The focus points for the all-new 2014 Cadillac CTS are its twin-turbo V6 engine and 8-speed transmission, both firsts for the domestic luxury brand. More importantly, they are the two most definable changes for this new generation midsize luxury sedan. It outputs 420 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque respectively and has allowed the CTS Vsport to clock an 8:14.10 lap time at Germany’s world-famous Nürburgring. Not bad at all for a gentlemen driver’s car.
Launched with Cadillac’s “Art and Science” design theme, which consists of very sharp and angular lines and shapes, the CTS is the brand’s core product. With sales up 30% from last year, it has benefitted from the ATS since that entry-level Cadillac has attracted new buyers into the family. With the new CTS, Cadillac is playing in a very competitive league along with the likes of the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6. Germans are tough to compete with because their vehicles present everything from style and technology to engineering and refinement in one package. Well, Caddy’s new CTS found no problem challenging the leaders of the pack and is why the Detroit manufacturer makes bold statements with runs on German home turf tracks.
Mindful changes with the third generation 2014 models include a 5” longer body, a lower center of gravity, an over 200-pound weight reduction, and a stiffer chassis. For example, all four doors are made from aluminum to help reduce the CTS’ overall weight. Cadillac says the new mantra for the CTS is longer, leaner, and lower. During a recent test drive in Santa Barbara, California, we can definitely vouch for the sports sedan’s new figure and performance attributes. The design is cleaner and more conventional with fewer sharp edges, but stands astute with a powerful and rounder Galvano satin chrome grille integrated between the aggressive chin spoiler and multi-creased hood.
Cadillac provides three engines for the standard Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD) CTS which have been moved forward to balance out weight distribution at 50/50, very typical of performance cars. All-Wheel Drive (AWD) is optional on any of the powertrain variants and is a key attribute for those living in states with inclement weather conditions. The smallest engine is the 2-liter turbo 4-cylinder with a respectable 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Then there is the popular 3.6-liter V6 with 321 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. I first drove this model paired with the 6-speed transmission which includes three modes to customize the drive experience: Tour, Sport, and Snow/Ice. I kept it in Tour mode since the objective was to achieve daily comfortable driving around town and on the highway. This is not the engine for executives continuously on the go and pressed for time. Yet, it felt engaged and acceleration was adequate. Steering was centered and direct and braking distances short, due in part to the CTS’ Brembo brake technology. Save your racecar urges for the CTS Vsport which is Cadillac’s most powerful V6 to date. With success from the company’s V-Series vehicles, they had no problem assembling a sporty CTS mixed with all the ingredients of a winner. The twin turbo, 3.6-liter V6 is partnered with the 8-speed automatic and also features the same aforementioned drive modes. With 420 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque, this is the formula for “Sport” mode all day! Cadillac started with the base 3.6-liter and replaced 90% of its parts to achieve the company’s finest engine yet. The Vsport also gives you Track mode to hold gears and an electric slip differential for optimal performance. Along with Magnetic Ride Control, which helps the vehicle adjust to the patterns of the road in real time, the CTS Vsport is a true testament to a 4-door sports car. The base V6 offers 19 city and 29 highway mpg while the twin turbo provides 17 city and 25 highway mpg.
The interior of the CTS welcomes a brave new world for Cadillac. The focus was a multi-contoured cabin with varying materials to create the elegant theme. Leather, brushed aluminum, and woods commingle to form a sexy and inviting cabin. Prospects can decipher between 8 unique atmospheres. Some vehicles are designed with sporty themes and others instill luxury environments. Cadillac used smart and sophisticated materials to ascertain their customers felt right at home.
One of the sedan’s top innovations is CUE (Cadillac User Experience) which debuted on the 2013 XTS. The 8” touchscreen multi-media interface incorporates OnStar with Automatic Crash Response, Navigation, weather reports, audio, Bluetooth, climate control, three USB ports, and my favorite, Pandora Internet radio. The weather button is detailed and precise and lists temperature hourly, daily or by each 36-hour period just as your Weather Channel phone app does. For your audio pleasure, either the standard 11-speaker Bose system or the optional ($905) 13-speaker Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound system are offered. Other key options include the $1,250 UltraView Sunroof and a pair of 18” polished or painted rims with all-season run-flats for either $1,550 or $2,000.
And like its German counterparts, the American CTS provides more technology by way of the Driver Awareness Package inclusive of a Safety Alert Seat which vibrates when the vehicle steers out of its lane. The seat actually feels like an impromptu massage when it vibrates on your thighs. Cameras and radar sensors work together to deliver this intelligent safety service that also highlights Forward Collision Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning System, Rear Vision Camera, Rainsense automatic wipers, and IntelliBeam headlamps. That’s not all! The 2014 CTS gives you 10 standard bags, Automatic Parking Assist (self steers into a parking space), and a Reconfigurable Gauge Cluster operating from the 12.3” LCD screen. Want more? Supplement your CTS with the Driver Assist Package to enhance safety performance with Automatic Collision Preparation and Full-speed Adaptive Cruise Control.
Pricing starts at $51,925 for the 2014 CTS 2.0-liter Luxury Model, $54,625 for the 3.6-liter Luxury Model and $59,995 for the Vsport. Cadillac is confident with their re-engineered performance luxury sedan and excited about the possibilities of challenging the segment’s top contenders competitively.
Word by Kimatni D. Rawlins