By Bob Nagy
KBB Expert Rating: 8.0
While the Coupe, Sport Wagon and all CTS-V models carry over unchanged (see our 2013 Cadillac CTS review), the fully redesigned, 3rd-generation 2014 CTS Sedan embodies an entirely new level of style, stature, technology and performance. Three engines – including the 420-horsepower V6 Twin Turbo in the CTS Vsport – rear-wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), and an available adaptive suspension give the new midsize 4-door an exceptional combination of sophistication and exhilaration. Slightly larger than its predecessor, the all-new CTS Sedan also is significantly lighter, a synergistic combination that benefits its ability to both carve corners and pamper passengers. Equally important, this comprehensive recasting gives the CTS Sedan world-class credentials that let it go head-to-head with targeted rivals like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
Expressive design, impressive dynamic qualities and polished Cadillac character make all versions of the CTS appealing, but the all-new Sedan raises those benchmark qualities to new levels in all three areas.
If Cadillac's edgy styling isn't your thing, or you prefer more traditionally Teutonic approach to your midsize luxury, you'll likely be happier with an Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz alternative.
The Cadillac CTS Sedan has been completely redesigned for the 2014 model year. Save for revised exterior colors, all other models carry forward unchanged.
Driving Impressions The carryover members of the CTS lineup remain desirable travel mates in their own right, but it's the 2014 CTS Sedan that takes GM's luxury division to a new and...even better place. Based on a stretched version of the sophisticated Alpha platform that also underpins Cadillac's compact ATS, the 2014 CTS 4-door boasts superior control and agility under all conditions. This is especially true on models equipped with Magnetic Ride Control, which complements the enhanced dynamic character with Cadillac-level comfort and even more advanced driver-focused technology. Smooth and capable in rear-drive or all-wheel-drive models, the 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V6 will remain the most popular CTS motivator, but we found the new Sedan-only 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder an enticing alternative. While nothing equals the pure adrenaline rush of a CTS-V's 556-horsepower 6.2-liter supercharged V8, the new 420-horsepower V6 Twin Turbo in the CTS Vsport comes tantalizingly close in real-world terms – and for considerably less money.
MAGNETIC RIDE CONTROL SUSPENSION
Available on all CTS Sedans and standard on the CTS-V, Vsport and all Sedans with 18-inch and 19-inch wheel/tire fitments, Magnetic Ride Control offers real-time multi-mode damper programming that fine tunes the car's ride. In CTS-V/Vsport "Sport"/"Track" settings, it also tweaks steering effort and shift mapping to more performance-oriented configurations.
3.6-LITER V6 TWIN-TURBO
Excusive to the new Vsport CTS Sedan, this tech-rich force-fed stormer makes an exhilarating 420-horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque. Cadillac is quick to note that the Twin Turbo only shares about 10 percent of its components with the naturally aspirated 3.6-liter six offered in other CTS models.
Like their exteriors, the impressively well-appointed cabins of the 2014 CTS line reflect two different but related takes on the same design DNA. Leatherette or genuine leather and real wood, metal or carbon fiber accents help define the luxury-sport character of every variant, but only the recast CTS Sedan brings new touches to the formula including a more elegantly contoured dash and console, revised control layouts, and upgraded seats with standard 14-way power adjustment up front. It's also the only CTS to offer the sophisticated albeit slightly quirky CUE (Cadillac User Experience) infotainment/telematics system – which is standard on all models.Exterior
Cadillac has spent the last decade refining its signature "Art & Science" design philosophy, and the CTS family reflects the most highly expressive manifestation of that look to date. While bold edges, prominent "shield" grille treatments and vertical lighting elements are trademark cues of the entire lineup, the new CTS Sedan expands those distinctive visual vistas by adding a more contemporary flair. Longer and lower than the 4-door it replaces, the 2014 CTS Sedan matches more refined proportions with an extra 1.2 inches of wheelbase and enhances its sleeker aerodynamic profile through the use of active grille shutters on 4-cylinder models.
All 2014 CTS models include a long list of comfort/convenience items from dual-zone climate control and Bose premium audio to Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth and OnStar with one year of Directions and Connections. The all-new CTS Sedan steps up the mix with things like standard active noise cancellation, three USB ports, an SD card slot and shifter paddles on all models. Standard safety and security equipment includes Stabilitrak stability and traction control, automatic on/off headlights, programmable power door locks, and a theft-deterrent system – and where the carryover CTS models only have six airbags, the new CTS Sedan comes with 10.
All CTS models can be had in a variety of trim "collections" and offer additional packages that build on each other to further sweeten the feature mix and allow even greater personalization. In the case of the new CTS Sedan, buyers can select from eight different interior "environments" and transition though Standard, Luxury Performance and Premium grades – plus Vsport/Vsport Premium models adding full-leather upholstery, a Driver Awareness Package, all-wheel drive, a reconfigurable digital instrument cluster, head-up display, navigation, Bose Surround Sound Audio, Automatic Parallel Park Assist, Magnetic Ride Control, an electronic limited-slip differential, and more.
Please accept our apologies, but get ready to get confused: The 2014 CTS lineup includes five highly sophisticated engines, two exclusive to the new Sedan. Anchoring the mix is a free-revving 272-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder backed by a 6-speed automatic transmission in both rear-drive and all-wheel-drive Sedan models. While the 270-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 is only found in the base Sport Wagon, the 318/321-horsepower (model-dependent) 3.6-liter naturally-aspirated V6 is shared by all body styles and paired with an 8-speed automatic in new CTS rear-drive Sedans but a 6-speed automatic in all other applications. The 420-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 Twin Turbo in the rear-drive Vsport Turbo gets the new 8-speed automatic, while CTS-Vs match their supercharged 556-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 with a 6-speed manual or optional 6-speed automatic. Both transmissions in the new Sedan feature steering-wheel-mounted shifter paddles.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (CTS Sedan)
272 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700-5,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/30 mpg (RWD automatic), 19/28 mpg (AWD automatic)
3.0-liter V6 (CTS Sport Wagon)
270 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
223 lb-ft of torque @ 5,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg (RWD/AWD automatic Wagon)
3.6-liter V6 (CTS Coupe/Sedan/Sport Wagon)
318 (Coupe/Sport Wagon)/321 (Sedan) horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
275 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 mpg (RWD/AWD Coupe), 19/29 mpg (RWD automatic Sedan), 18/26 mpg (AWD automatic Sedan), 18/26 mpg (RWD/AWD automatic Wagon)
3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (CTS Sedan Vsport)
420 horsepower @ 5,750 rpm
430 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 mpg (RWD automatic)
6.2-liter supercharged V8 (CTS V-Sport Coupe/Sedan/Sport Wagon)
556 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm
551 lb-ft of torque @ 3,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19 mpg (RWD manual), 12/18 mpg (RWD automatic)
Like its midsize sport-luxury rivals, pricing for the 2014 Cadillac CTS lineup spans a fairly broad but very competitive range that still starts around $40,000 for the carryover Coupe and Sport Wagon and runs to roughly $65,000 for the CTS-V Coupe/Sedan/Wagon power trio. With its new emphasis on raising image, the redesigned CTS Sedan moves the window up a modest notch. The standard-spec 2.0-liter Turbo variant opens just over $46,000 and the CTS Vsport Premium commences a few dollars shy of $70K – although the standard Vsport brings the same performance for $10,000 less. Historically, the baseline CTS models have retained slightly less value over time than their BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class rivals, but the new CTS Sedan could reverse that trend. CTS-V models are expected to maintain residuals slightly below those of the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG but slightly above those of the Audi S6.