2021 Cadillac CT4: Forget Showing Off, Greatness Is Something of Substance

2021 Cadillac CT4 24 photos
Photo: Cadillac
2021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT42021 Cadillac CT4
The Cadillac CT4 is still young, and its design represents a fine achievement for the American automobile aesthetic culture. Some subtle upgrades for the 2021 model year will be appreciated by an attentive onlooker. It may be a compact sedan, but it deserves full-size consideration.
Just take the thing as it is. Forget about the tragicomical Cadillac Cimarron of the eighties, a typical mainstream compact car similar to the contemporary Chevy Cavalier and superficially embellished with shiny details.

Forget about the GM casualties during the previous decades; the automaker had to bury Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Saturn (or, at least, that’s what it chose to do then). Did it learn something from all these unhappy experiences? Looking at the 2021 Cadillac CT4, we’d say yes.


Exaggerations have good consequences only rarely, and pretending can leave the impression of a different reality just for a while. Be yourself, that’s the way to be straightforward convincing; if you’re good enough, anyway. That is the message emerging from the appearance of a 2021 Cadillac CT4.

2021 Cadillac CT4
Photo: Cadillac
It doesn’t show more chrome than other acknowledged compact sedans, and even its dimensions do not force the limits of the segment. Here, the traditional luxury of the brand is promoted in terms of distinction, not at all as a bling factor. Beyond this, the CT4 gives you other serious reasons to stick to it instead of selecting an imported thing.


The most appreciated compact sedans insist on a dynamic accent; they can’t make a striking impression with their interior dimensions, can they? So, the Cadillac CT4 brings in the basic required configuration for a sporty-dynamic profile, starting with a rear-wheel-drive technical platform. AWD is also available for all versions. Under the hood, there is turbo power—plenty of it.

First of all, Cadillac offers its own interpretation of the 2.0-liter four-cylinder theme: twin-scroll turbo, variable valve timing with three-step sliding camshaft technology, along with Active Fuel Management and automatic stop/start. This mill is good for 237 hp and 258 lb-ft (350 Nm) of torque, which is more than enough for a definitely fast compact sedan. Sending the driving force to the rear wheels (or to all of them) is the job of an eight-speed automatic transmission.

2021 Cadillac CT4
Photo: Cadillac
However, there is “better” in terms of refinement and performance, and they know it at Cadillac. That’s why the CT4’s upper version has a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder in the engine bay, developing 310 hp in its basic variant. Adding to a generous list of high-tech solutions (dual-overhead camshafts, four-valves per cylinder, 3-step sliding camshaft, continuously variable valve timing, variable valve lift and Active Fuel Management), this new engine features the so-called Dual-Volute Turbocharging. Its special geometry delivers a quicker engine response when accelerating from low speed, minimizing turbo-lag.

This kind of turbocharging, together with the appropriate electronic management, favors an excellent torque characteristic. That would be 380 lb-ft (515 Nm) of torque from 1,500 to 4,000 rpm for the CT4-V version (325 hp). This engine comes together with the Hydra-Matic 10L60 ten-speed automatic transmission, something unique to the car’s segment.

At the top of the range, soon available as a 2022 model year is the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing. Finally, a “V” referring to a V6. This engine has 3.6 liters of displacement and twin turbocharging, and is able to provide 472 hp and 445 lb-ft (603 Nm) of torque.

2021 Cadillac CT4
Photo: Cadillac
GM estimates this car can do the 0 to 60 mph (96 kph) in just 3,8 s (with the 10-speed automatic transmission), a figure compatible with a typical sports car specification. There is only a handful of compact sedans in the world in this top performance envelope. But wait, there's more good news for the devotees of unfiltered sportiness: the standard configuration of the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing includes a 6-speed manual gearbox from Tremec.

Especially in the case of all CT4-V variants, we recommend the choice of all-wheel-drive for full exploitation of their remarkable dynamic potential. Until now, most media feedback regarding the roadholding and the sporty abilities of the 2021 Cadillac CT4 is about a masterful and sharp behavior; that sounds as expected.


There are four trim levels available for the 2021 Cadillac CT4: Luxury, Premium Luxury, Sport, and V-Series. Considering the car's sporty touch, its compact size and rather measured interior space should be regarded as parts of its concept. An attractive new feature is the 12-inch reconfigurable digital instruments cluster. It is optional on Premium Luxury, Sport, and V-Series models via the Technology Package, which also includes a head-up display.

Above the center console, there is an 8-inch multimedia screen. Recently, we’ve seen bigger things of this kind, and there might be one more little problem there: the screen is not 100% vertically placed, which means its readability may be affected by natural light reflections from time to time. Otherwise, its operating system has a nice concept.

2021 Cadillac CT4
Photo: Cadillac
The trim levels' names say a lot: the basic level is already compatible with a sober-luxurious vision, while Luxury Premium brings a visible touch of glamour. The other two trims do not aim higher when it comes to opulence; they are sport-oriented with motorsport-inspired styling details and a more or less noticeable high-tech note.

Prestige within reach

The CT4 2.0 Luxury is available starting from $33,395. You should not look at it as an entry-level automobile, though. It has an eight-speed automatic transmission, LED headlamps, enough advanced driving assistance functions, and an 8-inch full-color HD touchscreen. The more comprehensive equipment of the Premium Luxury version is proposed at $37,595. Leather finish for some interior surfaces, LED Ambiental lighting, auto-dimming mirrors, Rainsense wipers, Universal Home Remote, and Super Cruise driver-assistance are included.

Level up to the Sport trim (from $38,695), and you get a thick-rimmed steering wheel, performance run-flat tires, alloy pedals, and a set of martial design details. Also available are the Brembo V Performance brakes in the front. Because the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing is a high-tech sport-dedicated machine, its basic price is $59,990. Certainly, the Blackwing is the technological showcase here, and it comes at a lower price than any comparable import. Still, we think the CT4-V Premium Luxury represents the character of the American brand properly and brings more everyday driving satisfaction.

For those objecting that the CT4-V Blackwing is not a match for a BMW M3, Lexus IS 500 (V8 engined), or a Mercedes-AMG C 63, we will come back to the price tag detail: paying somewhat less should also count here. Last but not least: the Cadillac CT4 is an American automobile with a distinct personality and cultural touch. Ultimately, that should be the determining factor for choosing it, not the absolute figures of any kind.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories