Before everyone decided they only wanted SUVs and pickup trucks, we used to have a really diverse auto market, with something for every taste or need. Of course, many of the more niche models are still around, but we don’t hear about them as much as we used to. That’s a shame, especially when it comes to sport sedans like the Cadillac CTS.
The 2019 Cadillac CTS is a serious family car, it’s luxurious, it’s powerful, and it’s an awful lot of fun to drive. This is a segment of the market that was dominated for years by Mercedes and BMW, but the Cadillac has developed over the years into a serious contender. If you haven’t taken a good look at the CTS lately, here’s an overview of what you can expect from the 2019 CTS.
When an automaker comes up with something new and it proves successful, it’s rarely long before the imitators follow. With Cadillac’s Art and Science design philosophy, it seems as though its angular, edgy, and futuristic styling was just a little too brave for the competition to follow. That was probably good news for Cadillac, and it’s still impossible to mistake the 2019 CTS for anything other than a Cadillac.
There might be a few people out there who don’t like the way the CTS looks, but if you want your sedan to look edgy, purposeful, powerful, and aggressive, there really isn’t anything to match this midsize Caddy. The design hasn’t been tweaked much since this generation broke onto the scene in 2014, and rightly so. The tall headlights and tail lights are signature Cadillac styling cues, and there are more angles and edges on display than in a trigonometry exam.
Most vehicles with unique exterior styling don’t usually carry the theme through to the interior, and the CTS is no exception. It’s not as aggressive and edgy as the exterior. Instead, the CTS cabin is quieter and more reserved than the exterior styling.
This is a Cadillac though, and that means luxury. The CTS interior doesn’t disappoint in any way. There’s wood, leather, and soft-touch plastics throughout the cabin, and everything looks and feels as if it’s been put together with the greatest care and attention. There are even some two-tone leather options that really do take the interior to another level.
If you think the exterior is modern, the dash in the CTS is positively futuristic with two massive screens — one for the infotainment system and one for the gauges and other driver information. The instrument cluster screen is an optional 12.3-inch screen, while the other is an 8.0-inch touchscreen for operating an updated infotainment system that’s now much improved than previous versions.
The base engine in the 2019 CTS is a 2.0-liter turbo four that develops 268 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. That useful amount of power is then sent to the rear wheels through a very good eight-speed automatic transmission that’s standard for all versions of the CTS.
Go beyond the base model and a 3.6-liter V-6 then becomes available, and this is where the real fun starts. The V-6 ups the power ante to 332 hp and 285 lb.-ft. of torque, which is going to be plenty for the majority of buyers, but not for everyone.
If you want the absolute most that the regular CTS has to offer in terms of power and performance, Cadillac kindly offers us the V-Sport versions of the CTS. These still use a 3.6-liter V-6 engine, but this time it’s got twin-turbos and is tuned to develop an extremely frisky 420 hp and 430 lb.-ft. of torque. This unit can get the CTS from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds and delivers a top speed of 170 mph. The four-cylinder and the V-6 can both be had with all-wheel-drive, except in V-Sport trim where all-wheel-drive is standard.
We did say the V-Sport was the most power and performance available from the regular CTS lineup, and that’s because there is another CTS that’s even more powerful. The CTS-V is what some people would argue is the greatest American performance sedan ever made, but it’s almost a separate model in its own right. It’s where you need to be if you want a 6.2-liter 640 hp V-8, a 200 mph top speed, and 0 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. But it does come at a price (starting at $87,000).
Features and Equipment
The CTS is available in base CTS, Luxury, Premium Luxury, V-Sport, and V-Sport Premium Luxury trim levels. We expect luxury cars to come well-equipped, but few come with as much standard kit as the CTS does. Standard features include power seat adjustment, cruise control, rearview camera, rear parking sensors, an 11-speaker Bose premium audio system, three USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible.
A car with this much power (and no sign of a hybrid option) isn’t likely to be great on gas, is it? Well, the CTS actually isn’t terrible in its entry-level form, but it does get very thirsty as the engines get bigger and more powerful. A rear-drive four-cylinder CTS is rated at 22 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined by the EPA. Add the extra capability of all-wheel-drive and those numbers reduce a little to 21/29/24 mpg.
The 332 hp V-6 will get you 19/29/23 mpg in rear-drive form or 18/26/21 mpg with all-wheel drive, but the twin-turbo V-6 only manages 16/24/19 mpg.
- Brave and unique styling, both inside and out
- Impressive handling
- Comfortable and luxurious
- Exhilarating V-Sport model
- Lacks some modern active safety tech
- Likes to visit the gas station regularly
- Can get expensive
- Design has been around a while now
The Last Word
If you’ve wanted a thrilling, exhilarating, and visually stunning midsize luxury performance sedan in the past, a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW was the obvious way to go. Cadillac changed all that when it introduced this latest version of the CTS. It’s now easy to get all you want from such a car and still stay patriotic to American manufactuers. Prices range from $46,995 for the base CTS to $71,795 for the V-Sport Premium Luxury (and even more for the CTS-V). But whichever model you go for, it still looks like money well spent.