Maybe you heard, maybe not, but Cadillac recently decided to jump headfirst into the EV market. Not just with the upcoming Lyriq SUV, but with all future products. And that means that the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, with its supercharged 6.2L V8, is the last gasoline-powered performance sedan coming from the brand.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a quote from Steve Carlisle, executive vice president and president of GM North America:
“Led by Lyriq, Cadillac will redefine American luxury over the next decade with a new portfolio of transformative EVs.”
Cadillac said that in August. And in October, Brandon Vivian, executive chief engineer of Cadillac confirmed to me, “These will be our last gasoline-powered performance sedans.”
Vivian was referring to the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing as well as the CT4-V Blackwing with its twin-turbocharged 3.6L V6 producing a very healthy 472 hp.
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Review
Now, you can interpret the news in two different ways. If you feel depressed, I understand. After all, it’s the end of an era, with an unknown, potentially less thrilling future. Or you can see the positive in this like I do. Because this Cadillac is the final act, it allowed the company to absolutely cram it full of driver-enthusiast-friendly parts. And, in doing so, Cadillac built the most hair-raising, bombastic, and beautifully bonkers performance sedan yet.
Of course, we need to start with the engine. Cadillac plucked the LT4 V8 used in the C7 generation Chevrolet Corvette Z06. In that car, it produced 650 hp at 6,400 rpm and 650 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,600 rpm. But Cadillac re-worked and re-tuned it for the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing to produce 668 hp at 6,500 rpm and 659 lb.-ft. at 3,600 rpm.
More specifically, Cadillac installed a new, more efficient 1.7L supercharger and reduced restrictions on both the induction and exhaust side of things. Put another way, Cadillac made it easier for more air to flow through this thing and, as a result, make more power. The long-block carries over from the C7 Z06, but the added bits and additional power are unique to the Blackwing.
From there, power is sent through a standard, 6-speed manual transmission. Yes! Despite so many brands ditching clutch pedals and stick shifts, Cadillac’s 194.9-inch-long sedan still gives you the chance to row your own.
A 10-speed automatic transmission is optionally available. And, I must admit, quite good.
And here’s another win for enthusiasts. Unlike Mercedes-AMG or BMW M models, the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing does not come with a “drift-mode” or any way to disengage the all-wheel-drive system for track use. And that’s because it’s only offered with rear-wheel-drive. Its only mode is “drift mode.”
That comes with two benefits. First and foremost, it takes a good 200 lbs. of weight off the front-end of the car. Second, it improves the engineer’s ability to put more focus on steering agility without having to fuss with half-shafts and the like.
Beyond the powertrain, Cadillac ensured the rest of the chassis keeps up. You get magnetic ride control adjustable and adaptive shock absorbers to compliment the strut front and multi-link rear suspension geometry. You get an electronically operating limited-slip rear differential.
You also get serious stopping power courtesy of Brembo six-piston calipers that clamp on to 15.7-inch rotors in front and four-piston calipers that clamp on to 14.7-in rotors in back. And Cadillac offers optional carbon-ceramic rotors, too.
Critically, those brakes can handle track use. By that, I mean multiple heavy applies at initial speeds of over 130 mph kind of track use. And I know that because I drove one at Pittsburgh International Race Complex and reached those speeds multiple times a lap. And despite a full morning of hard use, brakes remained firm and confidence-inspiring.
Loaded with Luxury — But Not at the Expense of Performance
In the 2022 CT5-V Blackwing, Cadillac built a 4,123 lb. (4,142 lbs. with the automatic) diamond-encrusted missile. It’s a luxury sedan replete with all the luxury sedan bells and whistles, like a 10-inch center console touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and heated seats. All of the aforementioned come standard, with a bunch more features optionally available.
But it’s also a performance vehicle capable of reaching 60 mph from rest in around 3.5-seconds—3.4 for the auto, 3.6 for the manual— and surpass 200 mph before it stops accelerating.
Truthfully, though, those mega numbers come second to how the car feels. I reached 138 mph on Pitt Race straights, but I also pulled more than 1G in the corners and experienced good and confident feel all the way through. Despite being such a big sedan, you can aggressively feed in steering lock, and the Blackwing will respond with agility and consistency.
A typical corner starts with a nice big stab of the brakes; you’ll feel good initial bite, and the pedal remains firm, despite all the heat quickly building up as the speed drops down. As you trail-off, turn-in, but not too fast, lest you want to get the rear-end to wiggle on entry. Yeah, chassis balance is that close to neutral. The Blackwing then takes a set, and you glide through the apex pulling a G, or so.
Then the real fun kicks in as you can absolutely rotate the car with the throttle as you exit. 659 lb.-ft. of torque is plenty to overwhelm the 305-millimeter section width tires at most any speed. The 305/30ZR19 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires are are no match for the supercharged 6.2L V8. When you’re done playing, point the car straight, unwind the wheel, bury the throttle, and catapult yourself to the next bend.
Power is abundant, immediate, and seemingly eternal. You’ll find yourself in triple-digit speeds way ahead of schedule, with the Blackwing still pulling — hard. And, while speeds mount, that 6.2L bellows out sonorous music, quickly climbing to a wondrous crescendo as you reach max revs at 6,600 rpm, shift gears, and head to the next chorus. It’s a real thrill.
And a customizable one as well. The Blackwing includes something called Performance Traction Management. With it, you get a five-tier drive-mode system for track use (wet, dry, sport, race 1, and race 2) that utilizes stability control, the electric diff, and those trick shock absorbers to tailor the car to your skill and comfort level at just about any racetrack.
Each setting allows more wheel slip and vehicle instability than the one before. Wet helps you keep things nice and tidy on a slippery surface, even if you get a bit sloppy with your feet. Race 1 and Race 2 settings essentially forego stability control altogether, and just subtly intervene with a touch of torque reduction here and there. You’re basically on your own.
Moreover, all of this stellar competence on a racetrack comes in addition to plenty of comfort and capability on the road. Thanks again to the magnetic ride control shocks, you get plenty of compliance going over bumps. And the supportive-enough-for-a-racetrack seats also provide plenty of adjustability and plushness to swallow up miles on the road.
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing: The Best Performance Caddy Yet
Cadillac built a wonderful machine for enthusiasts here. It ticks all the boxes modern cars need to and yet also delivers superior driving satisfaction for when you want it to. And it also costs less than its competition. A BMW M5 starts at $104,495. You can pull out of the Cadillac dealer lot with a Blackwing for $85,615.
For more than a decade now, performance Cadillacs have been mega: big power, stout chassis, and proper performance-first tuning philosophies. And this 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is the best one yet. I’ll admit, a big part of me is sad to lose engines in Cadillacs, but this is one helluva a last hurrah.
To learn more about the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, click here.