When I was a kid, I imagined a button on my bike's handlebars that would transform my two-wheeler into an asphalt-scorching race car. You, too?
Say hello to V-Mode in the 2020 Cadillac CT5-V.
I took the alluring sedan to my favorite playground to play (and practice social-distancing). I luffed along comfortably through Livingston County, but as I approached the twisted curves of Hell, Michigan, my heavy right foot began to itch. There, right out of my childhood dreams, was the V-Mode button on the steering wheel.
With a single press, the steering tightened in my paws, the 10-speed transmission dropped a gear and fangs seem to grow from the Cadillac's front grille.
I buried the throttle and the beast leapt forward. WAAAUUUGGHHHH! roared the 360 ponies under the hood. BRAP-BRAP! spat the quick-shifting tranny. WHOOOOSH! went the scenery past my window.
The CT5-V lives up to Caddy's mantra to go big in the compact sedan class.
Kicking its small ATS (now renamed CT4) down market to compete in the subcompact class against the BMW 2-series, GM's luxe brand has tagged ATS' big brother, CTS, to do battle against the likes of BMW 3-series, Audi A4, Mercedes C-class, Alfa Romeo Giulia and Tesla Model 3.
Rebadged the Cadillac CT5 and resculpted with a handsome fastback, the 2020 Caddy brings the CTS' midsize proportions to the compact class. It even expands its wheelbase 1.5 inches to claim biggest class specs: biggest front seat, biggest back seat, biggest wheelbase.
Then CT5 goes bigger on value. Starting at just $37,900 with a turbo-4 under the hood, the CT5 not only undercuts the old $45,000 CTS by a whopping seven grand, it's also five grand cheaper than the BMW 3-series. With those big headlines and Cadillac's sculpted bod, CT5 should turn heads.
It's aimed at the up-market BMW M340i, Audi S4 and Mercedes AMG C 43. Just as the 382-horse BMW M340i offers buyers a taste of its mouth-watering, full-Monty, 444-horse M3 performance steak — but without the eye-watering, $80,000 sticker price — so does the Cadillac split the difference between the standard CT5 and its M3-fighter.
I wish I could tell you the name of the CT5's tippy-top performance model (replacing my old favorite ATS-V), but Cadillac is leaving that fine cut of beef for later.
Suffice to say that the CT5-V offers plenty to chew on for now. This is a sleek, roomy, high-tech machine that will quietly deliver your guests to the club, then raucously entertain your inner child on twisty country roads to the cabin up north.
V is faithful to the standard CT5's promise (which also comes as a Sport and Premium Luxury model) of being at least $5,000 cheaper than the German competition. My $56,875 tester was considerably less than comparable the $62,000 Audi S4 and BMW M340i I've tested.
The V is more fun than the conservative Audi and holds its own against Bimmer's terrific inline-6.
In fact, with its sexiest, fastest, techiest compact car player ever, Caddy's gotta continue to go big.
2020 Cadillac CT5-V
Base price: $48,690
Price as tested: $56,875
EPA fuel economy estimates: 21 mpg city, 26 highway
Power: 360 horsepower, 405 pound-feet of torque
Performance: 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds
Bottom line: Spicy sedan