There was a time and place in history where the idea of crossing a sports car with a luxury sedan was just preposterous by sheer virtue of plain physics and lack of technology. But furthermore, the concept of combining sportiness with a cumbersome body otherwise built to be smooth, cosseting, and full of the latest and greatest gadgetry that could be offered at the time in a personal automobile was sacrilegious. Sports cars, of all things, are not supposed to be smooth and cosseting—implying isolation. They’re supposed to be communicative and buzzing and they’re meant to stimulate the senses, beckoning for the speed demon in all of us. Nor would you want to have Alfred power sliding in an 18-foot long luxo-barge while you and the misses keep her Yorkie-poo from vomiting on your Burberry jacket…if this was 1970.
But this isn’t 1970 and the Europeans and Japanese proved to the world the formula of luxury + sports works, thanks largely to innovation and the progression of technology. Yet, good ‘ol America struggled with the recipe ever since, allowing staples such as the BMW 5-Series to take the roll as the industry leader. And it wasn’t until 2002 that Cadillac realized it was perhaps a good idea for them to finally get serious about stacking up against the competition. Three generations later, the Cadillac CTS not only kept the brand afloat, but it succeeded in bringing America’s top brass up to snuff with the times. Hey, CARandDRIVER even went as far to call the 2009 Cadillac CTS “the best American car ever made,” hitting their 10Best list twice—a first for the brand. And plainly, it was hard to deny.
So for the latest generation, revealed earlier this year at the 2013 New York International Auto Show and for the 2014 model year, Cadillac raised their own bar, allowing the CTS to progressively improve with the succession of each generation. They even added this new Vsport variant, which you see here, as a testament to Cadillac’s goal of once again, becoming the standard of the world. It seeks to rival the likes of BMW’s M-Performance Line, Audi S-Line, Lexus’s F Sport, and so-on in one of the most difficult classes in the industry—the midsize luxury sports sedan. So how much better has the CTS become? A lot…and we really mean it.
|Style:||Midsize Luxury Sports Sedan|
|Seating Capacity:||Five Passengers|
|Price As Tested:||$60,095|
|Engine:||3.6L DOHC LF3 Twin-Turbocharged V6 - 420hp and 430 lb-ft of torque|
|Transmission:||Eight-speed automatic with manual-shifting mode|
|0 to 60:||4.4 seconds|
|Top Speed:||172 mph|
|Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined):||17 / 25 / TBD w/ 19 gal. tank|
One thing Cadillac has been keen to bring to the segment is curb appeal. While the Japanese and the Europeans tend to keep things civil and reserved, us Americans love to be the life of the party. And the Cadillac harks back to the verve like a Norma Jeane Baker arriving at the Copacabana. Mustering heavy inspiration from the current XTS under Cadillac’s “Art and Science” philosophy, the 2014 Cadillac CTS incorporates plenty of “sharp, sheer forms and crisp edges,” as described by the brand itself. But it’s far from being as gaudy as Cadillacs of the past, allowing the CTS to fare more kindly with the reserved palettes of foreign markets.
And the appeal continues very well on the inside. The last generation CTS was a clear indication that Cadillac was finally shaking off its past reputation for shoddy GM build quality. The new CTS seals the deal. With the last model, it was still relatively easy to poke at things and say, “I wouldn’t find this in something from Germany.” Nary a complaint crossed my mind.
For the first time ever, the CTS receives a forced-induced V6, which also happens to be General Motors’ most powerful V6 and the first ever twin-turbocharged sixer for the General’s top brass. Codenamed the LF3, the mill is based off of the naturally aspirated 3.6L LFX V6 that we’ve come to appreciate very well. Displacement for the LF3 remains the same and thanks to the twin snails, she’ll chock up a hefty grand total of 420hp and 430 lb-ft of torque. Power is channeled to the rear wheels via GM’s first ever eight-speed automatic. The results speak for themselves: 60 swifts by in a 4.4 seconds, rendering your neighbor’s last generation BMW M5 virtually obsolete. Present the CTS Vsport with an adequate strip and flat out, it’s even faster, topping out at 172 mph—remember, the Euro lot have that gentlemen’s agreement of 155.
But the real surprise comes from the way the 2014 Cadillac CTS drives. “Sporty” Cadillacs of yesteryear were no more satisfying to drive than a slice of soggy Wonder bread toast drenched in cinnamon—like the Cimarron. As the teasers rightfully built anticipation, showing Caddy’s engineers being worked at the auto R&D Mecca known as the Nurburgring Nordschleife, this 2014 CTS Vsport is pure proof that their tireless efforts officially paid off. Because this may very just be the best driving Cadillac yet, this side of the full-performance beast, the CTS-V.
The steering, although assisted by electrons rather than fluid, is razor sharp precise and eager, providing excellent feel and feedback. The chassis is rigid, body control is stiffly poised and combine that with the lively steering, the CTS Vsport rewards greatly with an astoundingly resolute drive. Thanks to GM’s standard Magnetic Ride Control, driving miles to hunt for your favorite back roads and tight rounders becomes a very welcome routine as the entire setup literally begs you to push the CTS to its limits and beyond. Add to that, the brakes are exceptional, ringing in a stopping distance not far off from a Porsche Cayman S.
Altogether, it’s enough to unanimously declare the CTS to be the sportiest car in its class. Sorry BMW 5-Series. But this is currently the class’s driver’s choice and certainly mine as an enthusiast of g-forces. That’s quite the achievement, coming from the brand usually known for making uncoordinated and cumbersome luxo-barges. Dial back the excitement and tap into Cadillac’s mission to also be a luxury car and the CTS becomes luxury sedan.
Cadillac may be late to the game, but the 2014 CTS comes with guns a’blazin’. As insane as this sounds, the 2014 Cadillac fills the void of being the industry’s best driving luxury midsize sedan currently in existence and just leaves the BMW feeling dull and dimwitted. It’s so good in fact, that it pretty much picks up where the last 5-Series left off. Yup, it’s that good.
With the base 2014 CTS propelled by the ATS’s 2.0L EcoTec four-banger starting at just $46,025, this top spec—at least until the CTS-V comes out—CTS Vsport starts at $59,995, making the Yank nearly five grand cheaper than a basic 2014 BMW 550i—the car that would otherwise be the expected leader in this segment. That’s a lot of car for the value—especially since you will be putting older generations of BMW M5 to near shame with this car. Simply put, the 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport is the standard of the world in its class and is worthy of a standing ovation. Now, can we just have the CTS-V already, please?
Exterior Photos Copyright AutoNation © Chris Chin.
Interior photos provided by Cadillac.
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- By: Chris Chin