The V-series of Cadillac cars used to be the equivalent to AMG or M cars. But with this all-new 2020 Cadillac CT5-V, the V-series badge is no longer the pinnacle of Cadillac sports cars. That honor goes to the Blackwing lineup of cars. However, just like the AMG 43 series or BMW M-Sport cars, is the new V-series Cadillac CT5 worth your consideration?
Engine – The 2020 Cadillac CT5-V is equipped with a 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6 engine that produces 360 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers are a very healthy amount. Compared to the BMW M340i, it produces more torque but a bit less power and it’s the same story against the C43 AMG.
Like many turbocharged engines, peak torque is reached at a low 2,350 rpms and is sustained mid-way through the rpm range. Peak power is reached at 5,400 rpms. Throughout the rpm range, acceleration feels strong and turbo lag is kept at a minimum. There are also quite a few different noises produced by the engine. At lower rpms, the sports exhaust makes the engine sound like as though it has a $50 eBay muffler on it. It’s only when the rpms climb past 3,000 that the engine starts to sound like a more muscular V6. It also produces some nice exhaust pops with each upshift near the redline.
Fuel economy is not too bad with this 3.0L twin-turbo engine. It is rated for 9.1 L/100km (25.8 MPG) on a highway and 13.1 L/100km (18 MPG) in a city. During my time with the CT5-V, I’ve averaged around 12.8 L/100km (18.8 MPG).
Transmission – The 3.0L V6 engine is paired with the 10-speed automatic that is found in many other GM vehicles. First and foremost, the shifts are smooth and quick enough even when using the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. My only – minor – complaint is that it gives the car two different personalities. At low rpms when driving on city streets, the rpms barely drop by 500 with each upshift. This makes the CT5-V feel as though it has a CVT transmission. But thankfully at higher rpms, each upshift is distinct and makes the CT5-V feel like a proper sports sedan.
Braking – The 2020 Cadillac CT5-V receives 4-piston Brembo brake calipers on the front axle. The braking performance can be changed between Tour & Sport modes. Regardless of which mode the car is in, the brakes are strong and provide a firm brake pedal feel. Those with a heavier foot may find the brake pedal a tad on the sensitive side for daily commuting but for spirited or track driving, it’s nice to have a firm brake pedal. Automatic emergency braking is a standard feature on the Cadillac CT5-V.
Handling – The 2020 CT5-V is available in rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive configurations. This particular demo vehicle came with AWD because it’s Vancouver and it always rains here. Coupled with a very hidden launch control system and an eLSD, the CT5-V feels like it accelerates hard off the line. But in reality, the CT5-V is actually slower to 100 km/h than both the C43 AMG & the M340i by almost a full second. However, this car is based on the Alpha 2 platform which was designed for twisty roads rather than a drag strip.
The steering is very precise with the most minute inputs from the steering wheel translating to the tires. The steering feel can be changed from Tour to Sport to Track. Tour mode makes a drive in a city feel easy while Track mode feels a bit overly heavy for street use. As well, the car tends to follow the crown of the road when in this mode. But for track use, the steering feel and weight is just about perfect for a sports sedan like this.
There are also multiple traction/stability control modes to choose from. These change the amount of slip that the computer will allow before intervening. Overall the 2020 Cadillac CT5-V has some playful characteristics when it’s on a twisty road with the back end tending to step out of line a bit when you’re in the more exciting stability control modes.
Ride Comfort – The CT5-V comes equipped with GM’s magnetic ride control that can change stiffness. In the Tour mode, the suspension is quite soft for a sports sedan which makes it comfortable to drive over small to moderate potholes. Over deeper potholes, you’ll probably want to play Minesweeper and avoid them not only for better comfort but to prevent cracking the wheels or damaging the tires. When the magnetic ride is in the firmer Track mode, it’s still not too bad to use on city streets. You notice the difference in stiffness but you can still have a comfortable commute in a city while in this suspension setting.
The front seats provide ample support for short & tall drivers alike. There is a thigh extension, 4-way lumber support, & adjustable side bolsters. The front seats can also provide a massage to your lower back. It’s not as sophisticated as the massage feature that you’d find in a Mercedes GLE but it makes good use of that lumbar support to relieve some stress from your lower back after a long day in the office.
