Following an existential crisis of fits, starts, headquarters moves and executive shakeups, Cadillac has itself a new luxury sedan, the CT4. It’s a convincing driver’s car, less convincing as a luxury car, and seems a long shot to lure BMW, Audi or Mercedes owners into the Cadillac fold. For all the changes at Cadillac, that sure sounds familiar. The 2020 Cadillac CT4 is a redesigned ATS by another, equally unmemorable name. That includes an updated rear-drive chassis with eager, enthusiast-friendly tuning and 50/50 weight distribution – always among the ATS’ top selling points. Styling is another winner, with crisp sheetmetal and Cadillac’s distinctive lighting signatures helping to differentiate this Yank from the international crowd. Cadillac is stretching so hard to cherry-pick the CT4’s competitors, it's possible they might slip a disc. We all remember the ATS as an able, rear-driven rival to the compact BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class et al. But to paint the CT4 in a more competitive light – even as this sedan grows nearly 5 inches in length versus the ATS – Cadillac suddenly claims that its entry-level model, regardless of what it's now called, competes against subcompact, front-drive-based models like the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, Mercedes CLA-Class and Audi A3. Unfurling a tape measure reveals the truth: At a bit over 187 inches, the CT4 is actually longer than a 3 Series, C-Class, Audi A4 and every other major compact player. It’s a foot longer than an Audi A3. So, it's not a subcompact sedan, but there is one area where the CT4 does align with them – just not in a good way. The back seat is scrawny and hard-to-access, the result of its rear-wheel-drive platform and the sort of inefficient packaging that plagued the ATS. As such, it's better to think of the CT4, like the Genesis G70, as an affordable alternative to the roomier 3 Series, and other German compacts. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It starts at $33,990, undercutting the Germans by many thousands, and still boasts Cadillac’s greatest competitive strength: Smartly engineered ride-and-handling that matches up against the Euros with no excuses required. I drove the evident smart play in the CT4 lineup, the Premium Luxury 2.7 model, priced from $40,990, or $42,990 for the all-wheel-drive version I tested. (A Premium Luxury with the 237-horsepower 2.0T starts from $38,490, or $41,690 with AWD). Like the top-shelf CT4-V, it’s powered by an engine that made its debut in the Chevy Silverado and that's getting its first tryout in a GM car: A turbocharged, 2.7-liter four-cylinder producing 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. That's a considerably greater output than the pricier (though lighter) Mercedes CLA 35 and BMW M235i Gran Coupe. It's also not far off the 325 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of the CT4-V, whose $45,490 base price is $4,500 higher than the rear-drive Premium Luxury (and also more in keeping with those Germans as well as the 365-hp Genesis G70 3.3T). The value was highlighted when I …
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|MPG||23 City / 34 Hwy|
|Transmission||8-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||237 @ 5000 rpm|
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