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2021 Cadillac CT5-V First Test: Sitting with the Big Boys
A Cadillac we’re all impressed with.
Motor Trend
June 30, 2021

64003


In our time with the 2021 Cadillac CT5-V, at least a half-dozen people asked us how the car drives. When we told them it was one of the more fun cars we'd driven in a while, half of them rolled their eyes—and the half that didn't still hardly believed it. But our impression was backed up when road test editor Chris Walton came back from the handling track yelling out the window, "I wasn't expecting it to be this fun to drive!" That's from someone who beats on more than 200 cars a year.

On the figure-eight track, Walton pointed out how linear the steering was: "I'm hardly moving my hands here," he said while holding a steady speed before easing back into the throttle and exiting the corner. Approaching the following turn, he was impressed with the brakes. "They're mega, and they never gave me doubt. I could easily trail them into the corner and be precise," he said. "They're so linear and consistent. The same can be said about the tires."

After a couple of laps, the CT5-V's talents are clear—the abundance of power, the responsive chassis, the linear steering, and the quick and smooth transmission, all working together in near-perfect harmony. ("I only wish the differential were better at putting power to the pavement," Walton said.) And this isn't even the hugely powerful and hardcore CT5-V Blackwing model that will top the range.

Read more at link above…
 

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Perhaps the most noteworthy sentences in this Motor Trend article are:

The reason we all were so surprised with the CT5-V was mostly because the regular CT5 isn't that impressive.
Compared to the regular CT5, the technical enhancements made to the CT5-V make it not only a better car to drive but also one that competes strongly against the best in the segment
It's earned a seat at the table with the big boys.
 

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All I know is any CT4V/CT5V video I see (or almost all) the reviewers have a great, big smile from all the fun they are having with the car. To me, that big smile (that I get myself driving my CT4V) is priceless, worth more than some ornately styled piece of trim.

And as far as their quibbles with the lower models, the goodness of these V's opens up the other trims to strongly lean to comfort, something the auto mags will hate, but the people buying them desire. If you want performance, buy the V.
 

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When we told them it was one of the more fun cars we'd driven in a while, half of them rolled their eyes—and the half that didn't still hardly believed it. But our impression was backed up when road test editor Chris Walton came back from the handling track yelling out the window, "I wasn't expecting it to be this fun to drive!" That's from someone who beats on more than 200 cars a year.


Sadly, this shows you how Cadillac is in a near impossible situation. They've been building some of the most fun cars to drive for 15 years. Yet you still get this "I don't believe it" reaction not only from regular people, but also from the "expert," Chris Walton.
 

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None of the car magazines like the regular ct5 because it doesn't handle like a sports car...well duh, that's whay they have the two v's coming. Seems if cadillac can find a way to get people to drive them they will change their minds. Most don't need the V or the blackwing so the regular CT5 will be good for those that want a traditional riding cadillac.
 

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Sadly, this shows you how Cadillac is in a near impossible situation. They've been building some of the most fun cars to drive for 15 years. Yet you still get this "I don't believe it" reaction not only from regular people, but also from the "expert," Chris Walton.
Mr. Walton's surprise, like those of other Motor Trend reviewers, was due to GM dumbing down the chassis tuning for the non-V CT5 compared to its predecessor, the third gen CTS. Not surprisingly, Motor Trend and others were disappointed with the first CT5 they reviewed, a Sport 2.0T model.
 

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Mr. Walton's surprise, like those of other Motor Trend reviewers, was due to GM dumbing down the chassis tuning for the non-V CT5 compared to its predecessor, the third gen CTS. Not surprisingly, Motor Trend and others were disappointed with the first CT5 they reviewed, a Sport 2.0T model.

It's just that how can anyone at this point be shocked that Cadillac can produce fun-to-drive cars? Even in this CT5 vs. CT5-V case, did he really expect something bad from Cadillac's V-Series at this point? When have they ever failed to deliver on performance?

Impressions have changed for the better in my lifetime for Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes, VW, Jaguar. But no matter what, the sentiment about Cadillac and most American cars seems to be set in stone.
 

