The Truth About Cars » Cadillac CTS http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 04 Dec 2014 19:13:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Cadillac CTS http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Capsule Review: 2014 Cadillac CTS V Sport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-2014-cadillac-cts-v-sport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-2014-cadillac-cts-v-sport/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:22:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=894298 This is not a luxury sedan. It is not an upscale family sedan. The Cadillac CTS V Sport is a performance car sheathed in an overtly Cadillac body. Lightweight body parts. Brembo brakes with optional performance linings. Two turbos. Two driven wheels out back. Staggered tires with 275s out back. It’s not the numbers – […]

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2014 Cadillac CTS V SportThis is not a luxury sedan. It is not an upscale family sedan. The Cadillac CTS V Sport is a performance car sheathed in an overtly Cadillac body.

Lightweight body parts. Brembo brakes with optional performance linings. Two turbos. Two driven wheels out back. Staggered tires with 275s out back.

It’s not the numbers – 420 horsepower, 430 lb-ft of torque, 0-100 mph in 10.5 seconds according to Car & Driver, braking from 60 to rest in 103 feet according to Edmunds – that turn the CTS from an indirect successor of the Fleetwood into the most dynamic car in its class. No, the sensation of athleticism in the CTS V Sport is not entirely quantifiable.

The overwhelming impression that the CTS V Sport is a sports car, rather than a car that relies on feature count or historic imagery to excite, is an impression gleaned from a few pushes of the console-mounted driver-selectable button: Tour becomes Sport becomes Track.

Thing is, even in that most comfort-oriented Tour mode, the CTS V Sport comes across as a lively package, like a frisky little subcompact hatchback which suggests a performance version with stiffened suspension and a bit more power would be a home run.

2014 Cadillac CTS V Sport rearExcept, in the CTS V Sport, power isn’t lacking to begin with, and rather than requiring a completely different car, button pushes are all that’s necessary. In other words, this isn’t Kia’s FlexSteer, which gradually weights up and always feels artificial, none of its three modes hitting the mark.

The CTS’s available options create new experiences.

One would expect a car that steers with this level of accuracy and immediacy, a car that can be tossed into a corner and further realigned in the case of a mole running across the road, would suffer from ride imperfections. Even in Tour mode, the CTS V Sport is firm, but don’t mistake firm for harsh. Firm equals level; firm doesn’t detract from straight-ahead tracking on the highway. There’s no denying the increased aggression of Sport and especially Track modes, but the V Sport easily remains within the borders of comfort, far from a punishing zone. Whether this is down to 50/50 weight distribution or nitpicky engineers who sought perfection, I don’t care.

2014 Cadillac CTS V Sport premium interiorTo drive a car that can do the things this car can do when it’s being hustled, while still managing to feel even in that high-octane moment like a device that isolates only what its driver wants to isolate, is to not want to drive other cars.

GM Canada delivered the CTS V Sport to my driveway for one week, a week in which I drove around town far more often than necessary. I was prone to forgetting things at the grocery store. Oops, better head back out. Everybody went for extended ride-alongs which routinely featured multiple on-ramps. I had read and I had been told that this was a special car. People can’t help but spout the specs in a can-you-believe fashion. This isn’t even the craziest CTS, they’d all say.

But I didn’t keep getting back in the V Sport for completely unnecessary drives to nowhere because of the specs, because of the bold front grille or the cooled seats or the torque that seemingly swelled as speeds increased. I would have been similarly excited about routinely driving the CTS V Sport if it was a 320-horsepower car. This level of interaction and athleticism would have auto reviewers excited regardless of the class in which the car competes, but I couldn’t help but be especially pleased because of the increasing softness in a segment which used to be full of sports sedans, softness that’s thankfully missing in this Cadillac.

2014 Cadillac CTS wiper stalkBy the end of its stay, I realized that we thought nothing of travelling in a group of four adults with a rear-facing child seat in the back, as well. It dawned on me that, given the frequency with which I applied heavy doses of throttle and the little time spent on highways, fuel economy of 19.9 mpg was actually quite good. The user interface wasn’t as frustrating as it was in the ATS last year or even the SRX earlier this year, but I wonder what would be so terribly wrong with buttons that depress.

The CTS comes across as a very well-built car with high-grade materials. Yet that left-side signal stalk is disappointing, not because you’ll see a similar piece in lesser GM vehicles, but because it is textured and operates like a low-grade item in a rather expensive car, because it resides directly beside magnesium shift paddles. Those paddles, by the way, allow a driver to control the 8-speed transmission with less intelligence than the transmission itself possesses.

