First drive: 2014 Cadillac CTS 3.6 in the UAE

First drive: 2014 Cadillac CTS 3.6 in the UAE

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One little-known fact about us is that our first officially-provided test car was the 2005 Cadillac CTS 3.6. It was a very nice car, but after the initial euphoria died down, we realised it wasn’t particularly well-built and nowhere near as good as the BMW 3-Series we drove after that. Two generations later, the 2014 edition is quite something else.

They’ve nailed the exterior, unique yet elegant. And they’ve nailed the interior, finally getting proper rear legroom and indisputably premium trim materials all over. The cabin tech’s a little wonky, mostly because it’s all touch-based for even the simplest functions, but it’s still loaded to the hilt with appreciable stuff like navigation, a heads-up display, a full LCD gauge-cluster and more.

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Powered by a 321 hp 3.6-litre direct-injection V6, it’s a nice motor offering linear power delivery and a nice-enough exhaust note. But this isn’t 2005 any more, and the turbo/supercharged Europeans will win a drag-race every single time, as the naturally-aspirated V6 doesn’t get going until the revs are high, not helped by an 8-speed automatic that doesn’t like to be hustled. Cadillac already offers two turbo engines in its CTS line-up, which may be more competitive.

They’ve nailed the suspension tuning too. The CTS rides fairly smooth on most road surfaces, quiet for the most part and doing the luxury thing better than certain other sports-sedan rivals. And it handles really well, with excellent grip and limited body roll in speedy corners. Even the steering feedback and brake-pedal weightage were good, things that are increasingly ignored in other cars.

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The CTS has now become a proper contender in the midsize luxury segment, with pricing that still competes with European offerings one size smaller. And that’s no bad thing.

For prices and specs, visit the Cadillac buyer guide.

What do you think?



  1. The design now looks staid and there is no much difference between the sub-brands.

    The rear foot well is compromised by that huge transmission tunnel making this a strict 4 seater-do you concur Mash?

  2. the interior colours couldnt have been more unpleasant for the eye..

  3. Interesting take on the performance. I think the first honest review I have read of this car. Now try the turbo!

  4. @Mashfique, I hope to see a report for the reasons of why there’s no Turbo’s in the region, I mean from main players where they already offer this in other regions like Cadillac, Hyundai, and other manufacturers. I hope we got the answers directly from the manufacturers as most info I found is that the fuel quality in the region is not enough for a turbo engine… but this was only speculations…

    and we really need another article talking about Octan numbers in the gulf countries and comparing it to other regions.

    • Author

      I think Cadillac does sell the 2.0T here. It’s not about octane, but rather sulphur impurities being too high in places like KSA. But GCC is seen as one market. Most turbo engines work with some tweaking, as the Germans have shown. However, some like Hyundai don’t offer turbo engines simply because they think no one will pay extra for them.

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