Apparently, I tend to interrupt people while they are talking. I never knew I did this, but I learnt that I do the hard way when the Cadillac PR man phoned me last week. “Imran, do you want the CTS V…” and before he could finish what he was saying, I’d already excitedly screamed “yes!”, hung up, and started daydreaming of all those smoky burnouts I’d soon be doing. When the handsome saloon was delivered, I was a little miffed. It wasn’t the CTS-V, it was the V-Sport. He called to explain. “I tried to tell you, but…” I hung up again, this time, intentionally. Ok, so this CTS may have that all important letter ‘V’ in the name but it isn’t that mighty model armed with a fire breathing supercharged V8 under the muscular bonnet and blessed with tyre melting torque — but I soon realised that it is also a highly capable and sporty saloon which will thrill enthusiasts and, as it’s been packed with lots of wizbangery for 2018, technophiles alike.
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The third generation CTS is mostly the same as it was when it replaced the GM Sigma II platform model four years ago and this V-Sport Premium Luxury tester, which sits in between the standard CTS and the deranged CTS-V, is built on a unique Alpha rear-wheel drive chassis that also underpins the smaller ATS saloon and coupe and even the Chevrolet Camaro. It comes loaded with all sorts of bells and whistles however it isn’t the new smart Auto-Activated heated steering wheel or the improved CUE infotainment system that impresses the most, it is the 420 horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.6-litre V6 making this a hoot to drive. It gets most of the goodies that the super saloon possesses such as Magnetic Ride Control, Brembo brakes, a limited-slip differential, quicker steering, a track mode, 18in wheels and the only thing really missing is that Corvette Z06 sourced V8 and its rousing 640 horses along with those plumes of thick white smoke when you nail the throttle. Although the V6 isn’t nearly as brutal, it still has a whopping 583Nm and can plant a very wide smile on your face. The magical motor is mated to a slick and quick shifting eight-speed automatic and with Traction Control given the day off, you can get it to go sideways with a mere dab of the throttle and a flick of the steering wheel. Do so and you realise immediately that it is far easier to control (if you really want to test your mettle then by all means step up to the CTS-V) but what’s for certain is that when the roads get twisty this V-Sport isn’t found wanting. It proves it is up to the challenge thanks to that light and stiff chassis, and even when the suspension is in its firmest setting, the ride doesn’t become overly harsh — not when the Magnetic Ride Control is taking 1,000 readings per second to keep things smooth. The hunkered-down, tight and athletic driving experience that it offers gives this Caddie a playful nature (the husky exhaust note lends it a bit of character too) and there’s hardly any body roll — it remains planted when you gun it in the corners. It is absolutely the sort of car that can be flogged at the track on the weekend and then used to commute to work during the week without sacrificing at all much for either purpose.
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Moving to the exterior, which is ageing very well I might add, I’d argue that the CTS has the best stance in the midsize luxury saloon segment; the fat rear tyres help to enhance the impression of width and the minor tweaks to the front fascia keep it looking fresh. The 18in wheels help give it a sportier appearance (larger optional 19in wheels could affect the supple ride) and the vertical exhaust tips are a nice touch. The interior features is roomy, comfortable and well-appointed but perhaps some finer materials could have been used in there to justify the price tag. That said, the updated CUE infotainment system is far more intuitive and doesn’t feel as clunky as before. The 8.0in colour touchscreen supports both Apple Car Play and Android Auto but the sooner the haptic feedback and touch-sensitive controls are ditched the better. It also has a new 12.0in LCD-digitised gauge cluster, head-up display, a Bose system with a rich, crisp sound, LED ambient lighting and sport alloy pedals all of which helps to elevate the CTS V-Sport’s premium feel.
It doesn’t provide as big a bang as the CTS-V but the appeal of the V-Sport is its versatility. This is ideal for your daily commute but has enough poke to be truly engaging as well and would provide ample thrills if you ever stretched its legs at the track. This is a classy saloon that offers the best of both worlds. Cutting people off isn’t such a bad trait after all...