Cadillac and Lincoln have represented American automotive extravagance for the better part of the 20th century. In the current century, Cadillac ushered in a drastic reinvention while Lincoln was sidelined without a similar vision.
Cadillac of Class
In 2002, Cadillac rolled out the radical new CTS to attract younger customers, and show the world that Cadillac was not about to go the way of the Oldsmobile. The take-it-or-leave-it makeover shook up the brand, but ultimately led to Cadillac's resurgence.
The CTS evolved into a world-class luxury automobile, tugging at the rear bumper of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. The CTS's optional 3.6-liter V6 produces a healthy 318 horsepower, which can be enjoyed through an optional all-wheel drive system. The interior is comfortable and well-designed, reminiscent of European high-end offerings. The CTS comes as a sedan, coupe and wagon, all available in 556-horsepower V trim.
The Mesmerizing MKZ
Lincoln embraced change in 2013 with an impressive redesign of its own. Instead of the angular shapes of Cadillac, the new MKZ's flowing, aggressive lines are reminiscent of British luxury. The car is a gorgeous combination of classic styling and modern touches, like the LED lighting, glass roof and console transmission buttons.
The interior is comfortable, but feels a bit too plastic when compared to the CTS. Under the hood, the MKZ sports Ford's turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder that produces 240 hp -- not a slouch, but a bit underpowered for a car of that size. The Hybrid's 45 mpg is great for a big luxury car, but the 188 horsepower will leave this Lincoln in the dust of just about every competitor.
Are they equals?
The CTS and MKZ are both impressive representations of American luxury, with beautiful styling and a plethora of standard options.
Our Verdict: Cadillac CTS
MKZ does not offer higher performance engines, and the interior feels a bit flimsy. Once these issues are addressed, the MKZ may win, but for now, the CTS has the clear advantage.