3.6L V6 DI VVT
321 HP @ 6800
275 lb-ft @ 4800
12.8 / 8.9
The first GM car ever to be developed on the “Green Hell” (Nürburgring) was the CTS. More than 10 years have gone by since Cadillac fine tuned the handling dynamics of their mid-sized sedan created to attack the German speaking rivals. Partially successful, the first gen CTS grabbed a piece of the pie but was never as good as its main European rivals. Then came the ATS, the vehicle with which GM succeeded to do what the CTS came close to achieving, being just as good as the meticulously engineered Germans.
The new 2015 CTS, has learned from the ATS’s venture, and comes with a charismatic suspension setup that promises best in class dynamics. Facing fierce competition once again from the World Cup Winners (Germany people!), the CTS has been carefully enhanced for 2015.
At the front, you’ll find the revised grille and Cadillac crest, a wireless phone charging pad called “DockSpot” is available inside the hidden compartment, the CUE system now supports message alerts and the park assist can squeeze you in a perpendicular spot as well. Lane keep assist and lane change alert are added to the driver awareness package and some new colors and trim combos are now available.
You can put a rear-wheel-drive 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo on your driveway for very reasonable $51,100, while making it all-wheel-drive bumps up the price to $53,725. The top of the range 3.6L V6 all-wheel-drive Premium starts at $71,905, while our test vehicle was also equipped with adaptive cruise control, automatic forward and rear braking, automatic seat belt tightening, Ultraview wide power sunroof, magnetic ride control, automatic parallel and perpendicular parking, color heads-up-display (HUD), rear heated seats, illuminated front sill plates and door handles, HID headlights, blind spot monitors, lane keep assist, rear vision camera and auto wipers for a total of $74,075.
The bold exterior design with the straight line lighting elements and pointy corner cuts definitely stands out; it is damn right gorgeous. Inside, the story continues just as it begun. Exciting and luxurious, the driver-centric dash is modern, crafted using high grade materials and sporting craftsmanship from a specially selected crew that do quite a lot by hand. Fit and finish are excellent, the combination of wood, leather, suede, chrome, aluminum and soft touch plastic has worked really well and interestingly, the level of control given to the driver is astonishing. You can set your HUD and your instrument cluster to four different presets, or if you are a true nutcase, you can download the open source software and develop your own UI!
The front seats are 12-way adjustable, meaning that you can find your ideal driving position even if you are the most weirdly built human on earth. Power adjustable steering column and HUD height, make everything even easier. The seats themselves are trimmed in very high quality leather and support the body very well, also providing supreme comfort levels. Visibility is slightly compromised by the thick B-pillars and the rear blind adds even more height to the already raised bum but thanks to the blind spot monitors you can feel confident enough to change lanes. The rear seats are comfortable for two adults with slight compromises. The legroom is a bit tighter than the headroom so if together with the passenger in front they average more than 6ft tall, some problems will surface. A third passenger will have a hard time fitting as the width is not that great and the center tunnel takes up the legroom. The trunk is even worse, at just 388L it is quite smaller than the class average of about 500L.
The rear independent suspension layout is mostly steel to balance the car out and achieve a 50:50 weight distribution. Kind of a weird decision considering how much effort has gone into keeping it light in general. At least it works very well, the magnetic ride control successfully reads the road and adjusts correctly most of the time, making the ride feel comfortable despite the sporty orientation and short travel. Some vibrations and sharp bumps do upset it momentarily but without any further consequences. Impressive is the complete absence of a soundtrack from the suspension, which in combination with the tightly put together cabin make the ride feel even better than it is. Wind noise and road noise are well suppressed, so long distance traveling is a very pleasant experience in the CTS.
Hit the back roads and hopefully some nice bends and you’ll start appreciating the hard work gone into fine tuning the vehicle’s dynamics. The light body weight, heavy steering and wide track make this big caddy turn with poise and aggression. The all-wheel-drive is discrete enough, kicking in only when really needed and as such, the rear-wheel-drive biased setup is very fun to drive. The handling is progressive enough not to scare the driver and grip limits are high enough for making novice drivers appear as race drivers. If the 6-speed auto gearbox was a bit quicker, the driving experience would be a real threat to the class leaders. Maybe with the optional 8-speed things would be different.
Mated to the otherwise good transmission is a 3.6L V6 engine that outputs 321 HP and 275 lb-ft or torque. Power delivery is instant and the motor is a really good match to the chassis. From a standstill, 100km/h comes in 7.2” and the reverse procedure, despite the meaningless distance of 48m on a thick layer of salt was done with a very strong bite and no brake fade from the excellent Brembos. It might seem a bit down on torque compared to the smaller turbo 4-cylinder, but the extra horsepower and very compelling sound track are well worth the upgrade. Fuel economy is hurt a bit, but factoring in that regular unleaded is the recommended grade it kind of balances it out. Our week ended with an average of 13.5lt/100km on a freezing cold (-10C) combined cycle.
Without any doubt, the CTS is not only a worthy opponent to the dominating powerhouses (BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class) but it gives them a good run for their money. When it comes to value and style it is the clear winner, while for real driving enthusiasts, it is the most fun to drive as well. And you can get it with a limited-slip-diff! Way to go Caddy!
Near perfect handling
Near perfect interior
Many pimp features
Rear seats slightly tight
Trunk is small