$37,524 - $75,095

2018 Cadillac CTS Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Cadillac CTS was new.


Performance: 9.3

The 2018 Cadillac CTS is one of the most thrilling models to drive in this class, with sporty handling on twisty roads. You'll want to skip the unrefined base engine and underwhelming non-turbo V6 in favor of the V-Sport model’s punchy twin-turbo V6. Its quick acceleration pairs nicely with the sedan's cornering abilities. For truly shocking acceleration, move up to the performance-oriented CTS-V, which has an incredibly potent supercharged V8. 

  • "Most buyers will opt for the turbo four-cylinder or the regular V6 engine. The four-cylinder lacks the refinement and seamless power delivery of its BMW and Audi rivals but still packs a good punch in the middle of the powerband. It's not as quick or smooth off the line, but it's plenty fast for the interstate." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "From a set of powerful engine options to its Nurburgring-proven performance, the CTS outshines cars like the Audi A6 and Lexus GS, and pulls within spitting distance of the BMW 5 Series, including the legendary M5." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "If you went just by those numbers alone, the coming CTS-V outshines the competitors in almost every category. If you go by all the parameters that make a car a success, the CTS-V might win there, too." -- Autoweek (2016)

Acceleration and Power

A turbocharged, 268-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine comes standard in the 2018 CTS. Optional engines include a 3.6-liter V6 and a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 that produce 335 horsepower and 420 horsepower, respectively. All three engines come with an eight-speed automatic transmission. With the base engine, the CTS gets up to 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, which is below average for a four-cylinder-powered sedan in this class.

The base four-cylinder engine can feel harsh under acceleration, and the optional non-turbo V6 isn't as powerful as you might expect from a V6 in this class. Fortunately, the twin-turbo V6 is more potent, giving you more thrilling acceleration.

The high-performance CTS-V is equipped with a 640-horsepower, supercharged 6.2-liter V8. It's among the most powerful engines in the class, and it easily shoots the sedan from zero to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. It can reach a top speed of 200 mph.

  • "The turbocharged four-cylinder and non-turbo V6 are underwhelming for this class; they come up a little short in either refinement (the four-cylinder) or power (the V6). But with the CTS V-Sport, you'll feel the impressive pull from a 420-horsepower turbocharged V6." -- Edmunds
  • "Power fiends who can't afford the CTS-V will be very pleased with the 420-horsepower twin-turbo V6 in the CTS V-Sport." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "Yow! This car has 640 hp all right, and it felt like we were putting every single one of them down to the pavement right then and there. The rear end wandered around a little with all that power, almost scarily, as we briefly contemplated being known forever as, 'Oh yeah, that idiot who wiped out the first CTS-V.' But a little counter steering – without lifting – and some barely noticeable assist from the active traction control kept it in line and off we whooshed, down the onramp at what felt like about Warp Factor 6. This is no ordinary domestic performance sedan." -- Autoweek (2016)

Handling and Braking

The CTS is among the best-performing sport sedans when the road gets curvy. This Cadillac stays poised through turns thanks to its responsive steering and ample grip. If you step up to the high-performance CTS-V, prepare to enjoy even more athleticism. When you no longer want to tear through turns, the CTS settles down to become a very comfortable long-distance cruiser. An available adaptive suspension allows you to choose from three driving modes: Tour, Sport, or Track. Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is optional.

  • "With suspension tuning done on fabled race circuits and highways around the world, the CTS definitely has the handling chops you might expect from a luxury sport sedan. The CTS could even claim to be the most engaging car in its class for driving along a curvy road. Particularly with the CTS V-Sport, you'll find that it turns in crisply and has loads of confidence-inspiring grip." -- Edmunds
  • "The ride is extremely comfortable even on rather rough roads, and the exhaust that rip-roars when the car is in Track mode goes mostly silent when in Tour. But then a turn approaches and the CTS-V reacts like an extension of your arms through the steering wheel, and you snap back to the realization that you're piloting something special." -- Cars.com (2016)
  • "The steering was as precise as a sedan this big will likely get, and the body roll control was likewise solid." -- Autoweek (2016)

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