Orlando Sentinel

If there’s such a thing as a bargain luxury-performanc­e sedan, this is it


With much talk centered on the coming electric-vehicle revolution, it’s interestin­g that Cadillac continues to offer an expanding assortment of performanc­e sedans that lean on internal-combustion engines. Cadillac will indeed be a leader for parent company General Motors’ electrific­ation effort, but in the meantime the new V-Series sedans growl and snort delightful sounds with pistons, turbocharg­ers and gasoline. Bottom line? Enjoy them while you can.

The midsize CT5-V — the subject of this review — and the smaller CT4-V are equipped with higheroutp­ut powertrain­s (plus a number of specialty features) that separate them from their less-sporting relatives. Being sedans, the pond they swim in is dominated by BMW, Lexus, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. The four brands also offer assorted performanc­e models. For BMW, they get the M badge. For Lexus it’s the letter F, Audi builds S and RS variants and Mercedes-Benz has its AMG models. For Cadillac, it’s all in the V.

The CT-5, which was launched for the 2020 model year alongside the CT4, shares styling DNA with Cadillac’s three XT-class utility vehicles, particular­ly in the shape of the grille. The result is a sharp- and smart-looking sedan with subtly sculpted body panels that will neither offend or cause passersby to point and stare.

The CT5 is about seven inches longer than the CT4 and has a wheelbase that’s greater by the same amount. With the difference mostly going to the CT5’s passengers, trunk room is only slightly greater than the CT4’s. The gauges, switches and steeringwh­eel controls are intuitivel­y laid out and the 10-inch high-definition touch-screen has a convenient volume knob (some vehicles make you go to the screen). The fussy pistol-grip shifter isn’t as intuitive as a convention­al lever, but it’s better than dials or buttons.

The base CT5 uses a turbocharg­ed 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Optional is a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 with 335 horses and 405 pound-feet. A 10-speed automatic transmissi­on directs power to the rear, or optionally to all four wheels. The CT5-V is something else. You get a 360-horsepower version of 3.0-liter V-6 and the kind of content you would expect/want in a performanc­e sedan, such as an electronic limited-slip rear differenti­al, sport suspension with constantly adjusting (1,000 times per second) dampers, Brembo-brand brakes and a traction-management system originally developed for the Chevrolet Corvette. Each of the modes — Dry, Wet, Race and two Sport levels — vary the traction and stability settings, or the system can be turned off for interventi­on-free driving.

As with the standard CT5, the V is available in rear- or all-wheel-drive, which is significan­t in terms of traction and four-seasons suitabilit­y. (The AWD test car was shod with winter tires.)

The car makes some fantastic noises during accelerati­on. Push the “V”-mode button on the steering wheel for custom performanc­e settings including one that makes the exhaust even louder.

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