After spending a week with Cadillac’s CT4-V, Cadillac also gave us some time with a CT5 with the Premium Luxury trim level. While appearing similar is size and general overall shape to the CT4, it felt much different than the CT4-V.
The design was a little more conservative, less flashy, than the CT4-V. The lines were still taut and crisp, like an ironed dress shirt, but the car also looked muscular and lean too. Overall, it’s an attractive car whose design conveys refinement, power, and prestige.
The inside was tastefully done in black and tan, with some wood accents that actually seem to fit with the interior design of the car. That seems like a rare thing these days. Cadillac employs a color-block approach to the interior and it works very well. The stitching and leatherwork of the seats really stands out as extraordinary and we found we were quite comfortable in the car, both literally and figuratively. Controls were nearly identical to the CT4. There was ample legroom in the backseat for adult passengers.
Under the hood was Cadillac’s twin-turbo 3.0L V6, which provides 360hp and 405 lb-ft of torque through a 10-speed automatic transmission to the AWD system. It’s a smooth engine that generates a lot of power throughout the rev range and is a pleasure to drive. The fact that it didn’t feel any faster than the twin-scroll four-cylinder turbo engine in the CT4-V is more a testament to that engine than any criticism of the 3.0L TT V6. While we were impressed by the CT4-V’s engine, the 3.0L V6 provided a smoother, more aurally pleasing experience, better suited to a luxury car.
The attractive 18” wheels hid some solid brakes behind them that stopped the car quickly. Pedal feel was good; there didn’t seem to be any sponginess or grabbiness.
The suspension was a pleasant intersection of sporting and comfort. The car didn’t seem to have magnetic suspension like many of it’s other cars have, which surprised us.
The car handled well and through the use of weighted steering and additional NVH damping, makes the car feel larger than it really is and more stately. It doesn’t encourage you to drive in a sporting manor, nor does it really reward it. Road and tire noise is nearly non-existent and the ride is forgiving and comfortable. We enjoyed driving it around town on in rush hour on our daily drive.
If we were surprised by anything it’s that for a “Premium Luxury” trim level, there was a lot of notable Cadillac “premium luxury” features missing, even from the similarly priced CT4-V. Our CT4-V had massagers built into the driver’s seat. The CT5 did not. Our CT5 lacked Cadillac’s Supercruise feature, which blew us away a few years ago when we drove the CT6 Premium Luxury version. There were no magnetic shocks to improve the ride. There was no infrared night vision system. Now granted, not all of these features are needed, and by not adding them the price stayed lower, but when you read “Premium Luxury” trim level, you expect a little more than some electronic safety features and some gorgeous seats. It seemed odd to offer a premium luxury car with little in the way of competitive “premium luxury.”
The EPA estimates 18mpg in the city and 26 on the highway. That matches up pretty close to what we saw.
The CT5 Premium Luxury AWD is a lovely car to drive and, in our opinion, it’s a good looking car. And at a price point of $51,500, it’s certainly very affordable for what it is and what you get. Perhaps it just leaves the higher-end goodies to the CT6 and Escalade.