Cadillac rolls out the full lineup for its new subcompact CT4 sedan
The compact Cadillac ATS has been reborn as the subcompact CT4 sedan.
GM’s luxury brand rolled out the full model lineup for its entry-level car Thursday, a rear-wheel drive athlete that will go head-to-head against segment stalwarts like the Audi A3, BMW 2-series, Mercedes A-class and Acura ILX. Like the BMW, the Cadillac is a rare entry in class with rear-wheel drive capabilities.
Cadillac teased the CT4 with two performance variants — the V-series and an as-yet unnamed track monster – at the Belle Isle Grand Prix weekend earlier this year. The CT4 will be Cadillac’s entry-level sedan below the compact CT5 (replacing the ATS) and flagship CT6.
The CT4 will also go head-to-head against its class peers by offering all-wheel drive and Caddy’s advanced Super Cruise self-driving system.
The standard CT4 will be powered by a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder rated at 237 horsepower with 258 pound-feet of torque (a 350T badge on the car’s trunk translates the English torque rating into the internationally recognized 350 newton-meters of torque). The engine will be mated to an eight-speed transmission.
The CT4, like other Cadillacs, will then be available with a Premium Luxury and black-trimmed Sport variants. Only the former will be optioned with the 2.7-liter turbo-four (linked to a class-exclusive 10-speed transmission) that also powers the V-series performance model.
The all four-cylinder lineup means that unlike the outgoing ATS, the CT4 will not have a V-6 engine option as Cadillac aims to meet tighter federal fuel-economy standards. The CT4 also appears to ditch the sleek, two-door Coupe model that the ATS line offered.
Stuffed into the CT4-V, the 2.7-liter turbo-4 will make 325 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque.
The exterior of the CT4 adopts the more horizontal design language first seen on Cadillac's Escala concept. Those design cues also were adopted by the Cadillac XT6 SUV seen earlier this year. Where the ATS was small for the compact class, the similarly sized CT4 should fit better as a subcompact.
The most radical change comes inside, where the CT4 dumps the ATS’s vertical console for a more horizontal stack that's topped by a tablet-like 8-inch infotainment screen.
“We developed CT4 to appeal to youthful buyers in the luxury market who may be new to the Cadillac brand,” said Cadillac design boss Andrew Smith.
Unlike other recent Cadillacs, the CT4’s touchscreen does not come with the option of a remote, center-console rotary-control knob.
The introduction of Super Cruise on CT4 signals Cadillac’s attempt to use the sub-compact segment to introduce signature high-tech just as Mercedes has done with its MBUX voice-command system. In addition to Super Cruise – which will enable self-driving on geo-fenced, divided highways – the CT4 will also be able to download over-the-air updates.
The CT4 will continue to be built in Lansing on the same Alpha platform as the outgoing ATS. The architecture – which also undergirds the Chevy Camaro – has proved one of the best-handling chassis in the world. At Belle Isle this summer, GM president and licensed race driver Mark Reuss demonstrated a yet-to-be-named track-tuned variant of the CT4. The track car is expected to mirror the capable ATS-V which has proven competitive with BMW’s formidable M-brand.
Cadillac said the CT4 would be available for order later this year. Pricing hasn't been released, but expect the CT4 to start in the low-$30,000 range. It will be available for order later this year.
Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @HenryEPayne. Catch “Car Radio with Henry Payne” from noon-2 p.m. Saturdays on 910 AM Superstation.