The all-new 2020 Cadillac CT5 sedan has been revealed at an exclusive preview event in Detroit, Michigan, and will be shown to the public for the first time when the New York International Auto Show opens in New York City on Friday, April 19.
The compact CT5 – which replaces the discontinued Cadillac CTS and is intended to compete with the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class—puts an American contender back into the mix in the entry-level luxury car market while other brands appear to have abandoned it.
A pair of turbocharged engines will be available at launch. The 2.0-litre twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder is standard, making 237 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,500 rpm. A 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 is available that produces an estimated 335 hp and 400 lb.-ft., 90 percent of which will be available at 1,800 rpm. Both come with available cylinder deactivation and a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Rear-wheel drive is standard while all-wheel drive is an option, but in both cases the CT5 comes with a traction selection mode to adjust for touring, sport, and snow and ice driving. A new My Mode allows the driver to individually calibrate preferred shift patterns, steering and brake feel, vehicle sound, and when all-wheel drive is equipped, front-to-rear torque split.
In a sign that alternate fuel powertrains are likely for the future, the CT5’s power-level badging reflects the torque output of each engine rather than the displacement since electric motors cannot be classified under such a system. The 2.0-litre engine is therefore labeled as the 350T to reflect its 350 Nm of torque, and the V6 is called the 550T, although its total torque is currently estimated slightly below that figure at 542 Nm.
No V-Series performance variant has been announced at launch. However, when asked about whether one is being planned, the CT5’s engineering team stated that the platform is designed to accommodate it.
At 2,947 mm, the CT5’s wheelbase is 36 mm longer than that of the CTS. As with other newer Cadillac products, the CT5 will be sold under a Y-patterned model strategy—the Luxury model serves as the entry level, and Premium Luxury and Sport trims form the top tiers, each employing unique styling cues that set them apart.
All models will include LED headlights and tail lights, 18-inch aluminum wheels, sound reduction through use of acoustic glass and undertreatment as well as active noise cancellation, and a suite of safety technologies including forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking with front pedestrian braking, and the vibrating safety alert seat.
On both the Sport and Premium Luxury models, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert, rear park assist, and auto dimming mirrors are included. The Premium Luxury model has a chrome-finished grille, additional chrome exterior accents, and red tail lights, and its interior has natural leather and wood-grain finishes. The Sport model features a gloss black grille and accents, clear-lens tail lights, standard 19-inch aluminum wheels, Brembo front brakes, and standalone interior finishes such as leather seats with perforations that create a gradient pattern, and two options for carbon fibre inserts: one with traditional colouring in a tighter weave, and another in a larger weave that integrates a single red thread. Both the Premium Luxury and Sport interiors make a dramatic first impression.
Both the Premium Luxury and Sport models can have the Premium package added, which integrates: an exclusive brown and black interior design with Opus leather seats, contrasting seat piping, and chevron accents; front seats that are heated, ventilated, massaging, and adjustable 18 ways; leather-trimmed armrests and centre console; unique carbon-fiber trim; and a thicker-rimmed steering wheel with magnesium paddle shifters and alloy pedals.
Super Cruise, Cadillac’s hands-free highway driving system, will be available on the CT5 beginning in the calendar year 2020.
With the brand’s SUV lineup being complete and now including the full-size Escalade, the three-row mid-size XT6, the two-row compact XT5, and the subcompact XT4, Cadillac is now turning its attention to filling out its offering in sedans. By the end of 2020, the CT5 will be joined by an all-new CT4, which replaces the discontinued ATS, and a redesigned CT6, all three of which will be more separated in size and profiled and better positioned to align with the current luxury car segments.
Orders for the 2020 Cadillac CT5 will open this fall, and pricing will be announced closer to launch.
Stephanie Wallcraft is an award-winning automotive journalist based in Toronto who was raised by a full-time autoworker and believes that Canada’s diversity is its strength.