It only makes sense that the CTS’s disappointing sales performance relates to the previously mentioned expense. It’s true, the CTS is a perfectly reasonable value in comparison with its newfound direct rivals like the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. But the couple who visits a Cadillac dealer as their three-year-old CTS’s lease expires is likely to be somewhat dismayed by the new car’s elevated price and equally discouraged by the size of the ATS’s rear seat. ATS sales are down 21% this year. CTS volume is level so far this year but fell 10% in June and 29% in July. It’s not selling like it used to.

2014 Cadillac CTS V Sport 18-inch wheelPersonally, I am also put off by CUE, but not to the extent that I would not learn to cope with its inefficiencies over time. Unfortunately, I’ve been told that even at one-third the cost, pre-owned a few years from now, the current Cadillac CTS V Sport will never be featured as this family’s main car. Everyone agreed that sitting in the CTS was a lot like sitting in a cave, no matter how high you raise the seats. Mrs. Cain, lacking all manner of WNBA-like stature, struggled mightily to see the outside world. At 5-foot-11, I myself felt enveloped, and not in a good way. Blind spot monitoring and lane departure warnings and cameras assist, but they don’t overcome low roofs and high beltlines.

Perhaps she would feel different if she recognized the CTS V Sport for what it is, rather than what it looks like. This is a performance car, not a roomy luxury sedan.

We would also feel different if the CTS V Sport didn’t cost so much. Which, in a way, it doesn’t. Cadillac’s $59,995 V Sport and $69,995 V Sport Premium become $56,995 and $66,995 cars, respectively, with current $3000 discounts. That’s a start. Setting style aside, a lowering of the beltline would be helpful if I’m to make my case, too.

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Bloated Inventories Lead GM To Idle Cadillac Plants http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/bloated-inventories-lead-gm-idle-cadillac-plants/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/bloated-inventories-lead-gm-idle-cadillac-plants/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 11:45:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=888081   Back in May, we reported on the rather fat inventory levels of Cadillac’s products, examining through the context of the one product with less than 100 days of supply – the SRX crossover. A few months later, dealers are tight on the newly redesigned Escalade, but the inventory picture for Cadillac’s car lineup hasn’t […]

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2015 Cadillac CTS sedan

Back in May, we reported on the rather fat inventory levels of Cadillac’s products, examining through the context of the one product with less than 100 days of supply – the SRX crossover. A few months later, dealers are tight on the newly redesigned Escalade, but the inventory picture for Cadillac’s car lineup hasn’t gotten much better.

Automotive News is reporting that GM’s Lansing, Michigan factory will sit idle for three weeks, starting next Monday. While the inventory woes of the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid have been well publicized, inventories of key models like the ATS and CTS are rather high. Currently, there’s a 152-day supply of the ATS, in line with when we last checked in during May, but the CTS has a 215-day supply, up from 138 days in May, and an astonishingly high number by industry standards.  The XTS large sedan and the ELR have 152 and 194 days worth of supply respectively.

AN paints a bleak picture of Cadillac’s commercial performance, writing

Cadillac’s car inventory stood at 44,700 units on Aug. 1. That’s equal to a 172-day supply — about triple the level that is considered healthy. By comparison, Lincoln’s car inventory was 87 days on Aug. 1. Audi’s was 45 and BMW’s was 42. Overall, Cadillac’s U.S. sales have slipped 2 percent to 97,358 this year through July, in a luxury market that has expanded 6 percent.

From a nameplate perspective, the massive inventories of the CTS are an ominous sign. The CTS was widely praised in the motoring press, besting major German rivals in comparison tests, and heralded as proof that Cadillac had finally mustered up the product needed to compete with Tier 1 luxury brands. But none of that has converted into sales, despite numerous lease specials and cash incentives. As AutoPacific’s Dave Sullivan told TTAC

The last generation CTS presented a tremendous value – almost a 5-Series sized sedan that was priced like a 3-Series. The new CTS is a bit of a turn off when it comes time to replace your CTS lease. The ATS is too small and people feel like they are getting less car for more money. It’s going to take time for people to readjust since Cadillac has basically resegmented the CTS.

