My Car Quest

June 12, 2021

Driving Impression – Cadillac CT4 V-Series

The CT5 has a little brother.

by Wallace Wyss –

I stepped from the CT5 V-series into the CT4, a lower priced car, but still costing over $45,000 as my test car was equipped. I was surprised it did not have the same viewing image available of a screen that the CT5 V-series does–no opportunity to set up your car to define your driving style–change steering quickness, change shift points, and alter braking and even engine noise as its big brother does.

Cadillac CT4

I was invited to park with prized collector cars at an exclusive cars & coffee, so I think that’s a sign that the CTS cars are accepted as real enthusiast cars by the cognoscenti.

But like the CT5, it is a driver’s car. It has a very firm hold on the road. Like its bigger brother it is a dual purpose car. It can be used for office commuting or family trips but deep down, it has an enthusiast heart and yearns for sports car-like tasks.

The biggest difference is that the CT5 has a V6 but the CT4 has a four. Two different turbocharged fours are available–a 237-hp 2.0-liter is standard, but ours had the optional 309-hp 2.7-liter mill. The CT4 enters its second year on the market with a few upgrades, namely a newly optional 12.0-inch digital gauge display.

Cadillac CT4

Cosmetically they are conservative. They manage to convey the subtle hints that it is a performance car without resorting to racing stripes, scoops, etc. Our test car had the available Diamond Sky Edition package, including a lower body kit, Brembo brakes, model-specific wheels, an aluminum-trimmed center console, and two-tone leather upholstery.

Cadillac CT4

It also had the options of the Bose premium audio system, which includes navigation and a 14-speaker stereo system along with a wireless smartphone charging pad. But all the extras are not as important as choosing the more powerful 325 hp. turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder.

The smaller of the two engines is paired to an eight-speed automatic while only the larger four gets a 10-speed. I was surprised to hear that rear wheel drive is a rarity in this segment, Car and Driver pointing out rivals such as the Audi A3, BMW 2-series Gran Coupe, and the Mercedes A-class are all based on front-drive chassis. I would prefer rear wheel drive because, if push comes to shove and you have to drift the rear it is more predictable than front wheel drive.

All-wheel drive is an option. The suspension performed well in smoothing out most roads but potholes revealed even the most refined suspension is being asked to do too much. Gas mileage is below 30 mpg but no one buying a performance model expects a car to have performance and mileage.

Rear-wheel-drive models with the 2.0-liter are rated as high at 23 mpg city, 34 mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined. Opting for all-wheel drive lowers the mileage by 2 mpg. The more powerful 2.7-liter engine is less efficient but not by much, with the rear-drive model coming in at 20 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined, comparable with the Audi A3, the BMW 2-series Gran Coupe, and the Mercedes-Benz A-class.

I enjoyed driving the car on city streets, but on mountain roads, taking curves, it felt very solidly planted, fulfilling my expectations. This car was obviously road tested by engineers to get the “feel of a high performance car” right. I thought “at last America has something to compete with the European rivals.”

Cadillac CT4

But I was so attached to the ability to literally dial in your parameters on the more expensive CT5 V-series that I’d almost consider buying a used one at the same price as the CT4 cost new. Both cars have the same goal–a dual personality car–but the larger one, at roughly $15,000 more new depending on options–has that secret weapon–the ability to tailor the set-up just as you like it. I like that feature so much I missed it in the CT4.

Cadillac CT4

I know there’s probably Japanese cars, like the F-series Lexus models, that offer a similar blend of docile driving and spirited driving, but unless they have what Cadillac does in the CT5 V-series–the ability to turn the performance on and off – they will have to appeal on other attributes.

And so it is. I congratulate Cadillac on offering two different V-series but the novelty of dialing in your own parameters won my loyalty with the CT5.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss has reported on cars for most of the world’s auto magazines including Motor Trend, Car, Car and Driver and MotorFan.

 
 

 
 

 

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Driving Impression -  Cadillac CT4 V-Series
Article Name
Driving Impression - Cadillac CT4 V-Series
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I enjoyed driving the Cadillac CT4 on city streets, but on mountain roads, taking curves, it felt very solidly planted, fulfilling my expectations.
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