2017 Cadillac CTS review: V-Sport offers more sport than luxury, with a dash of new technology

The Cadillac CTS V-Sport isn’t the craziest CTS car – that’s it 640 hp CTS-V is for. V-Sport sacrifices some of the downright CTS-V performance craziness in favor of a more discreet fun experience. But make no mistake—this is still a sporty option, and it shows in the ride quality.

But the V-Sport is more than just a good engine and chassis that loves to play hard. Like many other late-model General Motors vehicles, it’s a technological marvel, equipped with an all-new security and infotainment system that addresses most, if not all, of the system’s previous shortcomings. It’s the whole package, and provided you don’t mind a few sacrifices on the fancy side, you should drop those sacrifices.

Beautiful but it doesn’t change the rules of the game, especially on the inside

Make no mistake, the current Cadillac CTS is a spectator. The front end is a combination of straight lines that can flow backwards without adding too many sharp corners to the side. The back is a little more anonymous, but the package holds together and I got more than a few compliments during my week-long loan.

However, this car has been in production since 2014, so it looks a bit dated compared to shiny new competitors like the restyled design. BMW 5 Series And Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The CTS is a good car on its own, but being in a class with a host of newer designs puts it at a disadvantage.

Inside is a mixed bag. The design is sleek and modern but I have some concerns about the quality of the materials, especially on the center console and around the infotainment screen — I don’t feel it’s worth the V-Sport’s base $70,000 price tag. Almost every color is some kind of black or gray. This leads to a feeling of claustrophobia, as the center console is rather high and separates the driver in his or her small cockpit.

This is the point in my review where I mention not only Cadillac, but all automakers that piano black trim not be fond of. It collects dust and fingerprints like a magnet, resulting in a shabby look within a few short trips. Please, I don’t want more.

The bright beacon in the CTS V-Sport is a pair of Recaro’s optional front seats. Part of the $3,000 aesthetic package, the Recaros (borrowed from the CTS-V) is extremely comfortable and can be configured to fit drivers and passengers large and small. I want all cars to come with these seats. As for the rear seats, they are surprisingly narrow for a larger luxury car, especially for passengers over six feet tall.

Infotainment: from zero to hero

I won’t get the words here: Previous iteration of CUE (Cadillac User Experience) Absorb. It was ugly, it was slow and almost every critic criticized it. But this is no longer important, because there is a new CUE system, which is really amazing.

We cover CUE 2: Electric Boogaloo in depth in a standalone story, so I’ll be brief here. The new user interface is attractive and attractive, the navigation map takes almost no time to display and the new user-based system allows for a huge amount of customization, right down to the suggested navigation methods. It will start in the 2017.5 CTS, and make its way to other Cadillac vehicles throughout the year yearsSo patience is a virtue here. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both included.

Other than that, the CTS V-Sport remains quite the technological marvel. GM’s excellent OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot provided seemingly unbeatable reception, even when my cell phone was struggling. The full digital viewing mirror uses the backup camera to effectively eliminate rear blind spots, even with a full back seat. Changing the angle takes a bit of getting used to, and rainfall can obscure the view of the camera, but it’s good to have the option, and you can still use FDM like a regular rearview mirror if you prefer.

V-Sport’s Premium Luxury model comes standard with the Driver Assistance Package, which includes high-speed adaptive cruise control and independent emergency braking. The automatic braking system didn’t start unnecessarily early, and the adaptive cruise control worked well, without much weight transfer under acceleration or braking. As with many other large cars, having parking sensors is only a necessity.


Watch this: Take a closer look at Cadillac’s all-new CUE infotainment system


Watch this: 2017.5 Cadillac CTS V-Sport: 5 Things You Should Know

heavy on traffic

It might not necessarily look the part, but CTS V-Sport can Transfer. The twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 engine produces 420 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque, all of which are sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

It doesn’t take a lot of throttle to start moving with power. Although it’s not a CTS-V, its exhaust isn’t quiet at all, and it emits a decent roar, even with two turbochargers serving as an auxiliary muffler. Throw the car into Tour mode (default) or Snow/Ice mode, and the throttle is easy to handle. Things get a lot more lively in Sport and Track modes, the latter of which you definitely don’t want to use on public roads.

