The Cadillac Blackwing series of performance cars promises to be the last true swan song for performance in the world of Cadillac, with the performance mantle being taken up by EV models over the next few years. While we covered the Blackwing models in-depth here, we wanted to see how the Blackwings stacked up against one rival selected at random. We ran the numbers, crunched the prices, and set out to see how Cadillac did benchmarking their competitors. For this go-around, we chose to start with the CT5-V Blackwing and find out how it measured up against the 2021 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.
Performance Battle Reveals Two Very Different Approaches To Performance
The biggest elephant in the room is how the two measure up in performance, and a quick look at the duo reveals that the Cadillac and the Alfa take very different routes towards this common goal. In the case of the CT5, it does so with a 6.2 liter supercharged V8 which hides the fact that the CT5 iteration of the Blackwing is again doing tweener duty for GM. While the engine makes 668 hp and boasts figures that would logically make it a competitor to the BMW M5 and the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, Cadillac is also pushing it as a rival to the smaller BMW M3 and C43 AMG.
The interesting benchmarking aside, the V8 promises to be a potent firecracker for buyers, with Cadillac claiming that the Blackwing can make the sprint to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. As for the Alfa, it lops off two cylinders and goes through the motions with a 2.9 liter twin-turbocharged V6. This angry six-cylinder shares its family heritage with Ferrari and allows the Giulia to produce 505 hp. That’s quite short of matching the Cadillac, but the smaller engine does help the Giulia have a better weight balance than the Cadillac, with the Alfa having a better weight distribution. However, drivers do lose out in the transmission department, with Alfa decreeing that the Quadrifoglio will be an automatic-only offering.
That’s a shame since the Cadillac gives customers the ability to choose from either a six-speed manual or the optional 10-speed automatic for those that prefer to let the car do the shifting for them. The manual is a nod to older V-Series offerings and allows the Cadillac to have a level of involvement that the Alfa cannot match.
Alfa Romeo Still Has The Edge In Exterior And Interior Styling
While the Cadillac rules the performance category, the CT5-V Blackwing loses out when it comes to exterior and interior design. The Cadillac’s tough exterior projects a very confident image but move past the front styling, and the rest of the look starts to become disjointed and unbalanced. The side profile is clean and purposeful, but the rear end is still a bit bland despite new exhaust tips and other styling upgrades.
In contrast, the Alfa Romeo does a better job of projecting a strong and balanced styling identity with the front fascia not only mixing in familiar Alfa cues like the triangular-shaped front grille and tasteful curve placement but also adding in welcome sport sedan touches like the large rear haunches, the stacked exhaust tips, and the subtle rear spoiler. These features allow the Alfa to stand out in a crowd, and it might also cause the Blackwing to slip behind the scenes with not as many people noticing it.
The interior is also a step ahead of the Cadillac, though some notable asterisks make themselves apparent. While the Alfa certainly has a better layout for some of its controls and even has the Cadillac beat when it comes to some of its interior materials, the stylish Italian is stuck with an inferior infotainment system and a small-sized infotainment screen. The Cadillac’s infotainment system has had more time to build on lessons from the past, resulting in a relatively slick unit. Blackwing models even add performance-focused goodies, including a built-in lap timer and an optional Performance Data Recorder (PDR.) The rest of the interior (despite some obvious parts-bin swaps with other models) still feels first-rate, with the highly bolstered seats promising to deliver support that’s a step up from the standard V-Series model.
The Alfa Romeo initially has the advantage of base pricing with a base model starting at $75,250. The Cadillac has a higher $85,615 base sticker. But while the Alfa initially has the price advantage, the gap evaporates when you load it up with optional extras. The Cadillac is ultimately the pricier ride in the end. Still, buyers willing to eat the initial sticker shock will be rewarded with hardware that has benefitted from years of refinement and performance that’s truly a better blend of old-school functionality and new school modernism versus the Alfa’s, which feels like it’s missing a crucial piece when it comes to a manual offering.
The sport sedan market is in a very interesting place with the influx of performance SUV and CUV entries treading on some of the segment’s territory. Entries like the CT5-V Blackwing and the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio are welcome alternatives to the encroaching mainstream and can still deliver the performance goods when paired with the right enthusiast. In this case, the Cadillac gets the nod, but the competition is closing in, and the CT5 Blackwing will have to be on its A-game to fend off challenges from rivals.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.