Full 2014 Cadillac CTS Coupe Review
What's New for 2014
Though the CTS sedan model is redesigned this year, the 2014 Cadillac CTS Coupe is unchanged other than minor option package updates.
The 2014 Cadillac CTS Coupe is a two-door luxury coupe that stands out from the crowd. Its angular design is undeniably provocative and modern, and it's complemented by a slick electronics interface in the cabin and enjoyable performance on the road. However, the CTS coupe makes quite a few sacrifices in the name of style.
The biggest of these is regarding headroom, which is quite tight in the backseat and limits the Cadillac's usefulness for transporting passengers. In addition, the aggressively raked rear window looks neat, but it extends over the rear seating area and singes the noggins of occupants on hot summer days. In addition, rear visibility is kindly described as challenging, and the small trunk has a narrow opening that forces you to get creative when packing anything bulkier than a bag of groceries.
Of course, you might overlook many of these shortcomings if the Cadillac CTS Coupe was exciting to drive. And indeed, the CTS Coupe's V6 engine feels responsive and powerful from the driver seat, even though its actual acceleration numbers fall short of major rivals in the class. Similarly, the Caddy's handling is good enough to make a Sunday morning drive enjoyable, but it doesn't feel as sharp or precise around turns as other premium-brand coupes. What's more, the optional sport suspension results in a harsh ride quality that most consumers won't find livable.
The good news is that the newly redesigned Cadillac CTS sedan (reviewed separately) rights most of the coupe's missteps based on our early testing. If you're set on getting something with only two doors, though, we'd recommend you check out other luxury coupes like the Audi A5 and S5, BMW 4 Series, Infiniti Q60 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. All of these coupes are likely to cost you more, but they're far more functional on a day-to-day basis and, in most cases, quicker as well. Unquestionably, the 2014 Cadillac CTS Coupe is still a stunning car to behold, but we suggest test-driving its impressive competition before you make a decision.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Cadillac CTS Coupe seats four and is available in base, Performance and Premium trim levels. The high-performance CTS-V Coupe is covered in a separate review.
The base CTS Coupe comes standard with 18-inch wheels, a limited-slip differential, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, rear parking sensors, keyless ignition/entry, remote ignition (requires automatic transmission), dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power front seats (includes two-way lumbar adjustment), a split-folding rear seat, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, OnStar emergency communications, Bluetooth phone connectivity and an eight-speaker Bose sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio.
The CTS Coupe Performance trim adds adaptive xenon headlamps, foglamps, a blind-spot warning system, a rearview camera, additional sound insulation, driver seat and side mirror memory functions, heated front seats, leather upholstery and a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system with a CD/DVD player, digital music storage and an iPod/USB audio interface.
The optional Sport Blue Interior package adds automatic wipers, dark blue leather/simulated suede upholstery, wood interior trim and interior accent lighting. Alternatively, you can get the Performance Luxury package, which also includes wood trim and upgraded cabin lighting, along with heated and ventilated front seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel and automatic cabin air filtration. You can also get a navigation system with a pop-up touchscreen interface, though, oddly, it's not available in combination with the Performance Luxury package.
The CTS Coupe Premium resolves that dilemma, as it includes both the Performance Luxury package equipment and the navigation system. Rear-drive Premium models are also eligible for the optional CTS Touring package. This package adds Recaro sport front seats, simulated suede trim for the steering wheel and shift lever, alloy pedals and the 19-inch Summer Tire Performance package, which includes 19-inch wheels, summer tires, a sportier tuned suspension, upgraded brakes, a performance cooling system, a different grille and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Note that the Summer Tire Performance package is available by itself on rear-drive Performance and Premium models.
Optional on all but the base trim is a tilt-only sunroof.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering the 2014 Cadillac CTS Coupe is a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 318 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is optional. Expect 0-60-mph times in the mid-6-second range, which is slightly slower than most competing luxury coupes.
EPA-estimated fuel economy with rear-wheel drive is 21 mpg combined (18 mpg city/27 mpg highway). All-wheel-drive coupes are also rated 21 combined but only have a 26 mpg highway figure.
Standard safety equipment for every 2014 Cadillac CTS Coupe includes antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and rear parking sensors. Also standard is the OnStar emergency communications system, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, an emergency button, stolen vehicle locator and active intervention, and remote door unlock. Rear parking sensors are standard on all CTS Coupes, and a blind-spot warning system and rearview camera are standard on the Performance and Premium trims.
In Edmunds brake testing, a CTS Coupe with the 19-inch summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in an impressive 106 feet. With smaller wheels and all-season tires, that distance is likely to be longer but still good for this class.
Interior Design and Special Features
The interior of the 2014 Cadillac CTS Coupe features a pleasing angular theme to match the exterior edginess. Soft-touch materials are plentiful, accented by tasteful wood trim. The optional navigation system emerges from the top of the dash and retracts almost fully, leaving a small section visible as a touchscreen display for the audio system: a smart and elegant alternative solution to having a separate control panel. Cadillac cleverly provides a redundant control knob for scrolling through iPod or satellite radio menus, since doing so with a touchscreen interface can be frustrating and distracting.
Unfortunately, the interior also comes with its fair share of flaws. Outward rear visibility is poor, forcing the driver to largely rely on the parking sensors and available rearview camera when maneuvering in reverse. Overall comfort is hampered by an awkward driving position, plus the seatbacks are flat and stiff. Rear seat passengers must deal not only with a lack of headroom but also direct exposure to solar heating, as the CTS Coupe's large rear glass window extends overhead in the backseat. The headroom situation isn't much better in the front seat, and we'd discourage taller buyers from getting the optional sunroof.
Trunk space is a smallish 10.5 cubic feet, and the narrow opening requires quite a bit of ingenuity when packing large, bulky items. The trunk lid's large gooseneck hinges also swing quite far down into the space, threatening to crush anything fragile that might be in their way.
Consumers expecting the 2014 Cadillac CTS Coupe to ride like a luxury sedan are in for a bit of a shock. On models with the standard suspension setup, the ride is firm, though not significantly more so than on rivals in this class. With the Summer Tire Performance package equipped, however, the coupe's ride becomes downright harsh and not what we'd consider livable in most parts of the country. Even with this higher-performance option equipped, though, the CTS doesn't feel as sharp around turns as its rivals. The CTS Coupe's steering has a fairly heavy effort level for a car in this class, but it doesn't offer the kind of feedback we'd expect from a truly sporty coupe, and this detracts from the Cadillac's entertainment value when you're driving briskly on a back road.
Though the CTS Coupe also isn't as quick off the line as many competitors, its 3.6-liter V6 engine does provide satisfactory power. The car drives smoothly around town, and the automatic transmission shifts smoothly and unobtrusively. More aggressive driving warrants dropping the gear selector into Sport or Manual mode to wind the engine into the upper reaches of the tachometer. At these levels, the V6 is much more responsive and delivers a healthy dose of excitement.