The Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is arguably the best performance sedan on the market in 2022. It combines ferocious performance with comfort and usability to give an overall package that is just at home on the race track as it is on Main Street.
The CT5-V Blackwing’s main competition comes from BMW. The M5 Competition and CS models are the only cars that can match the Blackwing’s engaging performance and speed. If you’re considering the big Cadillac as your next performance sedan, here are three reasons to buy one and a single reason why you might want to avoid it.
The drivetrain is world-class and likely the last of its kind
We have gushed plenty about the CT5-V Blackwing and its sumptuous V8, but the truth of the matter is that the entire drivetrain is worth every penny of the $85,000 starting price. It is also likely to be the last purely internal combustion engine powered V-Series Cadillac sedan. Future models will undoubtedly have hybrid drivetrains before going pure electric.
The CT5-V Blackwing is powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged and direct-injected V8 that churns out 668 horsepower and 659 pound-feet of torque. That power is sent through a six-speed manual transmission, which uses a twin-disc clutch and allows for full throttle no-lift upshifts. That means you can keep your foot buried in the carpet and select the next gear without using the clutch pedal. There is also active rev-matching on the downshifts, making you look like an absolute hero when you row through the gears.
There is no option for all-wheel drive in the Blackwing, just rear-wheel drive. Get everything right, and the Caddy will launch you from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds and carry you to 205 mph. The entire drivetrain works together in such harmony that it is hard to imagine Cadillac improving upon it.
Performance isn’t just a number, it’s a sensation
There is no denying that the CT5-V Blackwing is seriously fast, but that is just a portion of the car’s performance capabilities. 0 to 60 mph times and top speeds are exciting but don’t really tell the whole story. Those statistics are, of course, measured under optimal conditions. In the real world, it just isn’t relevant.
The Blackwing’s performance comes from the sensations the car delivers. There is instant power and torque whenever you touch the throttle. The steering is correctly weighted and gives the driver all the feedback necessary to drive the car hard. The chassis balance is nearly perfect, and unless you are pushing to the ragged edge of the car’s capabilities, feels as good as, if not better, than anything its German rivals can make.
The CT5-V Blackwing rides on a set of bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, which provide a great compromise between performance and every day useability. The Blackwing would be even faster with a set of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires or the M5 CS’ Pirelli P Zero rubber. Still, the all-season Michelins are good enough to tackle daily driving and the occasional track day.
Supercar performance with everyday usability
One of the best features of the big Blackwing is not really a feature but more of a characteristic. You can use this car every day, and it will be just as happy on a grocery run as it will hunting down apexes on a track day.
The CT5 is not a small car and is comparable in size to the BMW 5 Series. There is plenty of interior space and a decent size trunk. Cadillac lists front legroom at 42.4 inches, rear legroom at 37 inches, and trunk space at 11.9 cubic feet. This is marginally smaller than the BMW 5 Series, but is still plenty to carry five people in comfort as well as their luggage.
The real party-trick is that the big bruiser of a V8 is not highly-strung and temperamental. It will lope along all day cruising or happily rev to redline without making a fuss. This versatility in everyday life makes the CT5-V Blackwing stress-free to live with. It does everything you ask it to do without complaint. If you want it to be docile around town, it will happily oblige. It will also turn into an absolute beast when asked.
The only significant reason to avoid the Cadillac
There is a lot to love about the CT5-V Blackwing, and it is a car with very few flaws. Driving at the absolute limit on a race track can be tricky, but that is a small niggle that can be addressed with different tires and a few set-up changes.
However, the main letdown of the Cadillac is the interior. It is just not on the same level as its German rivals. The plastics feel cheap, and there is still a sense that materials have been borrowed from GM’s parts bin.
With a starting price of $85,000, it’s a fair bit less expensive than the BMW M5. However, when you start ticking the options boxes, the CT5-V’s price can easily exceed $100,000. At that price point, cheap plastic interior parts are almost inexcusable. Granted, the CT5 has a better interior than the previous CTS, but there is still room for improvement.
If Cadillac had spent as much time and energy on the interior as they did with the drivetrain, the CT5-V Blackwing might be as close to perfect as you can get in a super-sedan.