Lightning Lap 2014: Cadillac CTS Vsport

Lightning Lap 2014: Cadillac CTS Vsport

Grace under pressure.

October 2014

We had to keep reminding ourselves that the Cadillac CTS Vsport has 420 horsepower. Part of the problem is perspective. Jump from a 577-hp Mercedes-Benz E63 into the twin-turbo CTS and suddenly the Vsport—a car capable of zero to 60 in 4.6 seconds—feels a little pokey. But a VIR lap time of 3:06.8 isn’t pokey. In fact, that puts the CTS just one-tenth of a second off the 550-hp Jaguar XFR-S’s time.

Like the CTS-V before it, the new CTS’s chassis is unfazed by the smack of a curb, the disturbance of a blind crest, or the crash of a downhill landing. Nothing seems to disrupt the cabin’s serenity. As a nearly 4000-pound car, it easily overwhelms the grip of its Pirelli P Zeros, but the Cadillac never fights back. Here, a loss of traction isn’t an emergency; it’s a trip without a fall.

Through sector one, the CTS is already up 1.1 seconds on the XFR-S. Peak grip is shy of the Jag’s, but the Caddy is quicker through here due to its ability to accelerate cleanly out of the corner. In the XFR-S, by contrast, nearly all power delivery is accompanied by the time-robbing snap of oversteer.

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