The CT5 replaces the CTS with an Escala-inspired design

The Cadillac CT5 is the company’s long-anticipated replacement for the already iconic CTS. Spotted testing for more than a year now, the CT5 was unveiled in March 2019 and made its public debut at the 2019 New York Motor Show. The CT5 broke cover with a surprising design. While the CTS is a traditional three-box sedan with a long deck lid, the CT5 is more of a fastback sedan, with a sloping roof that descends toward the edge of the rear fascia.

Needless to say, it’s an interesting approach for an automaker that just axed all four-door sedans save for the flagship CT6. The CT5 also boasts a brand-new interior that includes more premium materials, better fit and finish, and state-of-the-art technology. It’s also packed with new driving assistance systems, as well as an innovative semi-autonomous system. Power comes from a couple of turbocharged engines, but the CT5 still lacks a high-performance variant. Let’s take a closer look at Cadillac’s new midsize sedan in the review below.

  • 2020 Cadillac CT5
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Transmission:
    10-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
  • Torque @ RPM:
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    5.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    48000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

2020 Cadillac CT5 Exterior

  • Based on Escala concept
  • Standard LED lights
  • Elegant profile
  • Fastback roof
  • Sporty bumpers
  • Modern looks
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Just like the prototypes we spotted on public roads in 2018 suggested, the CT5 is heavily inspired by the Escala concept.

It has the same wide grille with rectangular inserts and vertical side bumper vents that extend to connect with the wide outlet below. The headlamps aren’t as thin as the Escala’s, but they’re significantly narrower than the CTS’s. The vertical LED bars on the edges of the bumper are similar to those seen on the Escala and the larger CT6.

The CT5’s profile is clean and simple, like most Caddys out there. Things become a bit more interesting toward the back due to the elongated coupe-style roof that almost turns the trunk lid into a tailgate and the long rear windows. The quarter windows sport a sharp triangular shape that also extends toward the deck lid through a thick piece of trim that’s either black or chrome, depending on the model. This is an interesting departure from Cadillac’s traditional, elegant and somewhat boxy sedan designs. It’s a bit unorthodox, but it’s the breath of fresh air I’ve been expecting for some time now.

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More cues taken from the Escala are visible around back, including the integrated trunk lid spoiler and the clean fascia with a mild V design.

However, Cadillac dropped the Y-shaped taillights of the concept car, opting for upside-down L-shaped lights. The bumper retains the usual clean and simple design with a diffuser-like element that incorporates chrome exhaust pipes.

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The CT5 adopts the same trim levels as the XT4 and XT6 crossover, so you will be able to choose between Sport and Luxury, but it features a Premium Luxury model as well. The Sport trim, shown in grey, is obviously the slightly more aggressive model, featuring honeycomb bumper grilles, black window trim, and dark-tinted taillights. The Luxury model, shown in red, has horizontal bars in the front bumper, classic red taillights, and chrome trim around the windows.

As far as size goes, the CT5 is marginally smaller than the CTS. This isn’t surprising given that it also replaces the much smaller ATS. The CT5 is 193.8 inches long, 1.7 inches shorter than the CTS, and 74.1 inches wide, almost two inches wider than the CTS. So while it’s a tad shorter, it’s a bit wider, which helps with the planted, sportier stance. Its wheelbase is around 1.5 inches longer than the CTS’ at 116 inches.

Although smaller than the CTS, the CT5 is very similar to the sedans it’s supposed to go against. It’s only a half-inch shorter than the BMW 5 Series and identical to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

2020 Cadillac CT5 Exterior Dimensions
Overall Length 193.8 inches
Overall Width 74.1 inches
Wheelbase 116 inches
Height 57.2 inches

2020 Cadillac CT5 Interior

  • New interior layout
  • Brand-new tech
  • Standard leather
  • Optional sporty seats
  • Improved comfort
  • Very small trunk
2020 Cadillac CT5
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The center stack is wider at the bottom now, while the infotainment display sits higher.

