The 2019 Cadillac CTS bids farewell to GM’s lineup with its handsome shape and excellent handling intact. Little has changed for the 2019 model year except for a few new paint colors; a new CT5 sedan will replace the CTS for the 2020 model year.
Strong on performance, comparable to premium European sedans, the 2019 CTS comes in base, Luxury, Premium Luxury, or V-Sport trim. Cadillac also continues to offer the super-performance CTS-V offshoot, equipped with a rip-roaring 604-horsepower V-8 engine.
Powertrain choices are similar to those of Cadillac’s smaller ATS. In the base model, a 2.0-liter turbo-4 makes 268 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. A more popular choice, the 3.6-liter V-6 develops 335 hp and 285 lb-ft. Topping the powertrain trio, in the V-Sport edition, a potent twin-turbo V-6 generates 420 hp and 430 lb-ft.
An 8-speed automatic is standard. Rear-drive is standard, but 4-cylinder and non-turbo V-6 models can be equipped with all-wheel drive. Only rear-wheel drive is available for the V-Sport, which can hit 60 mph in a startling 4.6 seconds.
Most crash-test results inspire confidence. The NHTSA gives the 2019 CTS a clean sweep of five-star ratings: overall, frontal, side-impact, and rollover prevention.
The IIHS gave the CTS only a â€œMarginalâ€ rating in the tough front small-overlap test, for the driver’s side. Headlights were judged “Poor,” but other tests earned “Good” scores.
Active-safety technology is somewhat restricted. Except for the base model, CTS sedans get blind-spot monitors, active lane control, and forward-collision warnings; automatic emergency braking is included at V-Sport level.
Prices do not include $995 destination charge.
Base CTS ($46,995 with rear-drive, $48,995 with all-wheel drive) holds a 4-cylinder turbo engine, with power front seats, synthetic leather seat trim, rear parking sensors, 11-speaker Bose audio, Bluetooth, and 17-inch wheels. The 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system operates with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Luxury ($52,695 with RWD, $54,695 with AWD) adds a power tilt/telescoping steering column, leather, heated and cooled front seats, 13-speaker Bose audio, navigation, and panoramic moonroof.
Premium Luxury ($60,195 with RWD, $62,195 with AWD) gets the 3.6-liter V-6, plus a surround-view camera system, automatic parking assist, color head-up display, tri-zone automatic climate control, magnetic ride control, and 18-inch wheels,
V-Sport ($61,695) has rear-wheel drive and a turbocharged version of the 3.6-liter V-6. Included are performance Brembo front brakes, a limited-slip differential, and Track mode.
V-Sport Premium Luxury ($71,795) adds 20-way seats and a performance-theme gauge cluster.
CTS-V ($86,995) contains a supercharged 640-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8.
The 2019 CTS lets its edgy, assertive body shape transmit its performance intentions.
Since emerging in 2014, the current-generation CTS hasn’t changed much. Big vertical LED taillights sit above aggressive-looking dual exhaust outlets. Viewed from the rear, the CTS suggests memorable Cadillacs of the distant past.
Curves and angles come together to produce one handsomely proportioned sedan, ranking among the best-looking cars in its class.
Just as they do on the exterior, curves and angle mingle within the subdued cabin.
Even though it officially qualifies as a mid-size sedan, the CTS cabin is considerably snugger than typical competitors. A lone trim element stretches across the dashboard. Wood and leather blend with soft-touch plastic, creating an interior undeniably worthy of the Cadillac badge. Two-tone leather is available, to attract even greater interest.
Front occupants can anticipate gratifying comfort, held securely in position by amply-bolstered seats. Space is tighter in the back seat, thanks to the sleek, low roofline. Legroom is somewhat snug too. The trunk also is relatively small, at 13.7 cubic feet.
Two big screens may occupy much of the dashboard. An available 12.3-inch instrument cluster display, sharp and easy-reading, keeps the driver informed. The impressive 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Most CTS buyers look past V-8 power, instead choosing the highly-regarded V-6. They’re not likely to be disappointed. With a V-6 underhood, the CTS reaches 60 mph in a brisk 6 seconds â€“ or well below 5 seconds, if it’s a turbocharged V-Sport engine.
The 4-cylinder’s performance is decent, too, promising quiet cruising. Cadillac’s 8-speed automatic shifts cleanly, with reasonable swiftness.
Ride comfort is Cadillac-appropriate, but handling is where the CTS truly excels. Relatively light weight helps point this premium sedan toward the top of its class in deft handling â€“ especially if it happens to be a V-Sport. Adaptive shock absorbers are well worth their additional cost.
In addition to Cadillac’s magnetic suspension, the V-Sport benefits from quicker steering, an electronic limited-slip differential, and bigger front brakes.
Superior build quality and ample sound deadening translates to quiet time on the road. Adding to the serenity, the Bose audio system features active noise cancellation.
Despite such fuel-saving features as active grille shutters and stop/start, gas mileage falls well short of such sedan as the Audi A6 or Volvo S90.
The 4-cylinder CTS sedan is EPA-rated at 22/30 mpg City/Highway, or 25 mpg Combined, dropping to 21/29/24 mpg with all-wheel drive. The V-6 model is EPA-rated at 19/29 mpg City/Highway, or 23 mpg Combined. All-wheel drive lowers that estimate to 18/26/21 mpg.
In the V-Sport, with twin-turbo V-6 power, the EPA rating drops to 16/24 mpg City/Highway, or 19 mpg Combined. Economy-minded buyers wouldn’t be happy with a CTS-V, EPA-rated at 14/21/16 mpg.
In its last model year, the Cadillac CTS demonstrates how satisfying a sport sedan can be. Abundant technology and plentiful standard equipment help set this sedan apart from its competitors.
Driving impressions by The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.