Cadillac CTS 2014 review

2 Apr, 2014 10:45am Jonathan Burn

Cadillac CTS 2014 rivals the BMW 5 Series, but can it match the German saloons for desirability?


The new Cadillac CTS marks a huge leap forward for the American manufacturer. In every way the new model is a more refined and superior product than its predecessor. Yet, not only does the CTS have to battle it out with established German rivals, it will also only be made available in left-hand drive and without a diesel engine in European markets, which ultimately limits its appeal.

Cadillac has never stamped its authority in the UK, but after numerous unsuccessful attempts, the new CTS is here to front its latest product offensive.

Now in its third-generation, the CTS won’t get an easy ride having to battle it out with established German execs like the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6. It gets off to a good start though, with a much sleeker design than the outgoing model.

A part aluminium body helps shed 128kg from the kerbweight, while longer dimensions and a lower roofline gives a more athletic stance. The only engine to be offered in Europe is the new 272bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol, mated with a six-speed autom gearbox. It develops more power and torque than any of its four-pot rivals, but a sluggish 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds means it never feels as fast as its power figures suggest.

Shortcomings in pace aren’t made up by economy either, with Cadillac claiming 31mpg, some way off the 41.5mpg of the much cheaper BMW 528i. There’s a little less interior space for rear passengers than you’d find in the BMW too, but head and legroom are still adequate.

Cadillac CTS 2014 side static

Our test car was fitted with optional four-wheel drive, which splits power between the front and the rear axles depending on which needs it most. The system works well, keeping the CTS feeling planted on the road, and you can really feel the extra traction in damp conditions.

Keep it in auto and the CTS does a decent job of rifling through the gears when you press on, but flick it into manual and changes becomes lethargic and jerky. The steering is precise, however, with the variable-assist rack weighting up nicely when you select sport mode.

Every model comes fitted as standard with magnetic ride control, helping flatten out any imperfections on the road. On smooth Portuguese tarmac the CTS was almost faultless, wafting along with little fuss, even on the rougher surfaces we found.

Cadillac CTS 2014 interior

Our biggest gripes with Cadillac’s of old were with interior quality, and that is something the designers have clearly tried to address with the latest model. A more spacious and driver-focused interior can be trimmed with a wood, carbon fibre or aluminium finish and conventional dials and buttons have been replaced with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The traditional instrument cluster has also been ditched in favour of a 12.3-inch LCD readout.

A Bose surround sound system and leather seats are standard across the range, with those in the front being heated and ventilated, too. There’s a lot more attention to detail and sense of sophistication in the CTS, from the extended use of soft-touch materials to the slick infotainment system. There’s very little separating Cadillac’s latest offering from its German counterparts in terms of quality.

Yet, despite huge advancements in quality, ride, styling and refinement, the CTS will once again struggle to tempt people away from their German execs. Frugal diesel motors are some way off yet and only being available in left-hand drive will be enough on its own to deter most UK buyers, however good the product.

Disqus - noscript

I'm not a fan of the new look. I actually thought the previous model was a sharp piece of design, whereas this new CTS appears to have bloated up a bit. I'm sure it's a much better car in objective terms, but by becoming more mainstream I wonder if the Cadillac is different enough to drag people away from their mainly German executive cars.

With this CTS, Caddy has gone backwards in the styling department. The front is over-designed, the rear is under- designed

America has not made a Luxury car I would want to own, since the Clap Door Lincoln Continental.

No doubt with China's enthusiasm for Buick, it hopes to sell some in the other Right Hand Drive Markets, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and India.

£50k for a 2 litre engine and a lousy 31 mpg are you have a giraffe !!!!!!!

It mentions the 528i and its 41 mpg. Having had experience with a 528i all I could muster was 29 mpg some way short of BMW's claimed figures. The Cadillacs 31 mpg on the other hand is probably achievable.

50k for an American car? That is hilarious. Im sure its very nice, but who in the blue hell is going to pay a premium price for something built in the Land of the Idiots?

No one, thats who.

Oh dear! It seems the Americans really don't have a clue on how to design a decent car for the European market.

Oh yes, those idiots that produce Microsoft, Intel, Apple, Google, HP, eBay, Amazon, the Space Station, Hubble Space Telescope, Mars Rovers, Men on the Moon, Corvette, Viper, Mustang...

The interior and instrumentation are really nice, and the exterior is good too.

I'll judge how good this is after personally driving it, rather than rely on words from Auto Express' Euro bias.

Europeans don't understand that the US had to give them the car market after WWII had decimated their economy. Making car was one way to rebuild the economy. I think the US understood that the electronics tech was a lot more important to future security and hence those names above. Cars in relative are second tier technology. I mean some old shop around the corner can build an after market turbo kit that can rival BMW.

The new 2015 Mustang says hi!

Key specs

  • Price: £49,909
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbocharged petrol
  • Power: 272bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed auto, four-wheel drive
  • 0-60mph: 6.9 seconds
  • Top speed: 150mph
  • Economy/ CO2: 31mpg/212g/km
  • Equipment: Bose surround sound system, USB connectivity, electric glove box, 8-inch touch screen, 12.3-inch instrument display, 18-inch alloys, LED headlamps, head-up display, auto park assist
  • On sale: Now