Distinctive, capable and refined, the Cadillac CTS is a premium sedan designed to go head-to-head with the world's best. It splits the size difference between BMW's 3-Series and 5-Series sedans, though it's priced closer to the 3. While it isn't as sporty as some rivals, the CTS offers an excellent blend of handling, ride comfort and luxury.
Aside from the sedan model discussed herein, the CTS is also available in coupe, wagon and 556-horsepower CTS-V forms.
Compared with the extremely angular first-generation CTS, the current model sports a somewhat softened version of Cadillac's "Art & Science" design. There's still little chance that the car will ever be mistaken for anything but a Cadillac, though, and the overall look is more elegant and cohesive than before.
Underpinning the unique sheetmetal is GM's capable Sigma rear-wheel-drive architecture. This platform, along with the rest of the CTS, underwent extensive testing at Germany's famed Nurburgring course. It isn't the sportiest car in its class, but CTS does offer responsive, well-balanced handling dynamics to go along with a comfortable ride.
The cabin is one of the defining designs of GM's recent interior renaissance, featuring a graceful, flowing center stack, a unique pop-up navigation screen and suitably high levels of material quality throughout. Limited rearward visibility is compromise necessitated by the exterior styling.
Two V6 engines are available for buyers to choose from. The base motor is a 3.0-liter unit with 270 horsepower and and 223 lb-ft of torque that can had with a standard six-speed manual that returns 16 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway or an optional six-speed automatic that increases mileage to 18/27 mpg.
The upgrade engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that offers 318 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. The previously available row-your-own transmission has been dropped from this engine, leaving only a six-speed auto that helps return 18/27 mpg.
All-wheel-drive is available on both engines, albeit only with the automatic transmission.
Trim Level Breakdown
The CTS is available in Standard, Luxury, Performance and Premium trim levels.
The CTS Standard comes with the 3.0-liter motor, leatherette upholstery, an eight-speaker Bose AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM stereo with an AUX input jack, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth smartphone connectivity, power-adjustable driver's seat and 17-inch alloy wheels.
The CTS Luxury adds heated front seats, Sapele wood trim, a rearview camera, ambient interior lighting, a power-adjustable passenger's seat and memory functionality for both front seats.
The CTS Performance adds the 3.6-liter V6 in addition to leather upholstery, a sport suspension, Xenon HID headlights, 18-inch polished aluminum wheels and an upgraded 10-speaker Bose surround sound stereo.
The range-topping CTS Premium brings a navigation system, keyless start, extended Sapele wood trim, heated and ventilated front seats, keyless start and an UltraView sunroof.
All CTS models come standard with dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
Though it offers the space of a mid-sized luxury car, the CTS competes in price against smaller rivals like the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4 and Infiniti G37. Other competitors include the Acura TL, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Lexus IS 350.