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Cadillac Predicts Sales In China To Triple by 2016, Or Was That Globally? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/cadillac-predicts-sales-in-china-to-triple-by-2016-or-was-that-globally/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/cadillac-predicts-sales-in-china-to-triple-by-2016-or-was-that-globally/#comments Wed, 27 Mar 2013 13:48:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=482463 Watching the live streaming video of Cadillac’s reveal of the all-new larger and lighter 2014 CTS last night in New York City, something GM Vice President Global Cadillac Bob Ferguson said caught my ear, about Cadillac tripling its sales over the next three years. That’s quite an improvement, so after the event I watched the […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

Watching the live streaming video of Cadillac’s reveal of the all-new larger and lighter 2014 CTS last night in New York City, something GM Vice President Global Cadillac Bob Ferguson said caught my ear, about Cadillac tripling its sales over the next three years. That’s quite an improvement, so after the event I watched the recorded video and now that I’ve listened to Ferguson’s remarks a few times, and even transcribed it, I’m not sure exactly what he meant. From the context, really the word “and”,  it’s hard for me to tell if he was talking about tripling Cadillac’s sales in China, currently the world’s largest market for luxury cars or if he meant overall, globally. Let me know what you think, the transcript is after the break.

Ferguson also said that so for the first two months of 2013 Cadillac sales are up 32% in North America and that 70% of ATS buyers have never bought a Cadillac before. He didn’t say whether or not they had owned or cross-shopped a BMW 3 Series, the benchmark for the ATS and other cars in its class, or what brands of cars they used as trade-ins.

We hope you like what you see and we hope you find the trajectory of Cadillac is clear, expanding, growing, elevating to another level and the new CTS will help propel us there. As you know the new ATS sports sedan is the North American Car of the Year. What you may not know is that 70% of ATS buyers are new to Cadillac and that’s helping to move us forward as well. Through the first two months of 2013, sales are up 32% here in North America. In China, the world’s largest luxury market, we’re taking big steps forward [not a great leap forward? – RJS] and we expect sales to triple over the next three years.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks – RJS

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2014 Cadillac CTS: The Standard Of The World? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/2014-cadillac-cts-the-standard-of-the-world/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/2014-cadillac-cts-the-standard-of-the-world/#comments Mon, 25 Mar 2013 22:55:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=482301 Having just picked up a Chrysler 300C, I would have told you that it’s the last American luxury car on sale today. Now I’m not so sure. Despite foisting on us the dreadfully mediocre XTS,Cadillac has had an ace up its sleeve the whole time. The 2014 CTS, shown here, doesn’t look like a 5-Series […]

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Having just picked up a Chrysler 300C, I would have told you that it’s the last American luxury car on sale today. Now I’m not so sure. Despite foisting on us the dreadfully mediocre XTS,Cadillac has had an ace up its sleeve the whole time.

The 2014 CTS, shown here, doesn’t look like a 5-Series competitor. It looks much more grand, with an elegant profile and unmistakably RWD proportions. The photos (or renderings) suggest a much larger car than an E-Segment should be.  How about a Fleetwood based on this design too? We’ll have live shots Wednesday, and a proper drive sometime after that – don’t count on a press invite from GM for your old pals at TTAC.

xxx_2014-cadillac-cts_aps_00287-4_3_rx513_c680x510 xxx_2014-cadillac-cts_aps_00286-4_3_rx513_c680x510 xxx_2014-cadillac-cts_aps_00284-4_3_rx513_c680x510 xxx_2014-cadillac-cts_aps_00281-4_3_rx513_c680x510 xxx_2014-cadillac-cts_aps_00279-4_3_rx513_c680x510 xxx_2014-cadillac-cts_aps_00277-4_3_rx513_c680x510 xxx_2014-cadillac-cts_aps_00285-4_3_rx513_c680x510 2014 Cadillac CTS. Photo courtesy USA Today.

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Cadillac Product Offensive: CTS, ATS Coupe And More http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/cadillac-product-offensive-cts-ats-coupe-and-more/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/cadillac-product-offensive-cts-ats-coupe-and-more/#comments Tue, 12 Feb 2013 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=477276 In a month’s time, we’ll have our first look at the new Cadillac CTS, when GM takes the wraps off of its new luxury sedan at the New York Auto Show. The new CTS is merely the first in a wave of new cars for Cadillac, along with the already unveiled ELR plug-in hybrid. Also […]

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In a month’s time, we’ll have our first look at the new Cadillac CTS, when GM takes the wraps off of its new luxury sedan at the New York Auto Show. The new CTS is merely the first in a wave of new cars for Cadillac, along with the already unveiled ELR plug-in hybrid.

