Cadillac introduces 2020 CT4-V

The firm's smallest sedan replaces the ATS.

Cadillac unveiled the CT4, an entry-level sedan designed to replace the ATS, during an event held in Detroit. The firm chose to introduce the sporty, V-badged variant of its newest model before showing the standard version.

Up front, the CT4-V looks a lot like the CT5 introduced during the 2019 New York auto show. It wears a shield-shaped grille flanked by thin, elongated headlights. The CT4's lights are connected to vertical daytime running lights, a styling cue already seen on the range-topping CT6. Its roof line isn't as arched as the CT5's, which is almost fastback-like, and it flows into a spoiler integrated into the trunk lid. It has the proportions you'd expect from a rear-wheel drive car; to us, it's a cohesive design.

We see a lot of CT5 influence in the cabin, including a shield-shaped insert in the center console. The instrument cluster consists of a pair of analog gauges and an information display, while the screen for the infotainment system looks like it's propped up on the dashboard. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both available.

The CT4-V will ship with a turbocharged, 2.7-liter tuned to make 320 horsepower. Rear-wheel drive and a 10-speed automatic transmission will come standard, and all-wheel drive will be available at an extra cost, but don't expect Cadillac to offer a stick shift any time soon. The firm notes a limited-slip differential and Brembo front brakes help driver make the most of the engine's power.

Like the CT5, the CT4 is built on General Motors' Alpha platform. It has a 50/50 weight distribution, and it's available with Magnetic Ride Control technology. On paper, it sounds like Cadillac has created a true driver's car. We'll hold our judgement until we drive it. But when driving becomes tedious, the CT4-V's available Super Cruise technology will take over. It's the only true hands-off, semi-autonomous system currently available in the United States.

Made in Michigan, the 2020 Cadillac CT4-V will go on sale in early 2020. Pricing information will be released closer to its on-sale date.

What's next?

This isn't the last we'll hear about Cadillac's new sedan. First, the standard CT4 is expected to make its debut by the end of 2019. It will wear a less muscular design than the CT4-V, and it won't pack as much power under the hood, though full technical specifications remain under wraps. Second, you're not alone if you thought the CT4-V is weak compared to the outgoing, 460-horsepower ATS-V; it's like replacing whiskey with ginger ale in a cocktail. Company officials strongly hinted a true high-performance flagship is in the works.

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