NEW YORK--The Caddy that breathed new life into the brand gets a second wind with the reveal of the 2014 Cadillac CTS this week at the New York International Auto Show. The new model is based on the Cadillac ATS, which earned a respectably high rating when passing through the CNET Car Tech garage recently, so the new sedan is starting from a good platform.
The general shape of the headlamps and placement of the foglamps echo those of the ATS upon which it is based, and LED fog lights and DRLs give the large sedan a premium feel. However, it's the CTS' massive grille and gigantic Cadillac badge that help it to stand apart from the crowd. It's unlike anything we've seen from the German competition.
The profile is a bit blander than the front end, but is still handsome. I'm interested in seeing a Coupe variant of this model after scoping out the great job Caddy did with the ELR.
More importantly, the 2014 CTS sedan pulls off the difficult trick of being both larger than its predecessor, and also lighter. Overall length is up 5 inches and the wheelbase has been stretched by 1.2 inches, but the new base curb weight of 3,616 pounds is claimed to be the lightest in the sedan's class thanks to weight reduction measures, such as aluminum door structures. What's more, the new CTS sedan carries this weight at close to a 50:50 distribution between the front and rear axles.
The optional Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension -- a first for the model -- augments the CTS' sport-tuned suspension, helping the sedan to soak up bumps and stick while cornering. The CTS will be available in both rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations.
Three engines were announced for the CTS at launch. First, a 2.0-liter turbocharged, four-cylinder engine uses direct-fuel injection to generate 272 horsepower and 292 pound-feet of torque while delivering the 2014 CTS' best estimated fuel economy of 19 city mpg and 30 highway mpg in its rear-wheel-drive configuration. In the middle of the pack is a 3.6-liter, direct-injected V-6 engine that generates 321 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. Highway fuel economy for this engine is down to 28 mpg while city economy is, remarkably, the same at 19 mpg.
At the top of the announced CTS line is the 3.6-liter, twin-turbo V-6 engine of the CTS Vsport. Output from this direct-injected mill is stated at 420 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. 0-60 comes in just 4.6 seconds. Take it easy and this configuration will also return 17 city mpg and 25 highway mpg. The Vsport trim level also features stickier tires, upgraded brakes, a limited-slip differential, increased cooling capacity, and a driver-selectable "Track mode" that sharpens up the steering and adaptive suspension. Interestingly, the Vsport is only available in RWD configuration.
The turbo four-cylinder will be mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox, but the two V-6 engine options will feature Cadillac's new eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
Cadillac's CTS lineup is curiously missing a V-8 engine option -- to say nothing of an offering akin to the 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 that powers the current CTS-V. Is Cadillac holding something back or does the automaker think that 420 horsepower is enough? I'm hoping for the former; it would be great to see Cadillac unleash a proper BMW M5 fighter sometime soon.
Cadillac is also stepping the CTS' game up in the cabin, a place where it has typically lagged behind the competition from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. The 2014 model features 20-way adjustable front seats with heated and ventilated surfaces, a heated steering wheel, and premium leather seats. Even the cup-holder lid is motorized, which strikes me as a very American way to show how luxurious your sedan is.
The CTS can be packed to the gills with modern driver aid technology. For example, Automatic Parking Assistant uses sonar sensors and the electronic power steering to automatically guide the sedan into a parallel parking spot, while the driver remains in control of the acceleration and braking. Front and Rear Automatic Braking use radar and sonar to sense obstructions at low speeds and automatically apply the brakes, which can keep you from backing over your spouse. Additionally, the rest of the safety tech gang is available as well, including collision alert, lane departure warning, adaptive headlamps, cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring, rear camera, and adaptive cruise, to name a few.
The Safety Alert Seat seems like the most fun safety feature, vibrating the seat to notify the driver of an obstruction in the sedan's blind spot. It buzzes the left cheek for the left blind spot and the right cheek for the right.
Entertainment tech starts with the standard Bose 11-speaker sound system or an optional 13-speaker Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound system and continues with Cadillac's 8-inch, capacitive CUE infotainment system. I'm hoping that Caddy's made improvements since we saw this system in the 2013 ATS. However, the CUE touch screen is not the only display in this sedan's dashboard. The CTS is also available with an optional 12.3-inch LCD instrument cluster that features four, driver-selectable layouts. Drivers who want yet another tiny screen can also opt for the full-color HUD.