By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 7.8
The 2016 Cadillac CTS is a formidable competitor against the likes of the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6 and Lexus GS. And why not? It follows the same formula of offering a variety of strong engines powering the rear or all four wheels. It comes with a plethora of high-tech features standard, with many more on the options list. It can be configured as an entry-level premium offering with a fuel-efficient 4-cylinder, or a pavement-ripping super sedan with the new CTS-V’s 640-horsepower supercharged V8. This year a new V6 engine, enhanced CUE infotainment system, a standard 8-speed automatic transmission, and a host of other improvements sharpen this Cadillac's edge against its competition.
If you're looking for a world-class luxury sedan, with all the impressive performance and high-tech features expected from the class, but seek a uniquely American twist, then there's literally no other choice than the 2016 Cadillac CTS.
KBB Expert Ratings
The Cadillac CTS is enhanced for 2016 with a newly available 3.6-liter direct-injected V6, a standard 8-speed automatic transmission, an optional 360-degree camera system, and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
The 2016 Cadillac CTS is based on a modified version of the smaller Cadillac ATS sedan, yet despite the stretch job, the CTS is incredibly agile and...
... controlled in virtually all driving conditions. That goes double if the CTS boasts Magnetic Ride Control, which lets the driver pick between the soft and comfortable ride you'd expect from a Cadillac, to a driver-focused suspension that corners sharply and controls the body superbly. The power boost from the naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6 will be welcome, as that engine already offers a good blend of performance and efficiency. However, don't feel like you'll be shortchanged by the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. It's still powerful, and noticeably more fuel-efficient than the V6. However, if you're looking for power, but not quite the ridiculous levels that come with the new CTS-V sedan, the Cadillac's 420-horsepower V6 Twin Turbo in the CTS Vsport is an outstanding alternative.
Cadillac knows that today's buyers want to stay connected at all times, even behind the wheel. So the 2016 CTS luxury sedan comes with its own Wi-Fi hotspot, DockSpot wireless phone charging, and standard Apple CarPlay and (soon) Android Auto via the CUE infotainment system.
3.6-LITER V6 TWIN-TURBO
What can we say? We're suckers for power, and the 420-horsepower twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 engine in the 2016 CTS Vsport is just what we need.
The 2016 Cadillac CTS boasts a style-rich, feature-packed interior, with first-rate materials and assembly quality. The soft-touch padding and leather upholstery – Leatherette in lower-end models – create an inviting ambiance. The rear seat is equally nice, but it's also notably smaller than its primary European rivals. Taking center stage on the dash is the CUE infotainment system, which Cadillac says has been improved with a faster processor and improved interface this year. We hope so, because although it looks impressive, the laggy response time to the touch-sensitive controls drove us nuts in previous CTS models.
This is a sharp-looking car, and we mean that literally. The creased fenders, rippled hood and prominent grille on the 2016 CTS stand out even among its talented competitors in the luxury-sedan segment. Details range from the pragmatic – grille shutters that close to improve aerodynamics – to pretty, such as the seamless aluminum trim around the side windows. At the rear, all new CTS sedans feature dual exhaust outlets. Models with the "CTS4" markings designate all-wheel drive.
The 2016 Cadillac CTS sedan is available with three engines and four trim levels: Standard, Luxury, Performance and Premium (the CTS-V is its own thing). Standard on all CTS models is a new 8-speed automatic transmission, rearview camera, Apple CarPlay and later in 2016 Android Auto, 11-speaker Bose premium audio with three USB inputs, push-button start, wireless phone charging, dual-zone climate control, voice command, and an improved CUE infotainment system with a faster processor to make controlling its 8-inch touch screen better. Like most GM vehicles, the 2016 CTS comes with GM's OnStar communications system with a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.
Beyond different engines and all-wheel drive, the 2016 CTS offers a variety of options: navigation, leather seating with heated/ventilated front seats, different grains and styles of wood trim, adaptive cruise control, an LCD in place of the standard needle-and-dial gauges, a sunroof, and tri-zone automatic climate control. Audiophiles will appreciate the glove-box-mounted CD player. On the performance and safety side there are Magnetic Ride Control, blind-spot monitoring, Automatic Parking Assist, a bird's-eye 360-degree camera, and a Driver Awareness Package that vibrates the seat when the car starts drifting out of a lane, or gets too close to an object when parking.
Four engines are available for the 2016 Cadillac CTS sedan. The base is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that puts out a stout 272 horsepower, while the mid-tier engine is a revised 3.6-liter V6 that's good for 335 horsepower. Both of those engines are offered with the standard rear-wheel drive (RWD) or optional all-wheel drive (AWD). Topping them is the 420-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 in the rear-drive-only Vsport. All models make use of the same 8-speed automatic transmission linked to steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The range-topping, rear-drive CTS-V sedan packs a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 good for 640 horsepower and an earth-moving 630 lb-ft of torque.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
272 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700-5,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/30 mpg (RWD), 19/28 mpg (AWD)
335 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
285 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/30 mpg (RWD), 19/28 mpg (AWD)
3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6
420 horsepower @ 5,750 rpm
430 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 mpg
6.2-liter supercharged V8 (CTS-V)
640 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
630 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/21 mpg
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2016 Cadillac CTS sedan starts at about $46,500 for a base 2.0-liter model, including the $995 destination charge. On the opposite end of that, if you load up a twin-turbo CTS Vsport you'll wind up well past the $70,000 mark, and that doesn't even include the 2016 CTS-V and its $84,000 starting price. Those prices are all in line with the Audi A6, and a few thousand less than the starting prices of the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Jaguar XF and Infiniti Q70. Even the Acura RLX and Lexus GS start slightly higher than the CTS. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Cadillac CTS. The Cadillac's resale value is expected to be about average in this segment, trailing the standout Lexus GS.