Looking at its assortment of all-new utility vehicles and a makeover of the Escalade, it’s easy to think that Cadillac is all about SUVs (especially since it pulled a number of sedans from production). But a peek behind the coat-of-arms logo shows the company is launching a fleet of high-performance upgrades to its passenger line, starting with the CT5-V.
Like the base CT5, the V is handsome with a sensuous sweep to the hood, more sculpting to the fenders and doors, and a fastback roofline that flows smoothly into the rear deck lid. While the sedan controversially features horizontal LED headlamps, its running lamps retain Caddy’s signature vertical lighting theme. The CT5-V gets a unique grille and front and rear fascia, quad exhaust tips and its own taillight layout.
But what really matters with a “V” is performance. No, this is not a match for the old CTS-V with its neck-snapping, 640-horsepower supercharged V-8. But numbers don’t always tell the full story. The 3.0-liter, turbo V-6 in the CT5-V makes a solid 360 horses and 405 pound-feet of torque. Not quite as fast off the line but still quick to put a smile on the face of any performance fan.
Using the Performance Traction Management system, a driver can dial in precisely the sort of behavior they want:
one-touch remapping steering boost, throttle response, shifts, stability control and suspension. That last one may be the CT5-V’s most appealing feature. Its magnetically controlled dampers can shift the suspension anywhere from full hard to full soft in the time it takes to travel less than two inches at 60 mph. The system smooths out rough roads when out for a cruise, but keeps you gripped tight to the pavement during aggressive maneuvers.
We do have a few complaints, notably the CT5-V interior, which features plenty of luxury touches, but with a generic feel. On the whole, however, the new model really delivers with good looks and a great ride. And if you’re determined to get performance on par with the old CTS-V, hang tight. Cadillac will soon follow with the CT5 Blackwing which is expected to top 640 hp—and possibly $90,000. For those who don’t need to push those extremes, the CT5-V seems the perfect choice. It boasts enough performance to satisfy most folks, and as it starts at $47,690—which includes delivery fees—it’s priced to hit the sweet spot.