cimarron, Catera, ATS, the list of small or entry-level Cadillac sedans is not exactly a greatest hits album. Though with the ATS’ steady rise up the charts, it looked like finally to be the one. However it turns out it was another one-hit wonder, as once again, Cadillac is rebooting with a new name, the CT4. let’s see if buyers will be singing its praises!
While the 2020 Cadillac CT4 is an all-new nameplate; it’s certainly not a new idea, replacing the ATS as their entry-level sports-luxury sedan. Nor is it an entirely new car, drawn from the familiar rear-drive ATS architecture. But just about everything on top of it is indeed new.
Retaining the ATS’ foundation is great news to us as it was Cadillac’s best ever; providing a stable and willing platform for one of the most rewarding driving experiences in its class regardless of country of origin. But, even here it’s not a straight chassis carryover. Technically a new generation of the ATS’ Alpha platform.
Like most of its European rivals, the CT4 features an all turbo engine lineup. Base fitment is a new 2.0-liter I4-turbo that at 237-horsepower, is actually down from the ATS’ 272.
The ATS’ V6 upgrade has been replaced by another 4-cylinder turbo, this large, dual-balance shaft 2.7-liter will output 310-horsepower and 350 lb-ft. of torque. It features a trick “dual volute” turbocharger which basically hits the turbine with exhaust from two sides.
All-wheel-drive is available with either engine, but the 2.7-liter gets a new 10-speed automatic transmission; while the 2.0-liter is mated to an 8-speed auto.
The wheelbase stays the same as the ATS, at 109.3-inches; yet overall length increases 3½–inches. It loses a tad of width; but still looks low, wide, and classy, with the sporty edges and sharp lines of recent Cadillacs.
Full LED lighting is standard, Premium Luxury trim gets some chrome trim, black-painted rear diffuser, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Cadillac’s Super Cruise, one of the best semi-autonomous systems we’ve tried, is available; allowing for hands free driving on compatible U.S. highways.
Now, this may be a similar chassis, but it’s not exactly the same driving experience; both the double-pivot MacPherson-type front suspension, and 5-link independent rear have been completely tweaked. And comprehensive drive modes do a good job of delivering the experience you’re looking for.
But, it seems most of those updates were directed towards delivering a softer ride, not improving handling. It feels good and solid initially, but as you push harder, it doesn’t want to play as hard as the ATS did. Of course, that is somewhat consistent with the mission of our Premium Luxury trim test car. If ultimate handling is your priority, Cadillac also offers a V-Series version, with a performance-tuned suspension. Standby by for that one.
This 2.7-liter turbo engine on the other hand, doesn’t care which CT4 it’s in and delivers some serious punch. It was truly the highlight of our test track experience.
Power is abundant right from the get-go, and even our rear-drive tester had no problem getting off the line cleanly and can pass by 60 in 5.1–seconds.
There’s a lot of gears to shift through, but those changes happen both quickly and amazingly smoothly, keeping the power flowing through the quarter. Result, a 13.5–second ¼-mile at 103 miles-per-hour.
The interior of the CT4 is indeed very luxurious and a nice step up over the ATS. Still, the wraparound driver-centric cockpit makes sure the sporty intentions are known as well. There’s lots of real aluminum trim, leather, and a well-integrated 8.0-inch Cadillac User Experience touchscreen. Plus, thankfully, additional easy to use manual controls.
The Navigation and Bose Premium Audio package adds, you guessed it, navigation and a 14-speaker Bose radio; while the Climate package delivers a heated steering wheel, as well as heated and ventilated front seats.
There’s enough room in both the front and rear seats to get the job done, but not much extra for stretching out.
With CT4, Cadillac is delivering more than the ATS for essentially the same money. Its $33,990 base price is exactly the same as when the ATS debuted back in 2013.
But the 2020 Cadillac CT4 is much more than just a formal alignment to yet another Cadillac renaming strategy. It builds upon and updates what the ATS started. Which is, being a serious competitor in the small, global sport-luxury sedan segment.
Engine: 2.0L I4 Turbo | 2.7L I4 Turbo
Horsepower: 237 | 310
Torque: 258 lb-ft. | 350 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 5.1 seconds
1/4 Mile: 13.5s @ 103 mph