$30,807 - $79,004

2019 Cadillac CTS Performance Review


Performance: 8.7

The 2019 Cadillac CTS has phenomenal overall performance for its class. The base engine delivers decent power, but the two optional V6 engines are more potent. Fuel economy is below average. The CTS handles with enthusiasm and precision, though ride quality is a bit firm.

  • "Like the competition, the CTS is available with multiple engine options. You can prioritize fuel efficiency with the standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine or get smooth performance with a more powerful V6. Want even more? Opt for the CTS V-Sport to get a twin-turbo V6 that produces 420 horsepower and pulls hard no matter your speed." -- Edmunds
  • "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)
  • "With the CTS, Cadillac has combined the bold and dynamic character that's unique to American cars with the power and performance that makes pricey European models so desirable." -- Autotrader (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The 2019 Cadillac CTS comes standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 268 horsepower. A 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 335 horsepower is optional, as is a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 that puts out 420 horsepower. The CTS-V features a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine that makes 640 horsepower. All engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

With the standard engine, the CTS gets up to 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Those figures are below average for the class. The regular V6 engine gets 19 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, while the twin-turbo V6 gets 16/24 mpg city/highway.

The standard four-cylinder engine has decent power, though critics disagree on its capability. Both optional V6 engines provide more muscle and quicker acceleration. The automatic transmission performs well in general.

  • "A willing 420-horsepower, 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 engine has ample oomph from any speed, pulls hard and is responsive. There are no obvious flat spots in its powerband, even when accelerating from a standstill. It's fast yet undramatic. … The CTS is a very cooperative car that's easy to live with. Upshifts from the eight-speed automatic are almost imperceptible. In manual mode, the downshifts are noticeably delayed after requested from a paddle-pull." -- Edmunds
  • "You'd think the base 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder would be underwhelming, but the reality is it offers surprising acceleration and slightly better economy than the standard 3.6-liter V6." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "The standard 2.0-liter has sufficient power, but it's obviously not quite as responsive as the V6 -- even if you play with the adjustable Drive Mode Control feature. Indeed, we think the 3.6 is the right engine choice for the CTS." -- Autotrader (2018)

Handling and Braking

The Cadillac CTS comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is optional. Handling is sharp and secure through turns, with good road grip and little body roll. The CTS’ ride quality is on the stiff side, especially with certain wheel or tire combinations.

  • "This standout handler with ample grip feels very planted, secure and precise. Even in spirited driving, the car doesn't wobble at the edge of its handling envelope. It's a confidence-inspiring car whether in fast sweepers or low-speed turns. … The ride is very firm. It's not harsh, but it is a tick too intense, communicating tiny bumps even as it absorbs larger ones. The ride edges too closely to the sport side of the equation for a car of this disposition." -- Edmunds
  • "Handling is also spot-on, as is feedback from the steering, though our test car's optional 19-in wheels and run-flat tires delivered a pretty jarring ride. Instead, we might suggest sticking with the stock 18-in wheels." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • "The Cadillac CTS is based on the much smaller ATS sedan, yet despite the added size and weight, it feels unaffected. The agile handling inspires confidence, and conveys the correct impression that the CTS weighs less than many of its competitors. Opt for Cadillac's Magnetic Ride Control and you can select how smooth the ride should be, or how glue-like you want it to stick to the pavement by controlling body lean and sway. While we prefer rear-wheel drive for fun, there's no denying the available all-wheel-drive system expands the all-weather capabilities of the CTS." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)

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