Whenever I first laid eyes on the third-generation 2014 Cadillac CTS, the old commercial from the late 80’s ran through my head…”Cadillac, Cadillac, Cadillac style…”. We’ve come a long way since that time, and as a five-time owner, I hardly even recognise the Cadillacs of today.
Don’t worry, that’s a good thing.
Born out of the ashes of the abysmal failure that was the Cadillac Catera, the 2014 CTS is finally cemented in its proper place as a legitimate midsized saloon. By stretching out in all ways, including five inches in length, 1.2 inches more in the wheelbase, as well as coming in at an inch lower, it can take on the likes of the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, Jaguar XF, Mercedes E Class, etc.
Speaking of the Merc, at first glance, the newest Caddy appears to have been the latest offering from the Bavarian wunderkind. Upon further observation, one can see that the ongoing “Art & Science” theme has come as close to being perfected as humanly (and “CAD”dly…get it?) possible. Despite growing in size, the CTS actually comes into the New York Auto Show leaner than before, and weighing in a whooping 200 pounds less than the BMW 528i. Contributing to the lighter weight are the Cadillac-first aluminum door structures, which along with other features, helps achieve a near 50/50 weight balance.
The most noticeable change is usually up front, and this Caddy is no different. One will immediately see that the crystalline LED headlights make a prominent statement, as well as the enlarged grille, flanked by sharper creases in the fascia. Moving along to the sides and the rear is a less dramatic affair, as Cadillac appears to err on the conservative side, in order to fix the “broken look” of the rear trunk and bumper.
Inside, one will find a more roomier cockpit that shifts the focus to the driver. Surrounded by the usual technological and handcrafted appointments, one can choose from eight different “interior environments” in wood, carbon fiber, or aluminum, in order to give it a more customized feel. Of course, leather is available, as well as handcrafted full semi-aniline leather. Other features include:
- Motorized cup holder lid in the center console
- Heated and cooled (ventilated) front seats and heated steering wheel
- Electronically locking glove box
- Electronic park brake
- Adaptive remote start feature that also activates the climate control system
- Standard Bose eleven-speaker sound system and available Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound system with 13 speakers
On the performance side, the base model CTS will come with the same four-cylinder (rated at 272 hp) that’s found in the ATS, as well as a couple of six-cylinders. The naturally aspirated 3.6L, now making 321 hp and mated to a 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters for the rear-wheel drive versions (all-wheel drive ones will make do with the 6-speed), makes a return, along with a brand-new twin-turbo version. This “Vsport” model will serve as the highest level for the time being…no word yet if the top-level V-series will return.
Here are the other Vsport highlights:
- 18-inch aluminum wheels with Pirelli summer-only performance tires (19-inch wheels with all-season tires are available)
- A quicker steering ratio
- Brembo disc brakes with aluminum calipers and high-performance brake pads
- Heavy-duty track cooling package
- Driver-selectable track mode with specific steering rate and Magnetic Ride Control calibrations for greater track performance
- Electronic limited-slip differential that enhances capability on the track – including optimal acceleration out of turns
The twin-turbo six puts out an astonishing 420 hp and 430 lb.-ft. of torque, making it one of the most powerful in its class. Thankfully, the small turbochargers will make most of its peak torque available from 2,500-5,500 rpm, all of which should help it scoot from naught to 60 in around 4.6 seconds.
Keeping all of that power to the ground is a host of suspension upgrades, highlighted by the extensive use of lighter-weight (aluminum) components throughout, including:
- Multi-link MacPherson strut suspension with a double-pivot design
- Five-link independent rear suspension
- Premium electric, variable-assist power steering gear from ZF Steering Systems
- Available Magnetic Ride Control real-time damping system
- Choice of 17-, 18- and 19-inch aluminum wheels
Coupled with the usual safety (various warning and alert systems, plus 10 airbags) and infotainment (CUE and Onstar) technologies, all of this equates into what could possibly be Cadillac’s best vehicle to date.
Production beings this fall.
Photo Credit: Newspress