The term ‘performance Cadillac’ used to be considered an oxymoron, but things have changed a lot in the automotive field in the last decade or two, and nowhere more so than at Cadillac. The current line-up offers modern styling, futuristic technology and, particularly in its V-series vehicles, outstanding performance.
Case in point is the new CT4-V, based on the CT4 compact sedan. The CT4-V starts with angular, aggressive good looks that foreshadow the power and performance under the hood and underpin the sporty suspension. Great performance is usually my first priority when reviewing a car, but I’m starting to appreciate some of the luxury features on modern cars as well. Presented in a relatively small package, the CT4 offers all the sybaritic amenities and luxuries one expects from a Cadillac, along with the latest safety nannies.
The heart of the CT4-V’s performance is its 2.7-liter, turbocharged, 4-cylinder engine that pumps out 325 horses to all four wheels. With almost no turbo lag, the engine provides plenty of power throughout the rev band via a 10-speed automatic that includes steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters if you want to choose gears yourself. Unfortunately, no manual transmission is available. There’s a mechanical rear limited slip differential to prevent wheel spin under hard acceleration, and to reign in all that power, sensitive Brembo brakes provide strong and sure braking power.
Sport and track modes tighten up the steering, brakes, transmission and suspension, turning it into a real performance car that is fun to drive. In less aggressive drive modes, it’s a nice, comfortable car with a smooth ride for around town driving. And it’s small and nimble enough to make it easy to park and maneuver. Though you can tell when the engine shuts off and turns back on, it’s not too obtrusive and can be defeated.
Inside, the CT4-V is all Cadillac, which is to say luxurious with all of the modern amenities, including dual zone automatic climate control, rear seat air vents, manual tilt and telescoping steering wheel, automatic dimming mirror, adaptive cruise control, sunroof, leather seating, and a leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel. Room up front is comfortable, but the seats are more sporty than luxurious due to the big side bolsters. Most interactive controls are accessed via a large touch screen that also can be used with a rotary controller between the seats for audio, navigation, car settings and Bluetooth. Thankfully, it has real volume and tuning knobs for the radio. The ventilation system is easy to use with large buttons on the dash.
In back, there’s decent rear seat room, adequate for an average sized person, but legroom is somewhat dependent on the generosity of front seat occupants. The rear seat folds to expand the fairly deep trunk. The CT4-V is big enough for most families until the children are fully grown. The rear window is a little small, but the side mirrors and reverse camera rear vision help.
The list of safety features is exhaustive, including forward collision alert, pedestrian braking, safety alert seat, enhanced automatic emergency braking, reverse automatic braking, following distance indicator, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, and a reminder to check the rear seat when you exit the car. This car worries about your safety as much as your grandmother. The heads-up display, which displays your speed and the posted speed limit on the lower corner of your windshield, is a particularly cool feature.
Bill Pastor, sales manager at Elco Cadillac is very enthusiastic about the CV4-V. “I like its performance, ride and amenities,” he says. “It’s a great performance value for the money, and its pricing is actually more competitive than the prior model.”
» Base: $45,000, including delivery
» As driven with options: $55,500
» 20 city, 28 highway
» Front engine; all-wheel drive
» 2.7-litre, 4-cylinder, turbocharged engine
» 325 horsepower
» 10-speed automatic transmission
Robert Paster (robertpaster.com) is also an attorney in private practice, concentrating in estate planning and probate.