2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing Reviews Are In and Guess What: People Still Love Big Power and Manual Transmissions
Rear-wheel drive, manual transmission, four-door, all-American driver-focused goodness. Super sedans aren't dead yet.
Cadillac’s latest CT4-V “Blackwing” is a new entry into the extremely niche, but very cool, super sports sedan market. Rear-wheel drive, manual transmission, four-door, all-American driver-focused goodness. It’s a sedan like no other, in a segment that’s evaporating.
Traditional sedans, in general, seem to be on their way out the door, and ones with manual transmissions are now some of the rarest things on the road. Automakers insist we all want crossovers or electric cars next. You can still spec things like Hondas and Subarus with a stick. But besides a brief entry from Genesis, BMW’s basically been the only outfit offering stick-shift high-performance sport-luxury four-door cars lately. But now Cadillac, of all companies, is in the mix and aiming to be the last word in this slim segment.
The first drive reviews of the CT4-V Blackwing are finally in, and so far, it seems like everyone’s enamored with it. Get the full download on what test drivers across the country had to say about it in this Review Rundown!
What’s New For 2022?
Technically, the CT4 and CT4-V Blackwing are evolutions of the old Cadillac ATS and ATS-V from last year or so. The chassis, powertrain, styling, and driving experience have been given a thorough overhaul and a new name. The “Blackwing” moniker replaces the old “V” ledger reserved for superfast Cadillac vehicles.
The “Blackwing” name may seem a bit nonsensical but didn’t just come from thin air, as Kristen Lee at The Drive says: “Blackwing” isn’t just some name Cadillac pulled out of nowhere. It was what GM called the twin-turbocharged, ‘hot-vee,’ Cadillac-exclusive V8 engine the automaker stuck in the short-lived CT6-V before the car was canceled after one model year.”
You’ll find a pretty comprehensive breakdown of the car on Cadillac’s own site here if you want to go deep.
On The Engine
The CT4-V Blackwing uses a 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6, claiming 472 horsepower. That’s a lot; the Blackwing’s a fast car. It’s the same powertrain as the older ATS-V, but with a few revisions to make it even more powerful.
From Alex Kierstein at MotorTrend: “There’s also a negligible increase in power (eight additional ponies thanks to a tune and revisions to the intake) while torque is unchanged, ringing in at 472 horsepower and 445 lb-ft of torque.”
From Jeff Perez at Motor 1: “Max twist arrives at 3,500 rpm and horsepower hits at 5,750, which is actually a tad peakier than what the lesser CT4-V offers (1,500 rpm / 5,600 rpm), and down still on the Audi RS3 (2,250 / 5,600 rpm) and Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 (2,250 / 4,750 rpm). And there is some obvious lag when you lay into the throttle. But once the turbos spool up and the 10-speed automatic cogs into gear, this car hustles.”
On The Manual Transmission
The CT4-V Blackwing is mated to a quick-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission, or, a six-speed manual. Sure, the automatic is quicker, but the manual is the enthusiast’s choice, even if it is technically a hair slower.
From Alex Kierstein at MotorTrend: “The ATS-V’s manual transmission was a little too notchy to be truly enjoyable, and it was slower around a track than the automatic. The 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing’s standard manual complicates the picture a bit, because even though it’s technically slower, the Tremec-sourced manual is absolutely lovely to use. Short and precise, each shift provides the ideal amount of positive engagement without heavy drag as you slot into the gate.”
From Tim Stevens at Roadshow: “Impressively, the Blackwing can be optioned with your choice of a 10-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission. The latter was my favorite, with firm shifter feel augmented by Cadillac’s rev-matching and lift-free upshifting.”
On The Automatic Transmission
The 10-speed automatic isn’t a slouch either. Quicker than the manual, and standard with rev-matching and lightning-fast shifts. Yet, it’s a $3,000 option.
From Jeff Perez at Motor 1: “Slapping the paddle shifters activates the 10-speed
automatic’s brutally quick shifts. This gearbox shows confidence on the track, yet feels anonymous when cruising through some of the sleepy towns of rural northern North Carolina later in the same day (in both good and bad ways).”
From Chris Perkins at Road & Track: “The optional ten-speed automatic also represents a big step forward over its eight-speed predecessor. Unsurprisingly, it’s faster around the track, and shifts are perfectly smooth. Ten ratios is too many to manage with paddle shifters, so it’s best to leave the car in auto and let the clever algorithms figure out which ratio you need. It’s never underfoot.”
On Track Dynamics
Of course, the CT4 Blackwing is Cadillac’s latest (and likely, last) balls-to-the-wall track star four-door sedan. The Alpha chassis and suspension tuning seem to have paid off.