Also confirmed is a coupe version of the ATS compact sedan, which will bow in early 2014. A revamp Escalade is in the cards as well, though a timeline for the flagship SUV is somewhat murky.

The CTS will be an important car for Cadillac, as it positions the car against the BMW 5-Series. The CTS will also be crucial for Cadillac’s expansion in China, and early spy shots show a somewhat more organic design, rather than the hard-edged “Art & Science” design language of the first two generations. No surprise that the changes were driven by, you guessed it, Chinese tastes.

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Cadillac Wagon Here To Stay http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/cadillac-wagon-here-to-stay/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/cadillac-wagon-here-to-stay/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2012 14:15:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=440358 Even as the German brands are moving away from wagons and towards freak-of-nature pseudo-crossovers like the BMW 5-Series GT and Audi Allroad, Cadillac is standing by their station wagons – and coupes, for that matter. But there may be some product shuffling involved. Car and Driver recently spoke with Cadillac regarding the future of their […]

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Even as the German brands are moving away from wagons and towards freak-of-nature pseudo-crossovers like the BMW 5-Series GT and Audi Allroad, Cadillac is standing by their station wagons – and coupes, for that matter. But there may be some product shuffling involved.

Car and Driver recently spoke with Cadillac regarding the future of their two-door and two-box offerings,

“The fact that we offer coupes and wagons, that’s gonna continue,” Don Butler, the VP of marketing for Cadillac told us recently. But, he clarifies, “I’m not saying that will necessarily continue forward in the way we’re doing it today.”

C/D thinks that the coupe duties will shift to the ATS, with a larger CTS Coupe doomed to fail. BMW offers a 6-Series and Mercedes has an E-Class coupe, so in theory, there’s room for a CTS Coupe. But an ATS-based coupe (like the Audi A5, or the rumored BMW 4-Series) is the more likely candidate. With the CTS growing larger to better compete with the 5-Series and E-Class, the obvious choice for the wagon is the CTS. Cadillac claims that the CTS Sportwagon outsells the BMW 3-Series, and wagons are traditionally bought by a brand’s wealthiest customers (if you believe what Mercedes PR has to say). Continuing to offer the wagon makes sense both from a sales and prestige point of view. The SRX crossover will always be the volume seller anyways.

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2012 Cadillac CTS Premium Collection with Touring Package http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/2012-cadillac-cts-premium-collection-with-touring-package/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/2012-cadillac-cts-premium-collection-with-touring-package/#comments Fri, 20 Jan 2012 17:26:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=427493 How time flies. Five years ago the second-generation Cadillac CTS had just debuted at NAIAS. While prettier than the original, it was also fresh, exciting, and proof that Bob Lutz’s General Motors could turn out a damn fine car when it really wanted to. People who hadn’t owned a GM product for decades bought one, […]

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How time flies. Five years ago the second-generation Cadillac CTS had just debuted at NAIAS. While prettier than the original, it was also fresh, exciting, and proof that Bob Lutz’s General Motors could turn out a damn fine car when it really wanted to. People who hadn’t owned a GM product for decades bought one, my father among them. Five auto shows on and we’ve glimpsed Cadillac’s future with the 2013 ATS. Does the 2012 CTS seem well beyond its sell-by date? Or does the old car, with a new 3.6-liter V6 engine and a new Touring Package, retain some compelling advantages?

The CTS casts a considerably larger shadow than the ATS: nine inches longer (on a four-inch-longer wheelbase), an inch wider and two inches taller. The additional inches enable sheet metal that is both more dramatic and more graceful than the new car’s, with more athletically flared fenders and a less severely truncated tail. The leaner ATS isn’t an unattractive car, but it won’t induce double-takes the way the CTS did five years ago. It doesn’t make a strong enough statement to establish an instantly recognizable design language for the brand. But since two generations of the CTS have already accomplished this difficult task, the ATS will get by with toned down Cadillac cues attached to a body that could otherwise be mistaken for a Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Aside from its headlights, nothing marks the ATS as the (much) newer design. Then again, if we had first seen the CTS this year, it would have still looked fresh. But of course we’ve seen it plenty. The “new” ain’t coming back without much more significant exterior changes than GM has made over the past half-decade. Even the Y-spoked chrome-plated wheels included in the new Touring Package have been available on the car since the 2010. The Touring Package’s spoiler-shaped CHMSL? Borrowed from the V.

