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Review: 2014 Cadillac CTS 3.6L TT VSport Premium

Thursday May 22nd, 2014 at 9:55 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

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

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Review: 2013 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon

Friday October 11th, 2013 at 8:1010 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Pavement Ripper, Stealth Looks, Bargain Price
Gripes: No Shift Paddles, Hard & Flat Seats

This is one bad rad Cad. It’s the bad boy of all station wagons thanks to a supercharged V-8 making 556hp and 551lb.-ft. of torque. It’s rad because it resembles nothing else on this planet, a black banana that looks wilder than any Kustom Kruiser George Barris ever conceived. But because it’s a Cad, you can pretend that you’re driving the darling car of the senior set. After all, it’s practical, luxurious, ultra comfy, and big enough to carry everyone’s golf bag. Only your right foot and your insurance agent will know better.

If any car ever made an open and shut case for traction control, it’s this CTS-V. The factory delivers the wagon with a bevy of handling nannies including Stabilitrak Directional Control with Traction Control (TC). In keeping with General Motors’ thoughtful high performance philosophy, you can delete these aids by pressing the steering wheel mounted TC button for about 8 seconds. Do this at your peril. Although the CTS-V is equipped with commendably wide Michelin Pilot Sport tires (255/40ZR-19 f., 285/35ZR-19 r.), they are no match for the awesome torque of this motor when you tromp the throttle with TC disabled. Do so and you can burn rubber from a standstill through an entire quarter mile. If you sensibly leave TC engaged for your acceleration test, the Wagon will bullet through the standing start quarter mile in 12.7 seconds at 111mph without so much as a squeal of protest from the Michelins.

The $63,215 base price of the CTS-V Wagon makes it a sensational bargain. For comparable performance in a rear wheel drive luxury ride, you’d be spending $89,900 for a BMW M5 sedan, $138,650 for a Porsche Panamera Turbo, or $140,000 for a Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG sedan. None of these companies offer wagon versions of their musclecars. A handful of reasonably priced options enhance the V Wagon’s other worldly looks. Black Diamond Tricoat paint is a spectacular addition to the invoice at just $995 extra. Confetti-sized, clear-coated metallic particles juice up the looks of a Caddy that would otherwise look at home leading a funeral procession. Black-out grill trim ($870) and Satin Graphite alloys ($800) augment the V’s Punk Goth visage. Yellow painted Brembo brake calipers ($595) add just the right note of visual relief and levity to the otherwise monochromatic exterior.

If you can work past the exorbitant, $2,600 Gas Guzzler Tax appended to the sticker, and cope with the onus of a 14 MPG overall fuel consumption rating, the V Wagon is otherwise a most practical conveyance for large families. The interior space is well arranged to transport 5 adults in comfort, with enough wagon space left in back to store baggage for an overnight trip for the group. The leather-bolstered front seats feature “sueded” inserts on the seating surfaces, and include standard 3-temp level heating. But the seats don’t offer enough lateral support to retain you when the road gets twisty. Another chink in the armor is the lack of true paddleshifts to control the V’s 6-speed automatic gearbox. Cadillac simply provides a pair of small buttons on the backside of the steering wheel spokes to effect upshifts and downshifts. You can circumvent the lack of paddles by using the console-mounted bump stick to effect gear changes.

The CTS-V Wagon is unquestionably the most brilliant version of the CTS range Cadillac has yet devised. Capable of functioning as an under-the radar family bus, this sleek stealth missile also stands ready to perform the most heroic musclecar feats without batting a wiper. Since this unique package will never become a mass market commodity, there’s added incentive in buying one now for long term investment potential.

2013 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon

  • Engine: All Aluminum Supercharged OHV V-8
  • Horsepower: 556 @ 6,100rpm
  • Torque: 551lb.-ft. @ 3,800rpm
  • Fuel Consumption: 12 MPG City/ 18 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $71,120
  • Star Rating: 10 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T Premium Collection

Monday October 7th, 2013 at 8:1010 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Nuburgring Handling Prowess, Nicely Tailored
Gripes: Olympic Seat Belt Pull Effort, No Rear Wiper, Battery Buried in Trunk

It isn’t everyday you drive a car with a title longer than a British Count. But Cadillac has managed to append no less than 4 qualifiers to its newest offspring, the diminutive ATS 4-door sedan. “2.0T” refers to the fact that this is the first Caddy since the unlamented Cimarron to rely on just 4 cylinders for motivation, Granted, this is an impertinently perky foursome, depending on direct injection and a turbo to churn out 272hp. Those horses are wisely allocated by an ultra-responsive 6-speed automatic transmission featuring “Performance Algorithm Tapshifts” to control gear choice and rpm range. The “Premium Collection” descriptor stems from the handcrafted, cut and sewn interior leather seating surfaces, and the delicate contrasting stitching highlighting most dash and door panel seams. Everywhere you look, the ATS posits this question: why buy a BMW 3 or Audi A4 when you can select this premium small Cadillac instead?

