2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing first test: transcending the ATS-V
What if you told them, in the midst of all this change, is it Cadillac of all brands that takes the bold stance of offering a manual gearbox in both models? Inconceivable, they will say. But they would probably believe that Cadillac would throw in all of its considerable performance and chassis know-how to send the V-Series off with a bang. The CT4-V Blackwing is that blast.
What is the Cadillac CT-4 Blackwing?
A smooth evolution (and more in-depth restyling) of the ATS-V may not seem like a dramatic enough goodbye at first. There’s a lot of transfer material between the two vehicles, from the Alpha 2 chassis architecture to the LF4 twin-turbo V6. But the transformation carries a more subjective weight than the CT4-V Blackwing spec sheet suggests.
The ATS-V’s soft angularity is replaced by a more modern exterior influenced by Cadillac’s Escala concept. The new look is at its best where the designers signal musculature: the way the sharp character lines above the door fall into the vertical elements of the taillights and front daytime running lights, and into the folds that form a subtle power bulge in the hood. But the 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing’s slack trunk dwarfs the sleek taillights, and its shape is reflected in the trunk lid spoiler for added accent.
The front nailed dive planes, which are part of the optional Carbon Fiber 1 package ($ 4,350), look like a late addition, because they were. The CT4-V Blackwing would not have hit a forward downforce target without them. At least the aerodynamic bits are functional; the CT4-V Blackwing produces 169 pounds of downforce at 180 mph, the most number of any V-series car. Call this car distinctive and determined, of course, but its body is too loaded to look good.
The covered appreciation extends to the soundscape. Despite the dynamic excellence of the ATS-V, it never had the sound drama to fully sell its sporty character. You can now consider this problem resolved, at least as much as it can be with a V-6 still under the hood. (Cadillac really couldn’t dig deep and send it off with a naturally aspirated V-8? Guess not.) At least Cadillac engineers reworked the exhaust to hit the maximum sound targets allowed in full tear. The resulting noise, while still a bit coarse, makes the Blackwing’s engine seem like a living, breathing, and even choppy thing rather than a distant clicking and whoosh. Most importantly, it keeps your ears abreast of the foaming condition of the engine even on a noisy track with the windows open. It’s absolutely better than the ATS-V.
There is also a negligible increase in horsepower (eight more ponies thanks to tuning and revisions to the intake) while the torque is unchanged, reaching 472 horsepower and 445 lb-ft of torque. Cadillac claims its 2022 CT4-V Blackwing can hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds with the optional 10-speed automatic or 4.1 seconds with the manual. We timed the older ATS-V sedan at 3.7 seconds at 60 mph with an eight-speed automatic. It’s possible that the new automatic could save time on the 60 mph dashboard of its predecessor in our testing, although Cadillac claims the CT4-V Blackwing weighs around 112 pounds more than this car. Otherwise, the LF4 engine is unchanged aside from a few slightly overhauled oil jets, and that’s okay, as this twin-turbo V6 is a torque-rich, low-lag medium.
The 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing is fundamentally a machine that is finesse, sharp and agile without being ruthless. The credit goes to a few premium parts bolted to its ultra-rigid chassis. For one thing, the CT4-V Blackwing sports 18-inch wheels all around (even the optional Tech Bronze snowflake upgrade wheels, which look phenomenal), as well as Michelin Pilot Sport tires. 4S made to measure. The damping of these wheels is the fourth generation of MagneRide shock absorber technology, controlled by a redesigned sensor suite and with increased capacity: they react faster than before, with more precision and less body roll when cornering. .
All of this technology pays dividends down the road. Even with firmer shocks, harder impacts are significantly lessened, letting information about what is under the car pass through without disturbing the calmness of the car. But on the track, at Virginia International Raceway, the combination of smart shock absorber technology and sticky Michelin sidewalls means aggressive circuit braking is a non-event.
The brake bite is fierce, even though it’s just slightly enlarged iron units compared to the ATS-V. The front rotors measure almost 15 inches with Brembo six-piston calipers, and the rears measure 13.4 inches with four-piston units. The brakes feature a new compound of copper-free pads that won’t harm aquatic life when their dust enters streams, which Cadillac engineers say took a lot of work to nail down. Nail, they did it; this cushion compound has excellent feel and, according to Cadillac, the same longevity as a copper loaded equivalent.
Like any modern GM performance product, there’s a lot of computing power on board. A new electronic limited slip differential, housed in a new aluminum housing that saves 22 pounds, is controlled by the excellent, highly incremental performance traction management system. With the driver aids fully on or off, they wouldn’t work as well without a nimble car underneath. The 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing is eager to take the corners, happy to turn predictably on the throttle and excited about another lap. Cadillac (and GM in general) is also at the top of its driving sensations, and the CT4-V Blackwing combines fantastic precision, good weighting, and clear, unmistakable feedback in a microsuede-wrapped helmet.
The ATS-V’s manual transmission was a bit too jagged to be really enjoyable, and it was slower on a track than the automatic. The standard 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing manual complicates the situation a bit, because while technically slower, Tremec’s manual is absolutely fun to use. Short and precise, each gear change provides the ideal amount of positive engagement without heavy drag as you slide into the door. In addition, the manual Blackwings CT4-V now feature a no-lift shifting, which works as advertised to save an iota of time with each shift.
There is no knock against the 10-speed automatic transmission, which is competent and economical on the road and creaks strongly on the track. It’s smart enough to go alone on the circuit; it will find the right gear for the job while you focus on getting your lines correct. Engaging gear changes manually with the paddle shifters is quick but not as satisfying as a true dual clutch setup. There can be subjective tradeoffs between the two, but even manual transmission snobs should admit that you can’t go wrong with either gearbox.
The cost of fun
The 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing is competitively priced. Remember, Cadillac’s unusual pricing strategy means this Blackwing is bigger and more powerful than other cars in its price range. That’s good for consumers, but maybe less good for Cadillac’s perceived prestige. After all, this is a vehicle that outperforms the non-competing BMW M3 by a sizable amount, but it rings in at $ 59,990 if you’re stingy with options and picking a boring color. It is also for the manual elsewhere. If you like downforce and / or carbon fiber, be prepared to shell out $ 4,350 for the Carbon Fiber 1 bundle with all downforce accessories, and an additional $ 2,650 to get the side skirts and l ‘woven fabric rear diffuser insert. All of this brings the price up to $ 66,990.
Yet even at that number, the interior design and materials barely live up to expectations. The CT4 generally comes close than before, but it still doesn’t feel as special on the inside as its rivals above and below its price tag. There are great things, like the optional highly reinforced bucket seats, that hug without injury and are comfortable all day on the road. The optional performance data logger is also a safe bet if track usage is possible, and it works with Cosworth Toolbox, an advanced performance data analysis application. But interior quality isn’t the reason you should buy a Blackwing CT4-V. No, that’s how he lets off steam on a track or on a small winding road. And how you feel doing it (hint: great).
The 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing offers so much entertainment value for the asking price, so much subjective enjoyment of its main drives, so many learnings from the nearly 20-year-old Cadillac V-Series program chassis in a sub-package. -compact that it is difficult to argue with the result. As a final hurray for Cadillac tire smokers who breathe fossil fuels, this one’s perfect.
This seems good! More details?