2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing First Drive Review: Do Not Go Gently

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick
2022 cadillac ct5 v blackwing first drive review do not go gently


Engine:6.2L V8 Supercharged
Output: 668 hp, 659 lb-ft
Transmission: 6MT/10AT, RWD
US fuel economy (MPG): 13/21/15 (MT) / 13/22/16 (AT)
CAN fuel economy (L/100KM): 18.3/11.4/15.2 (MT) / 18.1/10.7/14.8 (AT)
Starting Price (USD): $84,990 (inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (USD): $100,000 (est, inc. dest.)
Starting Price (CAD): $89,898 (inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (CAD): $105,000 (est, inc. dest.)

As a young camp counselor, I was taught an important lesson early on: end games shortly after the kids are enjoying them most.

Sure, they might not like it at the moment. But let the game drag on until they lose interest, and the children won’t be excited to play again.

Maybe someone at Cadillac went to the same camp. That’s the only way to explain the 2022 CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing. The CT5-V is the culmination of everything the brand has learned about sport sedans, distilled into one wicked-sounding, engaging-handling, manual-transmission-having four-door. Cadillac is calling time on its internal-combustion sport sedans, and this is one of those games that we’ll all remember for years to come.

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To drive home that point, Cadillac dropped a handful of journalists into both Blackwings at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, one of North America’s fastest road circuits. The track underlined how incredibly gifted this final V car is, and just how lucky those who get their hands on it will be, should they decide to take it to the track. And boy should they.

What’s new?

Like the CT4-V Blackwing, the larger CT5-V shares a lot with a previous V; in this case, the CTS-V. A hand-built, 6.2-liter LT4 V8 lurks under the hood, a supercharged monster now producing 668 horsepower and 659 pound-feet of torque. For those keeping score at home, that’s more horsepower and torque than any production BMW or Audi. It’s more than almost any piston-pumping four-door out there, period: only the Dodge Charger Hellcat goes higher.

SEE ALSO: 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody Review: The Friendly Demon

You can’t find a six-speed manual in a Hellcat, though. Yes, Cadillac is repenting for only offering the regular CT5-V with a 10-speed auto, making a Tremec manual standard-fit for Blackwing duty. You can still spec the 10-speed auto, and Caddy has improved it as well. The target was no less than Porsche’s slick PDK, and the American company says the result is a traditional auto that shifts even quicker.

2022 cadillac ct5 v blackwing first drive review do not go gently

The CT5-V Blackwing rides on the same platform as its baby brother, GM’s Alpha 2 architecture. It’s roughly half a foot longer though, and thus 263 lb (119 kg) heavier, tipping the scales at 4,123 lb (1,870 kg). Larger 15.7-inch (398-millimeter) steel front brakes are standard; a pair of available carbon-ceramic discs is larger still, at 15.8 inches (400 mm). The CT5-V Blackwing runs larger 19-inch wheels to contain the discs, wrapped in sticky 275/35 front and 305/30 rear Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires developed specifically for Blackwing duty. See those vents behind the front wheels? They’re not for show, but instead relieve pressure from the big V8.

Cadillac’s fourth-generation magnetic dampers are standard here. The trick setup is capable of reading the road 1,000 times per second, adjusting the firmness based on that.

How does it drive?

2022 cadillac ct5 v blackwing first drive review do not go gently

To recap: more power than a Lamborghini Huracan. A curb weight over 4,000 pounds. Three pedals, six gears.

All on a track I’ve never driven before.

A safety talk from Ron Fellows himself helps calm the nerves, but the rain starts as soon we head outside to start. Glass half-full: these Blackwings are the sorts of cars that will be driven all year round, so some experience in the rain will be illustrative. We’re starting on the lower-speed Driver Development Track, too.

SEE ALSO: BMW M5 Competition vs Porsche Panamera GTS Comparison

There’s nothing to be worried about. With its drive mode set to Sport, and the five-stage Performance Traction Management ready to lend a hand in one of its more forgiving settings, the CT5-V is remarkably easy to hustle. Grip is immense, yet 659 lb-ft serves as a reminder to be patient with the throttle, and wait until the front wheels are pointed straight before unleashing it all. The V8, all guttural bark and barely-contained thunder, is incredibly responsive. Such is its power that it can tackle the entire DDT in third gear.

