Behind the Wheel: 2018 Cadillac CTS V-Sport
Credit: freedy Sherman
In case you didn’t know, the CTS sedan is slightly bigger than Cadillac’s ATS sedan but smaller than their XTS and CT6 sedans. The base CTS model comes with a turbocharged V4 and a V6 upgrade is also available. I tested the CTS V-Sport, which gives you the twin-turbo 3.6L V6 with 420 horsepower and 430 ft-lbs of torque.
If that isn’t enough, of course there’s the mighty CTS V-Series with a 6.2L supercharged V8 with 640 horsepower. You can get different trim levels on the CTS (Standard, Luxury, Premium Luxury, V-Sport and Premium Luxury V-Sport) and my test car was the Premium Luxury V-Sport edition. It comes with pretty much every possible option and all the performance goodies too.
The CTS V-Sport provides a beautiful balance of performance and luxury with that 420 horsepower, twin-turbo engine. The two turbo system virtually eliminates turbo lag and the engine offers both low end power and extreme top end speed. The exhaust note is also beautiful and a bit Ferrari-ish, especially with the optional Performance Exhaust system (which this car had), You also get an 8-speed automatic which was smooth and very sensitive, but I think it just had too many gears. With gentle driving, there is a lot of shifting (smooth shifting, but shifting none the less) going on.
You can always push the “M” button on the shifter for Manual mode and use the magnesium paddle shifters to change gears. The magnetic ride control smooths out any surface and responds instantly to the drive mode. The CTS has multiple drive modes: Tour, Sport, Track and Snow/Ice. The Track mode allows access to further suspension and other performance refinements.
As I tested the Premium Luxury edition, it was absolutely sumptuous. Interiors are one of Cadillac’s strong points as they are all hand-cut and hand-stitched. This car had the optional full, semi-aniline leather interior with Kona Brown seats and black trim. One note, the rear seat is luxurious, but there is kind of a hump that extends out against the back of your calves. It’s a few inches of space and cuts down on the foot room for rear seat passengers.
The driving experience is luxurious with the full range of driver aid and safety systems. Cadillac’s adaptive cruise control is excellent as is the Surround Vision camera system. The CTS has a huge Ultraview Sunroof which fills most of the roof area with glass (half of it opens). The cabin is quiet and in Tour mode it just cruises wonderfully on the freeway at near-triple-digit speeds.
Infotainment is on-point with Cadilac’s CUE (Cadillac User Experience) system. There’s a Bose Surround Sound system and full Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. The car is a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot and has OnStar. I should also point out Cadillac has announced all its cars will have their SuperCruise hands-free technology. It’s an amazing system, I’ve used it on the CT6 during a road trip from Santa Fe to LA. The hands-free system works with adaptive cruise control to automate a lot of the driving responsibilities, while requiring the driver to always be paying attention. Sensors on the steering wheel see your head and eye position, GPS, Lidar, cameras and sensors tell the car where it is in the world. On divided highways it will steer itself (within a chosen lane) hands-free for hours and hours.
The 2018 Cadillac CTS V-Sport TT Premium Luxury starts at $71,295. This car had the V-Performance Exhaust and engine cover package ($2,095), the Kona Brown leather interior with semi-aniline full leather seats ($1,500), Stellar Black Metallic paint ($625) and performance brake linings ($100). With the $995 destination charge and a package discount, the total price was $76,210. Pricing is very similar to the Audi S6, which comes with a 4.0L V8 and about 20 more horsepower. A BMW M3 is $66,500 with about the same horsepower, but is a smaller car. I must admit it would be a tough choice for me between the CTS and the S6, having driven both.
I always like to talk about where cars are made, the CTS V-Sport is assembled in Lansing, Michigan. The engine is made is Mexico and the transmission is made in Japan.
Exterior photos by Freddy Sherman
Interior photo courtesy of Cadillac
By Freddy Sherman
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