2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport and 2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport: Dyno Tested

A Peek at What Puts the "Sport" in Vsport


  • 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport Dyno Test

    The 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport's (twin-turbo, direct-injected 3.6-liter V6 is a power plant with big plans. It's easy to warm up to the CTS Vsport's stout factory ratings of 420 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. What we wanted to find out is how well this turbocharged mill maintains its output over its rev range, and how heat-sensitive it is. | October 31, 2013

2 Videos , 20 Photos

Normal aspiration, your days are numbered.

The 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport's twin-turbo, direct-injected 3.6-liter V6 is a power plant with big plans. It is slated to materialize under the hoods of several other GM models in the coming years, and with good reason. It's potent, refined, packaging-friendly and ostensibly fuel-efficient.

It's easy to warm up to the CTS Vsport's stout factory ratings of 420 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. What we wanted to find out is how well this turbocharged mill maintains its output over its rev range, and how heat-sensitive it is. So we headed to Church Automotive Testing in Wilmington, California, and bolted the CTS Vsport up to its Dynapack dyno. For comparison sake, we brought along an XTS Vsport powered by the same engine turned sideways.

2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport and 2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport

First, here's what we measured with the CTS Vsport:

2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport and 2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport

Before we dive into the numbers, note that results from a Dynapack dyno are not directly comparable to the results of other types of dynos (Dynojet, Superflow, et al). Click here for more details. The XTS Vsport's all-wheel-drive layout precluded use of our usual Dynojet chassis dyno.

The CTS Vsport's engine (GM calls it LF3) is certainly doling out a lot of twist at very low revs. Even as low as 2,000 rpm it generates more than 350 lb-ft of torque to the hubs. Once reaching its peak of 435 lb-ft, the LF3's urge rolls off gradually on the way to its maximum 388 hp. This broad spread of power was quite repeatable from run to run, too.

2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport and 2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport

By logging data from the OBD-II port we saw something intriguing: The CTS Vsport's throttle was not fully open in the midrange. This is a strategy to mitigate boost overshoot as well as manage the LF3's torque output. Knock sensor activity was relatively light, too, amounting to about 1 or 2 degrees of learned knock retard on the 91 octane we were running. What this means is that there's easily more output to be had in this twin-turbo V6.

2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport and 2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport

Now, some context. Church Automotive Testing has a huge library of dyno results. The company is also something of a CTS-V specialist, so we were eager to pull up the dyno results of a stock CTS-V with its supercharged 6.2-liter LSA V8 and compare it to the CTS Vsport's boosted six.

GM rated the CTS-V at 556 hp and 551 lb-ft at the flywheel. Here's how the CTS Vsport's LF3 stacks up to a stock auto-equipped 2009 CTS-V:

2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport and 2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport

The Vsport is consistently within about 80 lb-ft of the CTS-V almost everywhere in the rev range. Moreover, our results show the twin-turbo V6 is only 100 hp in arrears of the blown bent eight, rather than the anticipated 136-hp gap suggested by their flywheel ratings.

No matter what flavor of drivetrain loss you deem appropriate to apply, it appears the LF3 in the CTS Vsport is indeed something of an overachiever. Knowing that the Vsport is not a replacement for the CTS-V makes this all the more suggestive.

2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport and 2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport

The car above is the Cadillac XTS Vsport, and it's powered by the same basic LF3 engine as the CTS Vsport, except turned 90 degrees. It drives all four wheels through a six-speed autobox instead of the CTS Vsport's eight-speeder, and its rated peak power drops by 10 hp to 410 hp, while rated max torque plummets 61 lb-ft to 369 lb-ft. This last bit is likely a consequence of the six-speed transmission's reduced torque-handling capability.

Onto Church Automotive Testing's Dynapack the XTS Vsport went:

2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport and 2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport

The XTS Vsport managed 362 lb-ft and 349 hp to all four hubs. That's a strong peak torque showing, though it's undone to some degree by the large depression immediately following the peak. Its peak power at the hubs trails the CTS Vsport by almost 40 hp. Keep in mind there's more drivetrain loss in the XTS's all-wheel-drive layout.

It turns out that according to our scanner, the LF3 in the XTS operates with higher intake temperatures on one bank of cylinders than the other, perhaps a consequence of its transverse installation. It also experienced far more knock activity than in the CTS Vsport: We observed more than 4 degrees of learned knock retard in the XTS Vsport, which, as you can see, is doing its midrange no favors. Its throttle, too, was being trimmed here and there in order to limit mass flow and hence, output.

