The Cadillac CT5-V With Super Cruise Is a Future I Can Support

By automotive-mag.com 7 Min Read

On paper, it should have been a nasty drive. My sister and I were returning to New York City after family holidays in Pennsylvania. It was close to midnight after a long day of feasting. The weather was cold, and Interstate 80 was empty and dark. High clouds blotted out the moon.

The perfect recipe for a grim, tiresome journey, where boredom and fatigue lull you into a zombie state. Instead, it was one of the most enjoyable car trips I’ve ever taken, on a route that usually feels like a slog. That’s because, for almost all of the 120-mile journey from our Pennsylvania on-ramp to the mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel, Super Cruise was at the wheel.

General Motors describes Super Cruise as “the first true hands-free driving technology for compatible roads.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calls it a Level 2 “additional assistance” system, where the car handles acceleration, braking, and steering without a fixed time limit, but the driver is required to stay ready to take over. GM introduced Super Cruise in late 2017; for 2024, it’s available as an option on every Cadillac sedan and most utility models, and standard on Escalade.

You’re not supposed to use Super Cruise in inclement weather, and you can’t goof off while it’s engaged – gaze monitors flash a warning if you look away from the road for more than a brief moment, and the system will shut down entirely if you don’t snap to attention. That’ll stop the YouTuber antics we saw when Tesla’s “full self-driving” arrived. If, like me, you’re the kind of passenger who runs a constant silent critique of everyone’s driving, you won’t have trouble keeping Super Cruise engaged.

I’ve sampled Super Cruise before in limited spurts, but this was my first time using it in its intended environment: A long, dull interstate drive. It performed flawlessly. Coming up on a slower vehicle, it would automatically signal, change into the passing lane, and return to the right lane with ample room. Whenever we got boxed in by slower-moving vehicles, the car would gently drop its speed, wait for a passing opportunity, and swap lanes with the grace of a veteran chauffeur. Super Cruise isn’t the only Level 2 system out there, but in my experience, it’s the smoothest. You could sip hot tea with Super Cruise engaged and never spill a drop.

Cadillac CT5-V Super Cruise Review

Super Cruise isn’t the only Level 2 system out there, but in my experience, it’s the smoothest.

There’s a complex interchange on my return route to NYC where I380 splices into I80. An off-ramp peels away westbound traffic, leaving eastbound drivers to tumble down an obstructed-view left curve that funnels into a single lane right at its apex. Every Level 2 system I’ve driven here goes pinwheel for this half-mile. Not that humans do much better: I’ve watched drivers flub this junction in nearly every conceivable way. But Super Cruise skated right through, coasting down to a safe cornering speed and nudging into the correct lane well before the merge point.

My Super Cruise journey was as pleasant as a scenic train ride. Rather than feeling like a burden, the eye-monitoring system encouraged me to enjoy a passenger’s perspective on a route where I’m almost always the driver. It was two hours of easy conversation, the roll of scenery working like a hot shower to keep my mind pleasantly percolating. I dimmed the dashboard, and the white accent lighting from the door panels and footwells felt like soft moonlight. It was spooky and sweet, like a benevolent haunted house where ghosts take your coat and fix you a drink.

Cadillac CT5-V Super Cruise Review

Part of the joy of Super Cruise was the contrast of this particular car. When you’re steering for yourself, the 2024 Cadillac CT5-V is an excellent sports sedan. With the V package, you get Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension and Performance Traction Management, technology that morphs this Alpha-platform machine from a plush, hushed luxury car to a flat-cornering devourer of back roads.

Yes, the top-dog CT5-V Blackwing and its supercharged 6.2-liter engine will rearrange your face on a hard launch. Yes, that car is likely to be the world’s last V8 sedan available with a six-speed manual transmission. But the non-Blackwing CT5-V is no slouch. It’s got the same chassis and adaptive suspension as the big boy, the same adjustability of steering, damping, and brake-by-wire pedal feel.

My test vehicle was equipped with all-wheel drive, which adds a smidge of weight and eliminates the temptation of tire-shredding oversteer that’s ever–present in the 668-horsepower top dog. But without that deep-breathing LT4 under the hood, the non-Wing gives you the chance to appreciate the balance, refinement, and poise of the CT5’s chassis.

Cadillac CT5-V Super Cruise Review

When you’re steering for yourself, the 2024 Cadillac CT5-V is an excellent sports sedan.

On the days preceding my Super Cruise highway commute, I took the CT5-V on my favorite Pennsylvania back-roads. These are fast, flowing two-lanes that dance cheek-to-cheek with the Appalachian Mountains, with an exhilarating sprinkle of potholes and frost heaves. The recipe here is simple: Dial the 360-hp V6, the 10-speed automatic transmission, the multi-mode exhaust, and the steering and brake-pedal feel to their most aggressive modes. Leave the suspension damping at full-soft. Thus fettled, the CT5-V became an impressively competent back-road bomber.

I put nearly a hundred miles on the CT5-V in this manner, running down deer-path roads and listening to the exhaust rifle-crack on full-throttle upshifts and burble on overrun. Then, that evening, I pushed all the buttons to engage Jetsons mode and let the miles whiz by.

Car enthusiasts burn unending hours debating the “perfect two-car garage,” the idea being that no one vehicle can fully encompass everything a gearhead wants. With Super Cruise, the CT5-V offers a compelling counter-argument: The one car that can handle it all.

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