- 668 horsepower from a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine
- Your choice of a six-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic transmission
- Expertly tuned stability control helps all skill levels
When talking about heavyweights, size and power usually define the class. Maneuverability, a deft touch and longevity generally do not. But, as one of the heavyweights, the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is a bit of a contradiction. Oh sure, it'll ignite the rear tires if you so much as look at the throttle pedal the wrong way, and it's happy to throw down quarter-mile trap speeds in excess of 120 mph all day. But it's also got some subtlety up its blacked-out sleeves.
Is it as fast as a BMW M5 Competition or a Tesla Model S Plaid? Who cares! It's fast and it's loud. Oh, and the one we tested came with a manual transmission. Let's see what it did.
It's important to keep in mind that the CT5-V Blackwing is a sedan. A big sedan. Because what it did at our test track is not usually in the wheelhouse of a big sedan. Keep in mind this was done on California's 91 octane gas. The numbers:
What's it like to get it through the quarter mile? Let's ask our test driver.
"Launch control comes in two flavors: automatic or do-it-yourself. Going the DIY route opens up a giant wormhole of possibilities, but I settled on a 2,200 rpm launch with a 7.5% slip number. Auto worked pretty well, too, but allowed for too much spin on our test track's normal asphalt. Mega power but interstellar gearing. First goes to something like 58 while second goes to 83! Once it hooks up and you're out of the wheelspin zone, it's utterly stable. Say what you want about the motor (it's great) but the gearbox is the star here. Robust without being heavy and balky; quick without sloppy. World-class. The car could do this all day."
He seems happy. But what about the brakes? As mentioned earlier, our test car was not equipped with the optional carbon-ceramic stoppers. Still, with 15.7-inch rotors and six-piston calipers up front and 14.7-inch rotors with four piston calipers out back, we expected solid performance.
"Surprised this didn't come with the optional carbon-ceramic brakes but it still stopped like a champ. Brakes even needed a bit of heat in them to deliver their best stops. Pedal is firm and doesn't take much to get into the meat of the stopping power. ABS is well matched to the tires so ABS noise and vibes were minimal. Some slight skipping/sliding near zero but that's what hi-po cars usually do. Totally stable and straight. Car hunkers down and stays down — credit to the MagneRide here.
"The brake-by-wire system doesn't transmit much feedback and that comes back to haunt the CT5-V on our handling loop. After several hard laps, the pedal started to feel wooden and I worried that I wasn't getting the full picture of how much stopping power I had left. The pedal simply doesn't let you press any harder but the stopping power doesn't feel as robust as it used to. Same story with the C8 so this is clearly a 'thing' with this braking system. Still, the fact that these brakes can haul down this missile without much fade on a brake-heavy track is pretty impressive. But if it were my money, I'd spring for the carbon ceramics."
Again, this is a large sedan. And, according to our scales, it weighs 4,152 pounds with a full tank of gas. (That's how we test all of our vehicles, without exception.) At the corners of all that mass are Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tires, with 275s up front and 305s at the back. As wide as those tires are, if we're honest, the CT5-V could use considerably more tire, a stickier tire (like the Michelin Sport Cup 2), or both. But that's not a criticism. Throwing it back to our throttle jockey:
"This is great. For something so big, there's some real delicacy to the way you can place the CT5-V. Steering is very accurate with appropriate weighting in every setting. Loads of stick and the Caddy uses all four wheels very effectively — until you goose the throttle. As expected, the ESC system is expertly calibrated for steady-state cornering. Even in the PTM [Performance Track Management] Race 2 setting, I could only just pip the Key Up setting. Around our handling loop, well, what else do you want from a big sedan? Accurate, grippy, predictable and great visibility. Careful with the right foot. Race 2 setting will send the CT5-V out of most corners with a bit of slip angle. I think I left two stripes out of each corner — even the fast ones. A hooligan on demand. So rad."
The current V-Series Cadillacs are emitting some serious classic Pontiac performance energy and we're not the least bit mad about that. The CT5-V Blackwing wins our hearts for no other reason than it's just so awesome to drive. There's big noise, big power and big grip. But there's also nuance, precision and durability even at its considerable limits. It's a shame this might be the last mega-engined performance sedan produced by General Motors. It's a damn good one.