The 2021 CT5 is Cadillac’s sports sedan, a crucial role in any luxury automaker’s portfolio. When compared with its rivals—the BMW 3-series, Mercedes-Benz C-class, and Genesis G70—the CT5 doesn’t have the sharpest reflexes or the poshest cabin, but its handsome styling helps it stand out from the crowd. A turbocharged four-cylinder comes standard, but buyers can upgrade to a twin-turbo V-6 with up to 360 horsepower. The Caddy’s cabin is more spacious than many of its rivals’, making it easier to use as a family car. And all models come with touchscreen infotainment, basic driver-assistance technologies, and plenty of convenience features.
What’s New for 2021?
Like the smaller CT4, the CT5 receives a new Diamond Sky Metallic Edition package for 2021, which offers unique exterior and interior design elements including distinct wheels. A new 12.0-inch digital gauge display is newly available, and Cadillac will offer its Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving mode as an option on 2021 CT5s.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The standard engine in the CT5 is a 237-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, but you can upgrade to a 335-hp twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6. The performance-oriented CT5-V boasts a 360-hp version of the twin-turbo V-6 as well as adaptive dampers and an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. A more track-ready model is also in the works, with a prototype already spotted testing. Both engines pair with a 10-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional. In our testing, a rear-drive CT5 with the turbo four-cylinder sauntered to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds. The BMW 330i and the Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti, two of the CT5’s key rivals, completed the same test in 5.1 and 4.6 seconds, respectively. When it comes to ride and handling, the CT5 is both more softly sprung and less athletic than the CTS it replaces. Body control is sloppier, and the improvements to the car’s ride aren’t enough to justify what feels like a step backward in driving dynamics.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates the 2021 CT5 with the standard turbo-four is rated for up to 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. The 335-hp V-6 is rated up to 19 mpg city and 28 highway, with the 360-hp version slightly behind at 18 mpg city and up to 27 mpg highway. On our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, the rear-drive Sport model managed 31 mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Cadillac corrected some of the CTS’s interior flaws with this new sports sedan; namely, the CT5 provides a more user-friendly interface and straight-forward design. Unfortunately, the quality of the cabin materials seems unworthy of the CT5’s positioning as a luxury vehicle. Premium Luxury models are available with a nice open-pore wood trim that elevates the interior design, but it mingles alongside cheap black plastic that could’ve been lifted from the plebian Chevrolet Malibu family sedan. The rear seat is more spacious than the CTS’s, but rivals such as the Acura TLX and the Volvo S60 both feel roomier. All three vehicles have similarly sized trunks, though, and each fit five of our carry-on suitcases behind the rear seats.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The CT5 features the latest version of the CUE infotainment system, displayed on a 10.0-inch touchscreen in the center of the dashboard. It’s much more logically structured than the old system and swaps some of the touch-sensitive controls for physical ones. You can control the system via a rotary wheel located behind the shifter or by interacting with the touchscreen itself. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration comes standard. Desirable available features include a head-up display, wireless device charging, and an eight-speaker Bose audio system.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2021 CT5 earned a five-star crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but it hasn’t been evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). A host of driver-assistance technology is available, including adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. GM’s Super Cruise Level 2 autonomous-driving feature—which can manage a vehicle’s steering, acceleration, and braking without the driver needing to keep his or her hands on the wheel—will be available sometime after launch. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control