ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: The last Cadillac CTS Vsport we had in here wore an as-tested price of a whopping $72,140 and made editor Wes Raynal spit out his morning coffee when he first saw the price tag. That was a Premium model and was loaded to the gills with snazzy features like 20-way power adjustable front seats, a reconfigurable gauge cluster, your choice of either real carbon fiber or wood cabin accents, color configurable head-up display, aluminum pedals, adaptive cruise control, front and rear automatic braking with collision preparation, a giant sunroof, tri-zone climate controls, heated rear seats, fancier wheels and advanced security package. While all that stuff is cool to have, it’s not absolutely necessary. The real important stuff, however, is still here on this CTS Vsport which stickers for $12,145 less than our previous test car at $59,995.
You still have the punchy twin-turbocharged V6 engine, eight-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode, 18-inch wheels wearing Pirelli P Zero tires, quicker steering ratio, Brembo front brakes with more aggressive pad material, improved cooling system, electronic limited-slip differential and a track mode with sharper steering and stiffer magnetic ride control suspension calibrations.
And don’t be thinking the $60K Vsport is some stripped-down model lacking in features like some of the BMWs we’ve had come through the office in the past few months. There are still plenty of niceties in the cabin, like heated and cooled seats, navigation, Bose sound system, satellite radio, Bluetooth phone and audio, heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate controls and eight-way power front seats.
On the street, the CTS Vsport is comfortable, quick and fun to hustle around. With 420 hp on tap, getting up to speed to blend in with expressway traffic is easy. With the adjustable settings for both the suspension and steering, it’s well-behaved around town with jolts from ruts smoothed out well, and steering wheel effort can be light but still responsive to inputs for when you just want to cruise.
Cabin surroundings on the 2014 CTS Vsport are cushy with high-quality materials throughout.
Cabin surroundings are cushy with high-quality materials throughout. It’s easy to find a good seating position behind the wheel after you settle into the supportive driver’s seat. I’m even not minding the CUE system too much now. Maybe I’ve gotten used to it, but I can work my way through it rather well now. It’s still not my favorite luxury infotainment system, though. That title still belongs to Audi’s MMI.
What helped my admiration for the CTS Vsport grow a little more was time on Michigan International Speedway’s infield road course. Unlike my previous track experience with the Vsport, I opted to use the eight-speed automatic paddle shifters the entire time and had track mode engaged. Shift response is OK on upshifts, but still slower than I would like for downshifts.
It’s a very well-balanced car when driven hard, and is forgiving and communicative at the limit. When the front end starts to push in turns, a little more throttle easily gets the rear to come around. Through all corners, the magnetic suspension kept the body controlled, and the Pirelli tires didn’t fall off much on longer runs. Steering feel is nice and weighty with a lot of feedback available through the wheel. Brake performance also remained solid throughout the session, with the pedal only getting a little softer towards the end.
With plenty of laps under my belt, I killed all the electronic stability nannies and got it sideways just for fun around turn four of the infield road course. The conclusion of this exercise is that the Vsport is pretty easy to drift. Will we be seeing one in an upcoming Formula D event? Probably not, but that would be cool.
After every drive of the CTS Vsport, I get out always comparing it in my head to a BMW. And that’s high praise, but the Caddy boasts a much better on-road ride quality. I like the current crop of Cadillacs. A lot.
The most logical BMW to compare this Vsport to is a $64,850 550i with its 4.4-liter turbo V8 churning out 445 hp. Given the choice between a base CTS Vsport at $59,995 and the 550i, I think I would be tipping my hat to the Cadillac.
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