The 2020 Cadillac CT5 has a tough assignment. Not only does it need to replace two cornerstones of Cadillac's sedan lineup — the now-discontinued ATS and CTS sedans — but it needs to offer a compelling alternative to midsize luxury sedans such as the BMW 5 Series and the Audi A6.
To that end, the CT5 will offer two engines, three trim levels and more room than the outgoing CTS. The interior appears substantially better than the ATS and CTS cabins. The CT5 also comes with all the business you'd expect of a midsize luxury sedan: heated, ventilated and massaging front seats; a 10-inch infotainment display; optional leather upgrades; and optional all-wheel drive for wet-weather climates.
We haven't driven the CT5 yet but expect it to maintain Cadillac's modern character of crisp-handling sedans with precise steering. Driver-selectable modes will optimize steering, transmission, and even brake calibration at the touch of a button. The Sport trim will even come with high-performance Brembo brakes. A future CT5-V high-performance variant will ramp up the performance numbers, although not to the degree of the outgoing 640-horsepower CTS-V.
Another of the CT5's likely advantages is Cadillac's Super Cruise auto-drive system. Super Cruise uses GPS and high-resolution map data to self-steer the car on designated highways, which should be a boon for stressed commuters. Super Cruise, however, isn't likely to appear until the 2020 calendar year.
Whether the CT5 can carve out its niche next to its German rivals remains to be seen, but it looks to be a solid choice if you're looking for a strong combination of luxury, performance and technology.
The 2020 Cadillac CT5 comes in three trim levels: Luxury, Premium Luxury and Sport. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (237 hp, 258 lb-ft of torque) is the standard engine available at launch. It's paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional. Cadillac says an optional 3.0-liter turbo V6 (335 hp, 400 lb-ft) for Premium Luxury and Sport trims will be available later in the model year. The forthcoming CT5-V will have an upgraded version of this engine that makes an estimated 355 hp.
For a base trim, the Luxury comes well-equipped with features such as 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, and a 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat. Tech features include a 10-inch infotainment display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Near-field Bluetooth device pairing is a nice touch at this level, too. (Just place your phone in the immediate area of a sensor to pair it.)
Standard driver assist features include automatic emergency braking and Teen Driver, which allows you to limit certain functions and features when a young driver is behind the wheel.
There's not a big difference between Luxury and Premium Luxury trims since the latter mostly adds a couple of extra driver aids and wireless device charging. More important, the Premium Luxury opens up access to an array of options unavailable to the Luxury trim. These include adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, a head-up display and a premium audio system.
The Sport trim is similarly equipped to the Premium Luxury. Notable exceptions include high-performance Brembo brakes, a spoiler, magnesium paddle shifters, and the optional Platinum package, which adds just about every option available for the CT5.
Once a benchmark of midsize luxury sedan performance, the 5 Series has prioritized comfort and ride quality over handling and finesse over its last two generations. And while the results are commendable — we drove one for a year and rarely had a harsh word for it — the reality is that the 5 Series isn't a sport sedan. Like the ATS before it, the CT5 may be able to revive some of that old BMW handling and dynamic spirit. Sport-minded drivers, take note.
While BMW, Mercedes and Audi all vie for the top spot among midsize luxury sedans, the Audi has carved out a cool, modern niche of its own. Today's A6 is handsome, sleek, and loaded with cutting-edge infotainment tech. But Cadillac is no slouch in design, and we expect the CT5 to hang with the A6 on both style and technology. The main difference will likely be in price, with a loaded CT5 undercutting a no-frills A6 by several thousand dollars.
The Europeans get all the luxury love, but Lexus knows a thing or two about maximizing comfort. And while the GS 300 can be fun in the curves, its traditional strengths have been ample — quiet power, a soft ride and cabin serenity. The CT5 should be a good match on the latter, but our experience with Cadillac's ride quality has been mixed. On the flip side, the CT5 promises more thrills and fun on tight, winding roads.
With the CTS-V taking a bow this year, the only hot sedan remaining in Cadillac's lineup would be the CT6-V. But Cadillac has unveiled new performance variants of its upcoming sedans, including the 2020 Cadillac CT5-V.
The CT5 looks to address a number of the CTS' shortcomings, making it an all-around more appealing vehicle. Notably, rear legroom has increased, materials quality seems to have improved, and the capacitive touch buttons have been tossed in the dumpster where they belong and replaced with a much friendlier-looking interface.
So far, so good, but the CT5 was missing a V performance variant. Some faithful souls held out hope that it might receive Cadillac's newly developed and romantically named Blackwing V8 and match or exceed the insane 640 horsepower of the CTS-V.
Under the hood, the CT5-V is down two cylinders and more than 300 horsepower from its predecessor, sporting a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that Cadillac estimates will make 355 hp. That's a much more accessible number than the 640 hp the CTS-V made, but some V fans are sure to be disappointed, and the drop in power takes the V branding down several notches in terms of raw performance, closer to where V-Sport models used to compete.
The CT5-V's V6 engine is coupled to General Motors' 10-speed automatic transmission, a sharp unit that we like in other performance applications. Power is sent to the rear wheels, although all-wheel drive is available as an option. Also standard are Brembo brakes, an electronic limited-slip differential, 19-inch wheels and Cadillac's Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension.
