Cadillac, in brand terms, is well known: the luxury division of the General Motors Group, a bit like Infiniti to Nissan and Lexus to Toyota. Worryingly for Cadillac, more and more Americans are recognising their competitor’s brands and, even on home turf, buying foreign cars. The basic reason is that the competitor’s cars are good and Cadillac took their foot off the accelerator allowing not only the Asian brands in but the German’s too. Cadillac are fighting back though with improved cars of their own like the ATS (North American Car of the Year 2013), XTS and now the new CTS. To put these Cadillacs in order; the ATS is a BMW 3 Series rival, the CTS an Audi A6 rival and the XTS a Mercedes S Class rival.That is major automotive market share and is going to take some dynamite to dislodge. Auto Trader has already brought you great reports back on the ATS and the XTS so can the CTS keep up the momentum and give Cadillac three cars for the three top luxury segments? Possibly the most populated of these three segments is the mid-size luxury market already dominated by the Germans.
The CTS receives a new look for 2014, 12-cms longer, slightly lower, new headlights, re-styled bonnet and a grille that looks like a large Cadillac badge: the Caddy is certainly a good-looker. The CTS also benefits from a lighter curb weight; the V6 model shed around 100 pounds. The car is slightly longer than the previous generation CTS and this helped Maurice Williams, President and Managing Director of General Motors Middle East as his 6 foot 5 inch frame looked at home in the rear of the CTS. I’m here to drive the car not look at it and in particular I want to see what the American’s have done with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The 2014 CTS standard model will start at AED 185,000. Two Collections of option packages – Luxury and Performance – will be offered with either the 2.0T turbocharged four cylinder or 3.6L naturally aspirated V6 engine in either rear- or all-wheel drive.
CTS will be offered with a choice of two powertrains, including a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 272 horsepower and goes from zero to 100 kph in 6.1 seconds – 1.5 seconds faster than the outgoing model.
Taking on technology from the award winning ATS isn’t a bad move and a great asset is the Magnetic Ride technology. Driving on the Kalba Road the CTS refuses to pitch and sway, preferring to let the technology give a very sporty feel to the handling and allows the driver to really thrust into the bends and enjoy the car. Cadillac have altered the weight of the car more towards the rear giving it a 50/50 balance, essential for great handling. The luxury car buyer demands a quiet cabin and the Cadillac is happy to allow passenger conversations at high speeds rather than everyone shouting over tyre and wind feedback. The noise reduction also allows the CUE entertainment system to be fullyenjoyed.
American cars were once laughed at for their basic interior cabin components but Cadillac is helping make that a thing of the past. They have fitted out the luxury sedan in the finest leathers and soft touch materials, going so far as to highlight to the customer the smallest piece of fabric that isn’t actually natural. High tech gadgets are also in large supply such as lane departure warnings and adaptive cruise control helping keep the car and passengers safe. Paddle shifters seem standard these days in most cars but the benefit in the CTS is that the 8-speed gearbox can receive a little help. 8-speed automatics can get lost a little to the average drive and on the winding roads can feel as though it is hunting for the right gear if kept in auto.
The CTS is another step in the right direction for Cadillac, it won’t suddenly jump into a market lead but it will certainly give Cadillac a larger market share and put them back on the consumer buying map