Thursday, January 21, 2021
Reviews 2020 Cadillac CT4-V Review: In The Shadow Cast By The CT5-V

2020 Cadillac CT4-V Review: In The Shadow Cast By The CT5-V

The CT4-V taps into the desire for speed and emotions with an edge. Is this a wrong direction for Cadillac?

  • The 2020 Cadillac CT4-V is priced from $45,398 in Canada, $44,495 in the US.

  • This is Cadillac being rowdy and raw.

  • Its major flaw is its big brother, the CT5-V.

Despite a few decades of forgettable attempts at rebuilding its name with diverse products, with the exception of the Escalade, Cadillac is still remembered as a maker of luxury land yachts, for most. Performance sedan fans will point out that the CTS-V has done wonders for Caddy’s street-cred however I think the CT4-V won’t help.

Whenever Cadillac has stepped out of its comfort zone or tried something different, they’ve missed the mark. Like the ATS before it, the CT4 is a fine and noteworthy small luxury car but spicing them up with more power, larger wheels and aero has done little to draw affection from potential buyers. Unfortunately for Cadillac, the ATS-V and CT4-V are actually good cars but ultimately, they will never reach their full potential. And Cadillac has practically ensured that the CT4-V will be a rare sight…

2020 Cadillac CT4-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

CT5-V > CT4-V

Pricing. This is the CT4-V’s Achilles Heel. It’s not that it is too expensive, in fact, as bang-for-the-buck, it’s a riot, or nearly. No, the issue is that its big brother, the $49,798 CT5-V is only about $4,000 more. And by all accounts, after driving both back to back, the CT5-V is more car in nearly every respect.

They are clearly aimed at different buyers but on a lease, the extra $70 per month for the CT5-V settles the debate. And yet, I repeat myself, the CT4-V is a very convincing sporty luxury car. Quick comparison here: The Audi S3 is $12,000 cheaper, at $48,000, than the S4.

2020 Cadillac CT4-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Built-in rawness

The main ingredient to the 2020 Cadillac CT4-V is the turbocharged 2.7-litre 4-cylinder engine. It produces 325 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and a massive 380 lb.-ft. of torque from 2,000 to 4,000 rpm. Together with the included 10-speed automatic, the compact sport sedan will reach 100 km/h in about 5 seconds, making it a quick number indeed. AWD is an option but anywhere near and above the Snowbelt, it will help put all that torque to good use no matter the driving conditions. It’s $2,000 extra but will quickly pay itself off.

The big 2.7-litre is a powerhouse but Caddy engineers should have dialed back the engine’s raspy NVH. Even in the Touring drive mode, the noise is omnipresent and does not fit with a Cadillac CT4, be it a V or not. I had the same qualms with the CT5-V. A similar note goes for the adjustable brake pedal response, Touring or Sport, where it must be left in Touring to retain any sense of progressive braking. When in Touring, the plentiful braking power, served up thanks to the front Brembo components, is easy to modulate.

2020 Cadillac CT4-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Along the lines of the engine, another factor that limits the CT4-V’s appeal is its overall rawness. Despite the presence of Magnetic Ride Control, this Cadillac forgoes refinement in the name of dialed-in sportiness. While this might be desirable, these same engineers should have moved the ride quality spectrum further away from Track and closer to Touring. For everything, there will be a Blackwing…

Great exterior styling

Size-wise, the 2020 Cadillac CT4-V rubs elbows with the Audi S3, Mercedes-AMG A35 and CLA 35, the BMW M235i, so it’s in excellent company. Physically, it need not envy the competition as its look is pure Cadillac with all the necessary added aero touches, including the delicate trunk-lid-mounted spoiler, subtle side skirts, and various black trim on the outside. The wheels on my tester were optional 19-inch units (up from 18s) and certainly add the car’s visual appeal.

2020 Cadillac CT4-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

The Cadillac CT4 is a smart-looking small luxury car but, in all likelihood, it will not generate huge sales volumes. The CT4-V will be an even rarer sight and when spotted, will be recognized as being special. I’m not saying it will be a future collectible but…

Snug, loaded, and in that shadow

Because the CT5-V is so close in price, unless you, as a CT4-V, plan to never have any passengers, the CT5 is far more generous space-wise. Front passengers in the CT4 are absolutely at ease however rear-seat passengers will not be as comfortable for any drive lasting longer than 10 minutes.

2020 Cadillac CT4-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

The CT4-V is equipped with all the must-have infotainment technology which is accessible via standard 8-inch touchscreen which features the Cadillac user experience. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Bose audio system, wireless charging, and other elements are also standard. My tester rolled into play with the navigation/Bose and technology packages, and more for a grand total of $58,000. Kitted and priced as such, this further supports my CT4-V vs. CT5-V point.

From a pure performance standpoint, the 2020 Cadillac CT4-V happens to be among the fastest and most potent in its small segment. It’s also considerably less expensive with no failings as far as features are concerned. In fact, the CT4-V is extremely compelling and generally good-fun to drive but it ultimately loses out to the CT5-V.

2020 Cadillac CT4-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2020 Cadillac CT4-V | Photo: Olivier Delorme

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Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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