Most folks are likely to accept the Cadillac CT5 as a luxury sedan and leave it at that. However, people with a passion for dividing the auto market into segments prefer to assign a label to the CT5. And while they agree on that, there is considerable controversy about what that label ought to be.
The GM Authority view – as expressed by executive editor Alex Luft in a video (below) – is that the Cadillac CT5 is a D-segment vehicle, and therefore not a successor to the Cadillac CTS, which was an E-segment vehicle.
|C Segment||D Segment||E Segment||F Segment|
|BMW||2 Series||3 Series / 4 Series||5 Series / 6 Series||7 Series / 8 Series|
|Mercedes-Benz||A-Class / CLA-Class||C-Class||E-Class||S-Class|
|Audi||A3||A4 / A5||A6 / A7||A8|
|Lexus||HS* / CT*||IS / ES||GS*||LS / LC|
|Infiniti||-||Q50 / Q60||Q70*||-|
|Cadillac (2019)||-||ATS||CTS / CT6 / XTS||-|
- * Model discontinued
Instead, the true successor to the CTS was the Cadillac CT6, which would still be with us if it hadn’t been discontinued several years ahead of schedule. That means that today, there is no E-segment sedan in the Cadillac range, at least in North America (the CT6 is still on sale in China).
So then, the CT5 is Cadillac’s D-segment entry, and is therefore is actually a successor to the Cadillac ATS. That said, it’s understandable that people should think that the Cadillac CT5 was an E-segment vehicle. As our comparison of the Cadillac CT5-V with its immediate rivals showed, it is larger than all of them. That, however, was part of a deliberate strategy. Here’s how it all came to be.
GM launched the Cadillac ATS Sedan in North America to fight the typical D-segment stalwarts like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. After offering the regular-length ATS in China for a brief period of time (and with limited amounts of success), GM introduced the long-wheelbase Cadillac ATS-L, where wealthy customers like to be driven around in cars (rather than driving them), thereby necessitating a healthy amount of rear seat legroom. Having learned from the two-car strategy, GM decided to go in a different direction with the replacement of the ATS and ATS-L.
Rather than continue making the same car in different sizes for North America and China, GM decided to make a single, ‘right-sized‘ global replacement for the ATS and ATS-L, one that has class-leading rear legroom (though its other interior dimensions are smaller than those of the direct D-segment competition).
The benefits of the strategy of a single car with a vast amount of space is two-fold: customers in China are satisfied for having a spacious rear seat, while North American buyers will certainly not complain about the added space.
Further supporting the notion that the CT5 is a D-segment vehicle is the price positioning: the 2021 Cadillac CT5 is priced to start in the United States at $38,190, including $1,195 destination charge. If it were competing in the E segment, it would start $10,000-15,000 higher.
For more detail on this, check out Alex Luft’s explanation in the video below.