If you spend enough time in our cluttered, oil-soaked office garage, the conversation will eventually turn to tales of BMW's E90 M3 sports car. The E90 M3 was sold from 2008 to 2012, and its legend continues to grow because subsequent M3s were unable to replicate the E90's unique combination of size, power, handling, and feel. Cadillac, in a turn of events that would have been unthinkable 20 years ago, has taken up the mantle with the ATS-V and, more recently, the CT4-V Blackwing.
The CT4-V, the smaller of the two Blackwings, drives, handles, and performs as if Caddy had ignored modern benchmarks in favor of going after the E90 in the first place. The electrically assisted steering increases effort while also feeding information in a manner that is comparable to the best modern sports cars on the market. Turn the nose in and hold it there until the 1.01-g limit is reached. Putting that grip to good use is simple, as the car communicates through the steering and chassis exactly when you are about to slip the surly bonds of the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires and slide off the road. The CT4-V weighs 3851 pounds, which makes it more agile than the CT5-V Blackwing, which has 668 horsepower. For hustlers, size matters, and the CT4-Vs (as well as the E90's) strike us as the best option available.
If Cadillac had stuffed the CT4-V with the Corvette's naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8, or if it had dipped into the small-block lore with an LS7, the car would have been even more appealing. The responsive twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6, on the other hand, is a step up from the version that powered the ATS. Despite the fact that it is not as smooth as BMW's inline-sixes, the manual Blackwing's engine spins willingly thanks to titanium connecting rods that are exclusive to the manual transmission.
A Cadillac spokesperson tells us that the small 'Wing is not intended to be used as a dragster. Cadillac, you're welcome. So, what is the reason for this car having the world's most adjustable launch-control system, you might wonder. Not only can you control the launch rpm in steps of 100 from 2400 to 4000 rpm, but you can also tailor it to the available surface traction by adjusting the amount of slip you want at the tires in half-percent increments. The number of possible combinations is staggering, but there is an automatic mode for those who prefer to let the computers figure it out for them. The sedan's 472-horsepower engine raced to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds with the settings carefully calibrated for our surface. Take the quarter mile in 12.4 seconds at 116 miles per hour after ripping through three no-lift shifts.
When set to their softest setting, General Motors' latest magnetorheological dampers provide a supple ride. They become noticeably stiffer in sportier modes, but they manage to keep the driver's impact harshness to a minimum. When it comes to driving pleasure, the CT4-V delivers without sacrificing refinement, making it an excellent daily driver.
Few automobiles compel us to think about monthly payments, but the manual CT4-V Blackwing's base price of $59,990 compelled us to do just that. Several years from now, when we're huddled around an electric vehicle charging station reminiscing about the good old days, we'll be telling everyone we know about this Blackwing.
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