September 23rd, 2013
Managing Editor - CheersandGears.com
One of the most exciting vehicle unveilings at the New York International Auto Show this year was the 2014 Cadillac CTS. Cadillac has completely redesigned its mid-size entry into a car that is longer, lower, wider and dare we say... meaner. In that announcement we learned that, along with the standard-for-the-class 4-cylinder Turbo and naturally aspirated V6 engine options, Cadillac would be introducing a 420 horsepower twin-turbo V6 designed to nearly eliminate turbo lag.
In what has to be a record in debut to available for driving timeline for GM, Cadillac brought the 2014 CTS V-Sport to the Monticello Motor Club for a media preview during the International Motor Press Association Rally, just 6 months after showing the prototypes in NYC.From the outside, the 2014 CTS looks taut and lean, with lots of surface detailing leaving the impression that the skin is stretched over a muscled torso. Lighting up front features LED light pipes that create almost a frontal fin look. Out back, the deck lid has a raised edge slightly reminiscent of some 1960's Cadillacs. Some might call it "Bangle Butt" but Cadillac pulls it off much better.
For anyone who has driven the Cadillac ATS, the interior will feel familiar.While the CTS has nicer materials, details, and more room than its little brother, the shapes and cut lines are close enough to set off some déjà vu. Rear seat room feels like a substantial increase over the smaller ATS.
One item on the interior that really jumped out at me was the OnStar buttons. Cadillac has moved them off of the mirror into the overhead control pod. The net result is a rear view mirror that is thin and light, rather than the giant chunky plastic piece taking up field of vision like in other GM cars.
But this is a Quick Drive Review, on to the important stuff! On to Page 2!
My first drive in the 2014 CTS V-Sport was on public roads. Start up the engine and you'd never guess there were 420 horses under the hood. Refinement is excellent, throttle tip-in is brisk but not aggressive in normal driving, in short, the CTS V-Sport moved me over the back roads of the Catskill Mountains with the stately grace that is befitting any luxury car. The ride is supple but controlled.Punch the throttle and the twin-turbo V6 comes to life with a roar more attributable to a V8, but not without a hesitation from the transmission reluctantly downshifting. This is in Touring Mode however; this is the soft mode Cadillac provides by default for you to drive your grandmother to church. Cadillac provides two more drive modes for more spirited driving. The next mode up is Sport which firms up the suspension and makes the transmission much more agreeable to downshifting. The most extreme is Track; This sets the suspension to its firmest feel and gives the transmission a triple dose of Ritalin. Here the transmission is hyper-alert, ready to drop a gear into the thick torque band of the Twin-Turbos. Remarkably, though the suspension is much firmer, the ride is still not at all harsh. I would still feel comfortable rolling down the highway in Track Mode even on harsher pavement. In all modes, regardless of transmission shift speed, the shifts were silky smooth.
On the second day of the event, I drove the 2014 CTS V-Sport on the Monticello Motor Club’s full track. Driving in Track Mode, another feature of the transmission logic not apparent on public roads, is its willingness to hold a lower gear for engine braking or a rapid return to acceleration. This made hustling the big sedan through the course rather easy with very little need to use the paddle shifters.
And make no mistake, while the CTS V-Sport is one of the lightest vehicles in its class, it still has some weight to it. GM’s Magnaride suspension does a phenomenal job of keeping the car’s nose pointed where you want it and I was able to coax some fun rear end drift in the corners of the track. The steering is precise and firm.
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Cadillac has struggled for 3 decades to compete on all levels with the best from Europe. Each of their earlier tries got them closer and closer to the line the Europeans had drawn. From this, my first drive of a 2014 CTS, it seems as if Cadillac really has met, and exceeded, that line. From interior design, to drivetrain capability, to handling, Cadillac can park this car next to a Mercedes Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series or Audi A6 and not have to make any excuses whatsoever.