What Is It?
Almost 20 years ago, Cadillac first bared its performance chops when it introduced the 400-horsepower CTS-V — often referred to as the 4-door Corvette. This high-performance Cadillac went through three generations before being discontinued in 2019. Now GM’s luxury brand has come up with a proper successor to that powerful Caddy — the CT5-V Blackwing. With more horsepower than ever offered in the CTS-V (and vaunting the return of a manual gearbox), the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is the most powerful and fastest production Caddy ever, and it easily competes with some of the most powerful offerings from Europe.
Cadillac provided us with a 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing painted in an attractive white called Rift Metallic. The Blackwing sits at the top of the CT5 lineup and comes with a long list of standard equipment. Our test vehicle also included a carbon fiber trim package, a performance data and video recorder, red brake calipers and the Ultraview Sunroof for a total MSRP of $106,290. Competitors to the CT5-V Blackwing include the Audi RS5, BMW M5, Mercedes-AMG E63, Porsche Panamera and — to a lesser extent — the Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye.
The 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is designed to stand apart from its lesser siblings, not simply in performance but also through bold exterior styling. Distinguishing features include full LED lighting, a unique mesh grille design, larger secondary grilles for improved airflow, and a carbon fiber front splitter. The vertical running lights and sculpted hood add to the aggressive stance.
Fender vents and rocker extensions improve airflow as well as add to the high-performance look of the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V. Staggered wheel sizes — 19×10 in front, 19×11 at the rear — as well as 19-inch aluminum wheels revealing red brake calipers complete the look. As an additional Easter egg detail, each of the Blackwing’s 19-inch alloy wheels carries the V-Series logo, subtly located on one of the spokes.
Perhaps the most telling design elements indicating the Blackwing’s performance reside at the rear of the CT5. The larger carbon fiber lip spoiler, dark rear diffuser and quad exhaust outlets both punctuate yet continue the high-powered story.
Under the Hood
Powering the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine producing 668 horsepower and 659 lb-ft of torque. Power gets sent to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox (a 10-speed automatic is available). All that oomph is managed through a chassis and suspension designed for track use as well as an electronic limited-slip rear differential. Cadillac estimated the CT5-V Blackwing will reach 60 mph in a mere 3.6 seconds (this number seems conservative). When piloted at a proper track under optimum conditions, this fast Caddy will exceed 200 mph.
Inside, the CT5-V Blackwing continues the art of blending luxury with performance — along with a healthy dose of high tech. Carbon fiber adorns the dashboard, center console and doors, while almost everything else is swathed in soft leather with attractive contrasting stitching.
Dominating the center is a 10-inch touchscreen display with physical buttons and switches below for easy access to climate controls. We especially like the volume and tuning knobs, as well as the specific “home” button for quick returns to the main display page. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as the wireless phone charging pad and multiple USB ports add to the high-tech convenience.
Designers found plenty of little ways to make the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing a bit more special to its owners. For example, each CT5-V Blackwing comes with a plaque on the steering wheel that identifies that specific vehicle.
An unusual feature in a Cadillac, the manual shift knob incorporates the V-Series logo behind the shift pattern
The test vehicle we drove was equipped with optional full semi-aniline leather performance seats. These feature the V-Series logo embossed on the head restraints, as well as contrasting piping and stitching. The seats offer excellent support with strong bolsters for back and thighs, as well as multiple power adjustments and seat massagers, heaters and coolers. Adding to the sporty styling are red seat belts and a full carbon fiber seatback.
The 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing functions fine as a family sedan — especially for a family that likes to go fast. Rear-seat passengers will find good legroom, and while headroom is a bit tight, it should be fine for most adults. The red seat belts add a nice touch. One issue rear-seat passengers might face: the carbon fiber shell around the back of the front seats presents a rather unforgiving surface in front of the rear occupants – not comfortable if passenger happen to bump knees (or heads) against it when getting in and out of the vehicle.
The trunk space of the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is a bit narrow, although it still offers enough space for a few pieces of luggage. Certainly enough space for daily use or the occasional road trip.
The 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing may not draw attention from those that don’t realize it’s something special, although pushing the Start button will certainly turn heads. The Cadillac awakens with a roar — no sneaking out of the garage with this one. The sound emanating the four big pipes is absolutely wonderful, from the rumble while idling to the hair-raising roar at full throttle to the delightful bark when performing perfect downshifts.
The 6-speed manual transmission is perfectly positioned, making it easy to smoothly shift up or down. The clutch feels light so everyday driving isn’t a chore. The driver can engage rev matching so every downshift blips the throttle, making any driver feel like a professional. Slowing for a stoplight and downshifting along the way invokes wonderful little bursts of exhaust note.
With more than 600 horsepower on tap, the 2022 CT5-V Blackwing is one fast Cadillac. Throttle response is immediate with seat-pinning acceleration. Spinning the tires is easily accomplished, yet the car stays perfectly on track without the stability control cutting back on power. Even at freeway speeds in sixth gear, full throttle increases speed quickly. Downshift a few gears and the Blackwing takes off like a shot. The big brakes do an excellent job of smoothly bringing speed back down to normal levels.
It may offer the space and capability of a midsize sedan, but from behind the wheel you’d swear this Cadillac is a proper sports car. Steering is precise with excellent response, and the Blackwing is easy to push through corners. Although we haven’t had a chance to take this car to the track, on public roads we clearly knew we were nowhere close to this car’s limits — but it’s a blast just the same.
Cadillac gives drivers the ability to adjust a variety of parameters that affect the car’s (and occupants’) overall experience. This includes adjusting steering, suspension, brake feel and engine sound. Like BMW’s M button, Cadillac has a V button on the steering wheel to quickly select a custom setup. The driver can program preferred parameters and save them as a V mode for easy access.
Video Data Recorder
For those who like a record of their driving exploits, the CT5-V Blackwing has an available video data recorder. This device records video from the forward-facing camera and overlays it with speed, gear, Gs and engine rpm. Given the capability and speed possible in this car, perhaps having video record of certain events and velocities might lead to self-incrimination.
When Cadillac introduced the CTS-V 20 years ago, it gave the brand a whole new persona — it wasn’t simply about luxury anymore. Almost 20 years later, Cadillac continues to embrace its performance side with the CT5-V Blackwing. While this new Cadillac gives up nothing in terms of luxury with its elegant and comfortable cabin, the supercharged V8, sports car-like handling and roaring exhaust make it clear that Cadillac is as much about performance as it is luxury. And we couldn’t be more pleased.