This is a very tough market niche to crack, one which the German makes have owned for years now. Although Cadillac’s ATS isn’t quite on par with the leaders, it’s close enough to merit a look. It’s 8 inches longer than BMW’s 3, 5 inches longer than Audi’s A4. Like the BMW, the weight distribution of the ATS is perfectly split between front and rear axles at 50/50. And like the Audi A4, the ATS is available with all-wheel-drive. In fact, Cadillac offers a seemingly inexhaustible variety of ATS configurations. The base model with rear-wheel-drive, normally aspirated, 2.5 liter four carries an MSRP of $33,095. In AWD form, base cost jumps to $36,900. The rear-wheel-drive turbo ATS “Premium” I drove carries an MSRP of $44,895. The priciest version is the 3.6 liter, V-6 AWD Premium model which starts at $47,795. Cadillac offers an amazing 13 variants of the ATS, with plenty of options for each. Our test car priced out at a whopping $50,955, once these additions were added: the “Driver Assist Package” ($3,220) which you can definitely live without, “Crystal Red Tintcoat” ($995), “Polished Aluminum 18 Inch Wheels” ($850) and “Cold Weather Package” ($600).

Because Cadillac realizes that sports sedan customers hold handling and agility sacrosanct, they have tailored ATS suspension accordingly. There’s absolutely no mush in this lithe and athletic sedan, which in Premium Collection trim, boasts GM’s prized FE3 Suspension Package. From the contact patches of the sizeable (225/40R18 front and 255/35R18 rear) Bridgestone RE050A tires, through the Corvette-derived MR (magneto-rheological) shocks, the ATS generates enormous grip in corners. The finely calibrated ZF “Premium Electric Variable Steering” contributes to unalloyed confidence in handling precision. The automatic gearbox is perfectly configured for manual control, with elephant ear magnesium paddles set tight to the steering wheel for micro management when the floor console stick is positioned in manual mode. The turbo boost of the 2 liter engine, redlined at 6,400rpm, is always adequate to acceleration needs, especially when you pre-select the appropriate gear set. Unlike the latest 3 from BMW, there’s no annoying automatic start/stop device to annoy you at traffic lights. And the Caddy still manages to post a respectable 24MPG in combined city/highway driving.

The downfall of the ATS is its distressing Cadillac User Entertainment (CUE) system, which defies logic and refuses to cooperate with your commands. Apparently, someone in charge of GM dashboard design has decreed that knobs are passé. In their stead, a series of ill-defined digital control bars are arrayed to oversee cabin climate, fan operation and radio volume. These bars are supposed to offer haptic feedback when operated, but the feedback is more hapless than haptic. It takes forever to bridge the digital gulf from mute to loud or low to high fan, and all that while you’re taking your eyes off the road to accomplish what would be instant with a knob. CUE’s faceplate looks just like your cell phone’s. Only you won’t be bumping into other people when you use it, you’ll be bumping into other cars.

Other than that singular drawback, the ATS is a viable effort from Cadillac to penetrate the small sports sedan category. With the deletion of CUE and the addition of a few good knobs, this Cadillac could easily manage to breech the existing German hegemony.

2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T Premium Collection

  • Engine: 2.0 liter inline 4, Direct Injection, Turbocharged
  • Horsepower: 272hp
  • Torque: N/A
  • Fuel Consumption: 21 MPG City/31 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $51,850
  • Star Rating: 8 out of 10 Stars

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2012 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe Review

Thursday March 22nd, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

For: Can-Am car for the street
Against: Frequent gas buyer miles

Last Summer I was treated to a hot lap around Infineon Raceway’s 2.2 mile IndyCar short course in the works-prepared Cadillac CTS-V competing in SCCA’s World Challenge series. Driven by top GM racing pilot Andy Pilgrim, the CTS-V left an indelible impression on me of noise, heat and prodigious speed. So it was with whetted anticipation that I took delivery of a 2012 CTS-V for a one week test drive. Even that searingly hot lap around Infineon failed to prepare me for the boundless performance of this eminently streetable hot rod.

Under the hood, the bad Cad shares a detuned and downsized version of the motor used in the ultimate Corvette, the ZR1. In the case of the CTS-V, you get 6.2 liters of supercharged V8 good for 556 horsepower and 551 lb.-ft. of torque. You can order your V with either the 6-speed manual Tremec TR6060 gearbox, or the GM Hydra-Matic 6190, which also provides 6 speeds, plus steering wheel shift controls. Our test car’s Tremec manual operated flawlessly, with nicely spring loaded gates to guide you from slot to slot without missing a shift. With this much torque, you could probably get away with a 2 speed transmission, but the 6-speed manual is so rewarding to shift that you’ll find yourself chasing gears just for pleasure. Equally rewarding is listening to the sound of the powder keg V8 snorting its way through the rev range.

