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    Quick Drive: 2014 Cadillac CTS V-Sport



    September 23rd, 2013

    Drew Dowdell

    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.

    2014 Cadillac CTS V Sport Front

    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.

    2014 Cadillac CTS Dash Interior Console

    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.

    2014 Cadillac CTS Twin Turbo Engine

    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.

    2014 Cadillac CTS V Sport

    Click to enlarge

    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.

    Drew Dowdell is Managing Editor of CheersandGears.com. He can be reached at Drew.Dowdell@CheerandGears.com or @Cheersngears

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    I am still not a fan of the front end, the grille looks fine, but the headlights look weird. I wish the headlights were lower and not pull back over the hood. The inside looks too much like the ATS, I think they should have made the CTS nicer than the XTS Platinum because they are going against heavyweights here and you can't hold back.

    The driving dynamics are where they can do some damage, but my question is does it only have the 3 modes, tour, sport and track, for everything or is each component individual? Like I just bought an E550 (previous generation) and the transmission has comfort or sport, the suspension has 3 setting, so you can be in sport plus suspension with comfort transmission.

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    Well there is a 4th mode as well for snow, but yes, near as I can tell from my short time with the car, you can't control the items individually. However, as I mentioned in the review, the Magnaride is so good that Track mode would still be suitably comfortable for most people even on long trips, so you can have your cake and eat it too.

    Also as I mentioned in the review, the material quality on the CTS is a step above the ATS. They didn't just lift the interior out of one and put it in the other. There is a noticeable difference.

    I also drove the E250 Bluetech and an E350 Estate/Combi/whatever. MB is actually behind Cadillac on interior material quality in those two cars... especially on the dash.

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    The third generation CTS looks dramatically different than the second generation. To me, it looks like a brand new model.

    What's even more impressive is how the 2014 CTS V Sport makes more power from it's twin turbo V6, than the first gen CTS-V V8. Is Cadillac going to use the LS V8 anymore?

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    Well there is a 4th mode as well for snow, but yes, near as I can tell from my short time with the car, you can't control the items individually. However, as I mentioned in the review, the Magnaride is so good that Track mode would still be suitably comfortable for most people even on long trips, so you can have your cake and eat it too.

    Also as I mentioned in the review, the material quality on the CTS is a step above the ATS. They didn't just lift the interior out of one and put it in the other. There is a noticeable difference.

    I also drove the E250 Bluetech and an E350 Estate/Combi/whatever. MB is actually behind Cadillac on interior material quality in those two cars... especially on the dash.

    I think the interior on the 07-09 E-class is better than the current car, the materials are softer tough and I like the layout a bit more. I am not a big fan of the round headlight look of my car, but I couldn't afford a 2010 or newer E-class, and I would rather have the old interior than the current one, and when you are driving you can't see the front end anyway. Mercedes has crazy good build quality though, even if that rubberized plastic stuff on the dash doesn't feel or look as expensive as what is in other cars, the build quality is rock solid. I think the A6 interior looks better than the CTS and the A6 is sort of old, but then again the E-class whips the A6 in sales, so that interior isn't enough to get it done.

    Although how as the E250 Bluetec? One day when I no longer want a big engine, that 45 mpg is going to be really tempting, on a 22 gallon tank I'd fill up once every 5 weeks I bet.

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    The third generation CTS looks dramatically different than the second generation. To me, it looks like a brand new model. What's even more impressive is how the 2014 CTS V Sport makes more power from it's twin turbo V6, than the first gen CTS-V V8. Is Cadillac going to use the LS V8 anymore?

    They have to use a V8 and the V-series is going to need AWD. The CLS AMG and E63 AMG do 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, the Audi RS6/RS7 are 3.4 seconds 0-60, that is crazy fast. And Mercedes is switching to a 9-speed tranny next year, so if that speeds it up they are nearing the 3 second barrier on a sedan, you need AWD with launch control to get times like that.

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    Well there is a 4th mode as well for snow, but yes, near as I can tell from my short time with the car, you can't control the items individually. However, as I mentioned in the review, the Magnaride is so good that Track mode would still be suitably comfortable for most people even on long trips, so you can have your cake and eat it too.

