2015 CTS New Car Test Drive
Chalk up another home run for Cadillac. On the heels of its award-winning compact sedan, the third-generation midsize Cadillac CTS sedan debuts larger, leaner and ready to take on longstanding leaders in the luxury midsize category.
While the last generation Cadillac CTS was nothing to shake a stick at (it broke the record for a production sedan on Germany's famous Nurburging racetrack when it debuted), it was an awkward 'tweener. Too big to be compact, yet too small to be midsize, the outgoing CTS straddled the line drawn by other luxury brands. With the introduction of the compact Cadillac ATS, Cadillac has more precisely matched the BMW 3 Series class, allowing it to redesign the CTS as a larger car. As a result, the 2014 Cadillac CTS has been moved squarely into the premium midsize category, putting it in direct competition with the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
The 2014 CTS sedan is 4.2 inches longer than the previous-generation (2008-2013) models, with a wheelbase that's stretched 1.2 inches. The 2014 CTS also sits 0.8 inch lower. The new design bears a family resemblance to the compact ATS and full-size XTS sedan. While still based on Cadillac's Art and Science design language, the once-radical styling of the CTS has been softened, while still keeping Cadillac's signature vertical lines and sharp creases. The grille is wider, with vertical stripes of LED lights that run the length of the headlamps, and continue below down the foglamp housings.
A choice of engines is available for the new CTS. Standard is a peppy and efficient 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, slightly more than the previous gen's naturally aspirated 3.0-liter V6. Fuel economy for the 2014 CTS with 2.0-liter turbo is an EPA-estimated 20/30 mpg City/Highway, 19/28 mpg City/Highway with optional all-wheel drive.
Optional is an updated version of the 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V6, good for an impressive 321 hp and 275 lb.-ft., with an EPA-estimated 19/29 mpg on RWD models and 18/26 mpg City/Highway with AWD.
Both engines are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission; enthusiasts who like to row through the gears may be dismayed to learn that Cadillac axed the 6-speed manual available on the previous version.
The CTS VSport features a new twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 that cranks out 420 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. It's paired to an all-new 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters for a broader power band and increased fuel economy. Cadillac says the CTS VSport will dash from 0-60 mph in just 4.6 seconds. Fuel economy is predictably lower, with an EPA-estimated 17/25 mpg City/Highway. CTS VSport models are rear-wheel drive only.
Based on the same rear-wheel-drive platform as the compact Cadillac ATS, the new CTS uses many of the same weight saving technologies, like extensive use of aluminum in the chassis and body. The result is the lightest CTS to date; Cadillac says the base model has a curb weight of 3,616 pounds, nearly 200 pounds lighter than the BMW 528i. Use of lighter materials in the back, combined with a heavier rear steel suspension, help the CTS to achieve a near-50/50 weight distribution.
For the first time, GM's magnetic ride control suspension is optional on all CTS models. The CTS is also the first Cadillac to use Automatic Parking Assist, GM's automated parallel parking system. New safety features include automatic safety belt tightening, which continuously adjusts the seat belt during driving. A plethora of electronic safety systems are also available, including adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, side blind zone alert and panic brake assist.
Though its design might not appeal to everyone, the 2014 Cadillac CTS is as good as any German luxury sedan when it comes to performance and handling, and outshines many with its impeccable interior materials and finishes. With many technology and comfort features coming standard, the CTS is also an excellent value for the money when compared to others in its class.
While the CTS sedan (including Vsport) is all-new for the 2014 model year, the 2014 Cadillac CTS-V with 6.2-liter V8, the 2014 CTS Coupe, and the 2014 CTS Sport Wagon are all still based on the previous-generation platform, as are the CTS-V versions of the coupe and wagon. The CTS Coupe and Sport Wagon debuted as 2011 models and have not changed much since then. The CTS-V sedan was launched as a 2009 and remains largely unchanged.
The 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan is available with a choice of three engines, each with several trims. Rear-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is available.
CTS ($45,100) comes standard with the 2.0-liter turborcharged four-cylinder engine and is available with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive ($47,100). Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, leatherette (vinyl) upholstery, 8-way power front seats with 4-way power lumbar and 4-way manually adjustable head restraints, driver memory, a leather-wrapped manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with multifunction controls, keyless ignition/entry, adaptive remote start, cruise control, universal home remote, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio connectivity, the Cadillac CUE infotainment system with 8-inch color touchscreen display, a 11-speaker Bose premium audio system with active noise cancellation, HD radio, satellite radio capability with a three-month included subscription, rear parking assist, heated and power adjustable outside mirrors with turn signal indicators and 17-inch painted aluminum wheels with run-flat tires. An optional leather seating package ($3,500) includes leather upholstery, power steering column, heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, split-folding rear seat, single in-dash CD player and additional ambient lighting.
CTS Luxury trims can be had with the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with rear-wheel drive ($51,000) or all-wheel drive ($53,000), or with the more powerful 3.6-liter V6 with rear-wheel drive ($53,700) or all-wheel drive ($55,700). In addition to the standard features, CTS Luxury includes leather upholstery, adaptive HID headlamps, a Driver Awareness Package with blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and forward collision alert, as well as different 17-inch wheels. Options for the Luxury model include Cadillac's adaptive magnetic ride control suspension system with 18-inch painted ($1,550) or polished ($2,000) wheels and a panoramic sunroof ($1,250).
Navigation with an upgraded Bose audio system ($905) is optional on both standard and Luxury trims.
CTS Performance models come with the same choice of 2.0-liter turbocharged engines with RWD ($57,400) or AWD ($59,400), or with the 3.6-liter V6 and RWD ($60,100) or AWD ($62,100). In addition to everything above, CTS Performance upgrades with tri-zone automatic climate control, heated rear seats, navigation, a 110-volt power outlet, automated parallel parking assist, a head-up display and additional ambient lighting. Options for Performance models include 20-way-adjustable sport seat package ($1,625) with sport pedals and a reconfigurable gauge cluster. An optional Driver Assistance package ($2,540) adds active safety features including full-speed adaptive cruise control (which can bring the car automatically to a stop in case of emergency), front and rear automatic braking and automatic collision-preparation braking with automatic seatbelt tightening.
CTS Premium trim with the 2.0-liter turbo ($61,800) with AWD ($63,800) as well as the 3.6-liter V6 with RWD ($64,500) or AWD ($66,500) includes all of the Performance equipment plus additional leather trim, the Driver Assistance package, the reconfigurable instrument cluster and an advanced security system.
CTS VSport models ($59,070) are powered exclusively by a 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6. Standard features include those found on the CTS Performance trim plus a sport suspension, electronic limited-slip rear differential, selectable driving modes, sport-tuned steering and unique 18-inch wheels with high-performance summer tires. The CTS VSport Premium ($69,070) adds features found on the Performance trim and the Driver Assistance Package. Optional on CTS VSport models is an upgraded high-performance brake pad ($100).
Safety features standard on all models include active front head restraints, driver front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags, traction control, stability control, anti-lock brakes and GM's OnStar roadside assistance and rash notification with one-year included subscription. Optional active safety features are available in the Driver Assistance package. All-wheel drive can enhance handling stability in slippery conditions.