There’s little disagreement that Cadillac has the athleticism part down in attacking the German luxury brands with its new CTS Vsport. Chief engineer David Leone and his crew have managed to find the right balance between handling and maintaining the kind of comfortable ride for which Cadillac always has been known.

“Turn off traction control and it’s not hard to coax the back end to come around,” says road test editor Chris Nelson. “It’s a bit terrifying in a car this big, but it’s also a lot of fun. Not too hard to control the big sedan when it gets unruly.”

“The sharp reflexes and balanced handling of the ATS are in full force here, which is surprising given the CTS’ 500-pound weight increase over its little brother,” Joey Capparella adds. And yet, our associate Web editor notes, “Going over railroad tracks near our office at speed, you feel the impact distinctly, but you hardly hear it and it barely upsets the car at all. This structure must really be stiff.”

Though associate Web editor Jake Holmes appreciates the ride and handling as well, he’s less enamored with the steering and finds the throttle touchy.

“My big complaint is that even in Tour mode, the throttle tip-in is ridiculously aggressive, making it tough to drive this car smoothly without lurching away from every stop.”

From summer through the beginning of autumn, the Cadillac CTS Vsport has been something of a homebody, mostly serving as the go-to ride for local excursions among family and friends. Its longest drive so far was a quick weekend round-trip to metro Milwaukee with yours truly at the wheel. It was supremely comfortable and impressed my parents, who have owned a 2008 Cadillac CTS since late ’08. Mom liked the cooled front seats and Dad was impressed with the straight-line performance compared with his car’s naturally aspirated, 3.6-liter direct-injection V-6. Once again, the Cadillac Cue system proved to be the car’s weak link.

It’s maddening. GM as a whole and Cadillac in particular need to reassess how they spend money on interiors.

It was impressive when the full contents of the Apple iPod came up on the center screen display. It’s not safe or convenient to try to call up a specific song on the center screen display, so Your Humble Servant resorted to voice activation, and in the mood for something bombastic, I asked for Jimmy Smith’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” which was later confirmed as, indeed, a choice among the 6,200-odd tunes on the iPod, but one that Cue simply could not find. Frustrated, I tried to switch back to a preferred FM station while driving through Chicago, but, on bumpy roads, with the display suddenly shifting, my finger instead landed on the frequency for a particularly bad oldies station.

After that trip, senior editor David Zenlea complained that the shiny trim on the steering wheel is creaking.

“It’s maddening. GM as a whole and Cadillac in particular need to reassess how they spend money on interiors,” Zenlea says. “I get the sense that they’re putting a lot into the initial ‘wow’ factor but not paying enough attention to how everything feels and wears over the life of a vehicle. Comparably priced Audis and BMWs actually use cheaper materials, but they’re assembled perfectly.”

Just shy of the 7,000-mile mark, the Caddy has had its first oil change. It seems early for synthetic oil, though it was covered as part of our 12-month, 12,000-mile unlimited maintenance.

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