There are countless reasons not to stigmatize the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing as an attention-getting exercise for a brand that’s long been struggling with its identity.
Let’s start with the six of them that can be used to convey combustible force into forward momentum, as in the six-speed manual transmission that Cadillac’s still brave enough to make standard; be prepared to pay a premium for the optional automatic. Better yet, heed these words of wisdom: don’t even bother, for this sedan was built for connectedness only the combination of a clutch pedal and proper gear stick provides.
At its core, this is a machine that’s silly for the sake of it. Forget the electrified future and live in the now, because the CT5-V Blackwing is one of the best cars ever built.
Yeah, that’s a bold claim. But then this is a bold sedan, and it starts with what’s in the engine bay. The supercharged 6.2L V8 that’s nestled neatly between the front fenders provides 1,327 more reasons to avoid mischaracterizing this machine, and all of them can be accessed with a poke of the accelerator pedal.
That number splits almost evenly; there’s 668 hp and 659 lb-ft of torque to play with, the former of which matters most when it comes to pavement-pounding shenanigans. That’s the rotational force that results from all eight cylinders – plus the 1.7L supercharger bolted to the top – doing their delightful mechanical dance.
Driving Feel: 10/10
Sure, any Hellcat-powered Dodge Charger generates more output, but where that sedan is strictly maniacal and raw, there’s precision and refinement here. Make no mistake: it’s equally as riotous and ridiculous, but it’s a kind of controlled chaos that makes the CT5-V Blackwing so special.
The drive experience is a fully immersive one – not just because you want to get lost in all this car has to offer, but because you don’t have a choice in the matter to begin with. It pulls you in and makes you feel every one of the clutch spring’s coils fighting against your left foot, or every square inch of structural adhesive and how it contributes to the tightness of the chassis. You can hear the exhaust flow around every bend in the pipes. You’re not a witness to what’s happening here – you’re part of it.
And all the while, access to one of the most vicious, vivacious, and vulgar sport sedans ever built extends just beyond your extremities, begging to be unleashed. Channelling all that torque to the rear wheels makes the back end waggle like a demonic dog, while no-lift shifting means you can simply pin the throttle, depress the clutch, and bang off perfect gear changes time and again.
Whatever the opposite of a get-out-of-jail-free card is – that’s what the CT5-V Blackwing comes with. That’s purely proverbial, of course, but what isn’t is the type of legal trouble it can lead to, not to mention how quickly it can get you there. Those who are deficient in the discipline department, take note: this is a car that will push you to the brink.
User Friendliness: 10/10
Just about every performance parameter is adjustable, right down to braking feel. It’s all so absurd, and yet it adds a sense of mood-matching customizability to the proceedings. Prefer the adaptive dampers in their most malleable setting but can’t get enough of the most raucous exhaust note? Mix and match as you please.
A tiny toggle on the steering wheel allows the car’s stability nannies to be fine-tuned on the fly, with a V mode button in the opposite position that unlocks this car’s full potential. There’s also that six-speed transmission, and it’s simply spectacular. The clutch pedal is a chore to manipulate and the gear stick requires deliberate inputs to go where it’s told, but the net reward of making it all work is worthwhile. There’s also button-activated auto rev-matching for flawless downshifts.
Taken together, it might seem this is some kind of robotic machine that saps all the joy from the drive experience, but nothing could be further from the truth. All of it – the variable suspension, gear-changing trickery, and electronic drive programming – simply serves to enhance the connection that’s immediately established between the CT5-V Blackwing and anyone lucky enough to climb behind the wheel.
No matter what the road ahead looks like – a straight line or a squiggly one – this Cadillac makes impossibly quick work of it. It’s the closest imaginable execution of a Chevrolet Corvette sedan (C7, of course), and it’s priced like one, too.
In the same way Chevy’s ultra-capable sports car has long competed with exotic offerings for far less money, the CT5-V Blackwing is an absolute bargain. Where the benchmark-setting BMW M5 starts around $128,000, the sticker price here is just $90,098 before options and taxes. That’s a little less than a base BMW M550i that’s not even close to as capable as this Caddy.
