Happy twentieth anniversary, Cadillac V. Let’s put some candles on a cake and sing a little happy birthday to Cadillac’s performance division.
Back in late 2003, Caddy pulled the wraps off its first-ever V-Series model, the zippy 2004 400-horsepower CTS-V. It was powered by a supercharged 5.7-liter V8 from a Corvette Z06 running on liquid testosterone. It was a beast.
The racing version of the car debuted at Florida’s Sebring track in March 2004, and dusted the competition taking the checkered flag.
Since then, there have been 13 distinct Cadillac Vs, including standouts like the second-generation CTS-V in 2009 that packed 556-horsepower from its thundering 6.2-liter supercharged V8.
Me, I loved the 2011 CTS-V Wagon with the same engine that offered space with one heckuva lot of pace. It looked cool, too.
Talking of space with pace, today’s honking Escalade-V is motivated by a 682-horsepower supercharged V8, making it Caddy’s most powerful production model ever.
Like BMW with its M-for-Motorsport division, and Mercedes with its AMG brand, Cadillac enhances its road-going Vs with lessons learned from the track.
Last summer, Cadillac kicked off its twentieth anniversary V celebrations by going back to Le Mans for the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans race, finishing third and fourth overall.
Which neatly leads me to the 2024 Twentieth Anniversary Cadillac CT4-V I’ve just spent a week piloting, taking every curve and on-ramp as if I was at Le Mans myself.
This CT4-V is the “V-lite” of the CT4 range, overshadowed by the BMW M3-rivaling, hard-core CT4-V Blackwing version, with its 472-horsepower twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6, standard 6-speed stick shift, and 189 miles per hour top speed.
By comparison, our CT4-V comes with a humbler 2.7-liter turbo 4-cylinder cranking out 325-horsepower and 380 pound-foot of torque. That’s still a lot of muscle, which is what you’d expect considering it’s the same engine powering Chevy’s Silverado pick-up.
But the flip side is that beneath the CT4-V’s lovely four-door bodywork is the same chassis, or platform, as Chevy’s sporty Camaro.
See it in the metal and this V-series CT-4 is one handsome devil. I love the front end with that big, shield-like black mesh grille, those vertical slivers of LED lights on each side, and air-gulping lower grille.
Nice rear too, with more vertical LED lights, that cute ducktail spoiler on the trunk, and a quartet of polished exhausts. Cool-looking graphite-painted 18-inch rims, too.
Climb aboard and the highlight here is the $1,500 optional leather for the seats that, on our Argent Silver test car, are ringed with orange piping and come with funky orange mesh panels.
As with the regular CT4 sedan, don’t expect too much space inside. Rear-seat legroom is the least generous in its class, while trunk space is mediocre at best. Need more? There’s a CT5-V that’s bigger all-round.
But this CT4-V is all about driving fun without breaking the bank. Prices start at $48,490, compared to $62,890 for the speedier Blackwing version.
Sadly, our CT4-V tester is a bit of a weird version, having optional all-wheel drive. Nothing wrong with that apart from the fact that choosing it, for some reason, deletes the brilliant Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension.
Fact is, a rear-drive CT4-V with Magnetic Ride Control is a super-fun combo that will put a mile-wide Julia Roberts-like smile on your face. All-wheel-drive and no Magnetic Ride just dulls the fun factor.
Add to that the Caddy’s four-cylinder truck engine that, when revved, has all the aural delight of an industrial-grade leaf blower.
But even without the trick suspension, the CT4-V is a fun ride, courtesy of that Camaro-based chassis, the quick-shifting 10-speed automatic, and set of Brembo brakes that can stop time. It’s feisty enough, too, with 0-to-60 miles per hour sprinting in 4.8 seconds.
It’s just that it would be a lot more fun with rear-drive.