The CT5 is a notable improvement over the CTS inside the cabin, but it retains some of the old cues. For instance, the A/C vent and the wood trim on the passenger-side dashboard is very similar. But because the center stack is entirely different, this feature prevents the CT5 from looking dated. The center stack is wider at the bottom now, where the central A/C vents were relocated, while the infotainment display sits higher. The screen is also bigger, now with a 10-inch diagonal.

The gear selector is now placed on the left side of the center console so it’s closer to the driver and features a wooden surround. On the right, Cadillac added a small compartment. Both the steering wheel and instrument cluster are new, the latter with a larger digital display. The leather upholstery, wood and aluminum trim, and the contrast stitching give the CT5’s interior a decidedly premium look.

2020 Cadillac CT5
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The Premium Luxury and Sport models are available with a Platinum Package featuring exclusive upholstery.

As far as convenience goes, the CT5 comes with heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, phone pairing via Near Field Communication (NFC) and standard Adaptive Remote Start. The optional hands-free power-release trunk uses a motion sensor with Cadillac crest target projection that allows you to activate the trunk release with your foot.

The Premium Luxury and Sport models are available with a Platinum Package featuring an exclusive Sedona/Jet Black motif with Opus semi-aniline leather seating surfaces in Sedona Sauvage. These surfaces feature a custom layered fading perforation pattern, fine contrasting piping, and decorative chevron accents.

2020 Cadillac CT5
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The CT5's trunk is notably smaller than its predecessor and competition.

Both front, heated, ventilated and lumbar massage seats feature additional bolstering and 18-way adjustability with this package. The bundle also adds upgraded leather-trimmed armrests and center console, unique carbon-fiber trim, and a thicker-rimmed steering wheel with authentic magnesium paddle shifters and alloy pedals.

While the CT5 is a big step forward in terms of luxury features and technology, its trunk is notably smaller than its predecessor, the CTS. Rated at 11.9 cubic feet, the CT5’s trunk is 1.8 cubic feet smaller than the CTS. Moreover, it’s clearly inferior to the competition, as the BMW 5 Series offers 18.7 cubic feet and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class boasts 19 cubic feet.

2020 Cadillac CT5 Performance

  • 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • 3.0-liter V-6
  • Up to 335 horsepower
  • Needs more oomph
  • 10-speed automatic
  • Hybrid drivetrain possible
2020 Cadillac CT5
- image 835724
The standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder generates 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

Just like its predecessor, the CT5 rides on GM’s Alpha platform. Introduced in 2013 in the ATS, it was adopted by the CTS in 2014 and by the Chevrolet Camaro in 2016. These underpinnings not only allow rear- and all-wheel-drive setups, but can also host a wide array of engines, ranging from small-displacement four-cylinders to the big 6.2-liter V-8.

But don’t get very anxious about that V-8 engine just yet. For the time being, the CT5 features a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder as standard and an optional twin-turbo, 3.0-liter V-6. The four-banger cranks out 265 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque in the CT6, but it was detuned to 237 horses and 258 pound-feet of this sedan.

More power comes from the twin-turbo, 3.0-liter V-6.

Cadillac dropped the 3.6-liter V-6 from the CTS and opted for the smaller unit in the CT6, but performance dropped compared to both cars. The big sedan comes with 404 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of twist in this setup, but the CT5 is notably less powerful at 335 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. The outgoing twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6 generated 420 horsepower and 430 pound-feet in the CTS, so Cadillac will probably launch a more powerful variant soon.

2020 Cadillac CT5
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The optional 3.0-liter V-6 cranks out 335 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque.

Both units mate with a 10-speed automatic transmission as standard. This gearbox replaces the old eight-speed automatic from the CTS.

Should the CT5 also feature a hybrid model at some point, expect it to pair the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine to a couple of electric motors. With each motor likely to generate 100 horsepower, total system output should be of at least 300 horsepower and in excess of 400 pound-feet of torque.

2020 Cadillac CT5
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Both engines feature modern technologies such as direct injection, camshaft phasing, and cylinder deactivation.

