When I first sat in my 2015 Cadillac CTS tester, SiriusXM radio station Backspin – home to classic hip-hop and rap – was playing a song called “My Hooptie” by Sir-Mix-A-Lot. He raps about a car with its “tailpipe draggin’” and with wheels that are “Vogues on the left, Uniroyals on the right”. It was oh-so-pertinent, because I had just finished watching the original, 1974 version of Gone in 60 Seconds, and there’s a car in that movie that perfectly embodies Sir Mix’s description, and it just so happens that it’s a Cadillac; a ’65 Coupe De Ville, to be precise.

What you see here, however, is no dumpy, saggy Caddy. For starters, just look at it: the big grille, jeweled, vertical foglights (which flow into the LED DRLs above) and chiseled, Cadillac Arts & Science body panels; this is a tautly styled car. There are a few issues, of course; the wheels are a little small (they’re 18s, but can be upgraded to 19s for $1,095) and the proud Caddy coat of arms on the front grille is finished in… plastic?

Well, yes, but there’s a good reason for that. You see, this CTS includes adaptive cruise control, and they had to find a place to install the receiver. Now, on most cars with this feature, it mars the look of the front fascia. So, what Cadillac’s done, is hidden it in the emblem. When you look at it that way, it doesn’t seem so bad.

The CTS is built to take on the likes of the Audi A6, Lexus GS and BMW 5 Series. This is not just any CTS, either; of the seven available AWD trims, this is the whole hog, 3.6L V6 (a 2.0L four-cylinder turbo is also available) Premium Collection version. In RWD form, you also get the Vsport choice, but that’s not the case here.

It’s not the case because while the RWD Vsport can be seen as a bit of a hot-rod version (well, hot-rod light once the CTS-V arrives later this year, the AWD car is more of an everyday sled, with a sporting bent when you need it. Having said that, for a savings of just over $5,000, you can select the Performance Collection model, which gets you 19-inch wheels as standard. You lose stuff like the Premium Collection’s standard adaptive cruise control and 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, however.

For the everyday, a host of electronic doo-dads make life easier and more comfortable, for the most part. It starts with heated and ventilated (to three levels) seats, which Cadillac says can be adjusted 20 ways up front. That’s true, if you include the headrest adjustment and the bottom seat-cushion adjustment, which are both of the manual variety. The 14-way power adjustments includes the seatback, lumbar, and seat height.

Head to Head: Comparison Test:  2014 Cadillac CTS 3.6 AWD vs. 2014 Lexus GS 350 AWD

Taller drivers shouldn’t have a problem thanks to an impressive 1,081 mm of front leg room (more than a 5 Series), and 1,026 mm of headroom (more than a Lexus GS 350). That’s even with the power sunroof, which comes as standard at this level. Indeed, I remember thinking on numerous occasions just how perfect the seating position was; just a little reclined, but not so much that you can’t see adequately or reach the power-adjustable steering wheel (which automatically telescopes back when you park, making it easier to get out). Back seat passengers get 899 mm and 952 mm, respectively, which is right on par with the competition.

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