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Eric's Autos: 2024 Cadillac CT4

Eric Peters on

Most of GM has stopped making cars -- soon to include Chevrolet, which plans to stop making the Camaro after 2025 and has already announced the cancellation of the Malibu, which leaves Chevy (and Buick) with nothing other than crossovers and trucks and SUVs.

But there's still Cadillac -- and the CT4.

What It Is

The CT4 is a compact, luxury-sport sedan that comes standard with a few things that are getting very hard to find in a sedan at this price point -- such as standard rear-wheel drive. As well as some things that are getting almost impossible to find in a sedan, period -- such as the six-speed manual transmission that's standard in the highest-performance (Blackwing) trim.

Prices start at $34,595 for the base Luxury trim, which comes standard with rear-wheel drive, a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and an eight-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is available as a standalone $2,000 option.

For a little more engine -- and a lot more power -- there's the V-Series, which gets a larger 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine (also turbocharged) along with a bevy of performance upgrades that include a limited-slip rear differential, free-flow exhaust system, an adaptive suspension, Brembo brakes, sport seats, aluminum pedals, rear spoiler and a 14-speaker Bose premium audio system.

This version of the CT4 lists for $47,095.

You can also get a slightly less potent version of the 2.7-liter engine in the $39,495 Premium Luxury trim.

You can get two more cylinders -- and a lot more power -- in the top-of-the-line Blackwing trim, which centers around the 472-horsepower 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 and the standard six-speed manual transmission that make this Caddy one that really zigs.

It lists for $61,495.

What's New for 2024

The CT4 carries over unchanged for what may be its final year of availability.

What's Good

-- Entry price point is thousands below that of two of the other major contenders in the segment, the $46,950-to-start Mercedes C300 and the $44,500-to-start BMW 3 Series sedan.

-- It is the only sport sedan in the segment you can buy for less than $76,000 -- the price of a '24 BMW M3 sedan -- that's still available with a manual transmission.

-- Three available engines to choose from.

What's Not So Good

-- Very small trunk (just 10.7 cubic feet).

-- Very tight backseat (just 33.4 inches of legroom).

-- Manual transmission only available in the top-of-the-line Blackwing.

Under the Hood

The CT4's standard engine is the type (and size) of engine that's becoming ubiquitous in almost everything: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It makes 237 horsepower and is paired with an eight-speed automatic.

Next up is a 2.7-liter turbo four that powers the V-Series version of the CT4. It summons 325 horsepower. It's paired with a 10-speed automatic.

The Blackhawk iteration of the CT4 comes standard with a 3.6-liter twin turbo V6 that makes 472 horsepower -- paired with a standard six-speed manual transmission.

 

All the CT4's engines can be paired with rear drive or (optionally) all-wheel drive, except for the Blackwing.

On the Road

You may remember the period back in the '90s when Cadillac was trying to change its image (as well as its demographic) from purveyor of heavy rollers that tended to do just that in the curves -- assuming the geezer behind the wheel got it going fast enough -- to a brand like BMW that sold luxury-sport sedans that liked being driven fast in the curves -- you'll remember Cadillacs that didn't exactly zig , like the 1997-2001 Catera.

But at least it didn't roll -- and spit hubcaps -- in the curves.

This Caddy rocks .

To drive it is to appreciate it. Especially in the curves. You hardly have to slow down for them. You can get on the gas in them -- and that is something that wasn't especially helpful (or wise) to do in the Cadillacs of the past, unless you liked to roll.

But what puts many furlongs of distance between the CT4 and anything else you can buy for anything close to what Cadillac asks is the manual transmission that is standard in the Blackwing -- and the AWD that isn't available.

The electronically controlled, almost infinitely programmable modern automatic can outperform a manual in terms of shifting faster and at exactly the right moment for optimum 0-60 mph and lap times. But numbers cannot convey feelings. A manual summons them. You can literally feel the transmission (and, via it, the engine) through the shifter, which is an almost living thing compared with the completely disconnected drive-by-wire selector all modern automatic-equipped cars have that you move -- or tap -- without feeling anything, from park to drive.

At the Curb

The CT4 is a small sedan -- just 185.9 inches long.

That means it's got about the same footprint as a Toyota Corolla (182.5 inches long). But because it's rear-wheel drive (and has its engine mounted front to back rather than sideways), its proportions -- and allocation of space -- are very different.

The hood is longer, which looks good, but it comes at the cost of rear-seat legroom, of which there's only 33.4 inches, which is much more than in the backseat of a Camaro (29.9 inches) but not as much as in the backseat of a small sedan designed to be practical , like the Corolla (which has 34.8 inches). There's also less room in the abbreviated trunk -- which is the price of looking good. Ditto the headroom, particularly in the rear, due to the low (and getting lower as it tapers backward) roofline. It drops from 38.3 inches up front to 36.5 inches in back.

The Caddy's main rivals -- the Benz C300 and the BMW 3 Sedan -- have some of the same deficits but to a lesser extent.

The BMW has 35.2 inches of backseat legroom and 37.6 inches of rear-seat headroom. It also has a big car's 16.9-cubic-foot trunk, even though its overall length (185.9 inches) is a couple inches less than the Caddy's. The Benz has 36 inches of rear-seat legroom and 37.5 inches of headroom in the rear -- plus a split-the-difference 12.9-cubic-foot trunk.

However, you pay for that -- literally -- in the way of paying much more to get into either car.

The Caddy's low entry price point not just relative to its rivals but as such is arguably its strongest selling point. That and the fact that you can get more engine -- and more horsepower -- for about the same money too.

The Rest

Blackwing trims get a unique-to-this-trim digital display main gauge cluster, as well as the option to get lumbar-massaging seats and a 14-speaker AKG stereo system.

The Bottom Line

GM hasn't made it official yet, but the rumor is that the CT4 (and its midsize brother, the CT5) are not long for this world. If true, 2024 might be your last chance to buy a Cadillac that actually does zig.

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Eric's latest book, "Doomed: Good Cars Gone Wrong!" will be available soon. To find out more about Eric and read his past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.


Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate, Inc.


 

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