2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport Long-Term Update 2
Getting to My Happy Place
Every morning on my way to work there's a happy place where I can let it all hang out in the Cadillac CTS Vsport. You might have a favorite expanse of asphalt, hairpin onramp, or twisty section on your daily route where you can really open your car up and let it fly. Mine starts with a wide sweeper on entry. Then it's hard on the Vsport's go-pedal, V-6 wailing as I explode down the long, dogleg left ramp that pours me onto the freeway at speed.
Barreling out of the short chute, it's duck, dodge, brake, accelerate, and shoot the gap. Some days I can just power past everyone; on others I have to wait a beat or two until a sliver of daylight emerges and I can pour more gas on the Cadillac's twin-turbo fire. Then I settle into the left lane, throttle back, and let the traffic wash over me. Such is the life in L.A. with the Vsport. Short bursts of unbridled joy followed by long stretches of stop-and-go pain.
One thing that wasn't painful at all was my trip to Symes Cadillac in Pasadena for the Vsport's first service, at 7000 miles. I was in and out in less than an hour, and the total was $0.00 thanks to Cadillac's free initial maintenance program.
I've been able to stretch the CTS out during recent blasts to Las Vegas and Phoenix, and what really stands out after a few hours sawing on the Vsport's wonderfully meaty, right-sized helm is how it deftly straddles the line between hardcore sport and luxury sedan. I've spent a few days in Cadillac V Series cars over the years and they are intense and massively entertaining machines. While there is slightly less of an edge to the Vsport -- namely the lack of the Janet Jackson-nasty, 556-hp supercharged V-8 under the hood and a row-your-own option -- it is just about as ferocious and furious as its V-Series patriarchs in most every performance metric.
But when you just want to roll steady on the highway, simply set the cruise (alas, adaptive cruise is only available on the Vsport Premium) to the maximum speed allowed by law, crank up Queens of the Stone Age on the solid, 13-speaker Bose system, and just breeze along. Cabin noise isn't intrusive; the suspension isn't remotely punishing, especially in Tour mode; and you can actually get some halfway decent gas mileage. My best tankful during my two trips was right around 24.5 mpg with close to a 400-mile range, which is in line with the 24 mpg EPA number.
The CTS Vsport we have in the MT fleet doesn't come with adaptive cruise, or a slick reconfigurable instrument panel, or the 20-way seats of the Premium model, but as Han Solo said of the Millennium Falcon, this baby's got it where it counts. The ZF-sourced electric steering rack is on the heavy side, which is how I like it, and you can really feel it firm up as you dial up the fun factor from Tour to Sport to Track. Its wheel feel is par with any sport sedan in its class. When you push hard into a corner, the electronic limited-slip diff and GM's vaunted Magnetic Ride Control do a fantastic job of keeping the Vsport planted and tracking true. And the Brembo calipers up front scrub the speed in panic stops, although I'd prefer a bit more bite at the outset.
When the sea of sheetmetal in L.A. occasionally parts, I've also taken some time to play around in Track mode with the M button pressed the on the gear shift and work the paddles. The responsiveness is as impressive as any automatic-transmission-based setup out there – including that of the Jaguar F-Type. You can run it hard up to redline, again and again and again.
It all adds up to a dynamic experience that can get me to a happy place on most any road, as long as it's open.