Illustration by Ben Summerell-Youde/Fox SyndicationCar and Driver
- The CT5-V Blackwing will be the new top dog of Cadillac performance sedans.
- It will have a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 with around 650 horsepower and—yes, really—a six-speed manual transmission.
- The CT5-V Blackwing should arrive later this year with a starting price around $85,000.
Now this is a little confusing, but we’ll try to keep it simple. Please send your complaints to Cadillac if this all seems a bit, well, confusing. The CTS is dead, replaced by the CT5. That’s step one. The next thing to swallow is that the performance-oriented CT5-V is not the new CTS-V, it’s the successor to the CTS Vsport. Still with us? Here’s the payoff. The next legit V will be known as the CT5-V Blackwing. You may know the Blackwing as an engine. That’s correct, it is an engine, but it’s now also the name of the full-power V-series vehicles. Here’s the final bit to understand—just because a Cadillac is called a Blackwing, doesn’t mean it’ll have the Blackwing V-8. Look, we warned you this wasn’t simple or clear.
What is clear is that the CT5-V Blackwing promises be one of the hottest and most track-ready sports sedans on the market. There will also be a CT4-V Blackwing, which we expect to have a turbocharged V-6. Cadillac hopes the CT5-V Blackwing will make a name for itself competing against the the most extreme AMG, M-division, and Audi RS models like the Mercedes-AMG E63 S, the BMW M5, and Audi’s RS6 and RS7. Other competitors will include the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, Porsche’s Panamera Turbo S, and even Dodge’s Charger SRT Hellcat. Price-wise, the Cadillac will undercut its German competition with a starting price around $85,000.
To make sure the Blackwing version of the CT5 is up for the fight, Cadillac will fit an updated version of the CTS-V’s 6.2-liter supercharged V-8, not the 550-hp twin-turbo 4.2-liter Blackwing V-8. We expect that engine to make 650 horsepower and it will be available with a 10-speed automatic or a six-speed manual. Here’s a sentence we thought we’d never write: the Cadillac will be the only vehicle in its class with a manual. The availability of a three-pedal version not only warms our hearts, but it will also probably be more involving, engaging, and fun than the German competition. Fun counts.
Underpinning this most extreme version of the CT5 will be the latest generation of Cadillac/GM’s Alpha platform. Despite some of the most serious competition offering all-wheel drive, all signs point to the Cadillac remaining rear-drive.
While we’re a little concerned that the new Blackwing might not handle as well as its predecessor, recent exposure to the non-Blackwing, 360-hp CT5-V gives us hope that Cadillac still knows how to tune a performance car. We look forward to finding out for ourselves and hope to drive the new Blackwing sedan by the end of the year.