2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport and 2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport

So the longitudinal layout of the LF3 is more powerful, sure, but also more robust in terms of repeatability and knock resistance. That's good news for the ATS-V and next-gen Camaro, both of which are expected to pack an LF3 that drives the rear wheels only.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds these vehicles for the purposes of evaluation.

Comments

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    great blog! easy to understand the differences, etc. outstanding power (can't wait for the new -V tests when it comes out). Too bad CA has only 91 octane.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Very, very interesting. While from an academic standpoint you wanted to see the two applications of this engine compared with one another, I don't believe there is going to be much cross-shopping of these two cars in the marketplace, and I would rather have seen the CTS V-Sport run on a Dynojet...because there are far more Dynojet pulls performed - and available for review - on the CTS V-Sport's competitive set than there are Dynapack dyno pulls. For the comparison that you did, though, I would say that the product group doing the XTS tuning knew that they were going to run much less boost, and that they probably went with a much less robust intercooler setup. The IAT temps and knock retard info is interesting, but I would also have like to see boost levels reported for these two cars. The drivetrain loss actually looks to be not that bad - up until around 2800 rpm when they pull all the boost, or throttle, or timing, or all three - out of the XTS and it falls into that horrible hole it never climbs out of. There has to have been a better way to do that - looks like a job uncompleted to me.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    "the LF3 in the XTS operates with higher intake temperatures on one bank of cylinders than the other" You are referencing intake air charge temps after intercooling? That's interesting, I wonder if there's a flow imbalance in the intercooler coolant circuit? For sure a transverse layout doesn't help, it already causes difficulties with air intake and exhaust routing. Are those two lines leading into the coolant bottle coming from the intercooler circuits?

  • farvy_ farvy_ Posts:

    Ahhh yes. I believe this shop is owned by "church123" from the old Inside Line days. I have missed his informative posts. Looks like he fell by the wayside along with a lot of other regular posters when IL went away.

  • Yup. That's Shawn Church's shop. http://home.earthlink.net/~spchurch/ I think a lot of us miss his comments. As far as this goes, I always appreciate Jay's analysis; I just think the music is too much and annoying. I just want to hear the car and Jay speak.

  • lions208487 lions208487 Posts:

    Best article to come from Edmunds in a while, and I appreciated the analysis. This engine will do wonders in the ATS V, and I am hopeful that it will be matted to the 8 spd auto and GM's 7 spd MT that is in the Vette.

  • joefrompa joefrompa Posts:

    So a genuine question: How come my 2001 e39 m5, weighing in at nearly 4,000 pounds and with "only" 394 hp, 369 lb/ft of torque, and 4. 9 liters of N/A fury... How come my vehicle still pulls a ~13.0-13.3 quarter mile at 108mph - besting this 15 year newer (since the m5 launched) CTS with more HP, a bit lower weight, alot more torque, and all sorts of technology. That's my biggest concern with this car - it's not pulling the quarter mile I would hope to see from this level of power.

  • csubowtie csubowtie Posts:

    Joe: My guess would be 1) the BMW was under rated. It seems BMW has a history of doing that. Better to under promise (I shouldn't say under, just promise) and over deliver than to overpromise. 2) Gearing. I would be interested in comparing the mpg of these two cars. Buyers of an M5 in 2001 probably didn't give their buttlers bum about gas mileage. Nowadays mpg is the "#1" most important factor to consumers (despite the fact that they all rush out and buy the less fuel efficient CUV version of a car instead of the sedan/hatch).

  • church123 church123 Posts:

