Serving as the successor to the popular Cadillac ATS luxury sedan, the Cadillac CT4 has had a rough going in terms of sales figures, with less than 5,000 units sold over the course of the inaugural 2020 calendar year. Thankfully, the CT4 continues to post stronger sales numbers every year, so the luxury sedan’s prospects appear to be moving in the right direction. However, did you know that the CT4 was never intended to exist in the first place?
Initially, General Motors wanted to offer two Cadillac sedans for the North American market, namely the Cadillac CT5 and the Cadillac CT6. However, as the Detroit-based automaker was planning on shutting down the GM Detroit-Hamtramck plant and the GM Lordstown plant, it became evident that the CT6 – as well as a few other vehicles – would get an early discontinuation in North America. This would leave the Cadillac CT5 as the sole luxury sedan offering for the luxury marque, so what was General Motors to do?
The automaker thus decided to create the CT4 for two reasons. First, the luxury C-segment was the fastest-growing sedan segment at the time, and second, there was a way to develop such a vehicle that wouldn’t require a huge investment.
To create the CT4, The General decided to repurpose the outgoing Cadillac ATS, keeping the original two-pronged Cadillac sedan approach for North America. Revisions included new front and rear ends, or inserts such as headlamps, taillamps, bumpers and grille. These changes are not all that expensive to perform, compared to all-new body stampings. Of course, the revisions go much deeper than fresh body work.
While GM engineers kept the basic ATS structure, a new electrical architecture was integrated, replacing Global A with Global B and adding Super Cruise, resulting in the Alpha 2 platform. Some of the powertrain components were carried over, such as the twin-turbocharged 3.6L V6 LF4 gasoline engine in the CT4-V Blackwing, lifted from the Cadillac ATS-V, and the GM M5N eight-speed automatic transmission, mated to the turbocharged 2.0L I4 LSY engine lifted from the CT5 and refreshed CT6. The 2.0L I4 LSY and turbocharged 2.7L I4 L3B engines respectively replaced the ATS’ 2.0L I4 LTG and 3.6L V6 LGX engines.
In regard to the interior, General Motors then took elements from the CT5 sedan and slapped them into this new CT4 creation, and voilà! The Cadillac CT4 as we know it today was born. We should note here that the ATS was already a small vehicle in the D-segment sedan category and by the middle at its life cycle, it was one of the smallest models in its segment as its rivals were redesigned and grew in size. Nevertheless, GM developed a C-segment vehicle from the D-segment ATS sedan.
So, in a way, the CT6’s discontinuation made the CT4 possible.
Moving forward, it’s widely expected that the two luxury sedans will received a mid-cycle refresh for the upcoming 2025 model year, or potentially even as a 2024.5 model. With this, and improving sales figures to boot, it’s likely that the CT4 and CT5 will continue to fill the Cadillac two-sedan-approach for the several years to come.