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2012 Cadillac SRX Review

Monday January 23rd, 2012 at 4:11 PM
Posted by: aquadog

 Intro Video by Drive Time Review

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By David Coleman

Model Tested: 2012 Cadillac SRX AWD Premium Collection

  • Engine: 3.6 liter SIDI V6
  • Horsepower: 308 at 6,800rpm
  • Torque: 265 lb.-ft. at 2,400rpm
  • Fuel Consumption: 16 MPG City/23 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $51,550

For:

  • Value
  • Stealth Looks
  • Standard Luxury Features
  • New V6 is powerful and efficient

Against:

  • Owner’s Manual Printed on Newsprint
  • Poor Rear Visibility
  • Difficult Radio Tuning Procedure

Read the rest of this entry »

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Table of Contents – Editorial Car Reviews, Feature Articles

Tuesday October 11th, 2011 at 2:1010 PM
Posted by: Derek

CarReview_Contents_header

Below is a comprehensive list of all the Expert Car Reviews and feature articles published on CarReview.com [updated 10/11/2011]:

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Pebble Beach Concours – Cadillac Ciel Concept

Saturday August 20th, 2011 at 12:88 PM
Posted by: Derek

Cadillac Ciel Concept

Cadillac unveiled the Ciel Concept at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance held in Carmel, CA. Using the French word for sky, the Ciel (pronounced C-L) is an open-air, touring concept inspired by the natural beauty of scenic California coast.

The large touring chassis of Ciel explores themes driving Cadillac’s explorations into range-topping flagship luxury. It is powered by a twin-turbocharged version of the 3.6-liter Direct Injection V-6 engine, paired with a hybrid system using lithium-ion battery technology.

Read the rest of this entry »

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2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum Review

Monday August 8th, 2011 at 10:88 AM
Posted by: mtan

2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV

Pros:

  • Luxury look and feel – Platinum Edition Tehama Aniline and Nuance luxury leather seating treatment
  • Entertainment – four DVD screens accompany the three row interior making this a road tripper’s dream car
  • Sheer size – if you’re looking for a luxury utility vehicle that can carry the entire family and more, then the size of the Escalade ESV will work for you

Cons:

  • Underwhelming power – rated at 403hp and 417 foot pounds of torque, the motor still comes up short considering that this is a 7400 pound SUV
  • Dated interior feel – the interior was a major disappointment, especially given that this was the Platinum Edition, and the look and feel is more appropriate for a $45,000 Suburban
  • Dated styling – the Escalade suffers from a design that was more relevant five years ago, and just looks bland and inconsistent compared to more current automotive designs

“This SUV takes on big missions — Beautifully.”

There is always a certain amount of intrigue and excitement that comes along with testing an $88,000 vehicle. That price point puts this SUV in the company of some of the newest offerings from Porsche, BMW, and Audi. Granted, the sheer size of the Escalade puts it in its own category, but given the close to six figure price tag, the expectations were high.

No doubt about it, the Escalade is full on “bling”. A big motor, lots of chrome, lots of leather, and lots of video screens. It would also seem to be the ideal family vehicle, as it can carry 7 people comfortably, and has a Magnetic Ride Control suspension lending to a smooth ride that would make road trip miles fly by. The interior is built for comfort, but the third row is easily folded to increase the already roomy cargo area.

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2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe First Impressions Review

Tuesday February 15th, 2011 at 1:22 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By contributing editor David Colman

Hits

  • Head-turning, stop-in-your-tracks good looks
  • Impeccable handling
  • Comfortable, quality interior
  • Impeccable handling

Misses

  • Rear seat legroom not suitable for adults or even children
  • Must be cautious when opening the doors in tight parking spaces
  • Rearward vision is hampered by stylish design

The CTS Coupe is a lot like a Chanel stiletto heel, entrancing to look at but hard to live with. If you want to get noticed, this coupe will serve you well. On a stretch of freeway in Concord, a sport in a Volvo C60 Convertible came screaming by while mouthing the words “Great Looking Car!” And he’s right, of course, because the CTS looks like an artist’s conception of how a sports coupe should look: close-coupled front and mid sections, truncated rear, heavy frontal rake, oversize wheels and tires, lock and latch less flanks, minimal chrome placed for maximal impact. Among the nicest touches are the V-shaped trunk finisher which mimics the centrally located V-shaped exhaust tips, and the artistic burnished aluminum strut tower brace, hidden under the hood, which connects the front shock towers together.

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Car Companies are Spending Big Bucks on Super Bowl Ads

Tuesday February 1st, 2011 at 3:22 PM
Posted by: aquadog

2011 Super Bowl XLV (45)2011 Super Bowl XLV (45) , the biggest television event of the year is coming up this Sunday, February 6, and the auto companies are spending big bucks ($3 million for 30 seconds) on advertising that will rival beer companies’ air time. Car makers such as Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Suzuki, Volkswagen, and Bridgestone are all going to be making TV appearances from pre-game through post-game shows. Some companies have already started to build their campaigns before Super Bowl Sunday through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Audi is stirring up interest for their A8 Super Bowl commercials by posting the “Audi Estate Sale” on Facebook and messages on Twitter. Audi will also takeover YouTube’s homepage on Super Bowl Sunday.

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Posted in Audi, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Kia, Press and News, Viral Video |Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , || No Comments »


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