By Emme Hall.
It’s a WWIII in the luxury sedan segment. Automakers from the US and Germany have been duking it out for the past few years, offering us more performance, more features, and more technology every year. Today we are looking at the 2014 Cadillac CTS and the 2014 BMW 535i. Will the Allies come through with the win or will the German conquer with their precision engineering?
The CTS comes with a 3.6L V6, good for 321 horsepower and 275 lb/ft of torque, although there are two other engines available. Power goes to the rear wheels via an 8 speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. AWD is also available. EPA fuel ratings are 19 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway.
The CTS comes in 6 different trim lines: Standard, Luxury, Performance, Premium. VSport and VSport Premium are also available but will be reviewed separately. Our test model in the Performance line, featured heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated tilt and telescoping multifunctional steering wheel, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity, satellite radio, the CUE infotainment system with a 8” touchscreen, back up camera, lane departure and forward collision warnings, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, the Cadillac specific vibrating “Safety Seat,” navigation, keyless entry and ignition, automated parallel parking, front and rear parking assist, and a sunroof.
Our tester also had the optional Driver Assistance package, which includes front and rear automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic collision preparation, and automatic seat belt tightening. We also had the Performance Seat and Cluster Package, giving us full leather seats, sport front seats, and alloy pedals. All this was topped off with 19” polished aluminum wheels.
The 2014 Cadillac CTS has an optional sport mode which noticeably tightens up the already precise and excellently weighted steering. Power is delivered smoothly through the 8 speed transmission, although the paddle shifters are located directly in front of the two accessory stalks, which was a bit awkward. Wind the CTS up and you’ll be rewarded with a growly exhaust that would scare your grandpa. At 245 pounds less than the 2013 model, the CTS is nimble on the curvy roads. It attacks corners with abandon, but still maintains its comfort levels and is quite easy and smooth while cruising on the highway.
The 2014 BMW 535i gets a 3.0L 6 cylinder turbocharged engine, knocking out 302 horsepower and 295 lb/ft of torque. Power goes to the rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission, although a 6 speed manual transmission is also available at no cost. EPA fuel ratings are 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The manual returns 19/29. The 535i comes with a few standard features including 18” alloy wheels, 10 way power adjustable driver’s seat, power accessories, keyless entry/ignition, automatic climate control, 10 speaker sound system, Bluetooth, iDrive infotainment system with navigation and BMW Apps, and a power moonroof.
All the good stuff must be purchased as a package or a stand alone option. Heated and cooled seats, seats, heated steering wheel, back up camera, blind spot detection, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, satellite radio, parking assist to name a few; if you want these, prepare to cough up some cash.
You can pick from 5 different driving modes on the BMW: the fuel saving but pleasure killing Eco Pro, Comfort+, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. Each setting adjusts the throttle, steering, and transmission. Enthusiasts will find the Sport mode to be the most satisfying. Sport+ partly disables the stability control and it’s meant for the track or the very confident. Steering feels good, even if it’s an electric and not a hydraulic system. The road is communicated well and it has a great on center feel. You can add the Integral Active Steering which will steer the wheels in the same direction at higher speeds and in the opposite direction below 35 mph.
The 2014 Cadillac CTS in the performance trim line starts at $60,100 but all the options bring it up to $67,130. The 2014 BMW 535i starts lower at $55,100, but to option it up will easily push you over $70,000. My money here is on the Cadillac. You just get more bang for you buck without sacrificing features or luxury.