This is our first look at Cadillac’s smallest sedan, the 2020 CT4, and it breaks cover in the best way possible by wearing a V performance badge. Power for the CT4-V comes from a turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder generating 320 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. The high-output engine features a unique, three-step sliding camshaft that helps optimize performance at all speeds. It is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. No manual is planned for now, but one may be offered later.
The CT4 slots below the also-new CT5 sedan, and they’ll aim to more or less cover the segments once occupied by the ATS and CTS. On the eve of the Detroit Grand Prix at which the brand will be competing, Cadillac decided to emphasize its performance credentials by revealing the V versions of both the CT4 and CT5. (Details of the base CT4 are promised in about a month.)
More accurately, we should say <em>one of </em>the V versions of the CT4 and CT5, as both cars will also soon have higher-performing, track-focused V variants with more power and more aggressive bodywork. This is Cadillac’s new V strategy going forward; rather than offer a V Sport and a V, customers will simply choose the V that fits their personal preference. We strongly expect the top-level CT4-V and CT5-V to adopt some version of the CT6-V‘s 550-hp, 627-lb-ft twin-turbo Blackwing V-8 engine, and the track-oriented iteration of the smaller car with that mill is maybe the one we’d be most eager to try.
All versions of CT4 will be built at the Lansing, Michigan, Grand River plant and go on sale in the first quarter of 2020. Pricing wasn’t announced for the CT4-V, but expect it to carry a $6,000 to $7,000 premium over a CT4 Sport model. Even so, it will be the most affordable way to break into the V family.
The underpinnings are the next generation of GM’s Alpha rear-wheel-drive architecture—they’re the same bones used under the CT5—but the CT4-V should be nimbler than the CT5-V, being shorter and lighter. Both rear- and all-wheel drive are available, with the rear-drivers getting as standard 18-inch summer performance tires as well as Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, the latest version of GM’s magnetorheological dampers that promise to deliver quicker responses to body motions and road conditions. AWD CT4-Vs will have all-season rubber and will not offer the new version of MRC at all; instead, they get larger-diameter ZF dampers. All have a mechanical limited-slip rear differential and multiple chassis modes that include a V setting to customize the steering, powertrain response, and brake-pedal feel. (The brake pedal operates by wire with a mechanical safety backup, which allows its feel and response to be changed.)
While the CT5 goes after the BMW 3 Series and similar luxury competitors, the CT4 takes aim at the Mercedes-Benz A- and CLA-classes, the Audi A3, and, eventually, the BMW 2-series Gran Coupe. Note that all of the aforementioned German competitors are front-drive based.
After the reveals of the CT4-V and CT5-V, who says the sedan is dead? Certainly not Cadillac.