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Third Time Charm: 3Gen 2014 Cadillac CTS

By Arv Voss, October 19th, 2013

Cadillac enters 2014 with the third-generation CTS as a longer, lower and leaner sedan. The rear-drive sedan delivers a bolder and more athletic persona that evolves Cadillac as luxury competitor.

The 2014 Cadillac CTS has grown 5 inches in length, which includes a 1.2-inch longer wheelbase. The roofline and cowl, along with the base of the windshield, are roughly an inch lower -- dimensions that complement the longer body and accentuate the car's lean, fit form.

Adding to the bolder visual impact of the new CTS are the larger, evolved Cadillac shield grille that appears more detailed with texture and new signature vertical lighting elements, including LED front signature lighting detail. Active grille shutters improve aerodynamic performance on the highway and enhance fuel efficiency.

Powertrain choices for the 2014 Cadillac CTS luxury sport sedan include three engines: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 272 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque; a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V-6 that delivers 321 horsepower and 275 lb.-ft. of torque; and a 3.6-liter Twin Turbo V-6 that pumps out 420 horses along with 430 lb.-ft. of torque.

The 2.0-liter motor mates to a six-speed automatic transmission and is available in either rear- or all-wheel drive. The naturally aspirated 3.6-liter engine is coupled to a six-speed automatic (AWD) or an eight-speed automatic with manual shift (RWD). The 3.6-liter Twin Turbo motor comes only in RWD and eight-speed automatic gearbox.

I was able to spend time behind the wheel in all three powertrain versions of the CTS over three challenging drive routes, covering roughly 170 miles. I drove a CTS Vsport with the Turbo V-6 and a price tag of $70,095; and the naturally aspirated V-6 priced at $66,500; then finally piloting the 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo stickered as-tested at $53,000.

Each of the three CTS models were finely honed examples of a sport sedan package, blending sporting and luxury elements in a performance sedan capable of doing battle successfully with more expensive Asian and European luxury sedans.

Acceleration is on a par delivered by many V8-powered rolling stock, delivering instantaneous propulsion via the electronic throttle. The automatic gearboxes are capable of providing the same level of performance as many manual gearboxes: crisp and positive. The ride quality with the FE3-level suspension is firm but not offensive, and the CTS sticks like glue, even when tossed about in a spirited manner. StabiliTrak is a godsend without being intrusive, and the new sedan is exceptionally well balanced.

In addition to being an impressive performer, the CTS is comfortable, with its rich, quiet interior, boasting highly supportive seats that cradle one firmly during spirited maneuvers. To get to the point, these third-generation CTS sedans are so good, it's hard to imagine how much better Cadillac's performance division V-Series might possibly be.

The Twin-Turbo V-6 powered CTS Vsport is clearly the leader of the pack in terms of performance, with the most power-dense six-cylinder engine in the segment. A pair of smaller turbochargers helps to provide more immediate power on demand, with approximately 90 percent of peak torque available from 2,500 rpm to 5,500 rpm, giving the engine a broad torque curve. This power also helps the CTS Vsport reach 60 mph in an estimated 4.6 seconds.

Inside, the cockpit is roomier and more focused on the driver, with the interior featuring integrated technology. Eight available interior environments are offered, each trimmed with authentic wood, carbon fiber or aluminum. Leather seating is available, including available full semi-aniline leather, with handcrafted, cut-and-sewn executions.

Hand-crafted appointments complement the exterior design, supporting the CTS sedan's driving experience. Among new appointments are Cadillac's first 20-way adjustable front seats; a motorized cupholder lid in the center console; heated and ventilated front seats and heated steering wheel; and an adaptive remote start that activates the climate control system.

The new CTS sedan also offers Automatic Parking Assist, enabling the car to park itself in parallel spaces utilizing ultrasonic sensors to locate a suitable space and then to maneuver the car into the space, with the driver only required to engage reverse and apply the accelerator and brake pedals.

The all-new 2014 CTS definitely takes Cadillac resurgence to the next level with what may well be the "baddest" production Caddy ever, next to the V Series.

Specifications

Base price $46,025 (as tested: $53,000)
Curb weight 3,616 lbs.
Displacement 2.0-liter
Epa mileage rating 20 mpg city, 30 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 19.0 gal.
Horsepower (net) 272 at 5500 rpm
Motor type DOHC turbo 4-cyl. w/DI
Overall length 195.5 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 295 at 1700-5500 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger RWD midsize sedan
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