The Grand Prix track is dry by the time we migrate. Here, the CT5-V Blackwing comes into its own, no longer feeling penned in as it did on the DDT. It sails through Turn 1, a quick downhill right, before effortlessly climbing up towards the peak that leads into Turn 2. Here just a dab of the carbon brakes is necessary to get the nose tucked in, before feeding in lock to the left, aiming for the first of two apexes. Squeeze the throttle as the nose skims the second apex, and feel the weight shift rearwards. The front doesn’t relinquish grip, and the HUD says we’re clear of 100 mph (160 km/h) by the time we’re pointing straight again. Swing back to the left side of the track to get the braking done nice and straight for Turn 3, a late-apex right. Turn 4 is a slight lift—feel the front dig in—before Moss Corner arrives like a wall, filling the windshield. Getting the braking done on time is crucial here, a blind turn uphill to the right punishing those who come in hot. See the second apex out the passenger window, but wait … wait … until the tiny dip as the front axle clips it before winding off the lock. Get on the power as quick as you can, because it’s a long dash down the Mario Andretti straight to the final S-bend.
2022 cadillac ct5 v blackwing first drive review do not go gently

Every lap, the pro in the lead car (let’s call him MW) ups the pace. By the final two, the Blackwing is edging up to 155 mph (250 km/h) on the back straight, and the tires just about singing through the corners, at that happy limit where everything just gels. The CT5-V Blackwing never feels flustered, settling into a corner with far more grace than its 4,123-pound (1,870 kg) curb weight suggests possible. The brake fade is notable because there simply isn’t any. The only reason we stop is because the sun is setting—a little on the nose there, Mother Nature.

The 10-speed automatic has Mosport’s number. It clings to gears right to redline, and sheds them with a quickness in braking zones. Drivers can direct with the steering-mounted paddles, but it never felt necessary. Of course, for maximum interaction, only the six-speed manual will do. The Tremec-sourced unit has short, positive throws, plus a defeatable auto-blip feature for downshifts.

The rest of the package

2022 cadillac ct5 v blackwing first drive review do not go gently

With zero time on public roads, there’s only so much to glean of the CT5-V’s day-to-day usability. The seats are plenty comfortable, and the available ventilation is crucial during one of the hottest days of the year. I find my left knee bracing the door during hard cornering, but cracking the 1.0 g mark on the road shouldn’t really happen, so that’s a bit of a moot point. Regular-speed driving was limited to the short jaunt between tracks. Here the CT5-V felt comfortable, but of course AutoGuide will need to spend longer with it to know for sure. I wouldn’t bet against those magic magnetic dampers, though.

SEE ALSO: 2020 Cadillac CT5-V Review: My Name is My Name

As is the case in the CT4, you won’t find too much different inside the regular CT5-V and the CT5-V Blackwing. The Cadillac has a few bits of contrasting suede to spice up the look, but that’s about it. Shouty leather color options are more for other manufacturers.

A larger 10.0-inch infotainment screen sits atop the dash, instead of the 8.0-inch item in the CT4-V Blackwing. Both feature wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. A 12.0-inch customizable digital dash is both sharp and easy-to-use, as well. Both Blackwings feature the same performance recorder, allowing you to save your best laps to an SD card, including video, audio, and telemetry.

Final thoughts: 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing

2022 cadillac ct5 v blackwing first drive review do not go gently

The 2022 CT5-V Blackwing is a monster. As the most powerful manual-transmission four-door sedan you can buy, it was always going to be. But it’s a friendly monster. The CT5-V Blackwing wants you to have fun, and it does everything within its considerable power to allow as much of it as often as possible. That superlative V8 dominates the show, meaning the bigger car isn’t quite as well-rounded as the CT4-V Blackwing.

At $84,990 ($89,898 CAD) to start, including destination, it isn’t nearly as affordable as its little brother, either. Throw the auto ‘box and carbon brakes at it and you’ve already cleared six figures. Yet even in this rarified air the CT5-V Blackwing looks good value. It’s thousands less than a BMW M5 Comp, and yet feels so much more special. It’s an engaging, laugh-out-loud romp of a car, arguably the most fun you can have with four doors. That means it has to come to an end, but those lucky enough to nab one will get to play this game for years to come.

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  • Savage V8 power
  • Sweet-shifting manual (with no-lift feature)
  • Just-right size


  • The last of its kind
  • Auto option is $3,000+
  • Rear-drive only
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