2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Review Update

Ron Sessions, Independent Expert | Apr 28, 2022

Introduction - Find the best Cadillac deals!

General Motors' quest to revive, restore, and reinvigorate Cadillac Exceptionalism will get a considerable boost when the brand's first battery-electric offering, the Lyriq, hits dealer showrooms later this year. In addition to offering zero tailpipe emissions and whisper-quiet performance, the luxury brand's crossover SUV promises significant advancements in in-cabin ergonomics, infotainment, and driver-assistive technology.

But in the meantime, the 120-year-old brand is making good on a promise it made nearly a quarter-century ago (remember the Catera?) to build a credible high-performance sedan that can go toe-to-toe with the best offerings from European luxury automakers. With 668 horsepower on tap from a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is the top performance offering in the brand's 2022 midsize sedan lineup, which includes 237-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo and 335- and 360-hp 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 models. The Blackwing's additional 300 hp alone would be more than enough to distinguish it from lesser 4-cylinder and V6 CT5 trims. The blown, V8-powered Blackwing also brings chassis refinements and Alpha platform learnings that development engineers gained from years working on the high-performance versions of its platform-mate, the Chevrolet Camaro.

The result is a luxurious sedan that can hold its own and, in many ways, outshine such midsize sedan performance benchmarks as the Audi RS 7BMW M5, and Mercedes-AMG E63 S.

This is significant because the 2022 CT5-V Blackwing represents the ultimate and final execution of a gas-powered performance sedan at Cadillac. The brand has just introduced a V version of the full-size Escalade SUV with a gas-powered 6.2-liter V8. Still, it and the fossil-fueled CT4 and CT5 sedans will likely be on sale only for a few years as Cadillac switches from combusting liquid hydrocarbons to battery-electric propulsion.

The distinguishing features of the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing include:

  • 668-hp, supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine
  • Standard 6-speed manual transmission
  • Rear-wheel drive with electronic limited-slip rear differential
  • Launch control
  • 275/35ZR19 front and 305/30ZR19 rear summer performance tires
  • Brembo 15.7-inch front/14.6-inch rear drilled and ventilated disc brake rotors with 6-piston front and 4-piston rear calipers
  • Magnetic Ride Control
  • Selectable V drive mode
  • Performance traction management
  • 12-inch driver monitor with lap timer
  • Head-up display
  • Rubber-tipped alloy foot pedals
  • 10-inch infotainment display with navigation
  • Wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto
  • Wireless phone charger
  • Heated and ventilated massaging front bucket seats
  • Power tilt/telescopic steering column
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Optional performance data recorder
  • 16-speaker AKG premium audio system

Despite its standing as the Alpha dog of the CT5 sedan lineup, you won't find a Blackwing badge adorning the car's flanks or even under the hood. But if you look closely, there's a tiny, fingernail-sized Blackwing script sewn into the outboard seatback seam of the optional performance front bucket seats. Talk about understated.

Including the $995 destination charge, the top-of-the-line CT5-V Blackwing with the standard 6-speed manual transmission is $84,990. For those buyers who aren't clutch artists, there's a version with a 10-speed automatic transmission and aluminum paddle shifters, priced at $88,165 including destination. CT5-V Blackwing buyers also must pay a gas-guzzler tax: $1,700 for the automatic version or $2,100 with the manual.

Previously, J.D. Power reviewed the V6-powered 2020 Cadillac CT5. This review focuses on the 2022 CT5-V Blackwing performance model's updates and how they potentially impact its overall appeal to consumers.

What Owners Say About the Cadillac CT5 - Find the best Cadillac deals!

2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Electric Blue Front Quarter View Action

Photo: Ron Sessions

The Cadillac CT5 competes in the Midsize Premium Car market segment. According to data collected from verified new-vehicle buyers for the J.D. Power 2021 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, 63 percent of new Cadillac CT5 buyers are male (vs. 65 percent for the segment), and the median age of a new CT5 buyer is 63 years, same as for the segment.

As part of the APEAL Study, owners rated the CT5 in 10 primary categories. Listed below in descending order, you'll find their preferences from their most favorite thing about the vehicle to their least favorite:

  • Exterior styling
  • Driving feel
  • Feeling of safety
  • Driving comfort
  • Infotainment system
  • Setting up and starting
  • Interior design
  • Powertrain
  • Getting in and out
  • Fuel economy

In the 2021 APEAL Study, the CT5 ranks highest out of four Midsize Premium Car models.

What Our Independent Expert Says About the Cadillac CT5 - Find the best Cadillac deals!

In the sections that follow, our independent expert analyzes a CT5-V Blackwing equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission and the following options:

  • Two-tone semi-aniline, quilted leather seats with tan seat belts, high-performance front buckets seats with carbon-fiber accents, and faux-suede microfiber-wrapped interior trim
  • Carbon-Fiber 1 package (carbon-fiber front splitter, wheel well deflectors, and rear spoiler)
  • Carbon-Fiber 2 package (carbon-fiber grille header, rocker molding extensions, and rear valance diffuser)
  • Electric Blue paint
  • Parking package (HD surround vision recorder, rear camera mirror, cabin ionizer, and rear pedestrian alert)
  • Performance data and video recorder
  • Satin Graphite finish 19-inch alloy wheels
  • Bronze finish brake calipers

The price of the test vehicle came to $104,440, including the $995 destination charge.

Supercharged 668-horsepower 6.2-liter V8

2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Engine

Photo: Ron Sessions

When you look at some of the latest battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in the premium space, such as the Lucid Air sedan and GMC Hummer EV Pickup Edition 1—each with more than 1,000 electric horsepower capable of accelerating their prodigious mass from rest to 60 mph in 3 seconds or less—the 668-hp Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing doesn't necessarily appear to be the quickest gun in the West. Even a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye with its supercharged 797-hp 6.4-liter Hemi V8 has more power under the hood.

