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Test Driven: 2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing quick spin

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Chris Teague

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We’ve got the 2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing in for testing this week, and despite the fact that we’ll see -40 degree wind chills while it’s here, we’re excited to spend time in the hot subcompact. The CT4-V Blackwing and its counterpart, the CT5-V Blackwing, will be Cadillac’s last gas-powered cars, and they’re sending fossil fuels out with a bang. We’ll have a full review out soon, but for now, let’s dig deeper into the car’s performance.

This may not be the fire-breathing V8-powered CT5-V Blackwing, but the twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 under the CT4-V’s hood makes a healthy 472 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque. Power reaches the rear wheels through a standard six-speed manual gearbox or a ten-speed paddle-shift automatic. My test car came on Michelin Alpin performance winter tires, but on the standard Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, the car can reach 60 mph from a standstill in 3.9 seconds with an automatic transmission and 4.1 seconds with a manual. 

2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing

Those are impressive numbers, but pecs on paper don’t do the car justice. There’s a subtle violence in the powertrain, but it only comes out when asked. A stab of the throttle can break the rear tires loose, which is how I found myself smoking the tires at 30 mph on an empty highway on-ramp. The ten-speed automatic shifts quickly and smoothly and does an excellent job of keeping the engine working hard, and it’s not far off some of the lightning-fast gearboxes in European sports cars. 

Cadillac makes the performance easy to access with two steering wheel-mounted drive mode controls. At five o’clock, a small dial enables quick changes to the car’s traction control system, with options for snow, performance, and more. At seven o’clock, the V button turns on the performance driving systems, with individual settings for engine sound, braking, steering, and suspension. Together, the controls eliminate the several-step process of configuring drive modes in some other performance cars, with controls and settings buried deep in touchscreen menus. 

GM is well-known for its chassis tuning prowess, but the CT4-V Blackwing could be its poster child. Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 works with the rock-solid chassis to give the car a lively, light-on-its-feet feel. In motion, the CT4-V Blackwing responds to steering inputs rapidly and confidently, making it easy to feel like Superman behind the wheel.

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