2014 Cadillac CTS: First drive review
Cadillac bests the BMW 5-Series with its new midsize luxury sports sedan.
Cadillac moves the CTS sedan upmarket for 2014 to take on the likes of the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class. The new look is lower, leaner and longer, and is the best expression of Cadillac's Art and Science design language to date.
The BMW 5-Series has been considered the best midsize luxury sports sedan for four decades. But like many model lines in today's automotive market, the 5-Series has grown bigger with each successive generation. In fact, the practice has gotten so out of hand that the current 5-Series shares its platform with the full-size 7-Series, and as a result the 5-Series is heavy and not as sporty as in generations past.
Now Cadillac is redesigning its CTS sedan and aiming straight at the 5-Series. The main difference: The CTS is based on a lightweight platform that underpins the well-received smaller, compact ATS sedan. As a result, the CTS captures much of the agility and sporty feel that the BMW has lost. Get ready to think of Cadillac as the king of the sports sedans — or at least a top contender.
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The 2014 Cadillac CTS is offered in 2.0T, 3.6L and Vsport variants, with trim levels — called Collections — that consist of Standard, Luxury, Performance and Premium. The Standard comes with cloth upholstery, 14-way power-adjustable driver's seat with memory, Bose audio system, 10 airbags, Brembo brakes and 17-inch run-flat tires on alloy wheels. The Luxury adds leather upholstery, HID headlights and a Driver Awareness package with numerous advanced safety features. The Performance Collection gets 18-inch wheels, Cadillac's Magnetic Ride Control suspension, a navigation system, a panoramic sunroof and a head-up display. The Premium Collection has a 20-way adjustable driver's seat, full leather trim, a reconfigurable 12.3-inch instrument cluster and even more safety features.
The Vsport features 18-inch summer tires, Magnetic Ride Control, electronic limited-slip rear differential, automatic parallel parking, larger front brakes and leather upholstery. A Vsport Premium is also offered. Pricing starts at $45,100 for the Standard Collection and tops out at $69,070 for the Vsport Premium. Pricing is up on average $6,000 to $8,000 per variant, but Cadillac says the Standard Collection has 20 more features than the outgoing base trim.
Under the hood
The 2014 Cadillac CTS comes with three engine choices. The base engine is the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder from the smaller ATS. Tweaks to the turbocharger give it the same 272 horsepower as the ATS but increase torque from 260 to 295 lb-ft. The next step up is the 3.6-liter V6, also from the ATS. It produces 321 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. The top engine is a new twin-turbocharged version of the 3.6 that spins out 420 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque.
The 2.0 and all-wheel-drive versions of the 3.6 come with a 6-speed automatic transmission, while rear-drive versions of the 3.6 and all cars with the turbocharged V6 engine get an 8-speed automatic. Both transmissions have manual shift capability through steering-wheel paddles.
Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy estimates are 20 mpg city/30 mpg highway with the 2.0 and rear-wheel drive, 19/28 mpg with the 2.0 and all-wheel drive, 19/29 mpg for the 3.6 with rear-wheel drive, 18/26 mpg for the 3.6 with all-wheel drive, and 17/25 mpg for the turbocharged 3.6.
The CTS grows 4.2 inches overall and adds 1.2 inches of wheelbase. That gives the CTS good, but not great, interior space. The driver's seat choices are supportive and comfortable, and Cadillac offers as many as 20-way power adjustments. Four adults should ride with ease, and five can fit in a pinch. The CTS' trunk has 13.7 cubic feet of cargo room, which is competitive for the class.
The CTS represents the best in General Motors interior quality. It's so nice, in fact, that Cadillac's interiors have to be considered among the best in the world. The look is attractive, and the materials are top quality. Soft-touch surfaces adorn all touch points, and the fit and finish is exemplary. Cadillac even provides a motorized lid over the cupholders.
However, the interior does give up some utility for design. The CTS uses touch-sensitive controls for the radio volume, climate settings and other controls. These controls take some getting used to and they aren't as easy to use as traditional buttons and knobs. The Cadillac User Experience infotainment system also has a steep learning curve.
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"The CTS captures much of the agility and sporty feel that the BMW has lost"
You no longer have to purchase from overseas if you want a performance luxury vehicle
This Cadillac may be a decent car, BUT:
I've owned, both personally and through my business, more than 10 BMW's in the last 15 years.
There is no doubt that they are the most thoughtfully engineered, highest quality, and best value cars I've ever driven. And I've driven a LOT of cars including, many US and Far-East labels.
While there are many issue's with US cars that would concern me, the one that would be most problematic about purchasing this, or any other pricey US label, is the 4 or 5 year resale value (all factors being equal - condition, mileage...etc). A CTS with the most popular and recommended options runs between $65 and $70k dollars! There is no possible way to recoup a significant portion of that initial outlay after the warranty expires. A similar BMW is now, unbelievably, cheaper to buy and own...!?!
A BMW 5 series with the same options would retain a dramatically higher resale value regardless of the post-warranty maintenance expense. As I'm certain that many here will not believe me, go to KBB.com and do the comparisons yourself. As I stated, I've driven 328i's, X5's, X3's, and 5 series cars. I currently own a classic 1997 850Ci and 2 X5's. After 15 years the 850 drives and runs better than some US cars I've owned that were near new. Sorry, but that's absolute, unvarnished truth.
I understand the yearning for a US label to be 'world class', and it would be fine with me if it were true. But wishing doesn't make it so...! I can't justify paying $65k or more for a CTS. IMHO
Let the hate mail commence!
GREAT PLANS ARE COMMING. AND I NEED THIS VISION rear-drive versions of the 3.6 and all cars with the turbocharged V6 engine get an 8-speed automatic. Both transmissions have manual shift capability through steering-wheel paddles. OH YEAH !
A beautiful car is the hell of the soul, the purgatory of the purse, and the paradise of the eyes.
A beautiful car will enrich your life soon.