Using its standard launch control, the 4,100-pound CT5-V Blackwing with a manual transmission can pull off the sprint from zero-to-60 mph in 3.6 short seconds. That drops to 3.4 seconds when equipped with the optional, quick-shifting 10-speed automatic. Top speed, should you be on a closed course where such things are legal and sensible, is a claimed 200 mph.

Arguably, fuel economy isn't one of the CT5-V Blackwing's selling points. EPA estimates are 13 mpg city/22 mpg highway for the automatic and 13 mpg city/21 mpg highway for stick-shift versions. In a week of sometimes spirited driving, I averaged 19 mpg.

As quick as it is, the CT5-V Blackwing isn't all just about speed. Its prodigious torque, which maxes out at 669 pound-feet, means throttle response for zipping into holes in traffic or passing a slower vehicle is healthy regardless of what gear you're in and full-on volcanic when you pour on the coals. Then there's the sonorous soundtrack emanating from the quad exhaust tips, courtesy of the Blackwing's variable exhaust system that can vary from a pleasant burble in Tour mode to full-on raucous in Sport or Track modes. You can also custom-tailor it to the desired sound level using drop-down menus in the vehicle, accessed by the vehicle settings icon of the center display.

Guaranteed, friends and family will want a peek under the CT5-V Blackwing's hood in a time-honored tradition that's unnecessary in an electric vehicle. There, in addition to a stout cross-car brace spanning the front spring towers, you can see the signature of the person who assembled the engine.

Magnetic Ride Control

The performance-vehicle space is filled with adaptive-damping systems that custom-tailor the performance characteristics of shock absorbers to varying roads and conditions. Among them, however, the magnetorheological system originally developed by GM's Delco division is a standout.

The system in the CT5-V Blackwing, dubbed Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, is the latest iteration. Equally at home on the street or track, its dampers use a special fluid with tiny iron particles that can change viscosity, from firm to soft and anything in between, based on sensors on the car and suspension that read the road surface, vehicle speed, steering wheel angle, vertical suspension movement, and more. It does this in real-time and can adjust the damping curve of each shock absorber individually for precise vertical body control.

As a result, the CT5-V Blackwing's body movements are well controlled on an as-needed basis to promote good handling without impact harshness or an overly stiff ride that's worthy of a product of a luxury brand.

Standard Tremec 6-speed Manual Transmission

2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Interior Dashboard Manual Transmission

Photo: Ron Sessions

Much like its European competition, Cadillac isn't a brand you'd expect to offer a manual transmission in its cars. But like a flag in the sand for true enthusiasts, there's a standard 6-speed do-it-yourself shifter sprouting from the center console in the new CT5-V Blackwing (and in the smaller CT4-V Blackwing as well). Of course, there's an optional automatic transmission (a paddle-shifted 10-speed unit) for the majority of buyers who don't know how to—or care to—operate a manual transmission shifter and clutch pedal in this often traffic-clogged world. And yet, there it is for those who want it, a proof point of analog driving engagement that celebrates the symbiotic synchronicity of the human-machine interface. The driver who gains satisfaction from a well-executed shift knows about which we speak.

As manual gearboxes go, the Tremec 6-speed box is a good one, offering short, lubricious throws and well-defined gates. The Luk twin-disc clutch has just-right effort, neither too light nor too heavy, and a generous, forgiving, organic engagement feel orchestrated by nicely spaced pedals.

The 6-speed offers rev-matching downshifts for smoother gear changes and comes with a no-lift-shift feature that lets the driver keep the throttle mashed during shifts without the worry of over-revving and subsequent engine damage as well.

Performance Data Recorder

The CT5-V Blackwing's optional Performance Data Recorder blends the worlds of performance driving and video gaming. The data recorder, which uses the vehicle's front camera and an in-car microphone, can record video and audio of, say, a Saturday morning drive on a favorite serpentine road, a trip to the office, or even a memento of track days on a closed course. Then, using the system's playback feature, it can provide an entertaining interlude on the Blackwing's dash-mounted 8-inch infotainment screen or, if recorded via the car's SD memory card, viewed on a desktop or laptop computer at home. The system can even provide video overlays of performance metrics from trained drivers using Cosworth racing software to compare their skills to the pros on different tracks.

Independent Expert Opinion - Find the best Cadillac deals!

2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Electric Blue Rear Quarter View

Photo: Ron Sessions

Cadillac has delivered—as promised—a credible and likable midsize performance luxury sedan that rivals the best from premium-grade European automakers. It's a tasty tart from the first bite, but a limited-time offer due to its fossil-fuel-burning ways. The CT5-V is also one heck of a deal and can cost tens of thousands of dollars less than comparable models from AudiMercedes-AMG, and BMW M, as long as one resists the siren call of optional CT5-V Blackwing carbon-fiber trim and race-grade carbon-ceramic brakes.

The next round of Cadillac sedans, when it occurs, will be Ultium-powered electrics. Acceleration will likely be lively, riding a wave of instant torque. But the sound will be different, definitely quieter, and way greener. If you are taken with, say, a hearty exhaust rumble punctuated by a healthy report and succeeded by trailing crackles and pops—not to mention the ratio-swapping satisfaction of a well-stirred manual transmission—this is one to add to the collection. It's that good.

Ron Sessions is a seasoned vehicle evaluator with more than three decades of experience. He has penned hundreds of road tests for automotive and consumer websites, enthusiast magazines, newsletters, technical journals, and newspapers.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2022 J.D. Power

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