Although it is not classified as a cheap car and it doesn't make part of Autopten's philosophy, the new CTS is a vehicle that is worth to show and talk about.
The luxury car market is certainly one of the most dynamic and challenged in the industry. In the last decades, the German manufacturers BMW, Mercedes-Benz and recently Audi, have moved away from other brands in this segment. Over time, we have seen that the German trio has achieved an almost complete domination that isn't only reflected in sales figures, but also on trends that follow this exclusive segment.
In 2002, Cadillac introduced the first generation of the CTS (Catera Touring Sedan), a RWD luxury sedan that obviously came to replace the Catera, a product originally developed by Opel for the European market and adapted for Cadillac to compete against the Teutonic sports sedans, however the style was completely different from what the consumers of the luxury subsidiary of GM were accustomed, and its acceptance was not immediate.
The CTS was the first generation debuting the new design language 'Art & Science', and was the first formal attempt of Cadillac (through its own development) to compete with products from BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, such as the 3 Series, C-Class or A4. Although the dimensions were slightly larger, it was shorter than the E-Class, 5-Series or A6 model.
The second generation of the CTS showed big substantial progress in terms of finishes, however its positioning problem (between a 3-Series and a 5-Series) persisted.
For this third generation, the Cadillac CTS releases a new platform named 'Alpha' that is shared with its younger brother, the ATS, which now has the task of competing with the 3-Series, C-Class and A4, while the CTS grows enough to play in the same field with the 5-Series, E-Class and A6 models.
Gain is not only shown on the dimensions. This latest release of the American sedan is more refined, luxurious and technically sophisticated than ever, so much so that they no longer compete on unequal terms in relation to the kings of the market to which they are addressed.
Electrical and mechanical characteristics
The GM Alpha platform provides a competitive advantage to the CTS as it weighs 260 lbs less than its predecessor and 348 lbs less than the BMW 5-Series.
The engine of the new 2014 Cadillac CTS is the old known 3.6L V6 with direct injection of 321-HP and 275 lb-ft of torque, which is coupled for the first time in a GM vehicle to an 8-speed automatic transmission with manual mode that sends the power to the rear wheels.
Furthermore, the CTS now uses all the technological gadgets available in the Detroit giant such as Magnetic Ride real-time adjustable suspension, 10 airbags, Onstar safety system, presence sensor to detect other vehicles on blind spots, head up display, lane departure warning system, collision warning, parking sensors with reverse camera and much more.
At the interior, you will find a high-quality assembly and materials, to the point that it even looks a bit saturated. You could say that Cadillac's people overstated a bit and installed more than the ideal materials.
For example, just in the upper part of the door, you will see Alcantara perforated leather, metal inserts, carbon fiber and other kinds of plastic with piano-type finishes. However, it is noteworthy to see they forgot to use chrome almost completely, which is great news.
The analog instrument panel was replaced by a huge display that sketches 3 circles, the left one is a rev counter, a speedometer in the middle, and on the right, the temperature and fuel gauges. In the middle of each circle is also displayed information such as navigator map, trip computer, or the radio station you are listening to.
The center console deserves a special mention. The upper part is dominated by a large touch screen with the infotainment system CUE (Cadillac User Interface), which isn't as fast as the smart-phones and tablets. Although it is somewhat slow, it isn't something serious. After you use it for a while, you will get used to the response speed of the CUE system.
The other part of the console has a surface with no buttons and on its place there are icons associated with the volume control, weather, intermittent lights, heating or air conditioning, and seating settings. When you touch any of the little icons, a small vibration is emitted, and an indicator lets you know that some of the functions was activated.
As if it were not enough, when you touch the bottom, automatically, a secret compartment located behind, is opened. There you can store an MP3 player or your smart-phone. It also has a USB port.
Overall, the cabin of the new 2014 CTS is a nice place to be, the feeling and generated atmosphere revolve around sophistication and technology.
Behind the wheel, you will feel its lighter weight and much. Those 250 pounds less make a big difference, and despite its size and weight (3838 lbs.), the CTS moves with ease. While it is true, the response is not as powerful as the one you can find in the supercharged V6 of Audi, the A6, or in the I6 Twin Scroll Turbo engine of a BMW, this Cadillac makes it just fine, allowing decent accelerations and very high revolutions without problem, while delivering an addicting handling that not any supercharged can match. Of course, if it comes to power, in the future well have an optional CTS with V6 Twin Turbo engine of 420-HP.
The ride quality is very good, it sticks very well to the pavement and transmits good confidence whether in straight or winding roads, nothing to envy to its European competitors in this sense.
It has three driving modes. The first one named Tourism, offers a completely comfort-oriented driving. Here both steering and suspension are soft, while the gear shifting is made at low revs. The second mode is Sport, in which the suspension feels quite hard, the gear makes the shifts near the red zone in the tachometer and the steering wheel feels more rigid and accurate. Finally, there is a Snow mode focused on driving conditions with low grip.
The 2014 Cadillac CTS in its third generation is a product that finally has managed to compete on equal terms with the Germans exponents of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.
It does not only offers an attractive design, both outside and inside, but also keeps the enjoyable handling of the previous generation, with enhancements in refinement aspects.
If you want more, it has been equipped with all the security technologies, infotainment and amenities, necessary to shine in its competitive segment.
It is worth mentioning some aspects that can be improved. First, the esthetics of the rear, which has not achieved the visual impact that the front has.
Inside, at first glance you will notice some saturation in the use of materials and textures, but even so, the new Cadillac CTS is a truly outstanding product that everyone with a good taste for cars would love to own.