We’re at the end of an era for luxury sport compact sedans. The segment that BMW invented with the 1986 M3 has long embraced change. The little four-cylinder homologation specials that matured the segment beyond icons such as the 2002 eventually became V-8-powered cruise missiles in the early ’00s. The engines have since downsized to forced-induction sixes as times changed, and with nearly every automaker now promising to electrify their lineups in the near future, we’re witnessing yet another transition. But thanks to cars such as the new 2022 BMW M3 Competition and 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing, the internal combustion luxury sport compact sedan is going out with a bang.
Pitting the M3 Competition (the top dog of the M3/M4 lineup) against the CT4-V Blackwing (effectively a reskinned ATS-V) may seem like a mismatch, but there’s a method to our madness. The ATS-V, despite never winning a comparison test, had always been one of our favorite vehicles in the segment. The new CT4-V Blackwing, simply put, makes the ATS-V better. Its 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6 gets a small output boost, now churning out 472 hp and 445 lb-ft of torque, and it’s paired with an optional quick-shifting 10-speed automatic (a six-speed manual is standard). It’s also crucially fit with the latest generation of MagneRide dampers, and well, that’s really about it. Prices start at $59,900, but the CT4-V Blackwing you see here stickers for $80,235.
With 473 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque spilling forth from its 3.0-liter turbocharged I-6, the standard M3 seems to be an even matchup for the Cadillac. Except when we drove the latest manual-equipped M4 (the two-door version of the M3) back to back with the CT4, it was no competition—the Caddy was just plain better to drive. More fun, more planted, and more capable, it made the M4 feel like a midgrade M440i. So, with an M3 Competition on hand and in the interest of making things, well, interesting, we decided the M3 Competition would take the M4’s place.
For the full story, check out this article from Motor Trend.