Here's a story of an American car which for me was the only brand to enter the league of luxury sedans nowadays dominated by Germans. Consistency in evolving was an issue and just when we thought they weren't going to change; we saw them launch a model last year and that was a turning point. Yes, it's when Cadillac came out with the new ATS. Certainly a big leap and the one they were craving for long time.
Months passed and at the 2013 Dubai Motor Show, the new Cadillac CTS was introduced to the world. I got a chance to join the convoy of media representatives from across the region to try out both variants of CTS: the naturally aspirated 3.6L V6 and the 2.0L Turbo. The V6 variant offers an output of 321hp through an 8 speed auto transmission while the 2.L Turbo shoots 272hp though a 6 speed system. The drive started from Dubai all the way to Kalba, giving us a fair chance to test the car's prowess in handling steep curves and corners of the hilly road. It was a half-day exercise and I managed to drive both engines. A month later, we took the 2.0L Turbo for a weekend drive in order to learn more about it.
I'll start with my first driving impression about the cars during the media drive followed by a comprehensive review on the CTS 2.0L Turbo.
We saw a completely new Avatar in the new Cadillac CTS, thanks to its appearance in and out. Signature grille, front headlight set with striking LED patterns along with sharp body edge and corners really impose a bold statement. CTS shares the same platform of ATS but with a little extension. The chassis is lighter as it's made of aluminum and structural adhesives. So we can expect some agility from ATS. The extended body length had a direct positive impact. In the midsized luxury segment, it might be the largest car offering the best of room inside for passengers and the driver. Further luxury appointments inside stress the point that they really mean business this time.
I got the CTS V6 on my way to Kalba and the drive was a mix of straight highways and hills, with twists and turns of course. The ride was smooth on straight roads and we like the refined engine. Seating position was just about perfect with multiple adjustment options. Steering felt very light with immediate feedback and we barely noticed any unwanted interference due to the extra body length. Even at high speed, there wasn't any considerable noise. The above factors are encouraging but I wanted to see how the extra body length would cope with the roads of Kalba. We noticed a little under steer at the start but it got better as we progressed. Road grip and hold was all great due to strong Brembo brakes. As you can imagine, in theory, braking performance should always be better as our new CTS has lost some weight. The 8 speed automatic transmission was decent throughout our drive except for a few points in our way uphill where we noticed a little mismatch. Overall feedback of the CTS V6 leads us to a positive remark as we found it has a refined engine, offers a smooth drive, is comfortable and lacked nothing in luxury appointments.
2.0L Turbo has an option for AWD system and surprisingly, it didn't show the lack of two cylinders. Once the engine picks up after the initial drag, turbo comes into play. From there we didn't spot a lot of difference. Further response combined with the nice exhaust note was a great experience and at times, I had to remind myself that I was driving a 2 liters engine.
At the end of the day and in summary, it is time that we all realize that Cadillac has finally come up with a product good enough to shake many players in the luxury sedan segment and if I were to be specific with models, we can talk about BMW 5series, Mercedes Benz E class, Audi A6 and the Lexus GS. With a refreshed lineup, Cadillac is now back!