Inside, the CTS’s age is much more evident. The silver-painted plastic flowing down the center stack appeared downscale and dated even in the car’s first year. The cleaner center stack in the ATS doesn’t make the same mistakes, with piano black trim and touch-sensitive controls (much like those first seen in the 2011 Lincoln MKX) instead of mechanical buttons.

And the retractable display used in the CTS? It’s from a bygone era where nearly every interaction with the car didn’t involve a screen. (Some new Audis still employ this gimmick, but what’s the point when the thing will have to almost always be deployed?) Bluetooth is now standard in the CTS, but perhaps because the controls were designed when GM was still putting all of its eggs in the OnStar basket, I never figured out how to access it. (Yes, I know, RTFM, but this hasn’t been necessary with other cars.) The Touring Package mildly dresses up the cabin with metal pedals and black-stained wood trim. Want an interior that’s not gray, black, or tan (the latter not available with the Touring Package)? Then wait for the ATS.

Like the ATS, the CTS was designed to compete with the BMW 3-Series. So while the older car is roomier than the new one inside, it’s not a full size class roomier. The largest difference: an additional two inches of rear seat legroom. But these additional inches aren’t enough to make the CTS’s rear seat suitable for long-distance adult occupancy, as the seat is small and mounted low.

Trunk space? The CTS’s 13.6 cubic feet only seem commodious compared to the ATS “is that a typo?” and its 10.2 cubic feet. Opponents of conventional hinges have a new poster child:

The official specs don’t tell you everything. From the driver’s seat the two sedans seem quite different. You sit about an inch lower in the ATS behind a more compact instrument panel and a smaller-diameter steering wheel. An inch difference in the “H-point” has a much larger impact than you might think. Partly because of this, the new car seems much smaller and more agile even when not in motion. (How it feels in motion will have to await some on-road seat time.) On the other hand, the CTS’s higher driving position and larger interior components fit the car’s brash, muscular personality.

The CTS’s standard front bucket seats, apparently patterned after those in the Corvette, have never seemed substantial enough for the car. The Touring Package replaces these with the allegedly optional Recaros you’ll find in just about every V. The power-adjustable thigh and seatback bolsters of these “high performance seats” provide as much lateral support as you can stand. Despite four-way power lumbar adjustments, they’re not comfortable. Even towards the end of my week with the car I kept tweaking the lumbar adjustment in search of a setting where I didn’t feel a rod pressing uncomfortably into my lower back. My brief time with the seats in the ATS suggests that they’ll provide decent lateral support and more comfort than either of the CTS’s seats.

In the past, if you’ve wanted both the sueded steering wheel and the Recaros in the non-V CTS you were, to employ another acronym, SOL. Unlike in the V, where the suede requires the Recaros, you had to choose between one or the other. This year both are only available together, as parts of the Touring Package. The clear lens taillights that previously acoompanied the sueded tiller did not survive the rehash.

For 2012, the CTS’s 3.6-liter V6 has been thoroughly revised,  gaining 14 horsepower (for a total of 318) in the process. The new V6 sounds a little pedestrian at part throttle in the midrange, but transitions to a tone worthy of a premium sport sedan if you open up the throttle and wind it out. Acceleration is strong enough that few people will feel the need for the 556-horsepower V. (Just don’t sample the V, or you’ll become addicted to its excess. That car made me do bad things.) But the ATS should feel considerably more energetic. Cadillac acquired some serious weight-saving religion during the more compact sedan’s gestation, and packed it full of aluminum and magnesium. Consequently the same 3.6-liter V6 will have over a quarter-ton less to motivate. Unimproved with the new V6 are the  EPA fuel economy ratings, which remain at 18/27 mpg city/ highway.

Unfortunately, a six-speed manual won’t be available with the new V6 in either car. In the ATS devotees of the third pedal will have one choice, a 270-horsepower turbocharged four. In the CTS the manual is now available only with the underwhelming 3.0-liter V6. The CTS’s six-speed automatic is slow to react to manual shifting. Smallish buttons hidden on the backside of the steering wheel spokes require hands at nine and three. Prefer ten and two? Well, it might be best to let the transmission call the shifts anyway. In the ATS, large magnesium paddles will be available—much better.

