There I was, just doing my job, writing about cars and whatnot, when I saw a sight that would haunt me from this point forward: the Cadillac CT4-V’s ghastly low horsepower number, which would have otherwise called for a quick glance and a disappointed sigh. But this time, my cursed brain contextualized the situation for me, and I wish it hadn’t.
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My eyes, beginning their slow roll into the back of my head, stopped—fixated on the number in front of me. “Powered by a high-output version of the 2.7L Dual-Volute Turbo engine rated at a Cadillac-estimated 325 HP,” a Cadillac press release mentioning the CT4-V read.
“A Cadillac-estimated 325 HP.”
Any other time, I would simply be reminded of how that number is terribly low compared to the outgoing CTS-V’s 640 HP and the ATS-V’s 464 HP—how sad it is, and how it’s a sign of our bleak times. But this time, my cursed brain brought up an association I wish it hadn’t: that the CT4-V, Cadillac’s new generation of performance sedan, only has 24 more horsepower than a regular Toyota Camry.
Cadillac did, after the poor reception of the CT4-V and slightly more powerful CT5-V, announce that V-Series cars offering a more “track-capable experience” would be on the way. The V-Series stands for “raw power at its most refined” in Cadillac’s own words, after all, and those cars aren’t exactly it.
But we find ourselves absolutely baffled as to why Cadillac didn’t lead with those cars for its new generation of vehicles, or just call this one a V-Sport, especially at a time when the brand feels increasingly lost.
And these new cars are not just falling short in “raw power.” The CT4-V has barely more horsepower than a current V6 Camry, which makes 301 HP and 267 lb-ft of torque. The rear-wheel-drive CT4-V’s torque numbers, at least, stomp all over the front-wheel-drive Camry’s at 380 lb-ft, meaning there will be an obvious improvement in how that power is used. The 301-HP V6 is also for higher-trim Camrys, while the standard four-cylinder engine makes roughly 203 HP and 184 lb-ft of torque.
But is that surface-lever horsepower number haunting, nonetheless? Yes. Is that also a sign of our humble Camry coming out of the darkness to embrace life as a sportier sedan? Yes.
It’s bittersweet. Hot and cold. Good and evil.
But the fact is that one of the current Cadillac V-Series models only has 24 more horsepower than a regular Toyota Camry, no matter their other performance differences. That would’ve been unfathomable a few years ago.
It won’t be easy to forget, no matter how you look at it.