Full 2014 Cadillac CTS-V Review
What's New for 2014
Although the standard CTS sedan is redesigned, the 2014 Cadillac CTS-V carries over essentially unchanged from last year.
The 2014 Cadillac CTS-V is an American muscle car in the body of a four-door luxury sedan. If you're looking to race between the lights while carrying your family and friends in style and comfort, you've come to the right place. Although the CTS-V sedan's angular styling is certainly a calling card, the best part is that it has the performance numbers to match its aggressively styled sheet metal.
Pressing the accelerator pedal is a thrilling experience every time, thanks to the Caddy's 556-horsepower supercharged V8. Yet the CTS-V is refined enough that it's still pleasant to drive in those moments when you're not caught up in its incredible straight-line performance. You'll delight in the snarling V8 when you roll down the windows in a tunnel, but the exhaust rumble isn't so overbearing that you won't be able to hear traffic reports on your commute to work. Likewise, the CTS-V sedan's sophisticated magnetic suspension dampers provide a comfortable ride whether you're picking your way around potholes in the city or airing it out on curvy back roads.
Then again, most of the 2014 Cadillac CTS-V sedan's major rivals deliver a similar blend of visceral pleasure and sumptuous refinement, though none do so for such a low price. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG has a ridiculously powerful V8 of its own, along with a much richer interior. We'd say the same about the BMW M5, although the current model has lost quite a bit of the raw excitement that made previous versions so legendary. Other cars to consider are the 2013 Jaguar XF Supercharged and XFR siblings, which provide exhilarating acceleration of their own and a distinctly British character.
Ultimately, though, the car that would really make us think twice about buying a 2014 CTS-V sedan is the completely redesigned standard 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan (reviewed separately). Although not as hard-edged a performance sedan as the CTS-V, the 420-hp Vsport version is quick in its own right and boasts a roomier cabin and more polished ride and handling characteristics. We'd still recommend the 2014 CTS-V sedan if you're craving the thrust only a good old-fashioned V8 can provide, but certainly you'll want to examine all your options this year.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Cadillac CTS-V is a five-passenger high-performance version of the CTS sedan. That car is reviewed separately, as is the CTS-V coupe.
Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels, summer performance tires, high-performance brakes, a limited-slip differential, magnetically controlled adaptive suspension, automatic and adaptive xenon headlamps with washers, foglamps, rear parking sensors and automatic wipers.
Comfort and convenience features include keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, a cabin odor filtration system, heated eight-way power front seats, driver memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather/faux-suede upholstery and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Electronic features include OnStar emergency communications, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a rearview camera, a navigation system, real-time traffic and weather, a pop-up touchscreen interface and a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system with a CD/DVD player, satellite radio, digital music storage, auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.
Options include a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated Recaro sport seats, wood interior trim, and faux suede covering the steering wheel and shifter.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Cadillac CTS-V is powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that produces 556 hp and 551 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual and rear-wheel drive are standard, but a six-speed automatic is a no-cost option. In Edmunds performance testing, an automatic-equipped CTS-V went from zero to 60 mph in an impressively quick 4.3 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg combined (14 mpg city/19 mpg highway) with the manual and 14 combined (12 city/18 highway) with the automatic.
Standard safety features for the 2014 Cadillac CTS-V include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, stolen vehicle locator and active intervention and remote door unlock, along with rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.
In government crash tests, the regular CTS received the best possible rating of five stars in the overall, frontal and side crash categories. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the CTS-V Sedan received the highest rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap front impact, side-impact and roof strength crash tests.
Braking performance is excellent, with the Caddy posting a stopping distance of 104 feet from 60 mph in Edmunds testing: a good result among competing cars.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2014 Cadillac CTS-V's interior is not exactly lavish compared to the competition, but there's an attractive and functional layout for the gauges and controls. Materials aren't the best in class, but they're generally of solid quality.
The CTS-V's interior also sports as much head- and legroom as most of the super sedans in the midsize class. The cabin's most significant shortcoming is the design of the standard front seats, which lack both the comfort and support required for spirited driving. The optional Recaro seats address this issue and feature ventilation as well. Essentially, they're a must-have feature.
Out back, the trunk offers a smallish 13.6 cubic feet of cargo room, and the relatively narrow opening can make loading bulky items like golf clubs difficult. There's no split-folding rear seat, but a trunk pass-through opening gives you a little extra flexibility.
The fact that the 2014 Cadillac CTS-V tips the scales at just over 4,300 pounds makes its performance capabilities all the more astounding. The combination of its muscle-bound V8 and modest exhaust note makes the CTS-V deceptively quick. While the manual transmission is good, with a nice firm shift action and a surprisingly light and progressive clutch, you'll actually get quicker acceleration with the automatic transmission when it's in Sport mode. However, the automatic doesn't confidently blip the throttle on downshifts as in an E63 AMG, and it's neither the quickest nor the smoothest-shifting unit we've experienced.
The CTS-V's standard Magnetic Ride Control suspension offers a good balance between ride quality and handling via driver-selectable Tour or Sport modes. While it's capable of throwing down some seriously quick lap times, the CTS-V can't hide its 2-ton-plus mass on a winding piece of asphalt. That hefty feeling in tight corners is quickly forgotten, however, when you turn its mighty V8 loose on the straightaways.