Is the Manual 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Faster Than the Automatic?

Supercharged RWD sedans with manual transmissions are unicorns these days, but at least one hasn’t hung up its horn. The 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is the brand’s last non-electric high-performance car, but it’s going out with a bang and a shifter. But as fast as the manual big Cadillac Blackwing is, it can’t be faster than the automatic one, right? Well, don’t be so sure.

On paper, the automatic 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is faster than the manual

The rear 3/4 view of a blue 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing on a racetrack
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing rear 3/4 | Cadillac
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing
Engine6.2-liter supercharged V8
Horsepower668 hp
Torque659 lb-ft
TransmissionsSix-speed manual
10-speed automatic
Curb weight4123 lbs (manual)
4142 lbs (automatic)
0-60 mph time3.6 seconds (manual)
3.4 seconds (automatic)

As Porsche owners with PDKs will tell you, modern automatic cars are usually faster than manual ones. And in theory, that’s also the case with the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing. If you spend $3175 extra, you can swap its standard six-speed manual for a 10-speed automatic. That does mean you can’t shift a truly special manual. But on the plus side, Cadillac says it shaves 0.2 seconds off the CT5-V Blackwing’s 0-60 time.

That speed boost isn’t just because the latest automatics, even the non-dual-clutch ones, shift way faster than humans. Because it has fewer gears, the CT5-V Blackwing’s manual transmission can’t have gear ratios as short as the automatic. That means less torque hits the rear wheels at a given rpm, which further cuts into acceleration.

However, the manual 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing has a few tricks up its sleeve. Firstly, it has no-lift shift: if your foot’s on the floor, you don’t need to kick the clutch to upshift. Secondly, like the automatic, it has standard launch control to manage rear-wheel power flow. And while less rear-wheel torque isn’t great for performance, it does make breaking rear-wheel traction more difficult. Burnouts look cool, but they’re bad for 0-60 and ¼-mile runs.

So, as MotorTrend found out, are weight and weather.

According to MotorTrend, the manual Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing might be just as fast or faster than the automatic

A blue 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing sliding around a track
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing | Cadillac

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In previous testing, MT matched Cadillac’s 3.6-second 0-60 claims for the manual 2022 CT5-V Blackwing. In addition, the stick-shift version ran the ¼-mile in 11.5 seconds with a final trap speed of 127.5 mph. Also, MT’s manual tester was lighter than Cadillac estimated; it weighed in at 4067 lbs. However, it’s worth noting that it had the optional weight-saving carbon-ceramic brakes.

The automatic CT5-V Blackwing, though, was heavier than Cadillac’s initial estimates. With the standard brakes, MT’s tester weighed in at 4253 lbs. Carbon-ceramic brakes do save unsprung weight, but not 100-plus pounds. Furthermore, MT tested the automatic CT5-V Blackwing in windier conditions than it did the manual.

As a result, the 10-speed 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing ‘only’ managed to go 0-60 in 3.7 seconds. And it ran the ¼-mile in ‘just’ 11.6 seconds, finishing at 124.9 mph.

Admittedly, even with the weather interference, these results are within a spitting distance of each other. Plus, MT also found the automatic Blackwing, the one without carbon-ceramic brakes, stopped slightly shorter. But while the ¼-mile performances might shift with the wind, the 0-60 times are less weather-dependent. Based on these results and assuming identical brakes, a manual Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing might beat the automatic to 60 mph.

No matter which you get, you’re getting one truly sweet, supercharged sports sedan

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Still, straight-line speed isn’t the only performance metric. And whether you drive a manual or automatic 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, you’re in for a sports sedan treat.

It earned its place as a Road & Track Performance Car of the Year finalist thanks to incredible dynamics, fantastic steering, and yeah, that supercharged V8. MT said much the same when it made the CT5-V Blackwing a 2022 Performance Vehicle of the Year finalist. And no less than Jay Leno called it one of “the great American road cars.”

So, don’t feel bad if you buy an automatic one instead of a manual. But given what MT experienced, if you can, the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is one stick-shift car you shouldn’t miss.

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