Cadillac‘s new twin-turbocharged six-cylinder CT4-V Blackwing represents the pinnacle of GM’s 11 decades of car-making. The sports-sedan easily reaches 60mph in 3.9 seconds, which, measured against other petroleum powered cars, is quite impressive. It’s equally impressive that a car this fast can also be so placid and enjoyable to drive. That said, there’s no doubt that the clock is ticking for internal combustion engines for most consumer vehicles of the future; we no longer live in a single-propulsion world. The CT4-V Blackwing represents the end of an era, a swan song of sorts, that performance enthusiasts will very much enjoy driving.
Unlike many pugnacious gas-fueled machines available the CT4-V Blackwing possesses just the right amount of heft and feedback coming through its microfiber-wrapped wheel, aided by its Magnetic Ride Control (MRC), tech that GM pioneered and has mostly used on Corvettes. Essentially, the system allows the suspension of the car to flex under light load, so a pothole gets dampened without the entire chassis moving, and progressive cornering can be resisted smoothly. Unlike a passive damper and spring, MRC readjusts constantly, thousands of times a second. With the CT4-V’s steering, this leads to a car that feels loose enough when the roadway is smooth, but if a driver decides to get aggressive, the car noticeably stiffens in response. Drivers can further refine that personality through V-mode, where customization is available for factors like the car’s exhaust note, steering feel, suspension rigidity, throttle response and more.
The default six-speed manual gearbox is also superb, as is the clutch feel. Like other makers in the space, Cadillac allows “no-lift” upshifts, meaning drivers can keep their foot on the gas and the transmission reads gear changes on the fly and rev-matches downshifts, too. Even without those elements this is a great gearbox. It’s so appealing on its own that one wonders if the CT4-V Blackwing will become one of those secret-handshake cars that will quickly appreciate in value simply because manual gearboxes are disappearing from carmakers’ option lists.
While this is a rear-wheel-drive-only sedan, it boasts a limited-slip differential for seamless acceleration, as well as communicative and easily modulated Brembo brakes. High-performance brakes often work as advertised, but with little to no subtlety; these Brembos are so friendly they can even trick drivers into thinking they’re not capable of top-end, race-track worthy performance until they really stand on them and bring the CT4-V to a standstill in an incredibly short distance.
The car is attractive from the outside. It’s powerful and more affordable than the beloved BMW M3 (which is a favorite among sports-sedan fans). Though there’s plenty of quality materials and craftsmanship within—including the aforementioned steering wheel—it’s not as gorgeous as some of its competitors.
Even with Cadillac’s obvious success, it’s an open question if they can achieve what other brands like BMW already have when they switch to electric. We’re rapidly reaching an era when silent running is the ultimate performance flex. The CT4-V Blackwing will definitely thrill many, and it’s a dignified farewell to Cadillac’s gasoline-fueled performance era.
Hero image courtesy of Cadillac