Finally, there will be a range-topping, performance-oriented model. Spotted in 2018 with a bulged hood and the more aggressive bumpers, this version could be called the CT5-V or the CT5 V-Sport. But badge aside, it will feature Cadillac’s new 4.2-liter V-8 engine. Introduced in the CT6 V-Sport, the twin-turbo unit uses a "hot V" configuration that eliminates turbo lag and cranks out a whopping 550 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. The engine could deliver more in the CT5, but 550 horsepower is nothing to scoff at given that the CT5 will be smaller and lighter.

This model should be powerful and fast enough to give the BMW M5 and the Mercedes-AMG E63 a run for their money.

Both engines feature modern technologies such as direct injection, camshaft phasing, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation), and automatic stop/start. These contribute to enhanced performance, refinement and efficiency.

2020 Cadillac CT5 Performance Specs
Engine turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo 3.0-liter V-6
Horsepower 237 hp 335 hp
Torque 258 lb-ft 400 lb-ft
Transmission 10-speed automatic 10-speed automatic
0-60 mph 6.5 seconds (est.) 5.5 seconds (est.)
Top Speed 145 mph (est.) 155 mph (est.)
Curb Weight 3,660 pounds N/A

2020 Cadillac CT5 Chassis, Suspension, and Brakes

2020 Cadillac CT5
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An all-wheel-drive system is available for both engine options.

Cadillac revised its familiar suspension setup for the CT5. Both the front and rear layouts were specifically upgraded for this vehicle, including the double-pivot MacPherson suspension with enhanced road isolation. It also comes standard with an electric, rack-mounted power steering system from Bosch, Brembo front brakes, and ZF passive dampers.

An all-wheel-drive system is available for both engine options, as are run-flat Michelin tires (with optional 18-inch wheels). The standard drive mode system prepares the CT5 for all situations. Tour enables a comfortable setup for long trips, Sport recalibrates the transmission, shifting, steering, and torque split for spirited driving, while Snow/Ice provides extra stability during the cold season. The new My Mode enables you to create your unique setup, a feature inspired by those offered by Mercedes-Benz in all of its cars in recent years.

2020 Cadillac CT5 Driver Assistance Systems

2020 Cadillac CT5
- image 835726
The new Super Cruise feature enables you to drive hand-free on limited-access freeways in the U.S. and Canada.

Like any modern premium vehicle, the CT5 is equipped with a range of driver assistance technologies. The base Luxury trim comes with standard features like Traction & Stability Control, HD Rear Vision Camera, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, Automatic Emergency Braking, Safety Alert Seat, and Reflective LED windshield collision alert. Opt for the Premium Luxury and Sport trims and the standard features list grows to include Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Park Assist, and auto-dimming mirrors.

The options list is quite long too, but these features aren’t available on the entry-level model. But choose Premium Luxury or Sport and you can add advanced Adaptive Cruise Control, Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking, Automatic Parking Assist with Braking, and Following Distance Indicator. You can also opt for Front Park Assist, HD Surround Vision, Surround Vision Recorder, Head-up Display, and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning. The list is rounded off by Rear Camera Mirror, Rear Pedestrian Alert, and Reverse Automatic Braking.

2020 Cadillac CT5
- image 835723
But arguably the biggest news here is Cadillac's new Super Cruise feature.

Described as the world’s first true hands-free driver assistance system, it enables you to drive hands-free "on more than 130,000 miles of limited-access freeways in the United States and Canada." Like any autonomous system, it uses LiDAR map data, a high-precision GPS, and a network of camera and radar sensors and drives the car without driver input. However, a driver attention system makes sure that you remain engaged by detecting and signaling when you should pay more attention to the road.

2020 Cadillac CT5 Pricing

2020 Cadillac CT5
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Pricing for the CT5 should be a bit higher than the outgoing CTS. The sedan retails from $46,495 in base trim, so the new four-door could come in at around $48,000 before options. The performance CTS-V model, on the other hand, is significantly more expensive at $86,495. Expect the CT5-V to arrive at around $90,000.