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Mr. Walton's surprise, like those of other Motor Trend reviewers, was due to GM dumbing down the chassis tuning for the non-V CT5 compared to its predecessor, the third gen CTS. Not surprisingly, Motor Trend and others were disappointed with the first CT5 they reviewed, a Sport 2.0T model.
I don't think "dumbing down" is the right phrase to describe it. Some people want that comfortable, non-sporty ride that generally the automotive press will hate. Cadillac wasn't offering that before where the cars all handled well but at the expense of cushiness. Want sporty - get a V, want comfort - get a non-V model.
 

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But it was the sport model MT trashed earlier. I think buyers buying a sport model want...a sport model.

Only thing the CT5 sport is missing was the brake package and the MRC from the V. I don't think it's unreasonable to offer it at 3-4grand option.
 

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But it was the sport model MT trashed earlier. I think buyers buying a sport model want...a sport model.

Only thing the CT5 sport is missing was the brake package and the MRC from the V. I don't think it's unreasonable to offer it at 3-4grand option.
Yea, using the sport moniker was kind of a goof for a highway cruiser.
 

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Yea, using the sport moniker was kind of a goof for a highway cruiser.
Right...bad enough we're down 40hp from the last 2.0t at least give me a sporty tossable ride to make up for the loss in power.
 

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Yea, using the sport moniker was kind of a goof for a highway cruiser.
They upped the sport package for 2021 - you can now, as a stand alone option, order the Brembo brakes and MRC for $2k.

At first the sport package puzzled me as there isn't anything sporting about it other than trim pieces. But, when I think of it, it makes sense, it gives people that just want a sporty look the ability to get it at a cheap price. The Sport package starts at $43k, adding the the $2k V-performance package (Brembo brakes, MRC and colored calipers) ~$45k. If you want more performance, it isn't a huge step up to the full V package with the TTV6. It makes sense to me, however it opens Cadillac up to the car mag criticism as they don't care as much about the sporty looks.
 

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I believe they upped the sport package for 2021 somewhat - you can now, as a stand alone option, order the Brembo brakes.

At first the sport package puzzled me as there isn't anything sporting about it other than trim pieces. But, when I think of it, it makes sense, it gives people that just want a sporty look the ability to get it at a cheap price. The Sport package starts at $43k, adding the the stand alone Brembo brake package $1k + the $595 red or blue painted calipers (required) brings the price up to ~$45k. So were the MRC shocks to be stand alone as well, the cost will be getting so close to the V that you might as well get the V. It makes sense to me, however it opens Cadillac up to the car mag criticism as they don't care as much about the sporty looks.
It's typical GM to put something out kind of halfway done the first year or so and then fix it later. However, it takes 4 years to undue the weirdness of the first year perception.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Mr. Walton's surprise, like those of other Motor Trend reviewers, was due to GM dumbing down the chassis tuning for the non-V CT5 compared to its predecessor, the third gen CTS. Not surprisingly, Motor Trend and others were disappointed with the first CT5 they reviewed, a Sport 2.0T model.
That impression would likely change with a number of a Sport models today because they have the v-performance pack on them.
 
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It's typical GM to put something out kind of halfway done the first year or so and then fix it later. However, it takes 4 years to undue the weirdness of the first year perception.
No, the CT5 is not ‘half done’. It was softened to appeal to normal people that are not reading motor trend and are not looking to curve canyons. That go to test drive cars and buy them for their daily commute.
Motortrend readers can buy the V.
 

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hmm...not half done you say, how do you explain the lack of a digital gauge cluster year one then added in 21 as an option?
 

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It's typical GM to put something out kind of halfway done the first year or so and then fix it later. However, it takes 4 years to undue the weirdness of the first year perception.
I'm half way in between. Part of me agrees, but part also wonders if it is just misunderstanding.

I get it that when you see the word "sport" you and I are expecting something. But at the same time I feel like the overall auto industry now slaps "sport" on anything, "sport" now means appearance package - something the auto mags should be well aware of. And I think Cadillac has explained their "Y" strategy enough to know the base sport is more or less an appearance package.

But at the same time, seeing "sport" on a Cadillac car makes me expect more.
 
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