Interior Space – While the Cadillac CT5-V is a competitor to the BMW M340i & Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG, it is significantly larger inside. Actually, the CT5-V offers front and rear legroom that is more similar to the BMW 540i & Mercedes E450. However, the CT5-V has significantly less trunk space at just 337 L (11.9 cu-ft). The rear seats fold 60/40 but the pass through between the trunk and the cabin is very small and constrictive.
Noise, Vibration & Harshness – The exhaust note can always be heard in the cabin regardless of what drive mode the car is in. If you like the exhaust note then it’s not too deafening. But if you don’t – I personally don’t like how it sounds at low rpms – then unfortunately there’s not much you can do about it. Maybe opt for the slightly less powerful Premium trim?
Other than the exhaust noise, the cabin of the 2020 Cadillac CT5-V is a quiet place to be. Road and wind noise is well insulated when driving on a highway and there are no squeaks and rattles when driving over road bumps.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – Starting off with some bad news, the 2020 Cadillac CT5-V is not available with SuperCruise. For those that don’t know, this is Cadillac’s version of Autopilot which allows for momentary hands-free driving on certain highways. But the good news is that SuperCruise will be available for the 2021 CT5-V.
However, the rest of this 2020 CT5-V is well equipped with just about every feature in the Cadillac options list. Some of the highlights include surround view cameras, a rear camera mirror, wireless phone charging, NFC pairing, a head-up display, blind zone sensors, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning with lane keep. Just one note about the lane keep system, it has a tendency to lose the lines of the road or think that you are drifting outside of your lane during poor road conditions such as heavy rain. As such, I had to turn off the system as it kept trying to fight with me for control.
The infotainment screen measures at 10-inches and is very responsive to touches. The new infotainment system is a welcome upgrade from the CUE system of older Cadillacs and if you don’t want to use the touchscreen, there are quick access buttons and a rotary knob on the center console.
Interior Design – This being a sports sedan, it has a few stereotypical design cues that are found in other sporty cars. The interior of the CT5-V has a carbon fiber trim, a suede wrapped steering wheel, and perforated leather seats with adjustable side bolsters. The rest of the cabin is similar to other current generation Cadillac vehicles with a BMW-esque gear selector and physical buttons for the climate controls. There are also a few physical buttons for the heated & ventilated seats, parking sensors, and lane departure warning system so you don’t have to dig through the infotainment system to use these features. Overall the interior of the CT5-V is a nice blend of sportiness & luxury. My only small complaints are the dual pane sunroof & the side mirrors. I would’ve preferred a panoramic sunroof without the center split between the glass panes. And the exterior side mirrors are small; it feels like you’re looking through a mail slot.
Exterior Design – The exterior of the Cadillac CT5-V continues with the sporty & luxury blend. The V-Series receives an all-black grille along with V badges on the sides and trunk. Vertical daytime running lights keep in tune with other Cadillac models while the rear tail lamps are split with one light being vertical and the other turning inward. Around back there is also a faux diffuser and fake quad exhaust pipes – the real pipes are further inward. Also from the side profile, the CT5-V looks as though it has a sportback or hatchback trunk. However, it’s just styling as the CT5 has a normal opening trunk which can be operated by a kick of your foot on the Cadillac projected logo on the ground.
In all, the 2020 Cadillac CT5-V has been “downgraded” in a sense as the V badge is no longer the top model of Cadillac’s model trims. The Blackwing series will take over that job while the V-Series will be the intermediary between the new Blackwing CT5 and the standard CT5. So does that make the CT5-V any less of a sports sedan? No. Just like the M340i or 43-series of the AMG models, the CT5-V fills the void between the standard cars & the high performance models. At just under $52,000 CAD ($49,700 USD) for this AWD model, The Cadillac CT5-V undercuts the BMW M340i by almost $10,000 CAD. Granted, you’re not getting the same performance but if it were my money, I’d be perfectly happy with what CT5-V offers as well as the $10k in my pocket.
Thank you to Cadillac Canada for providing the vehicle. www.CadillacCanada.ca