2014 Cadillac CTS

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Date Posted: April 8, 2014
By Zack Spencer

Cadillac takes the same winning formula from the ATS and applies it to the larger CTS

Cadillac is one of the oldest car companies, dating back to 1902; it rivals Mercedes-Benz for automotive history and innovation. Throughout the previous century Cadillac held a prominent place in the premium car market with a sense of pride of ownership that was unrivaled. Over the last ten plus years the Cadillac brand has gone through a reinvention trying to appeal to a whole new set of younger professional buyers.

Sales are up over the last year, especially after the introduction of the new, smaller ATS sedan. This car took the market by storm and it went on to win the North American Car of the year Award in 2013. The decision by Cadillac to bring to market cars that compete and beat the best that Germany has to offer was its ultimate goal. The ATS proved that they are up to the task; they hope this new, larger CTS will help solidify that point.

It is interesting to watch the changes taking place in the luxury space. I have noticed the German carmakers producing larger, softer riding cars with less edge than in past years. Cadillac on the other hand is pushing towards a more spirited drive with control, driving dynamics and power as the top selling features. The roles have almost switched.

What General Motors did to make the CTS is take the award winning ATS and stretch the platform. Then they went about controlling every piece that went into the car, especially the weight. On this front the CTS is a winner. It's the lightest car in the luxury mid-size class with a weight savings of 34kg over the last model and 173kgs lighter than the BMW 5 Series. It should be pointed out that the CTS is lighter but also a tad smaller, but this achievement by GM should not be overlooked.

What weight savings produces is a better car on many fronts. A lighter car uses less fuel and requires a smaller engine to do the work. In addition, the lighter CTS is also stronger, with less body flex for improved road holding and dynamics.

As is the trend in todays luxury market, the base CTS is fitted with a turbocharged direct injection 2.0L 4-cylinder engine. What this power plant has over the competition is power. Rated at 272hp, it has a 42hp advantage over the similarly equipped 240hp BMW 5 Series or the 220hp Audi A6. Add in the lighter platform and this engine does a wonderful job in day-to-day situations, making the car feel lively and easy to throw around. Cadillac has other engine options that crank up the power significantly depending on the buyer's tastes. The next engine in the lineup is a 3.6L V6 with 321hp, once again, an improvement over the competition. The base 4-cylinder and this 3.6L V6 can be matched to either a rear wheel drive (RWD) system or all wheel drive (AWD) but most Canadians will opt for AWD. The third power plant available is a turbocharged version of the 3.6L V6 pumping out a whopping 420hp but this car is only available in RWD, a limiting factor in a country like ours. I suspect this 420hp Vsport CTS will be very popular with American's living in sunshine States.

The styling of the CTS is a bit edgy both inside and out. From the front this bigger CTS could be confused with the smaller ATS. They both share vertical front marker LED lights that look fantastic at night, especially since most competing cars feature LED lights horizontally. This along with the chunky front spoiler, deep set headlights and prominent Cadillac emblem all look first rate. It is the back of the car that looses some of the edginess, going more for a sculpted, flowing approach compared to the ATS. The longer rear quarter panels and bigger trunk must have influenced this approach.

Inside is a unique take on a modern luxury car. Front and centre is the touch sensitive centre cluster that has sliders and touch points instead of conventional dials and switches. The driver changes settings like heat and volume by touching or sliding a finger along the surface. Just like a smartphone, there is haptic feedback (small vibration) that lets the driver know the task has been accomplished. The large screen uses the Cadillac CUE system for infotainment. The graphics are some of the best in the business and the system is very easy to use. One feature that is interesting is the motion sensor that detects a hand about to touch the screen, elimination options the driver might want to access. This is a great feature as the screen can have minimal information showing but be ready to change at the wave of a hand.

The front seats are sporty feeling and legroom is good, it is the back seat that might hold some buyers back. Compared to many other mid-sized cars, the rear seats are rather snug and should be tried before buying.

The CTS has been out for a short time and already it is winning awards just like the smaller ATS did a year before. It has been named Motor Trend 2014 Car of the Year, Car and Driver magazine placed it on their prestigious Top Ten list and Road and Track magazine awarded the CTS the best luxury sedan. Most of these awards are based on the 420hp Vsport model but the whole line is wonderful.

Starting at $50,895 and running up to $74,495 for the Vsport model, this car isn't cheap but it is doing what the import brands can do... and even more for similar money.

Power: 2.0L turbo, 3.6L V6 or 3.6L V6 turbo

Economy: 10.5L/6.6L/100km (city/highway)

Sticker price: $50,895-$74,495

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