The steering is tight and precise, and tighter than most luxury cars actually. Standard magnetic shocks (called Magnetic Ride Control) are almost supernatural in function. The system absorbs bumps without feeling like a boat drifting, yet remains very active when you start to flip the car. It’s always fun to drive, but the rigidity of the chassis means the driver shouldn’t expect a sedate ride like the competition – the air suspension is on E-Class Benzfor example, provides more comfort and gives it the same level of sportiness, depending on the situation of the car.

The eight-speed transmission was generally smooth, but cruising around town at low speeds can result in some uncharacteristically stable shifts, even in Tour mode. It kind of takes you out of the experience, which is a shame. However, 95% of the time it works fine.

Fuel economy isn’t good on paper, with the EPA rated the V-Sport at 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. On light feet, I saw highway numbers around 26 mpg, but as usual, I had a harder time meeting the city number—averaging about 14-15 mpg around town.

2017.5 Cadillac CTS V-Sport

Zoom in the image

2017.5 Cadillac CTS V-Sport

There isn’t much to see under the hood, unfortunately.

Andrew Crook / Promotion

How do I determine that

The CTS V-Sport tester bumped its base price of $70,795 (in the Premium Luxury model) up to $76,480 with options. This is on par with its Teutonic competition, but you get more bang for your buck here. Having said that, I’ll scrap a few options to lower that price a bit.

You can get the V-Sport starting at $61,690, but you’re missing out on some really nice options, like the set of digital gauges, head-up display, and security systems mentioned above, so I’m not going that route. Black and Silver are the only free color choices, with other shades being offered for $595 or $995. I absolutely love the white in this design, so I’ll stick with the $995 Crystal White Tricoat.

The Carbon Black package, which adds cool Recaro seats along with darker trim elements in the grille and wheels, is expensive at $3,000. But these benches are so good, I’m going to get them, and I’d recommend others to do the same.

The only options I’d really give up were the dealer-installed ones—the $395 suede steering wheel and the $200 microfiber shift knob. That brings the base price down to $75,885, which is still a lot of money, but in my opinion, it’s the perfect spec for this car.

Right down to the copper rivets

Cadillac CTS V-Sport 2017.5 is most comparable to BMW M550i xDriveand Mercedes-AMG C43, Audi S6 and Genesis G80 5.0 Ultimate. Its fuel economy is dead even with the Genesis, while the Bimmer beats it by 1 mpg on the highway. Merc and Audi are the mileage champions, with their respective numbers from 18 city to 25 highway and 18 city to 27 highway.

In terms of production, they are all very close. The 420 horsepower is better than the Merc (396) and even with the Genesis, but it lags behind the Audi (450) and BMW (456). Cadillac is rear-wheel drive only, while Genesis offers both rear- and all-wheel drive, and every other competitor comes standard with all-wheel drive.

Pricing is where the CTS V-Sport really shines. $70,795 less than AMG ($72,400), BMW ($72,100) and Audi ($71,900), and it packs additional standard features. The Genesis, with its base price of $57,000, is by far the least expensive, but it’s not at all another sports sedan—it’s only luxury.

Personal preference would be a tiebreaker here. More sporty than luxury, the CTS V-Sport may lack the semi-autonomous capabilities of its Teutonic rival, but with some solid safety offerings and a decent infotainment system, Cadillac no longer plays the second-best violin. If you can’t break free from the German mold, you’ll be fine, but if you want a spirited ride with the right technology and options, you’ll do a disservice by not using the CTS V-Sport versus Spinner.

Andrew’s comparison choices

  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  • 2017 BMW 5 Series
  • 2018 Genesis G80

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