The base CTS is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo inline-four that puts its power to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission operated via a console control or a pair of magnesium paddle shifters mounted to its manual tilt/telescope steering column.
Mechanically, it sports Brembo front brakes, electronic variable-assist steering and parking brake, a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch, 10-spoke painted alloy wheels with run-flat tires, and active grille shutters. Exterior features include projector-beam automatic headlights, daytime LED running lights, and “signature” Cadillac vertical taillights, and power, heated, and body-color mirrors with integrated turn signals.
Inside, one finds Light Platinum leatherette upholstery with Jet Black accents, an eight-way power driver’s and front passenger’s sport bucket seats, a fixed rear seat with lockable pass-through door, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, dual-zone automatic climate controls, a universal home remote, ambient interior lighting, and a 5.7-inch color driver information center.
Handling the CTS’s infotainment duties is its Cadillac User Experience (CUE) system which features an 8.0-inch color touchscreen, a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, a Bose 11-speaker audio system with active noise cancellation, natural voice recognition, phone integration for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM, Bluetooth connectivity, PMA- or Qi-compatible wireless induction charging, OnStar with one-year Guidance Plan and five-year Basic Plan, a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, and three USB ports.
Rounding out this impressive roster is a tire pressure monitoring system, adaptive remote start, perimeter locking with push-button start, rear park assist, a two-driver memory system for seat and exterior mirror presets, V2V multi-vehicle networked intercommunications system, and, every parent’s friend, the Teen Driver vehicle control, restriction, and monitoring system.
Adding leather seating surfaces – in either Light Platinum or Jet Black – requires the $2,500 Seating Package, which also adds heated and ventilated driver’s and front passenger’s seats, a split-folding rear seat, a heated steering wheel on a power tilt/telescope steering column, further LED interior ambient lighting, and the addition of auto-dimming and ground illumination to the exterior mirrors. All-wheel drive is a $2,000 option, but as it requires said Seating Package, it’s actually $4,500. The Embedded Navigation/Bose Centerpoint Surround-Sound 13-speaker audio system upgrade – which is listed at $950 – requires it, too, so in RWD models it actually adds $3,450 to the MSRP.
There are two additional options, the $225 All-Weather Mat Protection Package (Premium all-weather floor mats and cargo mat) and the $280 Summer/Winter Mat Package (the all-weather mats plus a set of Premium carpeted high-quality mats). And unless one likes “Black Raven” or “Radiant Silver Metallic,” five of the other seven colors are another $625, while “Red Obsession Tintcoat” and “Crystal White Tricoat” are $1,225 each.
Close in price is the $1,190 Brake Upgrade Kit, with slotted front and rear rotors and low-metallic brake pads. And because Cadillac knows buyers will want to show off those upgraded brakes, it offers six different sets of 19-inch wheels, priced at either $2,495 or $3,095. Further sportiness can be conferred via a $415 red-painted engine cover and $525 rear spoiler, while stargazers cannot do without the $1,450 UltraView Power Sunroof, which – while it covers both rows – only tilts or slides over the front, though it does so with express open and close and a power sunshade.
Because it’s a Cadillac, there are six additional interior trim kits – three woods at $850, one in aluminum for $950, and two in carbon fiber for $1,150 – plus a long list of accessories, making it possible to spend more than $60,000 on a base 2.0-liter RWD CTS purely through checking all those options boxes.