    Also as I mentioned in the review, the material quality on the CTS is a step above the ATS. They didn't just lift the interior out of one and put it in the other. There is a noticeable difference.

    I also drove the E250 Bluetech and an E350 Estate/Combi/whatever. MB is actually behind Cadillac on interior material quality in those two cars... especially on the dash.

    Although how as the E250 Bluetec? One day when I no longer want a big engine, that 45 mpg is going to be really tempting, on a 22 gallon tank I'd fill up once every 5 weeks I bet.

    Atrocious... a civilian issue Checker for the new century if there ever was one. The interior is dreary, engine refinement is poor, though acceleration is very good for what it is.

    The engine refinement is so bad, right in the 2,000 - 2,500 rpm range under heavier acceleration, there is a hard vibration noise not unlike an old Civic with a loose catalytic converter heat shield.

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    Well there is a 4th mode as well for snow, but yes, near as I can tell from my short time with the car, you can't control the items individually. However, as I mentioned in the review, the Magnaride is so good that Track mode would still be suitably comfortable for most people even on long trips, so you can have your cake and eat it too.

    Also as I mentioned in the review, the material quality on the CTS is a step above the ATS. They didn't just lift the interior out of one and put it in the other. There is a noticeable difference.

    I also drove the E250 Bluetech and an E350 Estate/Combi/whatever. MB is actually behind Cadillac on interior material quality in those two cars... especially on the dash.

    Although how as the E250 Bluetec? One day when I no longer want a big engine, that 45 mpg is going to be really tempting, on a 22 gallon tank I'd fill up once every 5 weeks I bet.

    Atrocious... a civilian issue Checker for the new century if there ever was one. The interior is dreary, engine refinement is poor, though acceleration is very good for what it is.

    The engine refinement is so bad, right in the 2,000 - 2,500 rpm range under heavier acceleration, there is a hard vibration noise not unlike an old Civic with a loose catalytic converter heat shield.

    Sounds like a proper review. Even me driving a "typical" V6 E350 in February, the engine was smooth but the rest of the car was so drab, dreary and taxi like, you could get in & out of it and never remember a thing. I could imagine adding a gruff small diesel would not help matters in any way, mpg numbers aside.

    Really want to drive a CTS. Seems like an incredible car in every aspect, checking boxes the last one missed, and then some.

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    Mercedes has really dropped the ball on the latest E. Even the E63 that I sat in at Detroit had some cost-cutting plastics and build quality left a room for improvement.

    Good to know how the CTS has stepped up interior. Overall a solid review.

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    What's the CD player situation? I hope Cadillac didn't f@#k up again like on the ATS. Make me pay if you want, but don't shove another single-disc in the far corner of the glovebox so it is unusable from the driver seat...I mean at least make it a 6-disc changer with such an unergonomic setup...

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    SMK if your MB is so superior than Cadillac than why have they had so many quality issues and have not really appeared in the JD power quality listing for so long? Both MB and BMW while making respectable cars are living on their past glory and I do believe they will get their lunch eaten over the next few years form companies stepping up the game far from where they are now.

    Co worker just got a new MB SUV and his interior is pathetic compared to my Escalade. While people are nice to him about his new auto, many have stated they were surprised that japan and the US are building what they see as better luxury auto's.

    MB needs to wake up as their interiors are not that great and as CaddyCruiser mentioned very Taxi bland like on the interior.

    Yes personal taste being what it is, but MB and BMW need to step up their game now.

    Well there is a 4th mode as well for snow, but yes, near as I can tell from my short time with the car, you can't control the items individually. However, as I mentioned in the review, the Magnaride is so good that Track mode would still be suitably comfortable for most people even on long trips, so you can have your cake and eat it too.

    Also as I mentioned in the review, the material quality on the CTS is a step above the ATS. They didn't just lift the interior out of one and put it in the other. There is a noticeable difference.

    I also drove the E250 Bluetech and an E350 Estate/Combi/whatever. MB is actually behind Cadillac on interior material quality in those two cars... especially on the dash.

