2014 Cadillac CTS: Lighter, Larger, More Refined

March 26, 2013

American luxury just took another leap forward. The 2014 Cadillac CTS, on display tomorrow at the New York Auto Show, raises the bar for design, power, and value in the luxury sedan segment, continuing the CTS' legacy in forging new ground for Cadillac and the U.S.

This isn't the same CTS we've come to know and love, however. In fact, it's hugely different in almost every respect. Larger, more dramatically styled, and far more powerful (excepting the previous generations CTS-V), the 2014 Cadillac CTS moves up a notch to compete with the BMW 5-Series, Audi A6, and Mercedes-Benz E Class more directly.

The design, of course, speaks for itself. But there's a lot going on underneath that pretty skin.

Weight & Performance

Specifically, the CTS is 4.1 inches longer (now 195.5 inches), including a 1.1-inch longer wheelbase (up to 114.6 inches). It also cuts a lower profile into the wind, with a one-inch lower roof line (now at 57.2 inches). At the same time, the 2014 CTS weighs about 200 pounds less than the 2013 BMW 528i (according to Cadillac) at 3,616 pounds--and it's more than 250 pounds lighter than the outgoing model of the CTS.

That lighter weight is distributed evenly front-to-rear, with a 50.1/49.9% weight balance.

A curious factoid: that's a better front-rear weight bias than the 2013 Chevy Corvette Grand Sport's 51/49% distribution.

Together with the lighter weight, this should result in a CTS that's more dynamic and capable than the current model. Also aiding the CTS' ability to control its motion, both in terms of comfort and performance, is the availability of Magnetic Ride Control adjustable dampers, even on the base model--a first for the CTS.

Of course, the powertrains will play heavily into the feeling of sport in the 2014 CTS' nature, as well.

The engine lineup starts with the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, rated at 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. This is the same engine offered in the new ATS, and even in the larger CTS, manages GM-estimated 19/30 mpg city/highway gas mileage ratings in rear-wheel drive form. All-wheel drive is also available, scoring estimates of 18/28 mpg. A six-speed paddle-shifted automatic transmission is standard with the turbo four-cylinder engine.

Next up the line is the familiar 3.6-liter V-6 engine. Rated at 321 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, the V-6 rates 19/28 mpg in rear-drive, and 18/27 mpg in all-wheel drive. It's also available with the six-speed paddle-shift automatic, but can optionally upgrade to the new eight-speed paddle-shift automatic, another first for Cadillac.

The range-topper, dubbed the CTS Vsport, comes with the newly announced 420-horsepower 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine. Backing up the tall horsepower figure are 430 pound-feet of torque. Only available in rear-drive form, the most powerful CTS earns an estimated mileage of 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. It comes standard with the eight-speed automatic.

Another curious factoid: the 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport packs just 8.6 pounds per horsepower. That's just one more pound per horsepower than the 436-horsepower 2013 Chevy Corvette Grand Sport.

Other standard features on the Vsport include 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Pirelli tires, with an optional 19-inch upgrade; a quicker steering ratio; Brembo disc brakes; a heavy-duty track cooling package; driver-selectable track mode with unique steering and Magnetic Ride Control calibrations; and an electronic limited-slip differential.

Technology & Safety

One of the central experiences of the 2014 Cadillac CTS will be the CUE infotainment system. Short for Cadillac User Experience, the CUE system is still a young one; our experiences with it in the Cadillac ATS leave us looking forward to it reaching maturity.

In the CTS, CUE gets an 8-inch high-res touch screen with haptic feedback, Bluetooth connectivity for smartphones and audio, voice recognition, and USB and SD Card inputs. Navigation is available on the base 2014 CTS, and standard on higher trims.

In front of the driver, a 12.3-inch LCD digital instrument cluster interacts with the CUE display and the car's onboard active safety tech, with a choice of four layouts. A full-color head-up display (HUD) is also available.

Automatic Parking Assist is optional, letting the 2014 CTS park itself in parallel spaces.

The 2014 CTS' safety tech includes ultrasonic sensors, radar, and cameras to enable the Front and Rear automatic braking system, helping to prevent or avoid low-speed collisions from either end. An available Driver Awareness Package includes the Safety Alert Seat first seen on the new XTS.

Other available safety tech includes: full-speed adaptive cruise control; panic brake assist; forward collision alert; automatic collision preparation; lane departure warning; side blind zone alert; rear cross-traffic alert; rear view camera with dynamic guidelines; and adaptive forward lighting.

OnStar is included for one year, including access to the car's systems remotely via smartphone apps. And of course, the CTS includes a full complement of standard airbags--10 to be exact, with dual-stage "low-risk deployment" on the front passenger airbag, intended to adjust the airbag's function to the size of the occupant and severity of the crash.

Luxury & Refinement

Active noise cancellation reduces noise levels in the 2014 CTS' cabin by up to 20 decibels. The noise cancellation system works through the Bose audio system and interior microphones.

Another nice "look at that" feature is a motorized cup holder cover. After all, you've arrived; you shouldn't have to open the cup holders manually.

But the real centerpiece of the interior is, well, the interior itself. A new one-piece wrapped upper instrument panel caps the dashboard and ties it through to the base of the center stack, while very attractive wood trim (in the initial photos) complements cut-and-sew upholstery throughout.

A total of six two-tone combinations are available for the interior, with wood, carbon fiber, and aluminum trim options. Leather seating is also available, including an upgrade to semi-aniline leather.

The front seats are available in 20-way adjustable, full-leather form, with 16 power assist adjustments and manual adjustments for the cushion length extension and headrest position. The standard CTS seats are 14-way power-adjustable units.

Other available interior tweaks include LED ambient lighting; tri-zone climate control with vents in the rear center console; rear door and window shades; and standard Bose Cabin Surround audio.

Three trim lines will be offered, with varying levels of standard equipment, including Luxury, Performance, and Premium Collections.

(c) 2013, High Gear Media.

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