We’ve seen what the Brits can do with the launch of the new XJR and James Bond endorsed Range Rover Sport, now it’s Detroit's turn at the wheel. First out of the American gate at the New York Auto Show comes the lighter, redesigned 2014 Cadillac CTS.
Unlike the flowing old-world sculptural nature of the Wiesmann, the new Caddy continues with its love affair of angular, cutting lines. With a wheelbase increase of 1.2 inches (30.5 mm) and overall body increase of 5 inches (127 mm), the new CTS is now longer and lower with a more aggressive, athletic demeanor.
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The Caddy’s roofline and hoodline are roughly an inch lower, again reinforcing the cars newly contemporized look. Short overhangs upfront combined with one of the car's more signature design treatments give it that Transformer-esque appeal. From a forward three-quarter view, pinched sculpted lines work to draw the eye from the lowered front haunches all the way to the finishing tail treatment. Not bad Cadillac, not bad.
Cadillac’s shield grille and vertical lighting elements are revised for 2014. The grille is wider, with a more detailed texture, while the headlights – incorporating crystalline LED light guides – flow back with the hood line.
But the news here isn’t all aesthetic. This CTS has been to the gym, and hot yoga, and given up baked goods. Cutting the weight of roughly two linebackers, or 480 lbs (218 kg) from its frame, the new Caddy is down to 3,616 lbs (1,640 kg), a significant drop from its former 4,096 lbs (1,858 kg). Aluminum door structures and other fat-cutting measures are part of the weight loss trickery.
Inside the new CTS, a more spacious interior awaits. With eight available interior environments, trimmed in either wood, carbon fiber or aluminum, plus leather seating or full semi-aniline leather, the interior still works to retain Cadillac’s luxury status. Handcrafted elements key off the car's exterior design stylings while ensuring the driver’s space is given priority.
CUE, Cadillac’s infotainment system, uses smartphone and tablet-like controls and commands to access information and entertainment data. An 8-inch, high-resolution color touch screen with haptic feedback allows users to swipe and drag in an iPad-like fashion. Bluetooth connectivity with natural voice recognition is standard with CUE, along with USB and SD card ports.
But most important to the American Cadillac buyer – the motorized cup holder lid. Located in the center console, this genius bit of Americano Latte Frappe Vente Nescafe goodness ensures your morning cup of joe is secure in its surroundings. And there’s heated seats and steering wheel as standard.
Powering the new CTS is a new twin-turbo V6. No stinking V8 here people, this here is the 21st century. The Twin-Turbo reports power outage to the tune of 420 horsepower (313 kW) and 430 lb.ft. of torque (583 Nm). Tiny turbo screws mean quicker dial up, which means quicker power accessibility. Cadillac reports approximately 90 percent of peak torque is available between 2,500 and 5,500 rpm. This configuration helps the CTS reach 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in roughly 4.6 seconds.
Not interested in the big power? Then why not go for the much more polite, naturally aspirated 3.6L V-6. With 321 hp (239 kW), the non-turbo version doesn’t completely sell out. The new paddle-shifted 8-speed automatic in rear-wheel-drive models makes sure you’re not left out. Need all-wheel drive? Cadillac has that, but with a 6-speed automatic. Still not enough to choose from? Then how about a tiny 2.0 L turbocharged option that puts out 272 hp (203 kW) with the six-speed automatic? Personally, I’m going with the Big Mac meal and the twin-turbo influencers.
The CTS V Sport also comes standard with 18-inch aluminum wheels with Pirelli performance tires, a quicker steering ratio, Brembo disc brakes with aluminum calipers and high-performance pads, and a heavy-duty track cooling package. A Driver-select track mode with specific steering rate and Magnetic Ride Control calibrations is also included for a better time on the track.
Thanks to the CTS’s big weight loss, things like unsprung weight and heavier suspension parts are now up for re-consideration. The suspension and handling conversation is the responsibility of a Multi-link MacPherson strut suspension with a dual-pivot design. Five-link independent rear suspension manages the hind quarters, whilst an electric, variable-assist power steering gear from ZF Steering Systems deals with the crazy Ivans (turning).
The result is a near perfect weight balance of 50/50 front to back. One of Cadillac’s cooler engineering toys is its Magnetic Ride Control real-time damping system. It uses real magnets! On the corners, holding the rubber in place, drivers have an option of 17-, 18- or 19-inch aluminum wheels.
On the safety front, in addition to 10 air bags, the CTS comes standard with a myriad of helpful devices. Panic Brake Assist for when you’re too freaked out to brake on your own? Forward Collision Alert, pretty self explanatory … you’re going to hit that car in front of you now. Followed closely by "Automatic Collision Preparation" (with brake prefill) … see above. One of my personal faves, Lane Departure Warning ie. you are now leaving the road or veering into oncoming traffic.
Other helpful bits of technology include such things as Side Blind Zone Alert, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which come in handy for those drivers still unsure how to monitor their surroundings. A Rear Vision Camera With Dynamic Guidelines helps put the CTS safely between obstacles, while, for select markets, there's also a thing called the "Active Pedestrian Protection System," of which details are scant but which is likely to alert drivers to the presence of pedestrians that pose a collision hazard rather than moving unwanted persons from the hood area and gently placing them safely on the sidewalk.
Pricing and availability is yet to be announced, but production of the 2014 CTS begins this Northern Hemisphere autumn in Lansing, Michigan.
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