    I think the interior on the 07-09 E-class is better than the current car, the materials are softer tough and I like the layout a bit more. I am not a big fan of the round headlight look of my car, but I couldn't afford a 2010 or newer E-class, and I would rather have the old interior than the current one, and when you are driving you can't see the front end anyway. Mercedes has crazy good build quality though, even if that rubberized plastic stuff on the dash doesn't feel or look as expensive as what is in other cars, the build quality is rock solid. I think the A6 interior looks better than the CTS and the A6 is sort of old, but then again the E-class whips the A6 in sales, so that interior isn't enough to get it done.

    Although how as the E250 Bluetec? One day when I no longer want a big engine, that 45 mpg is going to be really tempting, on a 22 gallon tank I'd fill up once every 5 weeks I bet.

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    Mercedes interiors may not be flashy, but they last. Look at a 20 year old Mercedes interior and in most cases the trim pieces are all still in place, the leather isn't cracked or torn. Mercedes may use a simple design, and I agree that the all black interiors look drab, but they are built to last. My car has the Designo interior so it is better than a base E-class. It may not have a leather wrapped dash, but it also won't have cracked or sun faded leather on the dash once it gets older. The new S-class showed they they aren't going to just continue with function over form, and are putting more design into the interiors.

    As far as BMW goes, I not a fan of their styling or that their cars keep getting bigger and heavier, but he 3-series now is selling better than it has in years, since the ATS went on sale 3-series sales have gone up, and C-class sales are still high despite entering its 7th model year. No one is really hurting BMW or Mercedes right now, Audi is maybe a little bit, Lexus has regained sales but it is with blue hairs and entry level cars, the GS isn't selling, and Infiniti is almost dropping off.

    I am curious to how the CTS will sell and what prices they can get for it. The XF, GS, A6, M37 are all sort of slow sellers, so I think the market is open for someone to step and challenge Mercedes and BMW. But you can option the 321 hp CTS up to $70,000, so will people pay that much for a CTS?

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    ^ Maybe not, but it's a small matter. You can option an e-class up to $94K, but the average buyer is actually only paying $50K.

    Don't believe anyone cares how a 2014 mercedes interior holds up in the year 2034- it's already changed hands numerous times on average, and the initial buyer is long gone. The design, however, is immediate and it's severely lacking.

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    The E-class is the most expensive car in the class and the best selling, so they must do something right.

    You got it. By milking brand snobs like you and subsidizing the taxi operators MB gets a good volume.

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    I've admired Cadillac's all my life and I finally was fortunate enough to own one in 2009. My CTS4 has been and still is a dream come true. This Turbo Sport is the first model to make me contemplate a trade. I love the interior lines and the overall bigger but sleeker look on this one. To read about the performance upgrades just put me over the top. Very happy to see this coming!

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    Where's the V8? Wheres the Coupe :(

    Coupe they need, but the V8 they don't (other than in V-series). A 420 hp engine is plenty and really more than you can use in every day driving. The E550 is dying, the A6/S6 doesn't have a V8, I bet the 5-series loses the V8 soon. The V8s are going to be gone soon, even the 7-series and A8 and S-class are offering V6s, often with turbo or in diesel form, but still. I love V8s, but over 400 hp you can't really use, for the great majority, 300-330 hp in a small turbo V6 getting 30 mpg is what buyers want, or even a turbo 4 getting 33 mpg.

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    Love the new Cadillacs. This one even looks a little sweeter and having driven the 2013 would look forward to trying out this one. I can't believe people think this is drab...a test drive is in order and I think you will agree. The new "cooler" Cadillacs seem to be getting a good reception.

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    the 18" on the V is because the wheels improve performance. I read that on one of the web tests. Much lighter and helps with handling, and more compatible with the tire design. The 19" are for bling.

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    Nobody?

    What's the CD player situation? I hope Cadillac didn't f@#k up again like on the ATS. Make me pay if you want, but don't shove another single-disc in the far corner of the glovebox so it is unusable from the driver seat...I mean at least make it a 6-disc changer with such an unergonomic setup...

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