Even dolled up with all the options shown here – upgraded leather, beautiful bronze wheels and brake calipers, and (seemingly) more carbon fibre than the Canadarm – this tester didn’t even touch $115,000 before HST, and that includes a $2,000 gas-guzzler tax. No car in the last 20 years has done more for less.
Fuel Economy: 3/10
If you find yourself moaning and groaning about how inefficient this supercharged sedan is then it was never the car for you in the first place. Official ratings are an atrocious 18.3 L/100 km around town, 11.4 on the highway, and 15.2 combined. Of course, it runs on high-grade gas; 91-octane is required.
An initial evaluation drive spanning some 265 fun-filled kilometres turned in a better-than-expected (but still terrible) 13.3 L/100 km. But then the vast majority of them were racked up backroads and secondary highways, meaning it probably should have done better. The full week of testing finished at 15.5 L/100 km.
If grievances are being aired, this tester’s carbon-backed bucket seats are among the hardest around, which wouldn’t be problematic if not for your humble author’s three fractured ribs at the time of this test. They do, however, tie in quite nicely with the theme of this sedan.
On a positive note, the suspension is amazingly pliable and compliant when it’s dialled back. The rebound strokes are still short, but the ride is surprisingly supple given this sedan’s performance bent. Don’t get your hopes up too high, however; that softness all but disappears at city speeds, where this Cadillac feels like a race car rolling into pitlane at Sebring.
With the exception of the carbon fibre on the front seatbacks, all the woven stuff inside – including on the console, dash, doors, and steering wheel – is standard. Upgrading to any of the leather upgrades packages is worth it for those added touches alone, although doing so isn’t explicitly necessary. Either way, the interior looks and feels about as good as it gets, with the most notable exception being the steering wheel that would look and feel far nicer with a simple suede wrapping.
From the outside, the CT5-V Blackwing exudes a menacing presence – particularly with the upgrades here. The subtleness of all the carbon fibre ($10,740 combined) against the black paint takes a keen eye to notice, while the bronze wheels ($1,725) and matching brake calipers ($685) add just enough contrast to make this a show-stopping sleeper.
The bulk of this car’s price comes down to all the performance goodies, but there’s plenty of other good stuff here, too. Heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, 10-inch touchscreen, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connections, 16-speaker stereo, subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless phone charging – and the list goes on.
There’s a head-up display, too, which is especially handy in a car that can gobble up so much distance in such a hurry; the more time your eyes stay on the road the better. There’s also blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high-beam headlights, lane departure warning and keeping assistance, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. You’ll have to pay extra for adaptive cruise control, as well as surround-view monitoring.
When it comes to matters of impracticality, which are surprisingly scarce, the mirrors both inside and out are so narrow and small that they may as well not exist. Otherwise, outward visibility is excellent, and there’s enough space inside for four adults to fit comfortably – although headroom in the back is a little tight.
The very essence of the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing feels directly derived from the days of the C7 Corvette. It’s like the manifestation of the angst of every engineer involved in this silly, spectacular project. It’s balanced, powerful, and precise – a combination that’s as rare as it is rewarding.
Alas, it all comes down to self-control (or a lack thereof). Every gap in traffic is an opportunity – a chance to downshift, listen to the revs spike, and drop the hammer. It’s dangerous in any hands, let alone the wrong ones. It’s part of what makes the Blackwing so diabolically delightful. Don’t mistake this for anything other than it is: one of the most marvellous machines ever built.
|Engine Cylinders||Supercharged V8|
|Peak Horsepower||668 hp @ 6,500 rpm|
|Peak Torque||659 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm|
|Fuel Economy||18.3 / 11.4 / 15.2 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb|
|Cargo Space||337 L|
|Model Tested||2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing|
|A/C Tax||$100 + federal excise tax, $2,000|
|Price as Tested||$114,753|
$22,555 – full semi-aniline leather upholstery, $7,000; Carbon Fibre Package 2, $6,020; Carbon Fibre Package 1, $4,720; 19-inch alloy wheels w/bronze finish, $1,725; power sunroof, $1,685; Parking Package, $720; bronze brake calipers, $685