Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing: GM hits 'em with a stick until they roar

Screaming engine? Yes. Manual transmission? Yes! Blackwing 4.2-liter V8? Weirdly, no.

Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
3 min read
Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing teaser

Last May, General Motors took the wraps off of its 2020 Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V performance sedans. With their twin-turbo engines delivering between 320 and 335 horsepower, both are downright respectable, sporty machines. However, by the numbers at least, they aren't proper, full-fat successors to the bonkers ATS-V and CTS-V models that came before them. 

Not long after that debut, GM seemed to acknowledge the media's confusion, revealing that higher-performance V-Series models were coming. The automaker even teased them by running disguised versions on the track at last June's Detroit Grand Prix.

Watch this: Cadillac CT4-V and CT-5 Blackwing: Hear them clear their throats

On Tuesday, GM finally confirmed the sedans' names: CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing. Whether you're a Cadillac fanatic or just someone who prefers to not run with the European sport-sedan herd, there appears to be a bright light at the end of the tunnel. What's more, judging by the video above, that light will be accompanied by a ferocious bark.

Unfortunately, that light is also probably a fair bit further down the road than you were expecting. That's because like most things in this COVID-19 world, these models are now running behind schedule. Roadshow has learned that while these cars were originally slated to debut this year, they now won't even be revealed until sometime in the first quarter of 2021. As such, both will actually carry 2022 model-year designations when they arrive in showrooms.

Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing sedans will get manuals, but they aren't coming soon

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Now, before you go off half-cocked, know that just because these two sedans have "Blackwing" in to their names doesn't mean you'll find GM's muscular twin-turbo, 4.2-liter Blackwing V8 nestled between their fenders. In fact, while a company spokesperson wouldn't yet tell us what exactly powers these two, that rep did confirm to Roadshow that you won't find a version of the 550-hp, big-daddy V8 that kicks out the jams beyond the firewall of Cadillac's larger CT6-V Blackwing.

No, it's not your imagination, Cadillac's naming scheme is confusing. The brand's model nomenclature has been perplexing -- borderline nonsensical -- for a long time. But know this: Cadillac doesn't view "Blackwing" as merely an engine designator. As a brand spokesperson put it to us, "The term Blackwing has grown to represent more for the Cadillac brand. It now represents the pinnacle of performance and craftsmanship."

Fair enough.

Fortunately, none of this naming neurosis figures to detract from GM's finished products. In addition to the more aggressive styling that's evident even in these Zubaz-print camouflage prototype photos, this more-dynamic duo will have a lot more horsepower than the regular, (non-Blackwing) CT4-V and CT5-V models. In addition to a different engine, the models are said to feature "specially tuned chassis" and unique "vehicle control technologies." Ergo, it's fair to assume that not only will they be quicker, they'll offer sharper, flatter cornering and a bit more leeway before the fun police threaten to use their electronic safety nets.

2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing
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2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing

Yep, you'll be able to get a manual. No, you can't order this wrap job.


In all likelihood, there's nothing to say that, at a minimum, the CT5-V Blackwing's engine won't be even more powerful than the aforementioned 4.2-liter V8. Cadillac says prototypes of these new models are already lapping some of the nation's best tracks -- including the lovely and challenging Virginia International Raceway -- more quickly than the ATS-V and CTS-V that came before them. In the case of the latter, that suggests the CT5-V Blackwing could have upwards of 640 hp and hit 60 mph in the mid-3-second range. 

If rumors are correct, both new models will actually employ carryover engines, but that's no bad thing. Remember, the CTS-V's 6.2-liter supercharged V8 made that car a 200-mph rocket. For its part, the 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6-powered ATS-V was no slouch, either, having 464 ponies to carry around its lighter 3,800-pound frame. Both of these forthcoming models are confirmed to get manual transmissions as standard -- presumably six-speed units -- and GM's new 10-speed automatic is expected to replace the old eight-speeder found in the ATS-V/CTS-V.

Considering just how thunderous and dynamic those dearly departed ATS-V and CTS-V models were, it appears that sport-sedan fans are in for a treat. Unfortunately, it sounds like these tasty morsels are a year or more away from finding their way into enthusiasts' garages. Hopefully they'll be worth the wait.