Some sedans are too hard, some sedans are too soft, and some sedans are just right. Across the Cadillac CTS range, the V-Sport sits in that Goldilocks position. New in 2014, the V-Sport model has been the sporty, rear-wheel-drive CTS that perfectly blends comfort and sophistication with superb handling and turbocharged power. We found that it could do it all in the summer of 2014. How will it stand up four years later, in the dead of winter?
The regular CTS is available with a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder or a 3.6L V6. The not-so-regular CTS-V stuffs a supercharged 6.2L V8 under the hood. The CTS V-Sport sits rather nicely in the middle. By adding two turbochargers to the V6, the V-Sport produces a healthy 420 hp and 430 lb-ft torque. But Cadillac doesn’t stop there. The V-Sport further separates itself with stiffer suspension and stabilizer bars, a re-tuned steering rack, and larger Brembo brakes. What has changed since 2014? With the wreath gone from the Cadillac crest, a redesigned front grille was in order. New wheels round out the visual changes.
Inside, the same beautiful and supple Kona Brown interior package is still available. The CTS now includes the rear camera mirror first launched on the CT6. Time has been kind to the CTS. Four years on, the interior still feels luxurious, modern, and well-built. A few tweaks, like softer material on the lower door, keep it on par with some of its recently-redesigned competitors.The biggest improvement to the experience comes from a new-for-2018 version of the Cadillac User Experience, the infotainment software formerly known as CUE. Faster, more responsive, and devoid of some of the quirks of previous versions, it is a joy to use. Simplicity and reactivity seem to have been the hallmarks. Stripped of the clunky menu that appeared as your hand approached the screen, its easier to see and select exactly what you want. The system reacts immediately, allowing you to do something like scroll though radio stations without any lag. It’s on par with button-based systems, so long as you aren’t wearing gloves. It was the first time I didn’t set a single radio preset in recent memory. That’s how quickly and impressively the system reacts to your touch.
What hasn’t changed is the CTS V-Sports spot-on dynamics. The chassis is dialed in, the magnetic ride suspension cushions the worst of the road imperfections, and the steering points the big sedan right where you want it to go. We were glad to see our tester arrive on Bridgestone Blizzak LM001 performance winter tires. The cold-weather grip was well worth the bit of extra road nose during our messy winter week. It just goes to show, with the right tires you can drive a 400+hp car every day of the year. When we first drove the CTS V-Sport, we noted two issues with the sport sedan, the 8-speed automatic transmission and the sound. The 8-speed automatic transmission remains the CTS V-Sports only letdown. We mentioned its slow shifts four years ago and it doesn’t seen to have gotten any better. Our CTS V-Sport came fitted with the optional V-Performance exhaust. While there are no visual changes to the integrated exhaust outlets, you will notice a marked improvement. The blown V6 rumbles imposingly at startup, filling the cabin with the sporty hum it deserves. Under acceleration, the exhaust growls and barks with more aggression than the ATS-V. If you want the full experience, it might be worth the $2,000 price tag.
Its rare to find a vehicle that so perfectly strikes a balance between performance and luxury. Not too soft, not too hard, the V-Sport gets it just right. Even after four years, the CTS V-Sport’s styling and interior show very little signs of aging. With a new optional cat-back exhaust, the V-Sport finally sounds as good as it drives.
|2018 Cadillac CTS V-Sport Premium Luxury
|V-Performance Exhaust & Engine Cover||$2,065|
|Kona Brown w/ Jet Black Accents Semi-Aniline Full Leather Seats||$1,500|
|Stellar Black Metallic||$625|
|Performance Brake Linings||$100|
|As Tested MSRP||$76,580|