By Shari Prymak
Cadillac seems to be a brand in a state of constant reinvention. After decades of building nothing but cushy, but heavily-outdated land yachts, GM’s luxury division made a strong attempt to go head-to-head with the European luxury brands. Although its sport sedans like the CTS and ATS did well from a handling and performance standpoint, they largely failed to lure consumers away from the established competition. Before fully retreating into the lukewarm world of SUVs and electric vehicles, Cadillac seems to be making one final go at the sport sedan segment with the CT4 and CT5.
Despite the uninspiring naming scheme, the CT4 and CT5 are rather reasonably well-designed luxury sedans. Both share an attractive, sharp-edged design that’s appropriately sporty and upscale. The CT5 is the larger of the two and designed to match the size of compact sport sedans such as the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class, and Lexus IS. The CT4 is one size smaller and closely matches entry-level luxury sedans such as the Mercedes A-Class, BMW 2-Series, and Genesis G70. Although both are attractively designed, the CT4 comes off as the more athletic looking of the two thanks to its tighter proportions.
The size difference is fairly noticeable. Where the CT5 has just enough interior space for four adults to sit comfortably, the CT4’s cramped rear seats are barely adequate by comparison. In terms of the interior materials and design, both share a near identical layout. Everything appears fairly upscale in appearance, but still fall short of the best interiors in this segment. There is just an ever so slight undertone of cost-cutting that you would not feel in a Lexus or BMW. That being said, the main controls including the touchscreen infotainment system are fairly intuitive and well designed. The features and controls are just far more approachable than the complicated setups of most competitors.
The CT4-V and CT5-V are designed to be the more performance oriented models in the range, similar to a BMW M Performance or Mercedes-AMG model. The CT5-V has the more inspiring powertrain of the two, powered by a twin-turbocharged V6 engine with 360 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. It produces a rather throaty exhaust note matched with impressive pulling power and quick gear changes courtesy of the 10-speed automatic transmission. The CT4-V is no slouch either. Although it lacks the exciting exhaust of the V6, the turbocharged 2.7L 4-banger pulls equally as hard with the same snappy gear changes. It produces an impressive 325 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, which is not far off from the CT5-V.
Both models receive a rear-biased all-wheel drive system complete with a limited-slip differential, performance traction management, and performance suspension with magnetic ride control. The ride and handling balance of both models is superb, with excellent body control and sharp responses befitting a top-tier sport sedan. With its lower curb weight and smaller size, the CT4-V feels like the more agile, athletic performer. It can be thrown into corners with incredible ease and confidence. There’s an eagerness to it that’s often lacking in its more sedated feeling competitors, and it’s a total blast to drive.
The CT4 is priced fairly well with a starting MSRP of $35,798, and climbing up to $45,398 for the CT4-V before options. The CT5 commands are more sizable $39,798 to start, and climbs to $49,798 for the V model before options. Although the entry pricing sounds reasonable, options can quickly inflate the pricing to the point where the value becomes questionable. The CT4-V and CT5-V have the looks and performance to compete with their respective rivals, but they are still a bit of a tough sell when the pricing is just as high as the best luxury sedans in the segment.
Both the CT4 and CT5 are appealing sport sedans, but without an aggressive value pitch to help them stand out, they will probably both get overlooked for the more popular options such as the BMW 3-Series or Mercedes C-Class. Cadillac really should be pricing these models to compete with the value options of the segment such as the Lexus IS, Genesis G70, and Acura TLX. With the right pricing and sale sweeteners in place, Cadillac’s sport sedan duo would stand as compelling alternatives to the segment stalwarts.