High-riding crossovers may dominate the market, but that hasn’t stopped Cadillac from leaning into sedans. The luxury automaker followed up its out-of-production ATS and CTS sedans with Cadillac CT4 and Cadillac CT5 successors, respectively.
The 2021 CT5 is a midsize sedan that features significant performance and tech updates, including new engines and a 10-speed automatic. All CT5s have the latest in onboard technology, including wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Premium Luxury, Sport and V-Series models optioned with the Technology package get a new reconfigurable 12-inch high-definition (HD) gauge cluster. But by far, the most significant tech advancement available in the new CT5 is Super Cruise. In addition to providing hands-free driving capability on more than 200,000 miles of U.S. and Canadian highways, the latest iteration of Super Cruise changes lanes on demand.
Although the CT5 is roughly the size of midsize German sedans such as the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series, the Cadillac’s price point aligns it more closely with the smaller Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series.
Here’s What’s New: A new Diamond Sky Special Edition package, available on the Premium Luxury model, adds unique Diamond Sky paint, special body kit pieces, clear taillight lenses, two-tone 19-inch wheels, Brembo performance brakes with blue calipers, unique seat trim, and Galaxy-finish wood accents. Buyers can enhance the athleticism of rear-wheel-drive Sport models with the new V-Performance package’s Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 suspension and mechanical limited-slip differential.
Cadillac offers the CT5 in four trim levels: Luxury, Premium Luxury, Sport, and V-Series. The Premium Luxury is the most popular trim, which matches our recommended pick with one condition: Opt for the twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6. We’ll explain why.
The base CT5 starts at $38,190 (including a $1,195 destination fee) and comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that sends power to the rear wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission. The interior features imitation leather trim, a 12-way power-adjustable driver seat, a 10-way power passenger seat, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The 10-inch HD touchscreen interface includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality along with a Wi-Fi hotspot and three USB ports.
The CT5 Premium Luxury starts at $41,990 and adds unique wheels, full leather seating, 14-way power-adjustable front seats, ambient interior lighting, and a wireless charging pad. The optional six-cylinder engine is available as well, which makes this our recommended trim. The more powerful engine makes the CT5 feel like a true sports sedan.
The CT5 Sport ($42,990) gets revised exterior styling, 19-inch wheels, 18-way power-adjustable sport seats up front, carbon-fiber interior trim, a thicker steering wheel with paddle shifters, and aluminum pedals.
The V-Series ($48,990) comes with the upgraded V6 engine standard along with a sport suspension with Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control adjustable shocks. A limited-slip differential and a more aggressive traction control system are also part of the V-Series package.
Except for the CT5-V, every CT5 model comes standard with rear-wheel drive and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. All-wheel drive is optional on all models. Rated at 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, the CT5’s base power plant measures up favorably against the Audi A4 and BMW 330i. The Cadillac’s 10-speed automatic transmission makes the most of the four-cylinder’s power with smooth, well-timed shifts, although its larger size means it’s not quite as quick.
A twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 is optional on the CT5 Premium Luxury and standard on the CT5-V. The engine is rated at 335 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque in the Premium Luxury trim, while the CT5-V generates 360 hp. The added muscle certainly helps the CT5 feel more like a sport sedan, although the standard model still feels less nimble than the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The more aggressive tuning of the CT5-V nudges it closer to true performance-sedan status.
The CT5’s midsize exterior dimensions translate into a spacious cabin that’s comfortable for the driver and passengers alike. The highly adjustable front seats make it easy to find a good position, and good outward visibility adds to the spacious feel. However, the rear seats are only average in terms of head- and legroom, so it’s not as accommodating as the Genesis G80. Aluminum accents give the cabin a clean, modern look, but some plastic surfaces detract from the luxury feel. The overall design is user-friendly, with most buttons and controls easily identifiable and intuitive to use.
A midsize luxury sedan with an entry-level price, the Cadillac CT5 is neither a sport sedan nor a luxury cruiser. If you require a middle-of-the-road sedan with solid performance, modern technology, and all-wheel drive, the CT5 is sure to satisfy.