First Drive: 2020 Cadillac CT4 Both Thrills and Disappoints

This small, agile sport sedan invigorates the luxury lineup

2020 Cadillac CT4 driving

Cadillac has been shaking up its product line, with a slew of new models bringing crisp-edged styling, better-sorted infotainment systems, and sporty, enthusiast-skewed driving dynamics. Cadillac recently freshened its line with two SUVs, and now we're experiencing a sedan revival with the CT4 and CT5.

The CT4 is slightly longer than the ATS it replaces. It's offered in rear-wheel and all-wheel drive, with a choice between two turbocharged powerplants, plus a long roster of available technologies.

The CT4 competes with the Audi A3, BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, Genesis G70, Lexus IS, and Mercedes-Benz CLA, and it's packaged on the smaller side of this upscale group.

As our purchased CT4 approaches the 2,000-mile mark, when our formal testing begins, our testers have gathered their notes to share their first impressions.

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What we bought: 2020 Cadillac CT4 Premium Luxury
Powertrain: 237-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, 8-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
MSRP: $37,495
Options: All-wheel drive ($2,000); navigation and Bose audio ($1,700); Crystal White paint ($1,225); driver assist package with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and reverse automatic emergency braking ($1,200); climate package ($1,200); technology package ($1,150); sunroof ($1,050); Driver Awareness Plus with blind spot warning, lane keeping assistance, and lane departure warning ($800); and light package ($400).
Total options: $10,725
Destination fee: $995
Total cost: $49,215  

CR’s Take

This fresh entry point into the Cadillac lineup feels competitive on several fronts, standing tall against the European establishment that exemplifies the modern luxury sedan. Its true strength is in its impressive dynamics. It is clear that Cadillac wants to woo BMW and Mercedes-Benz shoppers, and the CT4 has the ride and handling to attract them. Plus, the engine and transmission work much better together here than with the bigger CT5.

But its compact interior dimensions limit its appeal. The front cockpit is snug, and the back seat is downright inhospitable for adults. A single driver or a couple may find this is all the car they need, however those who need to transport anyone in the back seat should look elsewhere.  

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