The all-new 2020 Cadillac CT5 made its public debut at the New York International Auto Show, and now the brand is revealing details about the performance version (the CT5-V) of its next-generation midsized sedan.

2020 Cadillac CT5 front
More from the 2019 New York auto show

The CT5 is destined to replace the CTS midsized luxury sedan but is aimed at taking on the smaller BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The CT5-V gets a more powerful engine, adaptive suspension, and an upgraded interior, positioning it to compete against the sportier versions of those rivals.

A smaller car, the CT4, is also coming, and it effectively replaces the discontinued ATS sedan as the brand realigns its model portfolio.

Here is what we know so far.

What it competes with: Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class
What it looks like: It combines the angular styling of current Cadillacs into a coupelike silhouette.
Powertrain: 237-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 335-hp, 3.0-liter turbocharged, and 355-hp, 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engines; 10-speed automatic transmission; rear- and all-wheel drive
Price: $37,890-$45,290
On-sale date: Fall 2019

Outside

Cadillac says that the CT5 signals a shift in the design language used by the brand for future models. The wheelbase is 2 inches longer than it is on the CTS, yet the overall length of the car is about 2 inches shorter. This gives the CT5 quite different proportions from its predecessor, with a new look that has a sloped, fastback rear appearance.

The bodywork is dressed with LED lights and accent pieces that add visual jewelry. The tone for the exterior trim pieces is darker with the Sport model, and the CT5-V will get a distinctive mesh grille and have four exhaust tips.

2020 Cadillac CT5 interior

Inside

The five-passenger interior resembles the cabins in other Cadillac models, with a few tweaks. The control layout, including the gear selector, resembles the XT4 SUV’s setup. The CT5-V has its own unique instrument cluster design.

A 10-inch touch screen is mounted prominently in the center dash, serving as the infotainment hub. There is a rotary controller, positioned aft of the gear selector, which also echoes the XT4. Phone pairing is possible using near field communication, like the technology that enables keyless entry. Phones can also be connected via Bluetooth and USB. 

What Drives It

The CT5 comes with a 237-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The Premium Luxury and Sport versions can be had with a 335-hp, 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6. Both engines use cylinder deactivation and start/stop systems to aid fuel economy.

The CT5-V uses a more potent version of that 3.0-liter engine producing 355 hp. (This is a far cry from the current 640-hp CTS-V.) Each CT5 engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available on all versions.

The driver can select modes to adapt to performance needs, including Tour, Sport, Snow/Ice, and My Mode, to fine-tune steering and engine response. The CT5-V has additional performance-oriented choices.

2020 Cadillac CT5-V
CT5-V

Safety and Driver-Assist Systems

Standard systems include forward collision warning, city-speed automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and a safety alert seat that ties in with a driver attention monitor. Available systems include enhanced automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic parking assist, rear automatic braking with pedestrian detection, rear camera mirror, and surround-view cameras with a built-in recording function (with an OnStar plan).

GM’s partially automated Super Cruise system will be available on select versions in 2020. The company says, “Super Cruise driver-assistance feature enables customers to drive hands-free on more than 130,000 miles of limited-access freeways in the U.S. and Canada, using LiDAR map data, high-precision GPS, a state-of-the-art driver attention system, and a network of camera and radar sensors.”

Based on our testing of the system in a Cadillac CT6, we found that Super Cruise does the best job of balancing partially automated driving with ensuring that the car is operated safely and that the driver is paying attention among rival systems. But CR experts stress that such systems are not self-driving and that they require drivers to pay constant attention.

CR’s Take

This American-made luxury car promises to add elegance to the midsized segment. We have praised the CTS as being one of the sportiest cars in the class, citing its firm, absorbent ride and precise handling. Its key weaknesses have been its frustrating infotainment system and reliability. Time will tell how the new CT5 compares.

2020 Cadillac CT5 rear