By David Colman
Hypes: Vastly Improved Appearance, Superbly Comfortable
Gripes: Rear Wiper Needed
With the introduction of this second generation CTS, Cadillac has well and truly joined the ranks of the world’s elite producers of sports sedans. No more BMW M5 envy, no Audi S5 shortfall, no E Class Mercedes misgivings, the completely new CTS has hurdled the competition, and managed to do so for less money. V8 devotees can still buy the older style CTS-V this year, but if you’re after a “V” specification four door sedan, Cadillac offers only this twin turbocharged, 3.6 liter V6. Of course, compared to the 556hp supercharged V8 of the carryover CTS-V models, the 420hp V6 in the “CTS VSport” sedan may seem undernourished. On paper, that is. But out in the real world, the TT V6, coupled to a new 8 speed automatic transmission (unavailable in the CTS-V), is anything but feeble. First and best, when you flatten the accelerator, this sizeable luxury Pullman lunges forward, emitting an ethereal banshee wail from its spooled turbochargers. If you’ve selected manual shift mode by depressing the “M” button atop the stick shift lever, you can chose any appropriate gear ratio by clicking the large left steering wheel mounted magnesium paddle for down shifts or the matching right flipper for up shifts. The Cadillac transmission complies instantaneously, and does so while blipping the motor to match engine rpm to gear ratio choice on down shifts. The system is faultless save the need for a larger, centrally located gear indicator display in the driver information center.
Cadillac stylists have substantially improved the appearance of the new CTS compared to its predecessor. Gone are the original’s tired Origami folds, which looked revolutionary at introduction but shopworn today. The clean sheet design of the new sedan offers softer contours all around, with sweeping character lines defining the Cad’s newly elegant structure. Inside the spacious greenhouse, the look is all business, with black the predominant shade. Cadillac’s CUE (“Cadillac User Experience”) dash face is obsidian, slashes of carbon fiber grace the dash and door panels, and black vertically ribbed “performance” seats complete the Johnny Cash look. The medley works remarkably well at reducing unwanted reflections while providing all the right props for sporting driving. For example, your left foot will find itself firmly braced against an aluminum dead pedal that is rubber ribbed for traction. The center console contains a large, easily accessible “mode” button that allows you to select the appropriate combination of shock absorber resilience provided by GM’s superb magnetic ride control system As soon as you tap the mode button, a screen appears, asking you to select “Tour, Sport. Track, or Snow” setting. We chose “Tour” for most of our freeway jaunts, but elected “Track” when bashing back roads. And bash this brash Cad does well, with its ground hugging suspension eating bumps while its fat 275/35R18 Pirelli P Zero run flats never miss a chance to grab an apex. Cadillac is certainly not exaggerating the VSport’s capabilities by offering a “Track” setting for your ultimate driving enjoyment. Despite its sizeable girth and luxury fitments, the CTS VSport is perfectly suited to tackling Laguna Seca, or Sonoma Raceway. In fact, Cadillac officially acknowledges this benefit by outlining measures to improve the car’s track performance in the Owner’s Manual! For example, you are directed to improve brake cooling by removing the front brake splash shield and front tire deflector, and reminded that “removing the shield will require the suspension bushings visible to the brake disc be protected with insulated thermal wrapping.” Although GM recommends that you “See the Warranty Manual before using the vehicle for competitive driving,” I couldn’t find any warranty manual reference to such activity. Still, the very idea of Cadillac encouraging its owners to enjoy maximum performance potential of the VSport is revolutionary and very refreshing.
Even without the ultra powerful V8 that still motivates the ground shattering CTS-V, the VSport Cadillac is a superior vehicle in every way compared to its older sibling. The fact that you can now buy an American designed and constructed sports sedan that is actually superior to the stellar offerings from Germany is astounding. the fact that it also costs less than the Bavarian competition is even better yet.
2014 Cadillac CTS 3.6L TT VSport Premium
- Engine: 3.6 Liter Twin Turbocharged V6
- Horsepower: 420hp
- Torque: 430 lb.-ft.
- Fuel Consumption: 16 MPG City/24 MPG Highway
- Price as Tested: $70,990
- Star Rating: 10 out of 10 Stars