2014 Cadillac CTS Sedan
The first two generations of CTS played the role of Cadillac s multi-tool, intended to stretch across two sports-sedan segments. And it largely delivered on that front, appearing on our 10Best Cars list in either regular or high-test V forms, or both, from 2008 through 2012. But luxury-sedan buyers prefer their cutlery to serve a specific purpose to wit, BMW has the 3- and 5-series, Audi the A4 and A6, and Mercedes its C- and E-classes. And now that the wreath and crest has assigned its ATS to capably fight the 3-series and the like, Caddy s Leatherman has been freed to attempt to break the German stranglehold on the mid-size luxury-sedan segment.
Nowhere is the CTS s newfound mission more evident than in its dimensions. The car s wheelbase is up by 1.2 inches, and overall length swells by 4.2 inches to 195.5, making the new car roughly two inches longer than its German competition. Despite the growth, interior measurements don t change by much a tenth of an inch here, three-tenths there and rear-passenger legroom has actually decreased by 0.7 inch. But the company says that curb weight is down from the previous car, and that the CTS packs about 200 fewer pounds than does the BMW 528i, although we re unsure the spec of the models being compared. For reference, the last 528i we tested weighed 3883 pounds, while the most recent 3.6-liter V-6 powered CTS to cross our scales rang in at 4072 pounds.
One Twin-Turbo and an Octocog
Just a couple of weeks ago, Cadillac announced that the new car would feature a new, 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6. This mill, which also will see duty in the XTS, is based on the naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V-6 available throughout Cadillac s lineup, but its roster of parts is 90 percent unique to accommodate forced induction as well as the resulting higher output. The force-fed six makes 420 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque, and will sit atop the powertrain lineup. Among the Teutonic competition, BMW s 550i produces 445 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque from a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8, Audi s S6 churns out 420 horsepower and 406 lb-ft from its twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8, and Mercedes new-for-2015 twin-turbo V-6 powered E400 makes just 329 horsepower and 354 lb-ft. Cadillac says its new mill, which will be fitted to models bearing a new Vsport trim designation, will propel the CTS from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 170 mph.
Also new is Cadillac s Aisin-sourced eight-speed automatic, which is exclusive to the twin-turbo V-6. This box is said to handle gearswaps as rapidly as 0.3 second and to be more efficient (by 1.5 percent) than the six-speed auto that s mated to the CTS s other powerplants. Those engines include a 321-hp, naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V-6 and a new-to-CTS 272-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four that we felt let the ATS down in its narrow comparison-test loss to the 3-series. These powertrains will be available with rear- or all-wheel drive, while the top-dog motor will direct its power solely to the back of the boat. The new eight-speed can skip multiple gears during both up- and downshifts for further efficiency gains and quicker response.
Less Weight, Similar Efficiency
Underpinning the newest Caddy is a version of the Alpha rear-drive platform that serves as the basis for the ATS sedan. This lighter architecture is the centerpiece of the brand s weight-saving efforts. The front strut towers and subframe as well as a number of other front-suspension components are made from aluminum. Combined, they cut weight by about 50 percent versus the old pieces. Aluminum also is used for the car s hood and door structures which will save 16.6 pounds per door a first for Cadillac. Meanwhile, many rear suspension components are made of steel, Cadillac says, to help offset the weight of the engine hanging over the front axle. As a result, claimed weight distribution is close to 50/50. Thanks in part to wide use of structural adhesives at major weld points, overall structural stiffness increases by 40 percent versus the outgoing car.