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2014 Cadillac CTS Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Cadillac CTS was new.


Performance: 9.3

The automotive press agrees that the 2014 Cadillac CTS is a winner in terms of performance. The new turbocharged four-cylinder engine impresses critics with its generous power, and they say the new twin-turbo V6 will put a smile on any driver’s face. The CTS also receives praise for its athletic handling, precise steering, adjustable suspension and strong brakes.

  • "… the new powertrain lineup is as sophisticated and modern as anything currently available in the midsize sport-luxury segment." -- Edmunds
  • "Three engines - including the 420-horsepower V6 Twin Turbo in the CTS Vsport - rear-wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), and an available adaptive suspension give the new midsize 4-door an exceptional combination of sophistication and exhilaration." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Without question, the Vsport … is the diamond in this bowl of CTS gems. Like all of the other models, it feels smaller than it really is on the roads - only marginally larger than the ATS, if forced to make a comparison - and that translates to very relaxed driving, as there is no worry about where its four tires are rolling." -- Autoblog
  • “… performance-wise, the CTS has it nailed." -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan has three engines to choose from. The base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 272 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The second engine is a 321-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 that has either the six-speed auto or a new eight-speed automatic. The third engine is found in the CTS Vsport sedan and is a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 that generates 420 horsepower at 5,750 rpm and 430 pound-feet of torque between 3,500 and 4,500 rpm and is mated to the eight-speed auto. Cadillac says the Vsport can hit 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. The CTS coupe has a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 318 horsepower, as well as a six-speed automatic. The CTS wagon has two V6’s to choose from, both of which are mated to the six-speed auto: a 3.0-liter that is rated at 270 horsepower and a 3.6-liter that generates 318 horsepower. 

CTS-V sedans, coupes and wagons carry over unchanged for 2014 and have a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine that generates 556 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 551 pound-feet of torque at 3,800 rpm. A six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic is available on CTS-V sedans, coupes and wagons. The EPA reports that the four-cylinder-powered CTS sedan gets 20/30 mpg city/highway, while V6-powered models get 18/29 mpg. Vsport models get 16/24 mpg and V sedans with the manual transmission get 14/19 mpg.

Test drivers are pleased with the ample power that the base turbocharged four-cylinder engine provides, saying its combination of good fuel economy and power is ideal for city and highway driving. They’re even more impressed with the V6’s abundant muscle. Vsport and V models are tremendously fast, critics say. Reviewers note that the automatic transmissions are quick to deliver more power when needed and that they shift gears smoothly.

  • "Smooth and capable in rear-drive or all-wheel-drive models, the 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V6 will remain the most popular CTS motivator, but we found the new Sedan-only 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder an enticing alternative. While nothing equals the pure adrenaline rush of a CTS-V's 556-horsepower 6.2-liter supercharged V8, the new 420-horsepower V6 Twin Turbo in the CTS Vsport comes tantalizingly close in real-world terms - and for considerably less money." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "At the entry level, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is quite impressive in its own right, making 272 horsepower and 292 lb-ft of torque. With more than sufficient power to get out of its own way, it is slated to be the largest seller in the fleet." -- Left Lane News
  • “The twin-turbocharged V-6 has the gusto of a V-8, and on a mountain road the V-Sport is every inch an uncompromising sport sedan." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Just as you'd hope, the engine is a major player in every car. When the twin-turbo intercooled V-6 is at work, you know you're in a CTS that did a lap of the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 8:14.10. When the normally aspirated V-6 is doing business, you know you're in a CTS that makes every drive feel effortless. And when the turbo four is in front, you're surprised to find a CTS with lots of power matched by lots of mpg, making this combination the smart choice for urban driving and freeway commuting." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The eight-speed transmission in the Vsport is commendably quick, and smooth too. Even though I find the magnesium paddleshifters on the steering wheel a bit gimmicky for use on public roads, they are a quick grab and easy to flick with my fingers." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

The 2014 CTS sedan impresses reviewers with nimble handling, accurate steering and powerful brakes. Though they say the base suspension delivers a terrific ride, they like Cadillac’s available Magnetic Ride Control suspension system even more, noting that it offers even livelier handling. Magnetic Ride Control features selectable modes, like Tour, Sport and Track, which adjust the CTS’ handling characteristics. Some critics say the redesigned 2014 CTS sedan is one of the most fun cars to drive in its class. CTS models are rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available on all but the Vsport and V models.

  • “Even when riding on the base all-season tires, the superb chassis tuning makes itself known. Body roll is tightly managed, bumps are dispatched without drama, and even the base car is agile and responsive. The steering is weighted right and decently quick with a surprising amount of feel and feedback for a luxury sedan." -- Motor Trend
  • "Who would have imagined 30 years ago that one day the Cadillac would offer the one of the most rewarding lineups sport luxury sedans? Push the new CTS hard through a twisty ribbon of road and you're having a blast. Best of all, you don't need to be in the most expensive model." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "And did we mention just how refined the driving experience is? Even the standard suspension setup is resilient, but the optional Magnetic Ride Control once again shows just why so many carmakers have come to adopt this American technology to deliver good dynamics with a good ride." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "On canyon roads in Southern California, this lightened four-door proved razor sharp; almost telepathic in its response. But, as a Cadillac should, the CTS also proved relaxed and comfortable on a highway stint. Being one with the car has rarely been this good. Strong Brembo-branded brakes, now seen on every model in the lineup, have also been passed down, at least in terms of brand recognition, from the CTS-V. As expected, they reign things in with authority." -- Left Lane News

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