2014 Cadillac CTS - Motor Trend Car of the Year (© Motor Trend)Click to enlarge picture

2014 Cadillac CTS

The 2014 Cadillac CTS has been chosen by Motor Trend as its Car of the Year. This victory for the CTS is a kind of fulfillment of destiny; it also was named Car of the Year for 2008, with Motor Trend going so far as to say, "put Germany on notice: America's coming." Now in the eyes of Motor Trend, the third-generation Cadillac CTS is ready to take on the best the big German builders have to offer in a very real way.

The 2014 CTS had to face stiff competition in its segment, which included the Infiniti Q50, the BMW 5-Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The CTS managed to outperform all three in the eyes of Motor Trend's judges, who found the Q50 "hobbled with drivability issues," while declaring the "CTS demonstrated superior advancement in design, performance, handling and experience" over the traditional German powerhouses. This stellar showing is a big stamp of approval for the continued evolution of Cadillac's Art and Science design aesthetic. As Motor Trend put it, in its every iteration the CTS has been "synonymous with design."

View Pictures:  2014 Cadillac CTS

"The car was polarizing from the start, imitating no one and rarely imitating itself," Motor Trend said, adding the CTS has "once again successfully evolved in order to remain contemporary and competitive well into the foreseeable future."

For this generation's CTS, that evolution has been built upon the Alpha vehicle platform, initially seen with the debut of the current Cadillac ATS. Lessons learned from the ATS have translated into a much-improved CTS chassis, one that is lighter than its direct competition by hundreds of pounds, while the car's handling remains composed through the curves with communicative steering.

Motor Trend praised Cadillac for keeping its design aesthetic intact, while preserving the now-unmistakable lines of the CTS. "It's clearly Cadillac," Motor Trend said, "but not a carbon copy of the related ATS, instead offering its own, more elegant take."

Watch Video:  2014 Cadillac CTS first drive

The signature design element of this Cadillac generation — the "light blade" that runs from the front fender down through the fascia — remains intact on the 2014 CTS, and appears on its way to becoming an iconic note that will carry through future generations.

Not all is perfect with the 2014 CTS design, however. Motor Trend said its interior is "hindered by too many trim and accent elements colliding," while the touch-sensitive climate and infotainment controls "require a deliberate touch and can be slow to react."

The number of powertrain options is where Motor Trend found the previous CTS lacking, but Cadillac has solved this issue and then some with the 2014 model. Instead of only offering a standard V6 engine alongside the high-performance V8 of the CTS-V, the new CTS allows the consumer to choose between a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, a 3.6-liter V6, a twin-turbocharged V6, or a supercharged 6.2-liter V8. Of the four, the Motor Trend crew was most surprised by the little 4-cylinder, which in their words "offers class-leading power with competitive fuel economy." Despite being paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission where others in the segment are using 7- or 8-speeds to maximize fuel economy, Motor Trend recorded real-world mileage results of 20 mpg city/30 mpg highway for the CTS.