First drive: 2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing in the UAE

First drive: 2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing in the UAE

Cadillac has been shaking up their performance line-up. It’s all about the badges at the back of the car. After The ATS was rebranded as the CT4, the Cadillac CT4-V was downgraded to an entry-level sports sedan, placing it among the BMW M Sport, Audi S-whatever and second-tier Mercedes-AMG “43” or “45” models. That’s because GM had plans to introduce the Blackwing version within the V-Series line-up. The CT4-V Blackwing takes the battle to the BMW M and top-tier Mercedes-AMG models, and it literally has a black wing to boot.

More accurately put, it’s a large upright carbon-fibre lip spoiler, among the other mods that differentiate the Blackwing, such as the front-fender vents as well as the unique bumper with front underwing and racer-style canards. Paired with a dual-mode exhaust with four huge tips (all real), it certainly looks the part of a fast car.

Inside, the dashboard feels like an old design retrofitted with new gadgets, and the material choices are all over the place, but you do get the obligatory stitched leather treatment, as well as all the tech you’ve come to expect from any modern car, such as a responsive touchscreen, a full-LCD gauge cluster, Apple Carplay and electronic accident-avoidance nannies. No complaints from the stereo or a/c either.

All the design work seems to have gone into the sporty front seats, which are well-bolstered and uniquely styled. Space up front is fine for a compact sedan, but the rear is pretty tight in terms of legroom.

The CT4-V Blackwing packs a twin-turbo 3.6-litre V6 that produces 472 hp at 5750 rpm and 603 Nm of torque at 3500-5000 rpm, making it a BMW M3 rival at a BMW M2’s price.

With a 6500 rpm redline, the Caddy isn’t going to give you the ultimate high-revving experience that other brands do so well (the M3 and Alfa Giulia QV rev beyond 7000 rpm), but the power routed to the rear wheels through the standard 10-speed automatic is more than enough to get your speed fix, considering it can do 300 kph.

The platform underpinning the CT4 dates back to the ATS, and has always been excellent, also forming the basis for the Camaro. In Blackwing form, it is absolutely phenomenal on the corners, perfectly flat and beautifully balanced. Add to that communicative steering and responsive pedals, the car’s handling is as perfect as it gets. Part of the credit goes to the downforce — all the overblown aero add-ons are said to be fully functional.

Where the Blackwing suffers a bit is in ride comfort. The standard Magnetic Ride Control dampers do have a range of soft-to-firm settings, but even in its most flaccid, it can still feel bone-rattling firm on certain road surfaces. It is acceptable on most well-maintained roads, but any sight of a tarmac imperfection may cause you to pucker up involuntarily.

The CT4-V Blackwing is also a relatively heavy car, weighing north of 1700 kg. Although that is perfectly in line with all its pricier aforementioned rivals such as the M3 and the Giulia QV, there are more nimble competitors in this price bracket, such as the BMW M2 and the Audi RS3, if agility was your only concern above all else.

However, the CT4-V Blackwing fills a niche mostly on its own — a compact super-sedan priced like slower, smaller rivals while offering the ability to chase far pricier cars up to a certain extent. It looks the part (and unarguably better-looking than the monstrosities coming out of Germany), is completely satisfying to pilot, feels less clinical than its European counterparts, and brings its own American flavour to the genre.

For detailed UAE prices and GCC specs, visit the Cadillac buyer guide.

Photos by Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury.

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