SEATTLE, May 26, 2014 — Cadillac continues to refine and hone its brand into being not just a world-class one but a world-beating one to boot.
The CTS looks to further its reach into the mind share for a premium mid-sized sedan by offering cutting-edge technology, a formidable V6 engine and aesthetics which both honor the “Cadillac look” yet are modern to cater to a younger demographic as well.
Under the hood of the Premium Edition is a formidable 3.6-Liter V6 rated at 321 horsepower @ 6800rpm and 275 lb-ft. of torque at 4800 rpm. Its overall responsiveness is very good and delivers a very nice, fulfilling drive experience.
Should you want to step things up a notch, there is a twin-turbo 3.6-Liter available which is rated at 420 horsepower and 430 lb-ft. of torque.
While the baseline transmission for the Premium is a 6-speed, our test unit was outfitted with the 8-speed automatic which proved to be a very nice one. It’s shifting is smooth yet tactical, it does a great job of harnessing the power of the V6 and the extra two gears help save a bit of fuel as well.
Additionally, there is also an all-wheel-drive option for the Premium as well as the 2.0L Turbo but isn’t an option on the Twin Turbo model.
Its standard Brembo front brakes help ensure optimum stopping power with minimal fade and a sense of confidence to the driver.
This is clearly a car that’s aimed as a take down to BMW’s reign in this bracket and on some fronts, Cadillac offers some compelling reasons to opt for a CTS yet there are a few things about it that keep it from being all it can be.
For starters, the CUE command system that runs the on-board navigation, audio and other systems has an odd touch screen that makes depressing commands on the screen a pain in the butt. For example. It has a motion-sensitive screen that can detect when your hand gets close, however, it’s not always accurate.
Additionally, the faux-buttons below the screen – which are also pressure sensitive – only seem to “get it right” some of the time. This experience can be very frustrating, especially at first.
In fairness, one can get “used to” these fake buttons but why should one have to? They should simply just work right the first time, every time.
The eight-inch screen is a nice size to have. It’s easy to read, crystal clear up until you start touching it a great deal. We found it does tend to smudge rather easy so make sure to keep a way to keep it clean handy.
Input options for the entertainment system include, CD, USB, Bluetooth, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, AM/FM and a SD card slot.
Overall audio quality of the 13-speaker Bose sound system is good but not nearly as superb as it should be in a sedan at this price point. It has good but not great bass response, good mids and highs that are kind of on the struggle.
It would be nice if GM could lose its love-affair with Bose and seek out a manufacture who actually makes great-sounding speakers.
On-board navigation worked very well, even with the voice commands and there was little trouble with how intuitive it was to use. On-screen response to using your finger was good, assuming you didn’t have to depress it a few times to get it to finally “take”.
Other cool features include, 20-way power front seats, adaptive remote start, ambient interior lighting, adaptive cruise control, front and rear automatic braking, collision preparation, heated/ventilated front seats, lane departure warning, carbon fiber interior trim, paddle shifters, cross traffic alert, side blind zone alert and more.
What was most impressive of the CTS, however, is the way it drives. It does in fact offer a world-class driving experience and one that should be highly considered if you’re looking at sedans in this league. Great balance of suspension stiffness and ride, along with very little body roll around hard corning, and you’ll be wanting to push this car very hard into corners.
Throttle response is amazing and its tuned exhaust lets out a nice, even if somewhat muted, roar which sounds aggressive without being overbearing – all in the “Cadillac style”.
If Cadillac can rework the CUE system and iron out its glitchiness of basic use, as well as make the interior feel just a tad more “stated” then it really could have a world-beating car on its hands. As it stands now, however, it’d be hard pressed to dethrone some of its German competitors, overall.
Base Price: $65,485
As-Tested Price: $67,170
Drivetrain: 3.6-liter V6; RWD, eight-speed automatic
Output: 321 hp @ 6,800 rpm, 275 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
Curb Weight: 3,616 lb
Fuel Economy (EPA City/Highway/Combined): 18/29/22 mpg