Car sales are slowing every year in North America. The sedan has been unceremoniously supplanted mostly by small SUVs. The low cost of fuel has made the extra cargo space, ride height, and versatility very attractive for Canadian buyers. In fact, Cadillac sells more XT5 crossovers than all of its sedans combined. As a result, Cadillac, like all automakers, can’t afford to have a broad and robust sedan portfolio. This is particular shame for Cadillac, a brand that has begun consistently delivering comfortable, powerful sedans, with unique styling. Perhaps the greatest current exemplar is the Cadillac ATS. And with the Cadillac CT5 on the horizon, the future looks safe, too.
Further, the entry price point for Cadillac is affordable relative to other luxury sport sedans. While other brands have begun favouring gentler suspensions and numb handling, Cadillac is doubling down on its unique driving dynamics. That means aggressive powertrains, and sporty driving dynamics. You’re never arrested by potholes or uneven pavement, but you can still feel the road. Perhaps the greatest example right now is the 2017 Cadillac ATS.
The 2017 Cadillac ATS starts with a standard 2.0L Turbo engine with 272 horsepower and 295 lb/ft of torque. If that isn’t enough power for you, you can upgrade to the 3.6L V6 with 335 horsepower, Active Fuel Management, and Auto Stop/Start. Cadillac has paired each engine with a standard eight-speed automatic transmission that guarantees a smooth supply of power. But performance doesn’t stop with the powertrain. You also get Brembo brakes, a fully-independent sport suspension, ZF premium steering, 17” alloy wheels, and more.
Despite the excellence of the ATS, Cadillac is planning to consolidate it with the CTS sedan into the new CT5 (and perhaps the XTS). The name will bring the sedan in line with the nomenclature favoured by the stellar CT6 (which isn’t going anywhere in case you were worried) and the XT5 crossover. Although it will be disappointing to see these sedans go, it’s hard not to be excited with what we’ve seen of the CT5.
Spy photographs, showing the CT5 prototype completing road test, indicate that it will follow directly from the Cadillac Escala concept unveiled in 2016. It has the same malevolent, slit-like headlights, and dark mesh grille. Pushing the styling a little further in this direction will do greater justice to the remarkable driving dynamics in Cadillac’s sedans. It will also help convert more non-believers unfamiliar with the brand’s renaissance. Of course, we don’t expect the Cadillac CT5 to be available for customers until 2020. By then, Cadillac may have made a few other changes to its stable.
After the Cadillac CT5
Once Cadillac is left with the CT5 and CT6, they will add a third sedan, the CT4, to complete the lineup. As the name would suggest, the CT4 will be the smallest of the three and compete against the Audi A3 and BMW 2-Series. Not only will the lineup be trimmer, but it will be far easier to understand. For the average customer, it’s difficult to remember the difference between an XTS and XT5, for example. However, while it’s a good thing that the lineup will be easier to understand, it’s a shame Cadillac is letting go some of its great cars.
The ATS has really hit its stride. And the ATS-V and CTS-V are two are the best performance-oriented production cars available – hands down. But as long as Cadillac continues to deliver exceptional cars for drivers, customers should continue to be excited.