    Hi guys, yes, despite regular communication with JK, I don't post here anymore. But since there are specific questions regarding this test, maybe I can help and then disappear into the ether again....;) First, easier questions. Joefrompa - your M5 puts down about 360-365 whp on my dyno, so the power differential isn't that large. Nor is the weight (less than 100 lbs). Given that the CTS Vsport is turning in similar ETs with higher traps (12.9-13.1@108-110 except Edmunds), I'd say its down to traction and gearing as the M5 wears the same size rear tires as the Vsport. And don't forget that at full throttle accel with redline shifts, the engine doesn't spend any time below 4000 rpm where much of that torque advantage is. You also have to make sure the intercoolers are cooled down or else you'll lose power. On the topic of temperatures, yes, we were able to log temps at the inlet, as well as at each cylinder bank after the intercoolers. On the CTS, they were pretty consistent side to side. But on the XTS we saw a larger differential (20 F). The rear bank was consistently hotter AFAICT. In terms of boost levels, the XTS went up to about 8 psi, dropped down to 7 psi till 4000 rpm or so, and then slowly climbed to 11-12 psi of relative boost pressure at redline. By comparison, the CTS came right up to 12 psi and held it all the way across. As JK mentioned, there was a lot more knock on the XTS and this is the primary reason for the torque hole on that car. We even tried adding a little octane to the equation and it made very little difference, but where it did help was that dip. So on 93 octane it will probably look better. Both cars were in full on torque control mode on the dyno. You could see on successive runs that the cars were learning the engine response on the dyno and dialing back the midrange torque to hit the torque targets. And even when we cooled things down, power didn't change much at all. So, I don't think we'll see a big difference in peak numbers on 93 octane without retuning. In dissecting the ECU programming, there are specific torque target tables, and the ECU is empowered to do many things to get to those levels, including throttle reduction, boost reduction and timing reduction. We saw the throttle drop close to 50% right after spoolup in some cases which is where the little drop off in torque comes from. But later runs showed less torque here as the ECU learned and was more predictive. This would be less prevalent on the road because the load on the dyno is somewhat higher especially at low rpms, causing the boost response to be more aggressive. The ECU is arguably the most complex spark ignition ECU that GM has ever used. Not only do we have target torque tables, but the torque models includes things like turbocharger compressor efficiency, predicted turbocharger turbine speeds, and many other variables. I can't wait to start tuning them as based upon the way ECU is limiting the output in stock form, this engine will easily pump out 500+ lbs-ft of torque and 460-480 hp with minimal mods/tuning and should come close to matching the old CTS-V acceleration wise when doing so (I own a 2010 CTS-V 6MT myself). And as JK said, what does this tell us about the next CTS-V? Can't wait.

  • church123 church123 Posts:

    Wow, sorry about the wall of text. Didn't realize paragraph breaks got swallowed up.

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    this engine seems like it is going to be a great one but not sure how i feel about it in the camaro considering the ls4 is almost as powerfull and it is undoubtedly a less expensive engine but with 6.2 liters there is more potential to be had. if this engine is going to be offered does this mean that the new LT1 engine will be coming to the camaro as well?

  • explorerx4 explorerx4 Posts:

    Good job selling your shop to edmunds.

  • speed12sil speed12sil Posts:

    church: Thanks for the informative post. It's a shame you don't post here anymore though. While the M5 has better trap speed, it also loses big time in terms of mpg. I'd take the CTS Vsport over the M5 if driving long distance is my main use for the vehicle. That and the crash structure in the '14 CTS is so much better than the M5...

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Thanks for the follow up Church. Your information made already one of the best articles on this site even better. Very informative.

  • socal_eric socal_eric Posts:

    To be taken with a grain of salt since you shouldn't believe all things on the internet without good, verifiable references (of which I can't give), but from what I've "heard" the internal target goals for the team working on the next gen CTS-V is 700-horsepower, lower 11-second quarter-mile, and if I recall correctly, something like a 400-500 pound weight reduction over the previous CTS-V. GM is also moving to a new in-vehicle controller and communication architecture that is supposed to integrate all the major controllers like body, powertrain and ABS into one module for weight and cost savings. Due to the next generation CTS coupe being developed and based around this architecture from the start, that body style is supposed to get the full –V trim a year or two prior to the CTS-V sedan since the powertrain controller and in-vehicle communication architecture will need extensive updating (read: mid-cycle refresh) due the sedan development starting before the coupe and being based on an older controller and CAN-bus architecture. There new Vsport models are definitely impressive (assuming the GM updates addressed the stretching timing chain issue for the turbocharged version of the high-feature V6) but they aren't resting on their laurels with these cars.

  • jeffinoh jeffinoh Posts:

    So, I couldn't help noticing the pale vanilla color interior of the otherwise very butch CTS. Also the Halloween orange and black interior of the XTS which is kinda garish against the steel blue paint. Are Caddy's interior designers colorblind? XTS also offers a nauseating pale gray with brown(???) combo. What gives? Trying too hard to be unique.

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