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Compared to the preceding CTS-V, the CT5-V arguably feels like a bit of a letdown. But now, at least on paper, the CTS-V has a true successor: the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing. Aimed directly at the BMW M5, the CT5-V Blackwing certainly has super-sedan power. However, as Jay Leno explains in his recent video, that’s not what makes it better. Or at least, not the only thing.

The 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing gives the V8 one last ride

A blue 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing slides around a racetrack
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing | Cadillac
Spec2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing
Engine6.2-liter supercharged V8
Power668 hp
Torque659 lb-ft
Drive typeRWD
TransmissionSix-speed manual
10-speed automatic
Curb weight4,123 lbs (manual) [The Drive]
4,142 lbs (automatic) [The Drive]
0-60 mph time3.6 seconds (manual)
3.4 seconds (automatic)

Despite its name, the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing doesn’t have the CT6-V Blackwing’s twin-turbo V8. Instead, it uses a heavily updated, hand-assembled version of the third-gen CTS-V’s engine, Motor1 explains. But thanks to a new supercharger, intake, and intercooler, the CT5-V Blackwing has 28 more hp and 29 more lb-ft of torque, MotorTrend says. It’s officially the most powerful Cadillac ever.

The 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, along with the CT4-V Blackwing, is also one of the brand’s last gasoline-powered high-performance cars. After this, the brand’s going electric. This is why, for the V8’s swan song, Cadillac pulled out all the stops.

The black-and-tan-upholstered front seats and dashboard of a 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing with a manual
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing front interior | Cadillac

Firstly, just like the first two CTS-V models, the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing has a manual—and it’s standard. And that makes this the only sedan you can buy today with both a V8 and a stick, Road & Track notes. Plus, that stick comes with automatic rev-matching and no-lift shifting.

Secondly, the CT-V Blackwing has the biggest brakes ever offered on a Cadillac, with carbon-ceramic brakes as optional extras. Also, its grille offers enough cooling that the sedan doesn’t need the old CTS-V’s hood vent, The Drive reports. Engineers reinforced the chassis and added an extra shock-tower brace, too. Plus, the CT5-V Blackwing rides on bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires and GM’s fourth-gen magnetorheological ‘MagneRide’ dampers. And the sedan also gets some optional carbon-fiber aerodynamic upgrades, including a rear wing, front splitter, front-wheel deflectors, rear diffuser, and rocker-panel extensions.

For Jay Leno, the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing “is really one of the great cars”

One thing that the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing doesn’t get from the older CTS-Vs is the wagon body style. Jay Leno brought a guest onto his video, Cadillac chief engineer Tony Roma, who is a self-professed “card-carrying member of the wagon fan club.” And Roma explained that, given how SUVs are pulling sales from sedans, a Blackwing wagon was simply not in the cards. Ditto the coupe.

Jay Leno owns several classic and modern Cadillacs, including a 2012 CTS-V with a manual. And he enjoys that car because, while modern dual-clutch transmissions are fast, manuals are more involving at road-legal speeds. “All the fun is between 40 and 120,” he says, and having a stick is more fun. Furthermore, Jay Leno says that “the fun of having a performance car is sharing it with someone.”

Little wonder, then, that he and Roma consider the 2022 CT5-V Blackwing like a Cadillac-badged four-door Corvette. And that impression is cemented with the grin on Jay Leno’s face once the duo hits the road.

If you’re just cruising around town, the CT5-V Blackwing behaves like a practical, comfortable luxury sedan. The interior is better than what the CTS-V offered, The Drive says, and those magnetic dampers smooth the ride without robbing road feel. But once you hit the canyon roads and go into the sportier driving modes, it turns into a “firmly planted” sports sedan, Jay Leno says. The steering is precise, the brakes are solid, and the V8 pulls hard. It’s a complete 180 from the Cadillacs of old—in a good way.

And all that is why Leno considers it to be one of “the great American road cars.”

“In absolute terms…it’s a bargain,” MotorTrend says

Fully loaded, the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing isn’t exactly cheap. With destination, the manual sedan starts at $84,990; the automatic model starts at $88,165. And after adding things like the carbon-fiber aero elements, extra driver-assistance features, and the lightweight sport seats, you’re spending over $100,000.

But even so, the CT5-V Blackwing is still a bargain. The BMW M5, for example, starts at $103,500; equipped to a similar level, the Cadillac is about $18K cheaper, MotorTrend reports. And even in limited-edition CS trim, the M5 is less powerful than the Cadillac. True, the CS’s AWD system makes it faster to 60 mph. However, you can’t get it with a stick.

Jay Leno at one point refers to the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing as “the crowning glory” for the brand. It may be a swan song, but it’s one heck of a sweet banger.

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