Can the CT4 challenge the Germans in the luxury subcompact sedan niche? Find out if the rear-drive CT4 can compare with the front-drive subcompacts from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi.
When it comes to the luxury compact sedan segment in the auto industry, it’s hard to beat the Germans with the 3-Series from BMW, the Audi A4, and the C-Class from Mercedes-Benz. But Cadillac still tries with the CT5. Now they’re offering the CT4, and it’s the smallest and most affordable sedan in the Cadillac lineup.
If you check out the CT4 closely, you may find an eerie resemblance to the 2013 ATS. That was the Cadillac brand’s first entry into the luxury compact sedan segment. While Cadillac claims that the CT5 is an all-new model, it’s hard to not to feel like the folks at Cadillac merely tweaked a few things with the ATS.
The dimensions here are compact enough:
- Length: 187.2 inches
- Width: 71.5 inches
- Height: 56 inches
- Curb Weight: 3,725 pounds
- Space for passengers: 90 cubic feet
- Cargo space: 11 cubic feet
The overall length here is only 4.4 inches longer than the ATS. In fact, both cars have the same wheelbase length at 109.3 inches.
Engine and Speed
The base engine here is turbocharged 2-liter engine with 237 horsepower. You’d do well to upgrade it, but you can’t switch to a V6, though. Instead, your only other choice is a turbocharged 2.7-liter inline-4.
This comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission and you can swap the rear-wheel drive to all-wheel drive. It does zip through the first 3 gears smoothly, and you can certainly appreciate how it can go from zero to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds. It only takes 13.4 seconds to finish the quarter-mile at 103 mph, and that beats a lot of the other subcompacts in its class. Say what you will about the CT4, it isn’t slow at all.
The engine does feel unrefined, as it’s as noisy as a diesel engine when idling. It doesn’t help when Cadillac gives you engine sounds through the audio speakers—it’s just plain noisy.
This is good enough to drive on a highway, but you’ll note that it’s not as good when you’re on winding roads. The handling is just soggy and unsatisfactory. The body roll us greater than what you may prefer. It’s not really all that fun to drive, especially with the standard all-season tires with the meager grip. At least you can get the summer tires, but only with the CT4-V.
The interior of the CT4 is a vast upgrade over what you’d find in the ATS. It’s just a lot more pleasant inside the CT4. The infotainment system works very well, so you can just use it without any sort of fuss. The same goes with the controls, which has been redesigned to make it even more efficient.
The standard equipment includes keyless entry with the push-button start. The steering wheel is wrapped with nice leather, and you get the dual-zone climate control. The premium audio system sounds great, and it works nicely with the LED interior lighting. You even get the HD rearview camera.
Cadillac says this is their most affordable option, but you’ll need money if you’re serious about the “luxury” aspect. That means going with the Premium Luxury trim level, which starts with a price tag of $38,490. If you opt for the bigger 2,7-liter engine, that will cost you an extra $2,500.
With the bigger engine, a switch to all-wheel drive (from rear-drive), and all the other add-ons, the car ended up costing $46,515. That’s a lot of money for a package that doesn’t include a power-opening trunk or even a sunroof.
Is it fast? Oh yes, that’s certainly the case. This won’t let you down at a stop light, and you won’t have any trouble passing slower cars on the highway. It also feels comfy enough inside, and you won’t have to worry about the infotainment system. Everything works fine.
It’s just that the handling isn’t really all that good. You won’t feel as comfortable driving it on winding roads, or when making a turn at a fast pace. It’s really not that fun to drive at all. And that’s a huge deal, because “fun to drive” has always been part of the Mercedes-Benz and Audi experiences.
Furthermore, it’s a bit too pricey for what you’re getting. With the price tag for the bigger engine, the rear-wheel drive, and all the other options, you end up paying a huge chunk of money that can get you a good German car.
In the end, the CT4 is a good car. It’s just that the Germans offer better options for your money!
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