Cadillac recently decided to mix up its sedan lineup by killing both the ATS and CTS and replacing them with the new CT5 and the smaller CT4. We liked the aggressive CTS and especially the hotter CTS-V, but is the CT5 a true successor?
The 2021 Cadillac CT5 is Cadillac’s rival to other popular luxury sedans, like the BMW 3 Series, Genesis G70 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The CT5’s exterior has a nice classy fastback look with some sharp lines that makes it look almost as aggressive as the old CTS. The slimmer headlights and new take on Cadillac’s iconic taillights also give it a more modern look.
Overall the CT5 looks handsome, but there are some weird design details, like the kink in the C-pillar that doesn’t do any favors for the sedan’s profile. The thin side mirrors also need to be larger.
Inside the CT5’s interior is a big upgrade over the outgoing CTS with its more stylish layout, slightly better materials and updated tech features. The 10-inch touchscreen features the latest version of Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system and it comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A head-up display, eight-speaker Bose audio system and wireless charging are also on the options list.
There are a few areas that could be improved though, like the gauge cluster with its small digital screen between the analog gauges. Other rivals offer a full digital gauge cluster. The seats also need more lateral support to keep our butts planted in the twisties.
If you’re cross shopping the CT5 against the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series, the CT5 offers more space in the rear for your friends with more legroom than its German rivals. With only 11.9 cubic feet of cargo space, the CT5 has less room for your stuff than the CTS and only 1.5 cubic feet more space than the old ATS.
Under the hood the 2020 CT5 is available with two engine options. The standard engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 237 horsepower, but the more fun engine is the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 with 335 hp and 400 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. If you want more power, the CT5-V is available with a 360-hp 3.0-liter V6 and then of course there’s the upcoming CT5-V Blackwing.
The four-cylinder is rated at 23 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive, while the all-wheel drive version is rated at 21/31/25 mpg. The V6 is rated at 19/26/21 with RWD and 18/25/21 with AWD.
The 2.0-liter four-cylinder accelerates the CT5 from 0-60 mph in a modest 6.6 seconds, but the 3.0-liter V6 does a lot better at only 4.9 seconds. The CT5 comes standard with rear-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is optional.
The 3.0-liter V6 is delightful. It spools up fast and it has a nice sound most of the time. The 10-speed automatic also shifts fast when you want it to and then can also shift smoothly when you want a more comfortable driving experience.
While the V6 is a shining point, the CT5’s chassis is a bit of a let down. It’s suspension isn’t tuned for as much fun, which makes it not as tossable as its predecessor. We’d rate the handling merely as ok and not a standout like the CTS, since there’s a bit too much body roll.
The Cadillac ATS and CTS were great sedans, which means the CT5 has some big shoes to fill here. It’s interior is more luxurious than the ATS and CTS, but it’s materials are still a bit off compared to its German rivals. We also miss driving the CT5’s predecessors, but at the end of the day Cadillac has produced a compelling luxury sedan which should be able to steal some sales from Germany. The CT5 offers the space of a midsize luxury sedan at a compact sedan price, plus its great sounding V6 is the icing on the top.
How much does it cost? The base CT5 Luxury starts at $37,890, while the Premium Luxury starts at $41,690 if you choose the four-cylinder and $46,540 if you opt for the V6. There’s also the Sport trim level, which is powered by the 2.0-liter four-cylinder and starts at $42,690.