It’s frustrating, to be sure. It’s taken General Motors years — decades, frankly — to come up with a world-beating high-performance sports sedan, one that needs zero excuses, comes with zero caveats and features zero compromises … and it shows up at exactly the moment when the world is largely moving on from such beasts. The new 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing is quite possibly one of the best driver’s cars ever created by any automaker, and it arrives in the same year that GM has promised to go almost fully electric by the end of the decade, and alongside a pledge from Cadillac management that every new Cadillac from now on will be electric. The days of the internal combustion engine at Cadillac are done, which makes the celebration of Cadillac’s achievement with the CT4-V Blackwing more of a last-hurrah farewell than the spark of a new era. Cadillac saved the best gas-powered sedan it’s ever made for the last gas-powered sedan it’ll ever make. It’s both exhilarating and depressing, in equal amounts. But regardless of Cadillac’s future as an electric-vehicle brand, this last gasp of the internal combustion sports sedan is worthy of praise, as it is truly, deeply fantastic.
So what makes this thing special? Well, first, we should have a quick look at what the CT4 subcompact sedan actually is — it’s ostensibly the replacement for the old ATS sedan and coupe, with the same size and packaging. The CT4-V became the midlevel performance version of the sedan, and the top super-performance model is this, the CT4-V Blackwing. The Blackwing label previously referred to the hand-built, high-performance twin-turbo V-8 Cadillac used in its larger (and now discontinued) CT6 sedan for only two model years. When that model went away, the Blackwing name continued, now denoting the ultimate performance model for the CT4 and CT5 sedan lines.