Review: 2016 Cadillac CTS VSport

– Detroit, Michigan

Just a few years ago, this would’ve been one badass Cadillac. Powering Caddy’s ever more nimble CTS sedan with a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 to the tune of 420 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque would have drawn comparisons to the BMW M5 and its Nürburgring-running ilk. But circa 2016 – in the era of the heart-stopping, 640-hp CTS-V – this very capable CTS VSport almost flies under the performance sedan radar. Almost.

Pros

  • The headliner turbo engine is good, but nowhere near as vicious as the V8 found in big brother CTS-V. There’s no lack of torque, but you do have to get the engine spinning beyond 3,000 rpm before it hits fully. That’s fine behavior for a feeling of omnipotence in typical highway traffic – jumping from 50 miles per hour to 80 seems to happen in an eye blink – but it doesn’t offer dramatic-feeling or -sounding acceleration from a start.
  • Amongst the Motor1 staff I might be in the minority, but I really like GM’s eight-speed automatic transmission, especially in this car. When I feel like playing at being a GT driver, response from the paddle shifters is very quick (but not particularly visceral). In every automatic mode, kick-down happens immediately when I ask for it, and there’s not much hunting between gears in normal driving.
  • The VSport comes standard with Cadillac’s electronic limited-slip differential, which kind of blows my mind. It’s harder to feel the effects of the diff when driving at legal speeds, but when you up the pace on a...