If you’re a Cadillac fan, you know that the ATS sedan has been replaced by the CT4. You may even know that there’s a V-series version of the CT4. What you may not know, is that V doesn’t quite mean what it used to. Confused? Well, whether you’re in the know, or looking for answers, our next test of the CT4 V-Series should help.
Not to put a damper on things right off the bat, but if you’re expecting the 2021 Cadillac CT4-V to be along the lines of the fire-breathing, 460-horsepower, manual-transmission-equipped ATS-V, you’re in for a disappointment.
V models are now more of a middle ground performance option between standard Cadillac cars and the over-the-top V Blackwing models.
But, that doesn’t mean there’s not much here to appreciate, starting of course with the engine. It’s a high-output version of their 2.7-liter I4, with 325-horsepower and 380 lb-ft. of torque. That’s 15 additional horsepower and a healthy 30 more lb-ft. of torque than this same engine puts out in Premium Luxury CT4s.
It works with an identical 10-speed automatic transmission, but gets a mechanical limited slip rear differential further down the power delivery flow chart.
Unique to the CT4 are performance chassis upgrades with Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, but only if you stick with standard rear-wheel-drive.
If you choose to add all-wheel-drive, which is only $500 more, additional grip will be aided by ZF MVS passive dampers.
So, we were glad to see our “V” tester fed power strictly to the rear-wheels, as not only do you benefit from the latest version of Magnetic Ride Control, but “sticking” with rear-wheel-drive also gets you stickier summer performance tires.
The CT4-V adds V-Mode, Track mode, and a customizable My Mode to the Driver Mode Selector.
Things do indeed feel much stiffer through the cones compared to the Premium Luxury CT4 we tested last year.
Turn-ins are very quick, with a mild bit of oversteer, just the way we like it. However, steering does feel artificially heavy without providing enough feedback.
Now, we weren’t expecting to see a big difference in acceleration runs for the CT4-V; finding the less potent version of this 2.7-liter quite capable of delivering serious punch. But the added low-end grunt here was notable, with just the right amount of tire grip to get away without major wheel spin.
Our 4.8-second 0-60 time in the CT4-V was 3/10ths quicker than the Premium Luxury CT4; and only about a half second slower than the last ATS-V V6 we tested.
Automatic shifts come right when you want them to, accompanied by a nice little exhaust crack and some turbo whistling. This may still be a luxury-oriented sport sedan, but it's darn fast and capable. Our best ¼-mile time was 13.3-seconds at 106 miles-per-hour.
The CT4-V also has upgraded Brembo brakes, with 4-piston calipers behind the front 18-inch nickel-finished alloy wheels. Stops from 60 were stable and consistent, at 106-feet; but the pedal itself did soften up a bit after a few runs but only just so.
Visual cues to this V-Series’ higher performance status are seen in dark exterior trim, subtle rocker extensions, a unique mesh grille, deck-lid spoiler, and quad exhaust tips.
We’d say it’s a near perfect mix of added aggression without detracting from the CT4’s luxury persona.
Inside, you still get the full Cadillac indulgent experience in a sporty driver-oriented space; along with the addition of a new steering wheel with V-Mode button, and performance gauges.
Plenty of adjustments for the driver’s seat makes it easy to find your perfect position; while also being held in place for spirited driving; though like the ATS, there’s limited room in the back seat for adults to get comfy.
Before the ATS, Cadillac’s entry-level sport sedan was of course a rebadged Opel Omega known as the Catera. And this Catera Steinmetz Concept from 1999 shows that GM has been in the Hot Rod Cadillac business for some time.
While technically just a show car, Caddy actually let us take a few “gentle” laps around our Roebling Road Raceway test track. It was enough for us to call it the “quickest, most nimble Cadillac we’ve ever driven”; though we did also conclude by saying “it’s clear to us Cadillac intends for the Catera to have a long and popular life”. Oh well, win some, lose some.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the rear-drive CT4-V are 20-City, 29-Highway, and 23-Combined.
CT4-V pricing starts at $45,890; about 5-grand more than Premium Luxury trim with the less potent version of the 2.7-liter engine.
All-in-all, the Cadillac CT4-V is a worthy and perhaps underappreciated European-style luxury-sport sedan that is more than competitively priced. But to us, it’s a tasty appetizer that’s made to satisfy, while at the same time heighten anticipation for the competition inspired main course CT4-V Blackwing that GM’s performance chefs will soon plate up. So…Bon Appetit!
Engine: 2.7L I4
Torque: 380 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 4.8 seconds
1/4 Mile: 13.3s @ 106 mph
EPA: 20 City / 29 Highway / 23 Combined
Starting Price: $45,890