If there’s one American automaker that seems to have its act together after several troubled decades, it is Cadillac, which is proving once again that it is on the right path with the next generation of the car that started it all in 2002, the CTS. The new, third generation of the CTS that was officially (we’ve already seen pictures of it) revealed today ahead of its first public appearance at the 2013 New York Auto Show on Wednesday, March 27, has all the ingredients to not only hold on to, but also to gain new customers in the highly competitive executive sedan segment – at least in North America. These ingredients include a longer and consequently roomier body yet a lower curb weight compared to its predecessor, a more elegant or sophisticated, if you prefer, styling for the exterior and interior and a wider choice of modern powertrains. For the first time since the inception of the CTS, the new model is now positioned squarely against the likes of the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series as well as newer rivals such as the Jaguar XF. The new CTS has grown five inches (127 mm) in length, reaching 195.5 inches (4,966mm) and features a 1.2-inch (30mm) longer wheelbase, but at the same time, the roofline and the base of the windshield are about an inch lower, contributing to a more aggressive stance. Your eyes will probably like what they see in these pictures, though, I must say that I find the rear-end design anticlimactic compared to the rest of the car. It’s far less interesting than the front and spoils the general effect. Inside, you’ll find the same design language as on other contemporary Cadillacs like the ATS and SRX, with the Detroit carmaker pointing out that it blends high-quality materials and hand-crafted appointments, with the latest convenience and safety technologies, such as the CUE infotainment system with a standard 8-inch or an optional 12.3-inch color touch screen with haptic feedback. Other CTS technologies mentioned by Cadillac include:
- Cadillac’s first 20-way adjustable front seats
- Motorized cup holder lid in the center console
- Heated and cooled (ventilated) front seats and heated steering wheel
- Electronically locking glove box
- Electronic park brake
- Adaptive remote start feature that also activates the climate control system
- Standard Bose eleven-speaker sound system and available Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound system with 13 speakers.
Cadillac offers eight different interior environments, each trimmed with authentic wood, carbon fiber or aluminum, while leather seating is available as is a full semi-aniline leather treatment with hand-crafted, cut-and-sewn executions. On the safety front, besides 10 standard air bags, you will also find Front and Rear Automatic Braking system that relies on short-range radar technology and ultrasonic sensors, and a Driver Awareness Package that includes Cadillac’s Safety Alert Seat technology. While the 2014 CTS is bigger than ever, thanks to the use of lightweight materials, including Cadillac’s first aluminum door structures and aluminum components for the suspension system, it has a lower curb weight than the preceding model and, according to Cadillac, it weighs about 200 pounds (90 kg) less than the BMW 528i sedan. It also features a nearly 50/50 weight balance. For the first time on CTS, Magnetic Ride Control (Cadillac’s real-time damping system) is available on base models. Some versions will also feature active grille shutters to improve aerodynamic performance and enhance fuel efficiency at highway speeds. At launch, there will be three gasoline engines to choose from, two of which are brand new to the CTS. The new base unit is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder rated at an estimated 272 horsepower and paired to a six-speed automatic that drives the rear wheels. Next up is the previously available naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6 with 321-horses linked to a new eight-speed automatic in rear-wheel drive models or six-speed automatic with all-wheel drive. At the top of the current range is the rear-wheel drive-only, Vsport edition (not to be confused with the upcoming V-Series performance model) fitted with a brand-new twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 engine pushing out 420 horsepower (313 kW) and 430 lb.-ft. of torque (583 Nm). It is mated to an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters and can accelerate the CTS from zero to 60mph in just 4.6 seconds. Production, and consequently North American sales of the 2014 CTS will begin this fall in GM’s Lansing, Michigan plant.