2014 Cadillac CTS
2014 Cadillac CTS
2014 Cadillac CTS. Click image to enlarge

Preview by Paul Williams, photos by Paul Williams and courtesy Cadillac

Cadillac introduced its new midsize 2014 CTS sedan at the New York International Auto Show this spring, and it’s interesting to see how the once radical CTS design is evolving over time.

The CTS still wears its signature rakish, dart-like profile but it’s getting a little rounder at the edges. Not in a bad way, mind you, but let’s just say it looks more refined and less aggressive.

Based on the same rear-drive Alpha architecture as the ATS sport sedan, the new CTS is not only longer and lower than the outgoing model, it is also lighter and apparently better handling, too. The body structure is about 40 percent stiffer than the current model, achieving what Cadillac says are the best ratings in the segment.

“The all-new 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan delivers crafted design, thrilling performance and sophisticated technology,” said Bob Ferguson, vice president, Global Cadillac. “The car that has always been Cadillac’s centrepiece stretches figuratively and literally to challenge the world’s best.”

And that’s what it is all about: trying to make a substantial dent in the appeal of its German and Asian competitors.

The new CTS weighs about 90 kg (200 lb) less than the BMW 528i, using weight saving tricks like aluminum door frames and other aluminum components to keep the pounds off while contributing to a near 50/50 front-to-rear weight balance. Helping in the handling department, Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control will now be available in base models.

The engine is located 30 mm farther forward in the chassis than the shorter ATS, aiding the excellent weight balance while also contributing to increased cabin quietness by allowing room for a thick, sound-absorbing pad on the front-of-dash panel separating the engine compartment and interior.

The interior will feature a roomier, driver-centric cockpit with handcrafted appointments. Eight interior choices will be offered, each trimmed with real wood, carbon fibre or aluminum.

Buyers can choose from three available powertrains, starting with a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder making 272 hp and mated to a six-speed automatic (this replaces the current 3.0L V6). Those wanting more power can choose from a 3.6L naturally aspirated V6 making 321 horsepower, or the twin-turbocharged Vsport V6 making 420 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque. Both of these engines are mated to a new paddle-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission that enhances fuel economy and acceleration compared with the six-speed automatic currently matched to the CTS V6 engines.

Standard Brembo brakes are fitted, as is a multi-link MacPherson strut front suspension, five-link independent rear suspension, available all-wheel drive, ZF electric power steering and a choice of 17-, 18- or 19-inch wheels.

2014 Cadillac CTS2014 Cadillac CTS2014 Cadillac CTS
2014 Cadillac CTS. Click image to enlarge

The CUE infotainment system with its tablet-influenced controls and haptic feedback continues, but we’ll have to see whether widespread criticisms of this system are addressed in the new model.

Along with technologies like Cadillac’s first 20-way adjustable front seats, a motorized cupholder lid, heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, electronically locking glove box, adaptive remote start and standard 11-speaker Bose audio (premium 13-speaker is optional), the 2014 CTS is the first Cadillac to offer Automatic Parking Assist, which enables the car to parallel park itself.

Ultrasonic rear park assist is standard (which presumably means a rear camera isn’t).

GM’s first application of automatic safety belt tightening is offered in the new CTS. It automatically takes the slack out of the belts when buckled and actively adjusts them for optimal tension and comfort while driving, according to Cadillac.

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