Expectations have reached stratospheric heights for the 2020 Cadillac CT4-V and 2020 Cadillac CT5-V, and for good reason: Their ATS-V and CTS-V predecessors were potent sports sedans with gobs of power and handling and braking to match. Now the new sedans have been revealed, and they’re not what we expected. They each lose two cylinders compared with the other vehicles, and on paper, they don’t look as capable. But we do have hope that these won’t be the end-all, be-all performance Cadillacs.

First, let’s look at the cars. The CT4-V will be the base of the V brand, and it’s our first look at the small luxury sedan. It has a roofline and window treatment more like past Cadillacs, eschewing the C-pillar garnish of the CT5. It also naturally gets dark trim and headlights, a unique spoiler and quad tailpipes to distinguish it as a V. Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder that is based on the engine in the new Chevy Silverado. It makes 320 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, a far cry from the ATS-V’s 464 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque.

Power goes through a 10-speed automatic transmission only. Both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available. It gets a mechanical limited-slip differential whereas the ATS-V had an electronically controlled limited-slip differential a la Camaro ZL1. The brakes have four-piston calipers at each corner versus six-piston front units and four-piston rear units on the ATS-V, and the rotors are smaller. Magnetic Ride Control remains standard on the rear-drive version, but the all-wheel-driver version sticks with conventional shocks. The new CT4-V is about 200 pounds lighter than the ATS-V, though, and it has 50/50 weight distribution. Additionally, both the CT4-V and the CT5-V have Super Cruise available as an option.

Moving on to the CT5-V, it looks like a regular CT5 but with dark trim and lights, quad tailpipes and a unique rear diffuser. Instead of the CTS-V’s 640-horsepower supercharged V8, the CT5-V uses a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 making 355 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. Changes made to the 3.0 for the CT5-V include a new intake system and new exhaust, and it revs higher too. Like the CT4-V, it comes with a 10-speed automatic and either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. It does get the electronically controlled limited-slip differential.

The CT5-V also gets the latest Magnetic Ride Control suspension system in all versions. The brakes switch to Brembo four-piston units at all four corners. The old CTS-V had six-piston brakes up front and four-piston rear brakes, both with larger rotors than the CT5-V. But like the CT4-V, the CT5-V is lighter than its predecessor. In this case, it’s lighter by about 170 pounds.

Some of this seems a little disappointing, but there is good news. Cadillac made it clear that there are more V variants coming, and it sounds as though harder-core versions of these sedans are also coming, but with different, unknown nomenclature. These new V cars are designed to be less hardcore for a broader buyer set. And according to a Cadillac representative, the slightly softer image will make it easier to apply the brand to its crossovers. So to sum up, the new V is a little more like the old V-Sport. It’s sporty, but not ultra-hardcore. But there may still be something hardcore for later.

If these new V models appeal to you, they will go on sale this year. We’ll also get a look at the regular versions of the CT4 in the next couple of months. Pricing has yet to be announced for either of the V models.

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