A tiny luxury automobile with an American perspective on a market dominated by European companies is the 2023 Cadillac CT4. Although it is a capable driver in various versions, its flaws add up to the point where they deter potential buyers. The Cadillac is one of the most oversized “compact” luxury vehicles, with a length of 187.2 inches. Still, it also has the shortest wheelbase and is the narrowest of the group, which reduces internal space and comfort. The CT4 took the role of the ATS in 2020, and after adding the V Blackwing’s 472-horsepower last, it mostly carried over into 2023.
Despite being a premium brand, Cadillac the CT4 is best considered a sporty sedan. The CT4-V and CT4-V Blackwing models from the V-Series are more spectacular than their entry-level trims, which fall short in performance. Only new, extra-cost paint colors (three for the CT4 and one additional, unique color for the CT4-V Blackwing) and those models’ “Blackwing” trunk lid badges will be available for 2023. These improvements will come before the end of the model year.
The Genesis G70, Lexus IS, and Volvo S60 directly compete with one another. Genesis has a turbo six, whereas Lexus has V6 and V8 versions of the IS. Volvo chooses a different route, with a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) as the sole upgrade from the primary four. The CT4 has a significant pricing advantage over other basic versions, costing $4,500 less than the G70, roughly $6,000 less than the IS 300, and $7,700 less than the S60. However, prices increase with horsepower and amenities, and the CT4 V-Blackwing is the most costly of the bunch, with certain trims costing as much as a BMW M3—apart from a particular version of the Volvo (Polestar Engineered).
A gasoline 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine powers the CT4. Cadillac’s Blackwing variant provides a twin-turbo V6 and a second, hotter, 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine. The standard engine trails this group somewhat, but not by much, being able to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under 7 seconds flat. All-wheel and rear-wheel options exist for the original V and V Blackwing variants. Cadillac bills its basic model as the Luxury ($35,790), but upgrading to the Premium Luxury trim, which brings the interior online with the competition and eliminates Cadillac’s pricing advantage, costs an additional $4,900. Following at $41,890 is the Sport trim, with the V and V Blackwing starting at $47,990 and $65,565, respectively.
Despite being well-designed, the CT4’s interior seems tiny since it is much smaller than the Volvo and Genesis. The 8-inch screen on the CT4 appears minor and archaic, even if larger infotainment displays have disadvantages. Additionally, the Caddy loses significant safety scores. None of the American or international crash testing organizations have evaluated it, and it makes mandatory active safety measures only accessible for an additional fee and not available at all for the basic model. Even when Volvo’s PHEV variants are considered, the S60 still outperforms its rivals in terms of fuel efficiency.
We’ve driven the top-of-the-line CT4-V Blackwing muscle car in automatic and manual guise and the more conservative CT4 V-Series automatic. We found both well-made, ferocious performers with great power and matching handling. However, there is a significant difference between the $35,790 CT4 Luxury and the $65,565 (excluding destination) V Blackwing in terms of equipment, comforts, and driving performance. You get what you paid for with this automobile.
Performance: Cadillac CT4
A gasoline 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine powers the CT4. Cadillac’s Blackwing variant provides a twin-turbo V6 and a second, hotter, 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine. The base-model four-cylinder Cadillac CT4 has the fewest horsepower of any of its competitors (237 for the Cadillac, 241 for the Lexus, 247 for the Volvo, and 252 for the Genesis) and accelerates to 60 mph in the most extended amount of time (7 seconds flat). The Volvo makes it in 6.4 seconds, the Genesis in 6.2, and the Lexus in 6.9.
The situation somewhat alters by comparing the CT4’s 2.7-liter four, which has 310 horsepower in Premium Luxury cars and 325 horsepower in V-Series vehicles, to the Lexus’ 311 horsepower V6 and the Genesis’ 365 horsepower six. The CT4 Premium Luxury accelerates from zero to 60 mpg in 5.7 seconds. The CT4 V-Series destroys it with a time of 4.8 seconds.
The Cadillac Blackwing’s 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 leads the stoplight drag race with zero-to-60 timings of 3.9 seconds in automatic cars and 4.1 seconds in manuals. Better brakes and suspensions are standard on all high-performance variants instead of basic ones. The CT4 Blackwing is a powerful all-around performance, has superb handling, and feels substantial. It can easily compete with BMW’s more costly M3.
You may choose between all-wheel drive (AWD) and rear-wheel drive (RWD) for all CT4 variants.
Fuel efficiency: Cadillac CT4
With an EPA-estimated average combined city and highway fuel efficiency of 25 mpg, the CT4 comes in second. Except for PHEVs, the Volvo produces 29, Lexus 23, and Genesis 22. The combined 27 mpg from the basic engine, which is second only to the S60’s 30 mpg, plus its decision to use a second four-cylinder rather than a six-cylinder for its initial engine upgrade, helps the CT4’s average. On average, the 2.7 gets 25 mpg, Lexus gets 22, and Genesis receives 21. Notably, this trio is outperformed in fuel efficiency by the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and Audi A4.
Safety & Driver Support
The Cadillac CT4 only receives points for the bare minimum regarding safety since it complies with all legal requirements and has more than six airbags (it has eight as standard). The CT4 loses points in our review since no U.S., European, or Australian safety agency has evaluated it yet. Thus, we are unable to offer accurate information on its crashworthiness.
Beyond that, the CT4 continues General Motors’ regrettable practice of charging more for optional trim levels or feature packages that exclude critical active safety systems like adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking. The base Luxury does not have adaptive cruise control, not even as an option. Both the Lexus and Genesis have such features as standard equipment, and the Lexus also obtains a five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These vehicles are Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ winners.
