2014 CTS First Drive Impressions: Not Your Grand Dad’s Cadillac

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2014 CTS


isten.  Let’s not quibble about it. Cadillac is your Dad’s, or perhaps even your Grand Dad’s brand.  But before you start nodding your head, and scoffing down another bag of Doritos, consider the company’s ATS.  In fact, take a look at it.  It’s nimble, well appointed, and has been well reviewed.  In fact, it unseated the long reigning champion, the 3-series, in one or two publications as the car to beat.  And while I don’t know if I can whole heartedly agree – I’m due to write a review on it – it appeals to my sensibilities more than any other Cadillac of before.  That is until I drove Cadillac’s 2014 CTS.

The CTS drive took place in the beautiful and majestic town of Santa Barbara, just two hours from my hood.  Shocked, because little did I know that Santa Babs could afford one with such an exhilarating as well as scenic driving experience.  Some of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of partaking in, at least here in the US.

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Upon arrival I ditched my now tired 2003 VW GTI by relegating it to the valets garage.  I still love the car, but it needs some tuning and never again will I purchase a front wheel drive vehicle (as I’ve lamented before).  Fortunately, my valet, upon exit offered to perhaps buy the car, but I digress.

With no bags to check, I was quickly escorted to my room – scratch that – duplex bungalow where I was provided with a recently remolded abode, complete with rain shower, heated floors, king bed, and most importantly a packed mini bar (thank you Dean and Deluca gummy bears).

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Dinner kicked things off for the evening, and with it came a walk-through of the car’s exterior, interior and features.  Generally these parts are a snooze fest with engineers touting their awesomeness.  But contrary to popular belief, Caddy managed to be both informative and keep the crowd awake.  In addition to witnessing the CTS’s weight savings, which is 100s of pounds lighter than the previous CTS, Cadillac pointed out the more aggressive and fluid design.  The 2014 CTS, which surprisingly embodies many design cues from the concept mock up, sits 19mm lower and 90mm longer than the previous iteration.  Yes, despite that it out performs competitors (Mercedes E-class and BMW 5-series) in HP to weight ratio across all three engine types (turbo 4-cylinder, 3.6 V6, and twin turbo V6 – more on those soon).

After viewing the car’s undercarriage and many body parts – I also peppered the team with some suspension questions out of pure interest – we were served a three course menu complemented by locally crafted and grown wine.  Stuffed and full, I retired to my room, only to find myself bellying up to the bar for a night cap.

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Cadillac’s Light Blades can be seen from afar.

The sun rose and before I knew it was 8am.  Jumping from my bed – no seriously, I did this – I showered and headed to the breakfast.  Damn it.  Last to enter.  Scoffing down eggs, bacon and sausage, I hit the road with my co-pilot Kurt from Cadillacs marketing team.  If they thought for one second I’d take it easy with a GM employee in the car they were wrong – I’m half joking.  But in all seriousness, 7 journalists had already afforded themselves speeding tickets from the previous wave, so to say the SB police we’re gunning for us, well, it might be an understatement.

I began my journey in the naturally aspirated 3.6l V6.  More than enough?  Yes, I’d say so.  It doesn’t produce too much verbal grunt, but if one is in need then you won’t need to look any further than the V Sport (not V Edition), a 420hp twin turbo powerhouse.  Scaling mountain climbs and hurdling through corners was a nimble effort, save for the seating, which could use a bit more lateral support to accommodate my lean (NOT skinny) frame.   Seating concerns aside, this particular V6 didn’t include Cadillac’s MCR (magnet ride control), so only the car’s throttle settings could be influenced using the according switch.

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At checkpoint one I switched to the twin turbo 3.6l V6.  I’m gluten for horsepower as much as I am for sporty chassis – this car had both in spades.  Three settings lets you choose your level of aggression.  This include “tour”, “sport” and “track”.  Track is only available in V-Sport, which by the way comes in two levels: one with dual screens and a heads up display, and one with just the CUE infotainment screen.

The 2014 CTS V-Sport might be aptly described as a sleeper.  0-60 is a mere 4.4 seconds with a top speed of 170mph.  See you later BMW.  Brembo brakes are default on all models, and wheel choices come in two flavors depending on package; 17 or 18-inch.  That all said, weight distribution is now 50/50 (50.2/49.8 – let’s not split hairs).  The previous iteration was 52/48.

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So does the CTS turn in? You bet it does.  It’s no R8 (sorry GM), but in track or sport mode, it’s does a damn good and respectable job of doing so, especially for a 5 passenger car.  The back seat is accommodating, and with the driver’s seat positioned to my height of 6′ 1″, I was still able to sit in the back with relative comfort.

I won’t bore you (one again) with the details about CUE, but not much has changed there since I drove the company’s XTS.  That aside, Cadillac has done a remarkable job with their interiors.  Fit and finish is top end, and while I could take or leave the brand’s sharp back end, there is no disputing the exquisite body paneling found on the exterior.  That said, I’d still be hard pressed to forgo a coupe in favor of the 2014 CTS, but if pressed, and I had to grab a sporty sedan, there is a good chance I’d be taking a very hard and long look at the 2014 Cadillac CTS.


Release Date: October and November 2014
Price: Starting at $46,000
Model: CTS and CTS V-Sport (CTS V coming soon)
Horsepower: 272-420hp
Transmission: 6 and 8 Speed Auto
Article Type:
Engine: ,
Drivetrain: ,


Visceral engine noise in the 420hp, MCR works to reduce body roll or soften the ride, well appointed interior, fun to drive


Motorized cup holder feels gimmicky and unrefined,


Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

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