2014 Cadillac CTS
Date Posted: January 19, 2014
By Zack Spencer
Cadillac hopes they have a sedan capable of taking on the BMW 5 Series
There are several trends in the auto industry that show little sign of waning. One is the trend towards more luxury or premium cars. As baby boomers age, they have earner the nicer things in life and the offspring of baby boomers are getting used to the finer things in life, so more and more automakers are moving upscale. The Europeans do luxury and performance better than most and the Japanese luxury brands have been putting in their time to becoming a real force. But long before the Japanese, there have always been the American luxury brands, with many firsts in features and technology. Established in 1902, Cadillac is one of the oldest, along with Mercedes-Benz, and continues to be General Motor's flagship in terms of refinement and technology. And Cadillac is undergoing a reemergence, as a legitimate brand, with sales up by 41% in Canada over past last year. This is thanks in part to the award winning ATS sedan and refreshed XRS crossover and hopefully this new mid-sized CTS.
The smaller Cadillac ATS was released a year ago and went on to win the North American Car of the Year award. General Motors has taken that platform and elongated it to produce the lightest mid-sized car in its class. A full 173kg lighter than the BMW 5-Series it competes against and 34kg lighter than the outgoing car. In fact, every item that went into this car was measured and weighed to make sure the final goal was reached. A lighter car, made of high tensile steel is stiffer, safer, handles better and above all is more efficient. What Cadillac didn't change was the edgy design language they have become known for. The LED accent lights are especially attractive at night and run vertical compared to most car horizontal approach. The longer and lower stance of the CTS makes it look athletic, yet elegant. The one weak area is the back. It lacks the same visual punch as the impressive front grille and headlamps.
At the Canadian CTS launch held in Ontario there was much made of BMW and their 5-Series. This car is often held as the benchmark in terms of handling and luxury, so many of the comparisons used by GM were against the 5-Series. Yes the new CTS is lighter than the BMW but it is a bit smaller inside. Not as wide and the back seat is a bit shorter. Front seat passengers are treated to plenty of room and a view onto the dash is impressive. This is the same design used in the ATS and XRS. The centre console has a touch-screen system called CUE, which has rich colours and striking graphics. The heat, volume and a few other controls are all touch sensitive, meaning they have no dials or switches. This is much like a smartphone, plus there is haptic feedback. The problem with this design is it shows fingerprints and dust against the shinny black plastic. The steering wheel too has black plastic buttons that look good but feel less than luxurious.
With a lighter car comes a better performing car but the heart of any luxury, performance car is a solid engine. On this front Cadillac offers three options and all three have more power than the closest competitors. The first is the same 2.0L turbocharged engine used the ATS. With 272hp it is well above the 240hp offered in the BMW 528i. The carryover engine is the direct injection 3.6L V6 with 321hp, again more then the 300hp in the 535i. The top of range motor, for now, is the Vsport model with a twin turbocharged version of the 3.6L engine putting out 420hp. You guessed it, more power then the 400hp found in the V8 550i. The Vsport is only sold as a rear wheel drive car (RWD) where all the others are available with all wheel drive (AWD). The catch is that AWD models come with an 8-speed automatic transmission but the AWD versions are fitted with a 6-speed unit. (Lexus does this with there IS cars too.) The steering offers good feedback to the driver and the suspension is smooth, yet lively, and has a nearly perfect 50/50 weight distribution. When a CTS is ordered with 18 or 19-inch wheels it is equipped with the advanced magnetic ride control for improved ride and handling.
The price of the CTS ranges from about $51,000 for the base model to $66,000 for the top premium trim level. The Vsport, high performance model is priced at almost $75,000. As you can see a Cadillac CTS is not an inexpensive car but it offers a lot of features like standard heated and vented leather seats, Bose stereo and push button start even on the base model. Compared to some of the other mid-sized luxury sedans like the Mercedes E-Class or BMW 5-Series, this new CTS is less expensive, plus it is a worthy car for any driving enthusiast. Cadillac has a long and storied past. Sure it has had bumps along the way, but the attention to detail and refinement is paying off. Cadillac is winning awards, holding their value in the resale market, and features above average reliability. Sales are on the uptick and this new CTS will certainly help.
Power: 2.0L 4-cylinder with 155hp 3.6L V6 with 321hp or Turbo 3.6L with 420hp
Fill-up: 10.5L/6.6L/100km (city/highway 2.0L turbo)
Sticker price: $$50,895-$74,495