The 2023 Cadillac CT-V Blackwing Is Proof That ‘Incredibly Awesome’ Runs In The Family

Blackwing is slower, but it’ll dance circles around the Benz on a track and feels sweeter to drive in real world situations.

HOME POPULAR The 2023 Cadillac CT-V Blackwing Is Proof That ‘Incredibly Awesome’ Runs In The Family

Adam Allen Writer -

It’s a case of history repeating itself, albeit on a slightly different plane.

Last summer, we drove the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing and found it so ‘incredibly awesome’ that it rendered us unable to come up with a witty title for its review- a rare feat, that. Fast forward to this summer and we find ourselves in a very familiar situation once again. Its little brother, the CT4-V Blackwing, is incredibly awesome but not in the same way as its V8 powered counterpart; allow us to explain.

Let’s start with the low hanging fruit, shall we? The CT4-V is smaller than the CT5-V Blackwing. That means its tidier dimensions make for a wieldier conveyance which in turn translates into sharper handling. The other major difference is what’s under the hood. The 5 packs an insane supercharged 6.2 litre V8 that slams 668 horsepower downstream to the 305-section width tires which have the unenviable job of putting that power to tarmac instead of painting it with thick, black parallel lines. The 4 plucks a 3.6 litre V6 off the XT6 assembly line and bolts on two turbo which do their part to muster an output of 472 horsepower. Now for the similarities: both have interiors that are pretty much identical- same thing with the exterior styling, unless you’re a very eagle-eyed Caddy enthusiast- and most important, both are available with your choice of a 10-speed automatic or a Tremec 6-speed manual. Can you guess which one we prefer?

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Crucially, they also share the same chassis. The Alpha platform is a sweetheart, underpinning cars like the Camaro SS 1LE that we drove last summer, which we called “transcendently great.” That makes for an excellent foundation on which to craft suspension, and GM’s latest version of MagneRide 4.0 is its best yet. Somehow these cars are able to effortlessly slay apexes and set hot laps and yet offer ride quality that is head and shoulders above other so-called sports sedans- actually, they ride better than some purebred luxury cars. We’re not great at predicting the future, but here’s something we are 100% certain of: these cars are astonishingly brilliant and will be highly sought after collection mainstays for years to come. You might say that with the Blackwing duo, Cadillac has reached the ‘V’-nith of its performance program that began back in 2004. Sorry about the Dad joke, but they really nailed it.

During its tenure in the Carpages Garage, we heard a similar narrative repeat itself over and over and it went something like this: “Yes, the CT4-V Blackwing is good, but there’s no way it can hang with its more established rivals.” We respectfully- and heartily- disagree.

Let’s start with the Mercedes Benz C63. It used to be powered by a glorious 4.0 twin-turbo V8 that made a heck of a noise while generating serious speed. The Benz Boys have binned that engine in favor of a turbocharged inline-four twinned with battery packs to push output to dizzying heights (671 horsepower!!!) but loses a ton of character in the process. It is also MUCH heavier than before. Its interior is nicer than the Caddy but also significantly more complicated to interact with. In a straight line, the Blackwing is slower, but it’ll dance circles around the Benz on a track and feels sweeter to drive in real world situations. The Benz does not, and never will, offer a manual. Did we mention the C63 is much more expensive than the Caddy?

How about the Audi RS5, you may ask? Surely the hottest Audi that competes directly with the humble Cadillac is going to trounce it at a stoplight or racetrack, right? Wrong. The Blackwing leaves the Audi sniffing its back bumper on acceleration, and you can forget about the German keeping pace on the track. Not only that, the Caddy has the Audi licked in terms of charisma, feeling alive and involving while the RS comes off cold and aloof. We admit to sneaking admiring glances at the Audi’s expertly trimmed interior, but is that cockpit worth the extra expenditure- and a large one at that- over the CT4-V? Maybe the lack of a manual option and being forced into AWD (the Blackwing is rear-wheel drive and the Benz offers a Drift Mode) will convince you to move on.

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The last car we heard countless comparisons to was one of our all-time favorites in the BMW M3. This car has long been regarded as the de facto king of the segment since it first went on sale. It offers a very compelling mix of day-to-day usability and comfort juxtaposed with a penchant for speed, usually punctuated by lurid oversteer. Other than the Caddy, it is the only car in this segment that can be had with a manual gearbox (an 8-speed automatic is offered as well.) It also features one of the best engines ever conceived in the S58 turbocharged inline-six that somehow manages to be incredibly smooth, surprisingly efficient and all ate up with power from idle to redline, all at the same time. We never thought we would say this, but the CT4-V Blackwing is so good that it offered just enough gravitas to pry our wanting eyes away from the Bavarian’s swollen yet handsome bodywork. We kept circling back to the idea that the Blackwing is better at BMW stuff than an actual BMW as we got to know the Caddy better. It gives us nostalgic vibes in the way that Bimmers used to feel when they lived and died by the slogan “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” The M3 still adheres to that philosophy, but the Caddy does everything it does but slightly better. OK, so the turbo’d 3.6 in the Blackwing engine bay isn’t as infatuating as the M3’s epic straight six, nor is it as powerful- we’d guess BMW is seriously underrating the specs on its mill, and its interior is decidedly a cut above the upstart American. Still, we can’t say with the same degree of certainty that we’d have one over the Blackwing, especially so when you consider that the Caddy’s all-in price seriously cuts that of a base M3.

We haven’t even approached the fact that the CT4-Blackwing offers one of the slickest traction/stability control systems available with its proprietary Performance Traction Management, nor that it has one of the best launch control software that features Line Lock for socially irresponsible burnouts. We didn’t mention Cadillac engineers’ astute decision to resist the temptation and install cartoonishly large wheels and tires, thus saving on unsprung weight, paying additional handling dividends. And we certainly haven’t drawn attention to the fact that its manual gearbox and clutch are amongst the very best you can find on sale today. We’re left drawing the very same conclusion we did last year although the context is different this time around- the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing is Incredibly Awesome.

2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing – Specifications

  • Price as tested: $75,973
  • Body Type: 4-door/5 passenger Sedan
  • Powertrain Layout: Front engine/rear-wheel drive
  • Engine:  3.6 litre twin turbo V6, DOHC, 24 valves
  • Horsepower: 472 @ 5,750 rpm
  • Torque (lbs.-ft.): 445 @ 3,500 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual
  • Curb weight:  1,747 kg (3,851 lbs.)
  • Fuel consumption, Observed: 12.2L/100km (19 mpg)
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