The Car Connection Cadillac CT5 Overview
The Cadillac CT5 is a mid-size luxury sedan for buyers fatigued from crossover crossfire among high-dollar automakers.
The CT5 and smaller CT4 compact sedan replace the ATS and CTS on dealers' lots, even if they're not like-for-like new models.
MORE: Read our 2021 Cadillac CT5 review
The CT5 rivals some of the most prolific luxury sedans on the planet, including the BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6, and others.
The new Cadillac CT5
Taking cues from the Cadillac Escala concept shown in 2016 at Pebble Beach, the Cadillac CT5 strikes out in a new stylistic direction for the automaker. Gone are the jagged lines of Cadillac's Art & Science motif that draped over the CT5's predecessor, the CTS, replaced by hewn shoulders and sharper lines on its new car. The CT5's headlights are vertically oriented and bookend a wide horizontal grille, while chiseled lines along the hood and body break up some of the wide expanses of metal. The shape changes as well. While the CTS was a traditional three-box sedan, the CT5 takes on a fastback shape but it's still a sedan, not a hatchback.
The CT5 is initially available with a choice of two turbocharged engines: a 2.0-liter turbo-4 and a 3.0-liter turbo-6 that comes in two states of tune. Both are paired exclusively to a 10-speed automatic transmission and can drive the rear or all four wheels, when optionally equipped. The turbo-4 makes 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, while the turbo-V-6 ups the output to 335-hp in the Premium Luxury model and 360 hp in the CT5-V. The CT5-V can hit 60 mph from a stop in 4.6 seconds, while the turbo-4 gets up to 26 mpg in combined city and highway driving.
The CT5's Alpha platform carries over mostly unchanged from the CTS. That's a good thing because the car's stiff structure and well-conceived suspension give it sport sedan moves that meet or beat anything in the class. The available magnetic dampers also do an excellent job of balancing handling with a comfortable ride.
Inside, Cadillac stuffs the CT5 with the latest tech, including its infotainment system that uses a 10.0-inch touchscreen and a rotary controller and comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The CT5 is 1.7 inches shorter than the CTS but it rides a 1.4-inch longer wheelbase and gets 2.5 inches more rear leg room. The trunk, however, is small at 11.9 cubic feet.
The Cadillac CT5 is sold in Luxury, Luxury Premium, Sport, and CT5-V trims. A high-performance CT5-V Blackwing model is on the way as well. Prices for each model undercut those of the CTS by $10,000-$14,000. Still, the Luxury model is well equipped with a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and a 10-way front passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, a nine-speaker audio system, satellite radio, 4G LTE wi-fi hotspot capability, remote starting, LED exterior lights, and 18-inch alloy wheels. The CT5-V gets performance and luxury upgrades, including 18-way power-adjustable front seats, ambient lighting, wireless phone charging, alloy pedals, Brembo front brakes, magnetic dampers, an electronic limited-slip rear differential, a rear spoiler, and 19-inch alloy wheels on summer tires.
Cadillac makes forward-collision warnings with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking standard. The CT5 also offers adaptive cruise control, active lane control with lane departure warnings, blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic and pedestrian alerts, reverse automatic emergency braking, adaptive headlights, automatic parking, and a surround-view camera system.
The new CT5 will also offer SuperCruise, but not in its first model year. Cadillac's proprietary driver-assistance software combines active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and mapping data to offer hands-free driving on highways. The system requires driver attention, however, and only works on roads mapped by Cadillac.
Cadillac has promised it will build a new generation of electric vehicles, beginning in 2022. It's expected the CT5 sedan might be one of the brand's last gas-powered sedans, as it prepares a new electric flagship car to take on the Tesla Model S. Still, for 2021 Cadillac made a slew of changes to the CT5; the sedan added Super Cruise hands-free driving tech, a V-Performance Package with magnetic dampers and a mechanical limited-slip rear axle, and wireless smartphone connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.