What Is It?
The sporty luxury sedan may be endangered by the plethora of high-end crossovers on the market, but Cadillac is keeping 4-doors alive. This year GM’s premium brand introduced two new sedans — CT4 and CT5 — and we recently had the opportunity to spend some time with the sporty CT5 V-Series. Granted, it may not be at the level of the vaunted CTS-V, but the new CT5 V-Series still brings sporty styling and great performance to the luxury sport sedan market.
Cadillac provided a 2020 CT5 V-Series painted in Shadow Metallic. The V-Series is the top-level trim of the CT5 and comes with plenty of standard features. Our test vehicle also arrived with Cadillac’s Platinum Package, V Premium Package, all-wheel drive and the Driver Awareness Plus Package for a total MSRP of $65,045. Competitors to the CT5 V-Series include the Audi S5, BMW 540i, Genesis G70, Lexus GS and Mercedes-Benz AMG C43.
A few years ago Cadillac introduced a new styling direction with the debut of the Escala concept car. Although the Escala never made it to production, the CT5 carries many of the styling cues from that elegant concept, including the bold grille, slim horizontal headlights, vertical running lights and a sleek fastback style, all of which give the CT5 a sporty yet sophisticated look. This same “face” can be found on all the latest Cadillac models — both sedan and SUV.
To emphasize the added performance of the V-Series, the CT-5 we drove featured dark exterior accents including gloss-black exterior trim, a unique mesh grille, quad-trapezoidal exhaust tips, 19-inch wheels with Pearl Nickel finish, Brembo front brakes and V badging on the side and rear.
When equipped with the Platinum Package, the CT5 gets heated and ventilated front seats trimmed in Sedona Sauvage Semi-Aniline leather. The lighter-color seats contrast well with the dark dashboard, door trim and center console. Larger side bolsters offer nice support, and we appreciate the extendable seat bottoms for better thigh support. Seat massagers are also part of the package and work their magic quite well.
The dashboard lines of the 2020 Cadillac CT5-V-Series run asymmetrical for a much more engaging look. The 10-inch center display integrates well with the dash and uses hard knobs for volume and tuning, as well as static links to personally important features such as audio, navigation and communications. Climate controls are both stylish and intuitive. A convenient wireless charging pad sits below the climate controls.
Retaining the stylish ambience of the forward cabin, the rear-seat area of the 2020 Cadillac CT5 V-Series also has a premium vibe thanks to soft leather seats and contrasting black safety belts. Although the roofline slopes downward it doesn’t impinge on rear-seat headroom, and passengers will appreciate decent legroom as well. Surprisingly there is only one USB port in the rear area. As one of Cadillac’s newest offerings, the CT5 V-Series should offer at least two ports for devices of rear-seat occupants.
The CT5 trunk has plenty of space for multiple pieces of luggage or other cargo, making this new Cadillac a great option for a weekend getaway or longer road trip.
Under the Hood
Powering the CT5 V-Series is a high-output 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine that produces 360 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque, teamed with a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission. The standard CT5 V-Series sports a rear-drive layout; however, all-wheel drive can be added for an additional $2,000.
Magnetic Ride Control
The CT5 V-Series features the latest version of Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control. This system analyzes the road up to 1,000 times per second to adjust damping, which provides a smoother ride when cruising as well as improves handling during spirited driving. Adding some sportiness is a standard electronic limited-slip rear differential as well as the all-wheel drive, both of which help to keep this CT5’s power on the pavement.
Similar to the M buttons of the steering wheels of performance-oriented BMW models, Cadillac provides a V button. Acting as a preset for vehicle settings, the V mode can be configured to adjust engine sound, steering, suspension, powertrain and brakes for either comfort or all-out performance. We set the V mode in our CT5 for the highest performance in every category. Pressing that V button does provide noticeable differences, especially in throttle response and exhaust note.
On the Road
With 360 galloping horses under the hood, the CT5 V-Series feels plenty powerful. The CT5-V-Series acceleration from a standstill is admirable, and even putting the throttle down at highway speeds results in a pleasing rush. The 10-speed automatic transmission shifts quickly and smoothly; of course when in V mode things can become a bit more abrupt and immediate.
The exhaust of the 2020 Cadillac CT5 V-Series has a nice rumble at idle, and under hard acceleration it barks with every gear change. That said, things can sound a bit artificial — perhaps the roar advertises slightly more bark than bite.
Good in Corners
We couldn’t help but pine for the acceleration of Cadillac’s CTS-V of days gone, but where the CT5 V-Series is perhaps not as powerful, it does deliver in overall drivability. Steering is excellent and the sport sedan provides a confident ride when pushed quickly down a winding road. Grip is excellent and the CT5 V-Series is more fun than expected when pushed hard.
We’re glad to see Cadillac continue to contribute great products in the sport sedan arena, and the CT5 V-Series is certainly worthy of this moniker. The fun-to-drive sedan offers good power, a luxurious, roomy interior and standout styling — important things in this sporty category. However, wearing a V badge is a bit misleading — it should be reserved for the arrival of the high-performance version due out next year.