Historically, the best luxury sports sedans have come from European automakers. But there is one American brand that isn’t ready to cede control entirely: Cadillac. The recently launched CT4-V Blackwing gets a host of upgrades over the regular CT4 small sedan, including a more powerful engine, sharper handling, more stability and a distinctive design.
It would be hard to find a more suitable competitor than BMW’s M3, which has been a staple of the German marque’s lineup for decades. It also has several upgrades over the regular 3 Series to greatly increase performance. Which sedan is right for you? Edmunds compared them to find out.
Powered by a 3.6-liter turbocharged V6 making 472 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque, the Blackwing can rip from zero to 60 in the factory touted 3.9 seconds when equipped with the optional automatic transmission. A manual transmission is standard on the true all-wheel drive CT4-V Blackwing. While selecting it results in slower maximum acceleration than the automatic, it greatly increases driver engagement. Hit the brakes and the sedan comes to a stop with steady precision and smoothness.
BMW is not holding back with the M3. Under the hood is a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that makes 473 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque in the base model or 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft in the upgraded Competition model. You can get a manual transmission with the base M3, but the Competition is automatic-only. The BMW M3 has better downforce thanks to the available all-wheel drive system; With that said, BMW says the M3 Competition sprints to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds.
Around corners, both sports cars deliver heroic levels of grip and poise. However, it’s the CT4-V Blackwing that is ultimately the most rewarding to drive. The steering is more lively and communicative, giving the Blackwing a more memorable personality than the M3.
Inside the CT4-V, the highest-performance version of Cadillac’s CT4 luxury small sedan, ultra-comfortable seats take top billing along with a direct 8-inch center touchscreen. Wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto are standard as is a well-designed, original navigation system. Cargo space is on the tight side, with a trunk that only holds 10.7 cubic feet.
The M3’s cargo area is even more generous, offering 13 cubic feet of space. Smaller storage spaces are also more plentiful in the BMW, with a large central stowage bin and door pockets above average. The BMW M3 has foldable rear seats, which gives it another advantage. Like the CT4-V Blackwing, the M3 comes standard with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto displayed on a 14.9-inch touchscreen new for 2023. BMW also offers 2.2 inches more rear legroom than Cadillac.
The CT4-V Blackwing features plush, supportive front seats. Adding the available climate package brings ventilation and massage functions to the front seats as well. A standard, adjustable suspension that continuously adapts to the road surface provides a comfortable ride for a sports sedan, adding to the feeling of luxury befitting the brand. Wind and road noise are also minimal, making this an easy performer to live with.
The M3’s engine mutes wind and road noise to a satisfying level, but it’s not quite as quiet as the Blackwing when you just want a comfortable cruiser on the highway. The same goes for suspension. It is also very adaptable but tends to ride a bit more aggressively than the Blackwing. Inside, the M3 model Edmunds tested had optional carbon fiber front seats for the car. These have thick side bolsters that are great for keeping you in place on the racetrack, but they reduce comfort and ease of entry and exit.
Cadillac has built a lot of value into this four-door sedan. The base CT4-V Blackwing starts at around $61,000 and comes with Brembo brakes and adaptive suspension dampers, among other performance features. It stacks up well against the competition.
Starting at $73,795, the M3 can be luxuriously equipped, but you’ll be paying for it. Even a loaded Blackwing adds up to the same price as a base BMW M3. Switch to the top-of-the-line M3 Competition with all-wheel drive in a nicer paint color, add a few option packages and you’re looking at a subcompact sedan worth around $90,000.
The BMW M3 is still, by most measures, the benchmark for the class. It’s faster, better, and equipped with the latest Cadillac tech features. But it loses points in the more emotional aspects of the sport sedan experience. Consider the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing’s superior value and you’ve got yourself a winner for your hometown team.
This story was provided to the Associated Press by automotive website Edmunds.
Christine Shaw is a freelance writer at Edmunds and is on Twitter.
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