Room: Cadillac CT4
Less internal space results from the CT4’s compact external proportions, aiding its maneuverability. The cabin is about half an inch thinner than the S60 and G70 and narrower than the IS. With a wheelbase of 109.3, it is over an inch, more than 2 inches, and almost 4 inches shorter than the Volvo, Genesis, and Lexus. This can be seen in the rear-seat legroom, where the Cadillac’s 33.4 inches is substantially less than the Genesis (34.8) and the Volvo (35.2) and only slightly larger than the genuinely squat Lexus (32.2).
The level of comfort and luxuries in the front seats depend on your budget, with the $4,900 “Premium Luxury” trim needed to match what the competition includes in their basic models.
Infotainment: Cadillac CT4
The instrument cluster of the CT4 is small, but it offers a selectable selection of data between the clear and readable gauges. While the dash’s 8-inch infotainment screen works well, it feels tiny and archaic. Cadillac has limited the screen’s capabilities to just three things: music, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and navigation (if available).
The screen-side tactile buttons that still serve as the climate controls are easily accessible and cause no distraction. Although the 14-speaker Bose premium audio system is more expensive, the regular audio system is still acceptable.
Storage & Cargo Space:
With 11.6 cubic feet, Volvo completely dominates the competition in trunk capacity. The Lexus, Cadillac, and Genesis are all in a near tie with scores of 10.8, 10.7, and 10.5, respectively. Given how tiny the difference is, we doubt it would be apparent the Cadillac comes in second. However, none are very spacious, despite the CT4’s average trunk. The non-PHEV BMW 3 Series leads its class with 17 cubic feet of trunk space, although Mercedes and Audi also offer larger bins (12.6 and 12 cubic feet, respectively).
The little storage space is acceptable if a touch is congested; the glovebox, center console compartment, and door pockets all seem cramped, which only draws attention to the cramped cockpit.
Design: Cadillac CT4
The Cadillac CT4 has a clean, contemporary look. When parked next to the G70, it has more presence than the Volvo and is more understated than the Lexus but blends into the background. It might be mistaken for a standard midsize car if it were in basic trim. Choosing the blatantly hostile Blackwing solves the issue at a significant cost. The vehicle is weakest in the back, where a dowdy rear detracts from its performance tendencies.
Bright colors and a racing look are used in the interior design of the V-Series and Blackwing, making it more aggressive. But whatever variant you choose, the CT4 still emanates Cadillac craftsmanship and style.
Is the Cadillac CT4 from 2023 Worth It?
The base price (without destination) of the 237-horsepower Cadillac CT4 Luxury rear-wheel sedan is $35,790. An eight-way power front passenger seat with power lumbar adjustment, adaptive cruise control, ambient interior lighting, a driver assistance package with enhanced automatic emergency braking and reverse automatic braking, front and rear park assist, an auto-dimming interior mirror, leather seating surfaces, and memory settings are all included when choosing the Premium Luxury trim ($40,690). It also makes additional choices accessible that are not included in the standard frame.
The Sport trim ($41,890) is a cosmetic package with the same feature set as Premium Luxury. For an additional $2,000, any of these models may be ordered with AWD. The 310-horsepower 2.7-liter turbo four is also offered in the Premium Luxury level, which costs $45,790 for rear-drive models and $47,790 for AWD models. Instead of the eight-speed featured in the 2.0, the 2.7 is only available with a 10-speed automatic.
The CT4 V-Series ($47,990 rear, $48,490 AWD) only has one engine, producing 325 horsepower. Serious performance enhancements, including adaptive suspension, magnetic ride control, an electronic limited-slip rear differential, Brembo brakes, and summer-only tires, are also found on the V-Series.
All of those above are included in the Blackwing, which also has a 472-horsepower 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 ($61,890 for manual gearbox in either rear- or front-drive; $65,065 for automatic transmission in either rear or front). Amazingly, the active safety systems included in the Premium Luxury trim return to extra-cost options on the V-Series and Blackwing despite the significant financial investment.
The Premium Luxury model with the 2.7-liter turbo four would be our pick. It compares well to the competitors (the six-cylinder Lexus and Genesis) in terms of price and performance, and it outperforms them regarding fuel efficiency. It also incorporates critical active safety systems missing in the basic Luxury trim.
How Much Does the 2023 Cadillac CT4 Cost to Insure?
The CT4 should have comparable insurance costs to most competitors for the base variant. An average yearly premium for a 30-year-old female driver with a clean driving record ranges from $2,715 for the CT4 to $4,123 for the V Blackwing, albeit this figure is based on all 50 states. The annual cost of ownership for a Volvo S60 ranges from $2,550 to $2,550; the Lexus IS begins at $2,785, and the Genesis G70 is just under $3,000.
Generations of the Cadillac CT4
In 2020, Cadillac unveiled the CT4. The CT4 rides an improved version of the rear-wheel drive chassis from the 2013–2019 Cadillac ATS despite the new moniker. The CT4 is exclusively offered as a sedan, unlike the ATS’s two-door coupe and four-door sedan options.
The introductory price of the four-door Cadillac CT4 varies by $30,000 depending on the trim level, while its maximum engine’s horsepower almost doubles. It also has a meager price for its base model, which is more typical of mid-range sedans with modest sporting ambitions like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. The CT4’s pricing advantage is eliminated since the bare minimum interior comforts and mandatory active safety features cost a roughly $5,000 increase to the next trim level. The V-Series and Blackwing are excellent performers, but the CT4 faces stiff competition and has several disadvantages compared to more popular versions.