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The CT4-V infuses the brand’s racing DNA for a dynamic, responsive and exhilarating driving experience.

The sedan is still alive and kicking for Cadillac – even though more of its customers will probably keep buying SUVs.

“Cadillac is not abandoning the sedan market,” says Brandon Vivian, Cadillac’s executive chief engineer. “Is the SUV craze over? I don’t think so, but we’re going to put our vision out there.”

In the race between sedans and SUVs, SUVs are still leading. Last year, Cadillac sold 5,875 of its XT5 SUVs in Canada but just 449 CTS sedans.

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Despite this, Cadillac is adding two brand new sedans for 2020: the CT4, a compact sedan, and the CT5, a mid-sized sedan revealed in April. It’s keeping the full-sized CT6 – but scrapping the ATS, CTS and XTS.

“We’ve got lots of SUVs, so we wanted to come back and look at the sedan line-up,” says Andrew Smith, Cadillac’s director of design. “We wanted to have very distinctly sized and positioned vehicles.”

In other words, Cadillac wants to reel in more sedan buyers, especially at the cheaper entry-level, and not scare them away with confusing names – or with cars that might be tough to tell apart from one another.

So now, the 4 is small and sporty, the 5 is a little bigger and a little comfier, and the 6 is the biggest and most luxurious.

“The buying power of younger people is huge – so the CT4 is a great entry to Cadillac for them,” Smith says. “I personally am going to get a CT5, but I’m totally an old guy.”

V-Series for the people?

The CT4 will be a rear-wheel drive sedan that will also be available in all-wheel drive. Cadillac sees it competing against the Audi A3, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the BMW 2 and 4 Series, Smith says.

The first glimpse of what the CT4 will look like came when Cadillac revealed the CT4-V, and CT5-V, the new sedans’ V-Series performance versions, in Detroit last month.

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Previous V-Series cars have boasted Cadillac’s highest horsepower numbers – they’re cars that can eat up a race track – and highest price tags. For instance, the 640 hp 2019 CTS-V has a top speed of 322 km/h and starts at $92,000 (and can get well more than $100,000 with options and packages).

The new V-series cars will be tamer than the previous generation.

Jason Tchir

But the CT4-V and CT5-V will be tamer – and cheaper, Cadillac says.

And that’s on purpose. The company wants the V-Series to appeal to buyers spooked by the idea of a car that can chew up a racetrack.

For the CT4-V, that means a 320-hp 2.7-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The CT5-V gets a 355-hp, 3.0-litre twin turbo V-6 (which will also be available on the CT5’s Premium Luxury and Sport versions).

That’s plenty of power – but it’s not track-ready.

“It broadens the audience a bit,” said Deborah Wahl, Cadillac’s chief marketing officer “It will really appeal to women as well – and women are 50 per cent of the market.”

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Both have a 10-speed automatic (there’s no manual transmission) and available AWD. And they’ll cost about US$6,000 to US$7,000 more than their Sport versions. That’s cheaper than previous V-Series sedans, which typically cost an extra US$20,000 to US$25,000 more, Vivian said.

Track cred?

But Cadillac teased that track-worthy versions of the cars could be coming “very soon.” And, a day and a half later, CT4-V and CT5-V prototypes sped down the track at the Grand Prix. Cadillac is keeping the details – including the horsepower – secret for now.

The V-Series cars traditionally haven’t been meant to be huge sellers, according to industry analyst Robert Karwel, senior manager of auto analytics company Power Information Network, a subsidiary of global marketing information services company J.D. Power. Instead, they’re meant to show that Cadillac can compete with track-worthy competition, namely BMW’s M, Mercedes-Benz’s AMG, Audi’s RS and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ SRT.

Cadillac may still release track-centric versions of the new V-series.

“These vehicles … help reinforce not only performance, but its gets people used to seeing Cadillacs commanding high prices,” Karwel said in an e-mail.

“What they portray to the market is that Cadillac has the machinery and know-how to go toe-to-toe with the [largely] German High performance sedans. Vehicles like these are all about bragging rights and marketing.”

And, V-Series versions of the brand’s SUVs might be in the works.

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“You’ll see an expansion of the V-Series,” says Mirza Grebovic, performance variants manager for Cadillac. “We’re trying to go out with a bang while internal combustion is still kicking.”

The writer was a guest of the automaker. Content was not subject to approval.

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