After a rocky start to its 40,000-mile evaluation—thanks to an unexpected high-speed encounter with a turkey vulture—the 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing has settled in, impressing as both a focused sports sedan and a daily commuter. The CT4 is one of three luxury sports sedans in Car and Driver‘s long-term fleet, alongside the 2022 BMW M3 and the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, but the compact Caddy has managed to stand out next to its high-performance stablemates.
The CT4-V Blackwing’s sharp steering and balanced handling have elicited praise, outshining the M3, in particular, for many when it comes to driver engagement. We have also come to appreciate the twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6’s throaty growl and firecracker exhaust, helping us get over the fact that the CT4 doesn’t have the CT5-V Blackwing’s supercharged 6.2-liter V-8.
The CT4-V Blackwing has also revealed a chameleon-like ability to adapt to its surroundings. In the sportier drive settings, the Blackwing can swiftly scythe its way down a curvy country road, the snarling V-6 rocketing the CT4 out of corners as the suspension helps it cling to the pavement around the bends. But put the sports sedan into Tour mode, and the engine note quiets to a distant rumble while the magnetorheological dampers transform the car into a docile and comfortable cruiser. The rear-seat passengers will definitely appreciate the calmer ride in Tour mode, even if the Cadillac is a bit tight on rear legroom, with its wheelbase measuring 3.2 inches shorter than the M3’s. But if someone pipes up from the back seat and says, “Show us what this car can do!” you can easily switch it back into Track mode and have your passengers clinging onto the grab handles, hopefully with a look of glee and not terror on their faces.
The Electric Blue paint has also brought the CT4-V Blackwing a fair amount of attention. Some are clearly aware of the Caddy’s performance credentials, while others are simply captivated by the vivid hue. The attention can be fun, but if you’re more reserved, we’d recommend a subtler color like the Wave Metallic of our long-term CT5-V Blackwing.
Fuel economy has slightly increased as we have added miles to the CT4-V Blackwing. Through the first 5000 miles, the CT4 averaged 19 mpg, but a few longer trips have seen the mileage bump up to 20 mpg. While that figure still won’t win you any points with environmental groups, it is a decent improvement on the EPA’s combined rating of 18 mpg for the manual Blackwing.
Winter has arrived in Michigan, with temperatures dropping into the 30s and a few light snowfalls. But sourcing winter tires for the CT4-V Blackwing was a challenge. There are plenty of choices for the 255/35R-18 front tires, but the 275/35 rear tires are an unusual size, with nothing currently available in those dimensions. Abandoning the staggered setup is also not a great option, with a different offset front and rear. The front wheels measure 9.0 inches wide, but the rears have an extra 0.5 inch of width, so stretching 255s onto the rear wheels isn’t ideal.
Changing wheel sizes also presented challenges—going an inch smaller wouldn’t provide adequate space for the beefy six-piston front brake calipers. We asked Cadillac’s engineering team what they run, and they pointed us to a 265/35R-18 rear size. There are two such tires available, a Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 and a Pirelli Sottozero Serie II, and both were hopelessly backordered. After much searching, handwringing, and considering sending our CT4 to the West Coast to ride out the winter months, we happened upon a set of discontinued Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 winter tires on eBay in the correct sizes.
Along with fitting new tires, the CT4-V Blackwing received scheduled service at 7500 miles. The dealership performed an oil-and-filter change that cost $123. Otherwise, our time with the CT4-V Blackwing has been smooth sailing and we look forward to seeing how the sports sedan handles the winter.
Months in Fleet: 4 months Current Mileage: 10,013 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 20 mpg
Fuel Tank Size: 17.4 gal Observed Fuel Range: 340 miles
Service: $123 Repair: $0 Damage and Destruction: $4326
With a long-term fleet that already contains a 2022 BMW M3 and a 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing—both of which let the driver row their own gears through six-speed manual transmissions—you might think that our sports-sedan itch would be satiated. But we believe there can never be too many stick-shift, high-performance four-doors. So after the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing earned a spot on our 2022 10Best list and set a sub-three-minute time at Lightning Lap thanks to its 472-hp 3.6-liter engine, rich feedback, and crisp handling, we ordered one for a long-term test. Though it shares the Blackwing moniker with the larger CT5-V, the CT4-V’s tighter dimensions and twin-turbo V-6 give the car a distinctly different demeanor. The CT4-V Blackwing also gives our M3 an in-house rival.
As with our CT5-V Blackwing, we chose the six-speed manual gearbox. The stick shift is standard on Blackwing models and saves buyers more than $3000 compared to the 10-speed automatic. The vivid $625 Electric Blue hue of our CT4-V Blackwing really pops. We matched the paint job with blue brake calipers ($595) hiding behind a set of 18-inch bronze-colored aluminum alloy wheels ($1500). The cabin is outfitted with high-performance bucket seats, which have Sky Cool Gray quilted and perforated inserts and sueded seatbacks. They’re a $4900 upgrade over the standard seats, which are plain Jet Black leather. These buckets are also heated and ventilated, part of a required $600 package that also adds power lumbar support for the driver and front passenger. The special seats also require another option package, which wraps the headliner, door trim, and other interior bits in a suedelike microfiber.
