2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing – 472 hp BMW M3 rival

To us Malaysians, Cadillac isn’t exactly a household name, but GM’s premium brand has long been a genuine BMW competitor in the United States. And as any car enthusiast will tell you, no self-respecting BMW competitor would be complete without a performance sub-brand – which is just as well, because the V-Series has been a constant thorn in the side of BMW M, with a range of rowdy yet competent super sedans.

The latest model to join the stable is the CT4-V Blackwing, announced alongside the larger CT5-V Blackwing. The cool-sounding name infers a serious amount of extra performance for the M3 rival, brushing aside any lingering doubts surrounding the limp-wristed CT4-V that was shown in 2019.

Out goes that car’s 2.7 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, replaced by an evolution of the ATS-V‘s 3.6 litre twin-turbo V6. Revisions include a redesigned air intake that reduces restriction by 39%, as well as revised control system software. The water-to-air intercoolers have also migrated to the intake manifold, reducing airflow ducting by 60% and improving torque response.

The turbos have also been redesigned, featuring low-inertia titanium-aluminide turbine wheels that enable more precise and responsive torque delivery across the rev range. The compressors have also been optimised to deliver maximum efficiency at peak power for better on-track performance, while the piston oil squirters have been redirected to the bottom of the pistons to improve temperature control.

Despite all this reengineering, power has only increased by eight horsepower over the ATS-V to 472 hp, while torque holds station at 603 Nm. Still, that’s slightly more power than the base non-Competition G80 M3 (but with less torque), enabling the Blackwing to get from zero to 100 km/h in as low as 3.8 seconds. Top speed is estimated at 304 km/h.

Those performance figures are with the specially-tuned ten-speed automatic gearbox with a Dynamic Performance Mode, but in a win for purists, the Blackwing is fitted with a six-speed manual as standard. The row-your-own transmission gets a twin-disc clutch, a rev-matching function and shorter ratios than before.

Drivers will also be able to perform flat-shift without the driver needing to lift off the throttle. Models fitted with this ‘box receive titanium connecting rods and revised crankshaft counterweights to reduce reciprocating loads on the main and rod bearings.

Also fitted are significant chassis tweaks to rein in the Blackwing’s extra power. The MacPherson strut front suspension is fitted with a 100% elastomer bushing on the ride links, while the five-link rear axle comes with stiffer knuckles, cradle mounts and lateral link bushings. There are also cross-axis ball joints on the front handling links and rear toe links.

These changes help to improve ride and steering response, braking performance and lateral control, while also increasing agility and stability and providing a better balance between comfort and handling. The standard-fit fourth-generation magnetorheological dampers are more precise, respond quicker to road conditions, deliver more consistent performance and are more capable of keeping the car level in the corners.

Rolling on modest 18-inch forged aluminium wheels, the CT4-V Blackwing bucks the trend of ever-larger wheels. That’s not to say that the car is under-tyred, however – not when it comes with bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres that measure 255 mm wide at the front and 275 mm at the rear. They hide uprated brakes with six-piston front and four-piston rear callipers, clamping on 380 mm front and 340.5 mm rear discs.

On the outside, the Blackwing is distinguished by a new grille mesh that improves airflow to the radiators, coolers and ducts, along with larger intakes for the auxiliary intercoolers and a set of smaller inlets that reduce pressure while cooling the brakes. A prominent front splitter also reduces lift.

Elsewhere, you’ll find front fender vents, deeper side skirts, a small bootlid spoiler and a sizeable rear diffuser with quad square tailpipes. Cadillac hasn’t neglected the underfloor area, either, with flat panels and an “underwing” strakes that improve aerodynamic efficiency. Buyers can also specify a carbon fibre aero package that adds all-around skirting, front flics and a massive rear spoiler, reducing lift by as much as 214%.

Inside, the Blackwing is fitted with a grippier steering wheel and can be optioned with high-performance seats, featuring slim headrests to fit helmet-wearing drivers. Also included are a 14-speaker AKG sound system with lightweight Neodymium magnets, a bespoke Track display for the 12-inch digital instrument screen, an optional Performance Data Recorder 2.0 and magnesium paddle shifters on automatic models.

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