2016 Cadillac CTS 2.0T AWD 8-speed Automatic

If any product deserves the lion’s share of credit for Cadillac’s ever-ongoing renaissance, it’s the CTS. It was a promising sports sedan when it debuted for 2003, but it took the refinements of the second generation launched five years later before it really delivered. Recognizing this, we named the CTS to our 10Best list in 2008, 2009, and 2010. The third generation—introduced for 2014—continued the trend, a 10Bester again for 2014 and 2015.

For 2015, the CTS couldn’t have rested on its laurels even if it wanted: Part of the tweaks it received included a new Cadillac crest stripped of its familiar wreath. That brings us to 2016, where the big news is the replacement of the 2.0T’s six-speed automatic with a new eight-speed.

Cadillac says fuel-economy savings of five percent are possible when you combine the stop-start technology also added this year with the eight-speed’s wide overall ratio and slightly taller top gear. More important, the quicker first-gear ratio of 4.62:1 (versus 4.06:1) will help drivers “start off more confidently, with a greater feeling of immediate performance.” Undaunted by puffery that sounds like a pull quote from a Viagra ad, we tested a new CTS to validate these claims.

Behind the Wheel and On the Track

A one-to-one comparison between old and new wasn’t possible, as the 2016 CTS 2.0T tested here had all-wheel drive and the 2014 2.0T we tested was rear-drive. It’s worth pointing out that the cars proved to be nearly identical on the skidpad, however, with the 2014 pulling 0.83 g versus the 2016’s 0.84. In terms of braking, the 2014 required 164 feet to stop from 70 mph against the 2016’s 177 feet, the difference likely due to the 185-pound weight advantage of the rear-drive 2014, with perhaps a small hat tip to its Pirelli P Zero Nero rubber. (The 2016 also was shod with Pirellis, but they were Cinturato all-season run-flats.) Read more...

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11 Feb 2017