Since its launch, the regular CTS has been available with three different suspensions, FE1, FE2, and FE3. With the FE1 suspension the car feels vague and even sloppy. Discouraged by reviews of the FE3, and without the ability to sample it in advance, my father ordered his car with the FE2, billed as offering the best ride-handling balance. That was a mistake. He ended up getting rid of the car because the FE2 suspension doesn’t sufficiently control body motions. On the wavy highway that leads to his house, the car provoked severe “head toss” over every undulation. On such roads, the firmer FE3 suspension actually rides much steadier, while remaining well short of harsh over patchy pavement. The FE3 car also feels tighter and more precise. If only we’d known back in the fall of 2007 that this was the suspension to get. One downside: The FE3 is only available with the 19-inch high-performance summer tires (specifically 245/45ZR19 ContiSportContacts). If you live where it snows, you’ll be investing in winter treads.

Even with the FE3 suspension and a limited-slip differential (bundled with the summer tires), the CTS lacks the character of a precision instrument. Instead, even in non-V form, it’s a two-ton linebacker of a sport sedan with a more overt character than you’ll find in competitors: big, bold, and ballsy. Vigorous control inputs aren’t the smartest, fastest way to drive, but the CTS invites them. While I’ve yet to drive the new ATS, my discussions with the engineering team (plus the much lower curb weight and lower seating position) suggest that it will feel tighter, lighter, and more precise – especially with its FE3 sport suspension, which will include magnetic ride control shocks like those standard in the CTS-V but not available in the regular CTS. You’ll also find a more refined chassis (perhaps to a fault) in the front-wheel-drive Buick Regal GS.

The hydraulic-assist system in the CTS feels much like that in the V, providing a level of tactility rarely found in today’s cars. At first touch, the system has the same insulated, numb feel found in the typical luxury sedan, but layered below is a more direct connection and even nuanced feedback. I cannot recall another car (aside from the V) with similarly multi-layered steering. Unlike in the CTS-V, engaging “Competitive Mode” does not reduce the level of steering assist. Assist will vary by mode in the ATS, but the system will be electric rather than hydraulic.

Not that you have to use the steering wheel to rotate the CTS. The rear end’s lateral slip can be progressively modulated with the throttle. At a steady speed through turns the CTS’s nose feels a little reluctant to hold a tight line. A little throttle balances the chassis nicely. Overcook it, and the stability control system cuts in almost seamlessly. Don’t need the nanny? It can be completely turned off, but even “Competitive Mode” bumps the threshhold enough that the car can get seriously sideways. Use with care. The stability control might have led you to think you’re a better driver than you actually are.

At first glance, the $2,810 Touring Package is a bargain. The seats and suede alone list for $3,700 in the V. The package deletes a heated steering wheel and folding rear seat that aren’t available in the supercharged sedan. GM may have feared a sale-proof window sticker, but then perhaps they shouldn’t have restricted the package to the top spec CTS. Add $995 “black diamond tricoat” and the bottom line nudges over $55,000.

Seem steep? A similarly-equipped BMW 335i will set you back about the same. But then BMW isn’t known for reasonable pricing, especially not on heavily equipped cars. The Infiniti G37 has long been the value play in this segment, with a sticker price over $10,000 below the others. Even after a $2,200 adjustment for the Cadillac’s additional features (as calculated by TrueDelta’s car price comparison tool) the CTS checks in nearly $8,000 higher. If you can do without the Touring Package’s sueded steering wheel and Recaro seats, then the pricing shifts about $2,500 in the Cadillac’s favor (the tool accounts for power adjustments, but not the Recaro label).

The advent of the ATS highlights the CTS’s shortcomings, most notably dated controls, passé silver plastic trim, and an extra quarter-ton of curb weight. If you want the latest tech or the most agile handling, wait for the truly compact Cadillac. And yet, even in its fifth model year the CTS retains a striking exterior and engaging personality. The ATS doesn’t have the same visual impact, and might lack the same driving dynamics as well, in a bid to beat the polished Europeans at their own game. To this the Touring Package brings all of the CTS’s sportiest available features together for the first time in the same non-V car. If you no taste for the latest tech, and prefer the character of a linebacker to that of a point guard, then no need to wait for the ATS.

Disclaimer: Cadillac provided the car for a week with insurance and a tank of gas.

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta.com, an online provider of car reliability and real-world fuel economy information.

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