2020 Cadillac CT5 Competition

BMW 5 Series

2017 BMW 5 Series
- image 703469

The CT5 faces stiff competition, starting with the BMW 5 Series, which was redesigned for the 2017 model year. Sportier on the outside and rolling on lighter underpinnings, the 5 Series is a good example of how a premium sedan should look on the inside. It’s also equipped with the company’s latest tech and comes with optional driving assist features that turn it into a semi-autonomous sedan. You can order the 5 Series with a wide variety of engines, starting with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the 530i. The mill cranks out 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet and can be had with an AWD system. Next up is the 540i, powered by a 3.0-liter inline-six that delivers 322 horsepower and 332 pound-feet. More oomph can be had with the M550i xDrive model, powered by a 4.4-liter V-8 that’s good for 456 horsepower and 479 pound-feet. On the diesel front, BMW offers the 540d, which gets its juice from a 3.0-liter inline-six rated at 316 horses and 502 pound-feet. You can also get a hybrid model. It’s called the 530e iPerformance and marries the 2.0-liter four-cylinder to an electric motor for a total output of 248 horsepower and 310 pound-feet. Finally, the M5, which will compete against the CT5-V, gets a whopping 592 horsepower and 553 pound-feet from a beefed-up 4.4-liter V-8. Pricing for the 5 Series starts from $52,650, while the M5 retails from $102,600.

Read our full reviews of the BMW 5 Series and BMW M5.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Although a bit older than the 5 Series, the E-Class remains one of the best options in this segment and it was the first midsize to feature semi-autonomous drive. Heavily based on the bigger S-Class, the E-Class looks far more elegant too, but it gets a sporty vibe once the optional AMG packages are added on. The interior is both dramatic and elegant, blending styling features from both the S-Class and the AMG GT sports car. Engine options are just as diverse as the 5 Series’, but unlike BMW, Merc doesn’t offer diesel or hybrids in the U.S. The range begins with the E300, powered by a 2.0-liter four-pot rated at 242 horsepower and 270 pound-feet. Next up is the E400, which uses the larger 3.0-liter V-6 that generates 328 horses and 350 pound-feet. Next in line is the AMG E53, a brand new option that uses a 3.0-liter inline-six and a mild 48-volt hybrid system. Total system output sits at 451 horsepower and 380 pound-feet. Moving into high-performance territory, only the range-topping AMG E63 S is available in the U.S. In this model, the twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 pumps out 604 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque. Pricing ranges from $52,950 for the E300 to $104,400 for the AMG E63 S.

Read our full stories on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the Mercedes-AMG E63.


2020 Cadillac CT5
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Cadillac's sedan lineup is getting pretty thin with the ATS and XTS on their way out, so the CT5 needs to be highly competitive in order for the premium brand to remain relevant in this market.

Fortunately, the CT5 is a pretty good choice design- and drivetrain-wise, and its interior isn’t bad either. Cadillac made big improvements inside the cabin, where the CTS suffered from many drawbacks compared to the competition. Material quality wasn’t exactly on par with the German sedans, while legroom and headroom was poor. Cadillac fixed these issues, but trunk space remains problematic. Not only the CTS was way behind the competition, but the CT5 has an even smaller trunk. But if everything else rises above the competition, the CT5 should be fine in today’s demanding market.

  • Leave it
    • Tough competition from BMW, Mercedes, and Audi
    • Very small trunk

Further reading

2020 Cadillac CT5 Exterior Spyshots
- image 757696

2020 Cadillac CT5 Spied For The First Time

2017 Cadillac CTS High Resolution Exterior
- image 703853

Read our full review on the 2017 Cadillac CTS.

2016 Cadillac CTS-V High Resolution Exterior
- image 599734

Read our full review on the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V.

2015 Cadillac ATS Sedan High Resolution Exterior
- image 559232

Read our full review on the 2017 Cadillac ATS.

2016 Cadillac ATS-V Sedan Exterior
- image 578307

Read our full review on the 2017 Cadillac ATS-V.

2016 Cadillac Escala High Resolution Exterior
- image 685455

Read our full review on the 2016 Cadillac Escala Concept.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert -
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
About the author

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