All of the parts suggest that the CT5-V will be fun to drive. Cadillac has proven it can make engaging and entertaining sporty sedans — in recent years that's been a consistent strength. But will an engaging driving experience be enough to tempt buyers the brand has trained to expect supercar-challenging power?
Perhaps if the more accessible power number equates to a more accessible price tag, we can call the whole thing a draw, but Cadillac won't release official pricing until closer to the car's early 2020 on-sale date. Stay tuned for Edmunds for updates on the 2020 Cadillac CT5 and CT5-V.
Is one sedan better than two? Cadillac is hoping the answer is "yes!" Its new 2020 CT5 sedan serves as a replacement and upgrade for the Cadillac's outgoing ATS and CTS sedans. A harder question to answer might be: "Should you consider this alongside an Audi A6 or a BMW 5 Series?"
Sized similarly to the current BMW 5 Series sedan, the CT5 will be available with two powertrains and three trim levels: Luxury, Premium Luxury and Sport. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque will be standard, while an optional turbocharged V6 provides 335 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Both engines will come with a 10-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive will be optional.
Most of the CT5's technology features are similar to those currently available on the larger CT6. That includes front collision mitigation, a camera-based rearview mirror display, adaptive cruise control and rear cross-traffic alert. But the best technology transfer from the CT6 to the CT5 is Cadillac's auto-drive system, Super Cruise, which uses GPS and high-resolution map data to self-steer the car on designated highways. When driving on a pre-scanned highway, Super Cruise allows for near-indefinite hands-free driving, so long as the driver is paying attention to the road. We've tested this system before and found it to work well.
On the inside, the CT5's interior is a clear progression from those found in the CTS and ATS models. It features broad expanses of material with a more traditional layout of buttons. A rotary knob, like the one in the CT6, is used to control the features found on its 10-inch high-definition touchscreen. Higher trim models will get an 8-inch display in the dash. Rear legroom is listed at 37.9 inches, which is 2.5 inches more than what the 2019 CTS has.
You'll want to be on the lookout for the CT5's optional Platinum package. This option, which is only available on the Premium Luxury and Sport trims, includes upgraded leather seating surfaces, 18-way power front seats (with heating, ventilation and massaging), and unique materials and piping throughout the interior, including magnesium shift paddles and carbon trim.
While Cadillacs of old were soft highway cruisers, the CT5 will be similar to the brand's more recent sedans. That means we can expect crisp handling and precise steering. The driver will be able to alter electric power steering, transmission and even brake calibration through modes selected at the touch of a button. It will also change torque distribution between the front and rear axles if equipped with all-wheel drive. Top-trim Sport models will even come with Brembo brakes.
So far, we like what we see. The 2020 Cadillac CT5's size and power specs are appealing, and Super Cruise will be an interesting competitive advantage. But, of course, we won't know for sure how the CT5 stacks up until we get one in for testing.
Pricing information wasn't available as of publication, but we expect the CT5 to start in the upper $30,000s and top out in the mid-$50,000s. We also expect the CT5 to hit dealers in the fall of 2019. Check back with Edmunds as more information becomes available.
Cadillac's on-again, off-again relationship with the car is on again thanks to the 2020 Cadillac CT5. For a while, Cadillac was fully invested, like season two Ross and Rachel — embracing their blossoming relationship and growing their range of sedan offerings. But Cadillac recently went full season three and decided it and sedans were on a break, announcing the end of first the ATS, then the CTS, XTS and CT6.
At the upcoming New York Auto Show in April, Cadillac will reveal its replacement for the CTS midsize sedan, the CT5. But will the CT5 be the false promise of season four Ross and Rachel, or will Cadillac and the sedan skip right to a happily ever after?
We don't have all the details about the 2020 CT5, but we know the basics. The exterior and interior are both totally refreshed, and there's very little visually to tie the cars together, beyond the general profile. Under its skin, the CT5 will continue to be built on GM's Alpha platform, which also underpins the Chevy Camaro and Cadillac ATS. We've never had complaints about how cars built on this platform drive (unusually well) although we have had complaints about how they ride (choppily).
As with the CTS, the base engine in the CT5 will be a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. But we don't have confirmation whether it will carry over the old 268-horsepower unit from the CTS or adopt the newer 2.0-liter found in the XT4. That engine only makes about 240 horsepower in its current application. A twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6, like the one found in the CT6 where it makes 404 hp, will be available as an optional upgrade. There's no word on whether the six-cylinder will be retuned for duty in the smaller CT5.
The CT5 will also switch to a 10-speed automatic. And having driven GM's quick-witted 10-speed in other cars, we're all in favor of that change.
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Cadillac says it'll be standing by the sedan, and it's true that sedan sales continue to be strong in foreign markets. Still, with Chevrolet following Ford in abandoning sedans in favor of crossovers and SUVs, we have to wonder how strong GM's commitment to keeping sedans in the U.S. market will be going forward.
We'll get the full story on the CT5 in mid-April when it officially debuts at the New York Auto Show, but we might still have to wait a bit longer for official pricing and availability. So if you don't happen to live in New York — like the friends from "Friends" (my metaphor totally works) — stay tuned to Edmunds for more information on the 2020 Cadillac CT5.
The least-expensive 2020 Cadillac CT5 is the 2020 Cadillac CT5 Luxury 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $36,895.
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