The 2014 CTS is generating more buzz than any Cadillac in a long time. This is the Motor Trend Car of the Year. It is grabbing praise, headlines, and awards everywhere it goes. Some people call it the best Cadillac sedan ever. Others call it the best American car ever. The 2014 CTS is seriously getting that kind of praise. To see if this car is worth all the hubbub, the Kansas City Automotive Examiner recently spent a week with the much-hyped luxury machine.
The front-end treatment dominates the exterior of this car. The angled, chiseled lines are bookended by four, stacked LED light strips that cut through the haze like nothing else on the road. Those lights alone are enough to tell people that this is no ordinary car. The Cadillac crest sits high in the grille, and punctuates a highly sculpted hood. This feast for the senses up front contrasts with the sides and back of the car, which are actually pretty subdued. If the front clip was designed for maximum impact, the rest of the car was designed to be utterly understated.
Another place that you’ll find plenty of impact is the interior. The first time you sit in the cool, sporty cockpit of the new CTS, you will know without a doubt that the 1996 Fleetwood Brougham is completely dead and buried. The heated and ventilated leather “Performance Front Seats” were as supportive as any sports car, if not a bit on the hard side. The 12.3-inch reconfigurable instrument cluster was essentially a video screen on which digital images of gauges appeared. An eight-inch touch screen ran Cadillac’s sophisticated CUE system, which features high-tech haptic feedback.
The environment is comfortable, with a decent amount of rear-seat legroom, tri-zone climate control, and burled genuine wood accents. This is one of eight interior choices, which include different colors, aluminum, or carbon fiber trim. The infotainment system does everything you could possibly want it to, and the soundtrack emanates from Bose surround-sound speakers. Electronic gewgaws included a head’s up display, Advanced Safety Belt Tightening (the belts will cinch down on you in a crash, but seem to need to test themselves every time you start out; it reminds me of a blood pressure cuff), and an electronic motor on the cup holder door.
This particular car had a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder good for 272-hp and 295-lb/ft. of torque. This setup is also available in the smaller ATS, and while it had some scoot to it, you did notice it working harder in this CTS. This power plant was connected to a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Now, paddle shifters are OK, but this car would be extra fun with a real six-speed manual.
The wheels are optional 18-inch seven-spokes, which fit over big Brembo front brakes. 18-inch wheels are pretty tame on a modern, performance-oriented car like this. But they actually to help the ride; and the handling doesn’t seem to suffer. You can punch a button that tunes to the suspension to “sport” mode, which makes it handle even better if you’re really pushing it through a twisty course. For normal driving, however, sport mode is just a button that seems to disable the power steering. Surprisingly, in spite of its larger size, handling doesn’t really seem to diminish compared to its ATS cousin.
This is the newest, most advanced Cadillac you can buy, and the price tag reflects that. With an as-tested price of $65,425, this car is nearly $20,000 more than a comparable ATS. It is bigger, however, and it packs quite a bit more technology. Plus, it looks considerably newer and more premium than the ATS. There’s a reason this car is getting all those accolades. It is an exceptionally good car. If you really want the best, you have to pay for the best.
Returning the keys to this beautiful new CTS was the toughest part of the test drive. But if you’re in the market for a car like this, and can afford it, you might want to consider picking up a set of these keys for yourself.
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And for more pictures of our 2014 CTS test car, go to this link.