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New York Auto Show: Sharp-looking 2014 Cadillac CTS luxury sedan inspires lust

New York Auto Show: Sharp-looking 2014 Cadillac CTS luxury sedan inspires lust

We expect a lot from the redesigned-for-2014 Cadillac CTS. After all, it has some pretty big shoes to fill, but at a first glance, it appears to pack the goods.

The first-generation CTS marked a new direction for a brand traditionally known for building road-going sofas. This was a luxurious Cadillac that was also fun to drive. It also started Cadillac’s Art & Science styling theme, which has held up pretty well and is sharpened to a point in the new CTS. But a bunch of bothers, particularly a so-so interior with some odd controls, held the car back from its full potential.

The current second-generation CTS remedied most of the ills. It was one of GM’s first modern products that showed they could build competitive world-class cars. Cadillac even seemed to have some fun with the model, building unlikely-but-awesome variants like a stick-shift CTS-V wagon, a car that only appeals to motoring journalists or rabid enthusiasts. (I love the thing, so count me as both.)

Visit our 2013 New York Auto Show special section for photos, videos and details on all the vehicles unveiled.

Now, the third time around brings some clarity to the car. Like many GM models, the CTS had been a “tweener,” sized awkwardly between smaller sedans like the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the roomier next step up, like the 5 Series and E-Class. A five-inch stretch, with two inches going to the wheelbase, solidly puts the car in the larger camp.

That move makes sense, given that the smaller ATS is like a photocopied 3 Series. The new CTS borrows a lot from its smaller brethren, including a weight-conscious platform. It also shares engines. We expect most buyers will go for the 321-hp, 3.6-liter V6. Hopefully the base 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is more refined in this application than in the ATS. The new twin-turbo variant of the 3.6-liter sounds very fun indeed. (And they haven’t even mentioned the fire breather that will be in the next CTS-V.)

Cadillac has been on a roll with their recent interior quality. Both our tested ATS and XTS have world-class interiors with lots of fine detailing. But we’re less fond of the CUE user-interface system. It’s more confusing than it needs to be. Even I wrote this on an iPad, that doesn’t validate using similar flush-capacitive controls and swipe motions in a car that you’re driving. Hopefully this iteration of Cue can improve on the initial release.

What didn’t really need improving is the steering and handling of the previous-generation CTS. Given the light-yet-taut feeling of the platformmate ATS, we expect great things from its big(ger) brother.

Last year at this time, we were excited to try an ATS. Once again, we leave an auto show season and the car that I most want to drive is a Cadillac. Wow.

For more photos, check out the Cadillac CTS in our New York auto show coverage.

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