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The 2020 Cadillac CT5 Tries to Do What the ATS and CTS Could Not

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 4/16/2019 Joey Capparella
a close up of a car: To that end, its engine choices mirror those of its closest rivals. A turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four is standard, producing 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, and a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 is optional, making 335 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque.

  • The Cadillac CT5 is a new sports-sedan entry that essentially replaces both the CTS and the ATS.
  • A turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four is standard and a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 is optional; both pair with a 10-speed automatic transmission and either rear- or all-wheel drive.
  • The 2020 CT5 will be available for ordering starting in fall 2019.

Cadillac is nearly finished renaming and reshaping its lineup, and the new 2020 CT5 sedan is a major piece of the puzzle. A compact sports sedan using the same rear-wheel-drive Alpha architecture as the outgoing ATS and CTS, the CT5 effectively replaces both of those models and is aimed squarely at the BMW 3-series, Audi A4, and Mercedes-Benz C-class. Within Cadillac's lineup, it now sits below the CT6 and will eventually be joined by a smaller CT4 sedan.

Related Video: 2020 Cadillac CT5 is a right-sized, sporty luxury sedan (Provided by Roadshow)

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Fitting between ATS and CTS

To that end, its engine choices mirror those of its closest rivals. A turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four is standard, producing 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, and a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 is optional, making 335 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. According to Cadillac's new engine naming scheme that sources numbers from newton-meters of torque, the four-cylinder car is badged 350T and the V-6 is badged 550T. Both engines feature cylinder deactivation and automatic engine stop-start.

a car on display: Cadillac CT5 Tries to Do What the ATS/CTS Couldn't© Michael Simari - Car and Driver Cadillac CT5 Tries to Do What the ATS/CTS Couldn't

Sizewise, the CT5 sits closer to the CTS than the ATS, which makes it a few inches larger than the aforementioned Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz in most dimensions. Its stretched, 116-inch wheelbase is longer than both the CTS and ATS's, which makes for a significantly expanded rear seat: legroom is improved over both previous Caddy sedans, a much needed fix given the previous models' cramped quarters back there.

Research

Chief engineer Mike Bride's description of the CT5's suspension tuning makes it sound as if Cadillac is attempting to right many of the CTS and ATS's perceived dynamic wrongs-particularly the firm ride quality-with this new car. Bride said the company put an emphasis on improving ride comfort and impact isolation using new dampers and self-sealant tires, which are fitted on the base 18-inch wheel-and-tire setup. Given how much we liked the CTS and ATS's handling, though, we are hoping that the company isn't entirely walking away from those cars' sharp responses, and we're somewhat reassured by the assertion that the CT5 will offer performance-enhancing options such as adaptive dampers and summer tires, though the packaging hasn't been worked out yet. Cadillac mentioned the possibility of a future high-performance variant of the CT5, leading us to believe that a significantly more powerful CT5-V could be in the works.

a car parked on the side: Cadillac CT5 Tries to Do What the ATS/CTS Couldn't© Michael Simari - Car and Driver Cadillac CT5 Tries to Do What the ATS/CTS Couldn't

Trim Levels and Tech

All we know for now is that the standard CT5 will be offered in three trim levels: Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Sport. The former two are visually similar, with plenty of chrome exterior trim, while the Sport has different front and rear fascias and darker trim pieces, along with standard 19-inch wheels and upgraded Brembo brakes. Inside, we preferred the Premium Luxury's richer open-pore wood trim to the Sport's carbon-fiber trim, but both cars seemed to have acceptable build quality and material finishes for this class.

We also appreciate Cadillac's overcompensation for past mistakes on the infotainment front. After years of bad feedback about its touch-only CUE system, the company has gradually improved its control setup, and the CT5 has more redundant controls than any Cadillac before it-a good thing. The standard 10-inch central display is a touchscreen, and there's also a control knob on the center console and volume and tuning knobs mounted just below the screen itself-in addition to the expected voice commands and steering-wheel controls. There are also plenty of hard buttons for the climate controls.

a car engine: Cadillac CT5 Tries to Do What the ATS/CTS Couldn't© Michael Simari - Car and Driver Cadillac CT5 Tries to Do What the ATS/CTS Couldn't

The CT5's driver-assist systems most adhere to the norms of the class-automatic emergency braking is standard, while features such as adaptive cruise control are optional-but Cadillac's ace in the hole is Super Cruise, which allows for hands-free driving under certain circumstances. It will be optional on the CT5, but not at launch: Cadillac says models so equipped won't arrive until calendar year 2020.

Super Cruise–less CT5 models will appear at dealerships earlier than that, with orders opening in fall 2019, and Cadillac says to expect pricing somewhere near that of the German triumvirate of sports sedans. That should mean the CT5 will start around $40,000 for a rear-wheel-drive four-cylinder model and go up into the $60,000 range for fully loaded all-wheel-drive V-6 models.

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