Despite packing fewer options than the first CT4-V Blackwing we tested in 2021, this example weighed in slightly heavier at 3879 pounds. The extra 28 pounds may have led to this Blackwing recording a 0.1 second slower dash to 60 mph, at 4.1 seconds, than that first test car did, and it was 0.2 second behind at the quarter-mile with a 12.6-second run. The grippy Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber helped our CT4-V record 1.01 g’s at the skidpad, and the tires and Brembo brakes clawed the Blackwing to a stop from 70 mph in 149 feet. While these performance figures can’t quite match our long-term BMW M3—which hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, completed the quarter-mile in 12.2 ticks, and pulled 1.02 g’s on the skidpad—the Cadillac rings in nearly $10,000 cheaper.
The impressive run at the track was sadly cut short by an unexpected guest. A day after a deer got up close and personal with the rear passenger-side door of our long-term CT5-V Blackwing, the CT4-V suffered a similar fate, colliding with a turkey vulture at 144 mph. Fixing the bird bash necessitated repairing a damaged A-pillar, replacing the passenger-side mirror and other trim pieces, and repainting the affected areas. The work totaled more than $4000 and forced the Blackwing to spend 14 days on the sideline.
Destructive encounters with wildlife aside, the CT4-V’s stay so far has been stellar, with the sports sedan quickly earning heaps of praise, much like its bigger brother. We have consistently lauded the driving dynamics, with the sharp and responsive steering and gearbox helping the Cadillac feel more alive than the M3. One staffer even likened it to a Camaro SS 1LE, just “with better sightliness and an extra set of doors.” While some wish the CT4-V were powered by a more characterful V-8, the V-6 provides enough oomph to pin your noggin to the headrest and emits its own unique burble.
While the Blackwing’s ability to ferociously attack a curvy road was well known from our experiences at Lightning Lap and 10Best, the Cadillac is now showing us that it also can excel in the daily commute. The forgiving ride afforded by the adaptive magnetorheological dampers makes it noticeably more comfortable to live with than the stiffer M3, which can be punishing on Michigan’s broken asphalt. Many commenters have already asserted their preference for the Blackwing over our long-term BMW. “If our M3 disappeared tomorrow, I wouldn’t miss it,” one editor wrote, while another said, “If only the M3 could feel so balanced and progressive.”
There have been some complaints about the quality of the interior materials, although the cabin cheapness is less egregious in the CT4-V than in our $100,000 CT5-V Blackwing. The Sky Cool Gray seats, which certainly help liven up the interior, are already staining a gray-blue color. Minor criticisms aside, the staff’s adoration for the CT4-V Blackwing means the sports sedan should start quickly racking up miles, even as the incoming Michigan winter provides a harsh test for this Cadillac’s day-to-day usability.
Months in Fleet: 3 months Current Mileage: 5566 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 19 mpg
Fuel Tank Size: 17.4 gal Observed Fuel Range: 330 miles
Service: $0 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0
Damage and Destruction: $4326
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing
Vehicle Type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
Base/As Tested: $59,990/$68,210
Options: Sky Cool Gray interior – leather seating surfaces with mini-perforated quilted inserts, suede microfiber trim package, and performance steering wheel, $4900; 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels w/Tech Bronze finish, $1500; Electric Blue paint, $625; climate package – heated, ventilated, and massaging front seats, heated steering wheel, $600; blue brake calipers, $595
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 218 in3, 3564 cm3
Power: 472 hp @ 5750 rpm
Torque: 445 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 15.0-in vented disc/13.4-in vented disc
Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
F: 255/35ZR-18 94Y TPC Spec 3164
R: 275/35ZR-18 99Y TPC Spec 3165
Wheelbase: 109.3 in
Length: 187.6 in
Width: 71.5 in
Height: 56.0 in
Passenger Volume: 90 ft3
Trunk Volume: 11 ft3
Curb Weight: 3879 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS: NEW
60 mph: 4.1 sec
100 mph: 9.9 sec
1/4-Mile: 12.6 sec @ 114 mph
130 mph: 17.2 sec
150 mph: 25.0 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 5.3 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 9.6 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 7.1 sec
Top Speed (mfr’s claim): 189 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 149 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 310 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 1.01 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 20 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 18/15/23 mpg
4 years/50,000 miles bumper to bumper
6 years/70,000 miles powertrain
4 years/50,000 miles corrosion protection or 6/unlimited
6 years/70,000 miles roadside assistance
1 year/1 visit scheduled maintenance
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