Cadillac is about to fully double down on its commitment to the electric vehicle market. The luxury brand plans to eventually ditch gasoline vehicles in place of an all-electric future. Before that happens, though, the luxury brand is throwing one final celebration of performance with the Blackwing lineup of performance models (and the Escalade-V to a lesser extent.) One of these is the 2022 CT4-V Blackwing which strives to have one last dance with rivals like the BMW M3. But does it finally have the mustard to overcome the benchmark of the sport sedan segment?
Blackwing Exterior Styling Is Tasteful Evolution Of The Familiar
When the Cadillac ATS-V was on the scene, it took the ATS’s core design and molded it into a package that not only projected its performance intentions loud and clear but also retained some of the fundamental traits that made the ATS popular with enthusiasts. This well-traveled script continues in the CT4-V Blackwing, with the exterior styling retaining some of the core elements of the base CT4. However, Blackwing models push things up a notch and add several performance-inspired touches, including a more prominent front splitter, a larger rear spoiler, and tweaked front-end styling to help encourage maximum cooling for the twin-turbocharged V6 lurking underneath the skin.
Our tester also arrived with an extensive and optional carbon fiber package that replaces key elements (including the rear spoiler) with carbon fiber pieces that help shed weight and look stylish. When combined with the rest of the exterior styling, they allow the car to project a better aesthetic that’s a sharp contrast to the BMW M3, whose front twin-kidney grilles have grown to somewhat cartoonish proportions, and the overall look has suffered as a result. Our only complaint is the rear styling, with the awkward-looking taillights not meshing well with the spoiler from some angles.
Stylish Blackwing Interior Lacks Some Of The Polish Seen In Euro Rivals
The interior of the 2022 CT4-V Blackwing is still a step behind European rivals in interior quality. Still, a look around inside reveals fitments that are a noticeable upgrade over the standard CT4 and CT4-V models. Splashes of carbon fiber and micro suede trim are methodically applied to prime viewing locations, while heavily bolstered front seats signify the enhanced performance intent. Our tester arrived with upgraded seats that get a stylish quilted pattern on the leather and offer even higher amounts of bolstering, ventilation, and massage. The latter is typical GM in this regard, with the lumbar massage feeling more like your cat when it’s preparing to bread loaf in your lap versus a trained masseuse. Still, it’s a relatively minor fly in the otherwise very luxurious ointment.
The core design and layout of the Blackwing are identical to lesser CT4s, and that means lower grade plastics are still used, as well as the parts bin sourced buttons and some of the dials. However, Blackwings still find other ways to stand out with all models equipped with a 12.0-inch digital instrument cluster and the latest version of the brand’s infotainment system, which now comes with more embedded performance software, including the PDR system and other track-focused goodies. Like others in its segment, the rear-seat room is extremely cramped, but we suspect most buyers will have those seats folded down most of the time to make room for extra tires and other track-ready gear.
Twin-Turbocharged V6 Is A Welcome Slice of Familiarity
Contrary to some early rumors that initially suggested the Blackwing family would have new engines, the performance offerings here are tweaked versions that powered the ATS and CTS-V models. In the case of CT4-V Blackwing models, that means the return of the 3.6 liter twin-turbocharged V6 that once saw duty in the ATS. Power is up slightly to 472 hp, and the torque figure has also increased to 445 lb-ft, which allowed our tester to make the sprint to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds. Those stats put the Blackwing firmly in the race with rivals, and they only fall short of the BMW M# Compettion and its 503 hp engine.
Unlike the BMW, Cadillac is letting Blackwing buyers have the best of both worlds in the transmission department, with all models coming with the choice of either a 10-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. We highly encourage you to get the latter partly because it does a better job of making the car feel more organic and playful, but also because this transmission delivers crisp shifts and is not burdened by GM’s loathsome CAGS system, which has been an enduring headache in some of their V8 equipped performance models.
All Blackwing models come with adaptive dampers, and they allowed our tester to be a perfect chameleon when cruising through town, with the comfort setting providing some respite from Michigan’s post-apocalyptic roads. In contrast, the firmer settings allow you to progressively unlock more of the car’s potential when you find a nice slice of smooth twisty tarmac. The overall balance here is just as sharp as it was in the ATS, and the CT4 does a good job communicating what’s going on on the road to the driver even when it’s time to bring the fun to a stop, thanks to its upgraded brakes.
However, the CT4-V Blackwing is a track terror and will never be mistaken for a Toyota Prius, with our manual-equipped example getting 15 mpg in city driving and 23 mpg in freeway driving. A model with the 10-speed automatic gets one mpg more in both metrics, with all models needing a diet of premium fuel to achieve maximum performance and mileage.
Pricing for the 2022 CT4-V Blackwing starts at $61,165 for a manual-equipped example, with the automatic variant starting slightly higher at $63,115. Our manual-equipped tester arrived with over $8,000 of optional extras, which helped push the final as-tested price to $77,035, making it a noticeable premium over the V-Series model. Highlight items on the options list include the $625 shade of Electric Blue paint, both carbon fiber packages (there are two of them), and the $1,600 Performance Data Recorder (PDR).
This pricing is in line with other rivals, and the Blackwing can morph into a very potent performance bargain when buyers add the right mixture of options to the model and avoid some of the more mundane ones. With Cadillac fully committed to the EV revolution moving forward, the CT4 and CT5-V Blackwings are the last parting shots of an era where displacement and muscle defined a proper performance offering. When they leave, the duo will be dearly missed by many enthusiasts, especially those that still prefer the feel and sound of a boosted engine attached to a shift-it-yourself manual transmission.
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.