From Kristen Lee at The Drive: “Its engineers worked some flexibility into the chassis, which welcomes both experimentation and enjoyment for all levels of drivers. Even at the hands of a novice like myself, I felt as though the car was happy to keep pace with me and my comfort level, not the other way around. At no point did I even scratch the surface of its fullest capabilities, but also it didn’t matter. The Blackwing was happy going the speeds I was going.”
From Tim Stevens at Roadshow: “It’s a major test for the best and, session after session, the CT4-V Blackwing felt absolutely at home. Its magnetorheological suspension ate up the big bumps and allowed this 3,900-pound beast to float over the curbs. Despite that, the car seemed to settle instantly, turning in sharply to every bend and braking with impeccable poise and balance.”
From Byron Hurd at Autoblog: “The Blackwing rotates like an absolute dream, and even with the Michelin’s tall-ish sidewalls, there’s no lag in its steering. Short of getting absolutely ham-fisted with the controls, the front end offers prodigious, reliable grip before ultimately surrendering to predictable, safe understeer that vanishes with just the slightest lift. GM’s Performance Traction Management absolutely shines here, allowing the driver to quickly dial in just the right amount of intervention – or aid, depending on how you’re using it.”
From Chris Perkins at Road & Track: “With PTM set to Sport the car gets very clever, using all its systems to mitigate under- and oversteer. (Race 1 and Race 2 modes only provide traction control on corner exit and are best used by experienced drivers.) The latest iteration of MagneRide dampers use accelerometers instead of wheel position sensors to provide quicker responses, the shocks manage pitch and roll, and the result is a car that stays remarkably planted. There’s a suppleness, too, as you can wail over curbs with abandon without ever unsettling the car.”
On Usability As A Daily Driver
The CT4-V Blackwing’s an on-track beast, but I don’t think most people’s daily commutes involve bombing 130 mph down the straightaway at Virginia International Raceway. Thankfully, the CT4-V Blackwing’s track prowess doesn’t make for a too-punishing experience as a daily driver.
From Kristen Lee at The Drive: “On the road and in its most comfortable setting, the CT4-V Blackwing’s ride quality is relaxed but aware. You still feel the blacktop’s small imperfections but it’s more like gentle rumbling from movement over pavement than any real bumpiness.”
From Tim Stevens at Roadshow: “It was also the stress-free option for the afternoon street drive, a meandering cruise through the wilds of North Carolina. This drive didn’t come close to testing what the Blackwing had in terms of performance, but it reinforced the idea that, yes, this is still a Cadillac. The CT4-V is still every bit as comfortable as a base CT4 and while it is a bit louder that sound is anything but annoying or droning. The low, burbling exhaust sounds good at any speed.”
From Kirk Bell at MotorAuthority: “The CT4-V Blackwing is also fun on the street. The standard Magnetic Ride Control dampers have an excellent spread of firm and soft that makes for a comfortable commute. Opt for the manual transmission, and the CT4-V Blackwing will feel special every time you drive it, especially with the soft feel of the optional Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.”
On Value for Money
Sure, the CT4-V Blackwing is a high-performance luxury sedan, but the level of performance and comfort offered for the price, beats out rivals from BMW and that go for much cheaper.
From Alex Kierstein at MotorTrend: “The 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing is priced competitively. Remember, Cadillac’s unusual pricing strategy means this Blackwing is larger and more powerful than other cars in its price bracket. That’s great for consumers but maybe less great for Cadillac’s perceived prestige. After all, this is a vehicle that out-torques the non-Competition-model BMW M3 by a not-insignificant amount, yet it rings up at $59,990 if you’re stingy with the options and pick a boring color. That’s for the manual, too, by the way.”
From Byron Hurd at Autoblog: “It’s also a stupidly good deal. Since the Blackwing is essentially a CT4-V with a ridiculous performance package stapled onto it, it pretty much comes in two forms: loaded and more loaded. The base model comes with synthetic leather and basic sport seats, which can be upgraded to more aggressively bolstered Nappa leather buckets with composite front seat backs if you’re so inclined. The tech package is quite robust too, including wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, along with AKG premium audio as standard equipment.”
The Blackwing is a great-looking car, we wouldn’t deny you a little photo gallery. You’ll find even more on Cadillac’s media site if you can’t get enough.
The Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing seems like a great send-off for what may be the total end of an era; the manual transmission’ed, rear-wheel-drive, big-power gas-guzzling sports sedan. If you have the means, you might want to seriously consider getting into it before its gone, y’all.