2017 Cadillac CTS Driving Impressions

Cadillac CTS handling ranks with its German-brand competitors. In any form, base to top level, the CTS behaves with confidence and poise.

GM’s Magnetic Ride Control suspension, if installed, features dampers filled with magnetically charged fluid. In mere milliseconds, the system can alter suspension stiffness from highway-smooth to sporty-firm. Exceptionally stable, a CTS with this setup never feels uncontrolled or suffers a floaty sensation.

Although the four-cylinder base engine may seem strained at times, it performs with haste. As a result, there’s no compelling reason to move up to the 335-horsepower V6. Still, the latter responds progressively and predictably, making it a sensible choice for long-distance travel as well as daily commutes.

For more vibrant performance, the 420-horsepower twin-turbo V6 in V-Sport models is the answer. Handling upgrades, including quicker steering, a track mode, and bigger front brakes, and 18-inch Pirelli tires (19-inch available) ensure a tenuous grip when the road gets curvy. Cadillac’s 8-speed automatic earns high praise in any model, but the CTS-V version is exceptionally smooth and quick-shifting.

Fuel economy isn’t bad for a vehicle of this nature, helped by stop/start technology and active grille shutters. The turbo-four base engine is EPA-rated at 22/30 mpg City/Highway, or 25 mpg Combined, versus 20/30 mpg City/Highway, or 24 mpg Combined, for the 335-hp V6. The V-Sport’s turbo V6 is EPA-rated at only 16/24 mpg City/Highway, or 18 mpg Combined. Naturally, all-wheel drive lowers those figures.

As expected, the 640-horsepower CTS-V fails any frugality test, EPA-rated at 14/21 mpg City/Highway, or 17 mpg Combined. Such figures aren’t likely to dissuade admirers of an American sedan that approaches supercar status, yet can be driven daily without fuss.

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