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- Highs Looks great, easier-to-use infotainment system, optional twin-turbo V-6.
- Lows Dull acceleration from standard four-cylinder engine, dulled driving dynamics versus its CTS predecessor, cheap plastic interior bits.
- Verdict Although the CT5 is meant to be Cadillac's prize fighter, missteps with chassis tuning and interior richness knock it out of contention.
Tired of being the American knife in a German gun fight, Cadillac has the likes of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz in its sights with the all-new 2020 CT5. Unfortunately, the execution of Cadillac's new big gun is not without its misfires. The CT5's chassis doesn't offer the same corner-carving magnetism of the car it replaces—the long-running CTS sports sedan—and its interior, while more user-friendly, lacks the luxury panache of the upscale cars that are its competitors. It's undeniably handsome, though, and presents well as driveway eye candy. Plus its spacious back seat and roomy trunk mean that it can serve active family duty when called required.
What's New for 2020?
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The Premium Luxury model is worth the extra scratch. It adds features such as interior ambient lighting, a wireless smartphone-charging pad, illuminated exterior door handles, blind-spot monitoring, driver-seat memory settings, rear parking sensors, and power lumbar support for the driver and front-seat passenger. In addition to that, it unlocks many optional packages, of which we'd recommend the Driver Awareness Plus package (automatic high-beam headlamps, lane-keeping assist, head-up display, and more), which requires also adding the Lighting package (front cornering lamps and illuminated doorsill inserts).
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The standard engine in the CT5 is a 237-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder; the optional engine is a 335-hp twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6. The performance-oriented CT5-V boasts a 360-hp version of the twin-turbo V-6 as well as standard equipment such as adaptive dampers and an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. A more track-ready model is also in the works, with a prototype already spotted testing. Both engines pair with a 10-speed automatic; rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. In our testing, a rear-wheel-drive CT5 with the turbo four-cylinder sauntered to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds. Two of the CT5's key rivals, the BMW 330i and the Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti, completed the same test in 5.1 and 4.6 seconds, respectively. When it comes to ride and handling, the CT5 is both more softly sprung and less athletic than the CTS it replaces; body control is sloppier and the improvements to the car's ride aren't enough to justify what feels like a step backward in driving dynamics.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Fuel-economy estimates haven't been released for the V-6 model, but the turbo four is rated for up to 32 mpg highway, 23 mpg city, and 26 mpg combined. All-wheel drive dulls those numbers, but only slightly to 31 highway, 21 city, and 25 combined. On our 200-mile highway fuel-economy test route, the rear-wheel-drive Sport we tested managed 31 mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Cadillac corrected some of the CTS's interior flaws with the CT5, which offers more user-friendly controls and a more straight-forward design. Unfortunately, it also introduced new issues, chief among them the quality of its interior materials that seems unworthy of the CT5's positioning as a luxury vehicle. Premium Luxury models are available with a nice open-pore wood trim that elevates the interior design, but it mingles alongside cheap black plastic that seems lifted from the plebian Chevrolet Malibu family sedan. The rear seat is more spacious than the CTS, but rivals such as the Acura TLX and the Volvo S60 both feel roomier for adults. All three have similarly sized trunks, though, and each fit five of our carry-on suitcases.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The CT5 features Cadillac's latest version of the CUE infotainment system and it is displayed on a 10.0-inch touchscreen in the center of the dashboard. It's much more logically structured than the old system and forgoes touch-sensitive controls for secondary adjustments in favor of physical controls. The system itself can be controlled by a rotary wheel located behind the gearshift or by interacting with the touchscreen itself; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is standard. Desirable available features include a head-up display, wireless device charging, and an eight-speaker Bose audio system.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have released crash-test results for the CT5. A host of driver-assistance technology is available, including adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. Super Cruise, GM's Level 2 autonomous-driving feature—which can steer, accelerate, and brake a vehicle without a driver needing to keep hands on the wheel—will be available, but not initially at launch. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Warranty coverage is more generous here than many of the German sports sedans with which the CT5 competes, particularly in the powertrain warranty; it outdoes the 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-class by two years or 20,000 miles. Better warranties are available in the entry-luxury marketplace; namely the Genesis G70 and Kia Stinger, both of which offer longer limited and powertrain warranties.The Genesis even comes with three full years of complimentary scheduled maintenance, while Cadillac only includes the first visit free of charge.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 6 years or 70,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit
2020 Cadillac CT5 350T
front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
PRICE AS TESTED
$54,590 (base price: $42,690)
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
122 in3, 1998 cm3
237 hp @ 5000 rpm
258 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm
CHASSISSuspension (F/R): struts/multilinkBrakes (F/R): 13.6-in vented disc/12.4-in vented discTires: Michelin Primacy Tour A/S ZP, 245/40R-19 94V M+S TPC SPEC 3132MS
Wheelbase: 116.0 in
Length: 193.9 in
Width: 74.1 in
Height: 57.2 in
Passenger volume: 99 ft3
Cargo volume: 12 ft3
Curb weight: 3724 lb
Rollout, 1 ft: 0.3 sec
60 mph: 6.6 sec
100 mph: 17.1 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 7.5 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 4.0 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 5.1 sec
¼-mile: 15.0 sec @ 94 mph
Top speed (C/D est): 130 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 161 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.92 g