2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport Review
Oct 21, 2014
2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport Review
by Mark Stevenson , Auto123.com
When General Motors decided to add yet another engine option to the CTS lineup -- a twin-turbocharged version of the 3.6L V6 that’s fitted to almost everything built by the General -- I yawned a great yawn.
Then I saw the specs: 420 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque.
That’s all you need to know about this car.
OK, maybe not…
What is the Cadillac CTS Vsport?
For 2014, the CTS Vsport is the most powerful CTS currently available -- until the full-blown supercharged V8 CTS-V sedan shows up.
While the base model CTS starts at $50,895, the Vsport is significantly more: $74,495 before options, taxes, and destination.
That said, the Vsport does get significantly more equipment than your basic CTS, and the options list is fairly short. My tester, which stickered for $76,550, was equipped with two inexpensive options: performance brake linings ($110) and premium all-weather floor mats ($145).
Driving the 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport
Let’s start with the important bit: the engine.
General Motors has a knack for repurposing components and making them seem like all-new pieces. The 3.6L V6 engine is so commonplace in the massive GM stable it’s even used by the Equinox, one of the most boring SUVs you can buy anywhere.
But, the addition of two turbochargers, and some fiddling with other internal pieces, has turned the mundane into the magnificent.
Thanks to some staggered rear rubber (245/40R18 up front, 275/35R18 in back), the Vsport is able to make solid use of the full 430 lb-ft of torque without significant drama. Sure, if you turn off all the traction control and put it in Track Mode, the big Caddy will get a little squirrelly during launches, but that makes it fun!
Yet, the acceleration from a stop isn’t the story here. Instead, the Cadillac accelerates from cruising speeds with enough verve to still put you back in your seat. This is why you buy a car such as the Vsport.
With its four driving mode selections, you can also turn the CTS Vsport into a fairly competent cruiser around town, or even put it in Snow mode for those especially slippery mornings to the office. From a power-delivery standpoint, it’s an all-rounder, unlike the CTS-V’s decidedly more hardcore output to the rear wheels.
But, power does not a good car make, and the CTS Vsport delivers on two other key areas: ride and handling.
Underneath all that gorgeous sheetmetal sits General Motors’ Magnetic Ride Control, smoothing out the bumps on those under-maintained roads. While the ride is far from svelte, it does provide a fair amount of damping and never once bottomed out over some of the larger humps and potholes.
However, it’s the handling that sets the Vsport apart. For such a big car to be so well sorted is nothing short of magic. Carving corners is a treat, and the Vsport gives you the equipment to traverse the bends a fair bit quicker than the speed of traffic.
If there’s one downside to the Vsport’s incredible handling, it’s that the car doesn’t communicate this capability well to the meat-bag behind the steering wheel. There was never a point where I said, “I feel like I can go much faster around this tight corner.” If anything, my inner monologue shouted, “This is a big car! Sure, it might make it, but for heaven’s sake would you please slow down?!?”
It’s this “bigness” that holds the CTS back, and it makes me pine (ever so slightly) for the previous generation CTS-V.
Inside and Out of the 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport
While I can totally understand if someone looked at this car and exclaimed: “This is not for me,” I certainly wouldn’t agree. The exterior is fairly brash, extroverted, and unrestrained.
This is Art and Science on a weekend bender bachelor party.
At the same time, the CTS in general is still quite classy. Its lines are clean, like a form-fitting suit, and the paint finish gives it an expensive appearance. It’s sharp and fashionable without being trendy. This is the automotive embodiment of George Clooney.
Climbing inside shows off a brilliantly designed interior only rivaled by Audi, the de facto leader in automotive interior design at this point. From a purely aesthetic and tactile point of view, the interior of the Vsport is a glorious place to be.
Then you have to start using the controls and all the options associated with the Cadillac CUE infotainment system, and your dreams are shattered. This is also the first vehicle I would much rather use the steering wheel controls for volume adjustment because the volume control on the centre stack is so terrifyingly bad.
Actually, aside from looking pretty, almost all the controls on the centre console are relatively useless, especially the buttons bordering each side of the CUE touchscreen. Their embedded LED lights are so dim and awkwardly aimed that you can barely tell if pressing said button has done anything at all.
Yet, it’s a small price to pay for the comfortability and performance provided by such an athletic, dapper, and devilishly charming car.
Comparing the 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport
The CTS Vsport was tuned on the Nurburgring. Why? Because that’s where all its competition comes from.
Cadillac’s performance luxury sedan is America’s answer to Germany’s BMW 535i xDrive, Audi A6 3.0T, and Mercedes-Benz E 500 4MATIC.