When it comes to the premium midsize segment, the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class have the market pretty much sown up, or do they? Cadillac is making a statement with the 2016 CTS luxury sedan that is messing up Germany’s party. The CTS luxury is as good as any German luxury sedan when it comes to performance and handling, and may even be ahead when it comes to the interior.
This week we test drove the 2016 Cadillac CTS AWD 3.6L Premium model.
The 2016 Cadillac CTS gets a new 3.6-liter V6 engine, dropped under the hood, that features cylinder deactivation and auto stop-start. It comes mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. The CTS’s CUE touchscreen interface has been upgraded with Apple CarPlay compatibility and a rear-view camera.
CTS AWD 3.6L Premium Features & Options
The Premium model ($64,685) comes standard with 18-inch wheels, adaptive magnetic ride control, automatic parking system, illuminated door handles and sill plates, a heads-up display, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, manual rear sunshades, and a power rear window sunshade. A surround-view camera system that provides a bird’s-eye view of the car is standard along with performance front seats.
Options on this CTS AWD 3.6L Premium tester included jet black w/Morello red accents and semi-aniline leather seats ($1,500), Stellar Black metallic exterior paint ($495), and extra capacity cooling system ($250).
Total MSRP including destination: $67,925.
The interior of the Cadillac CTS Premium is an experience that is worth the price alone. Stepping inside the cabin of the CTS Premium is an experience that activates all the senses. We could smell the semi-aniline leather aroma the moment we slid into the front seats and the soft leather coddled our body as we sank into the performance front seats. Visually, the jet black w/Morello red accents in the cabin looks sophisticated and has a luxurious feel with its rich materials.
There’s a high level of luxury and craftsmanship that sets this cabin apart from the German competitors.
The interior is not without fault as we found the climate control and especially the volume control on the radio to be frustrating to use. We did like the heads-up display, however, and the surround vision display is as cool as anything we’ve seen.
Rear passengers get sun shades in the back and side to keep them cool in the summer heat. Rear passengers don’t get as much space as some of the competition but there’s ample room up front.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
Our Premium CTS tester had the new 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 335 horsepower and 285 lb-ft of torque. It gets stop-start technology, an eight-speed automatic, and comes with all-wheel-drive. The engine stop-start system is a fuel-saving feature that shuts the engine down at full stops and instantaneously restarts it when you lift off the brake.
The EPA rates the CTS V6 at 19/28 city/highway mpg and 22 combined mpg with AWD.
The new Cadillac CTS gets the latest weight saving technologies like extensive use of aluminum in the chassis and body. The 2016 CTS is the lightest to date and it shows in its driving dynamics. The CTS is nearly 200 pounds lighter than the BMW 528i and Cadillac says the with the use of lighter materials in the back, combined with a heavier rear steel suspension, the CTS has a near-50/50 weight distribution.
This translates to quicker acceleration and better handling in the curves in the mountains west of Denver. The new 335hp V6’s output is robust for a naturally aspirated (non-turbo) engine. Through the tight corners, the Cadillac CTS sedan offers enough of a sporty feel to satisfy most driving enthusiasts.
For those wanting more power, Cadillac offers the CTS-V with a 6.2-liter V8, boasting 640 horsepower!
With the V6, we thought the CTS had enough power for all driving situations. At altitude, the V6 powered up I-70 into the mountains and had enough pep to keep us smiling. We felt confident as we tossed the luxury sedan around the corners and thought the CTS was composed, offered superior steering, and kept driver engagement high.
Cadillac has a winner in the midsize category, and competes well with its German rivals for performance and handling. We think it outshines many in this class with its impeccable interior materials and finishes. With many technology and comfort features coming standard, the Cadillac CTS is an excellent value for the money.
And on the open road, the Cadillac CTS is smooth, comfortable, and quiet.
*Denis Flierl has invested nearly 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy
*The rating scale of Automoblog is based 1-5 with 5 being the best.