Fifteen years. That’s how long it takes to transform an also-ran car brand into a credible global threat, if the redesigned 2014 Cadillac CTS is any indication.
In the late 1990s, Cadillac needed drastic change to chart a course for a new direction, and both designers and engineers went to work on the original Cadillac Touring Sedan, or CTS. The company officially pivoted on August 18, 2001, when it drove the new 2003 Cadillac CTS onto the lawn at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, resplendent in “Art & Science” design and equipped with rear-wheel drive.
That first-generation CTS was a clear vision of Cadillac’s future. Now, 145 months later, I’ve just returned from a morning spent driving the redesigned third-generation 2014 CTS, a car moving up the ladder in terms of size and price to compete against midsize luxury sport sedans such as the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Infiniti Q70, Jaguar XF, Lexus GS, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Has Cadillac built a credible threat? Yes.
Wait a second, you say. What about the Cadillac XTS? Isn’t that car priced in the same neighborhood? The XTS continues, but the bigger Caddy is intended for a completely different kind of luxury car buyer. With the XTS, Cadillac takes aim at the Acura RLX, Hyundai Genesis and Equus, Lincoln MKS, and Volvo S80. Can the CTS co-exist in Cadillac showrooms with the similarly priced XTS? Definitely.
They are two completely different vehicles, designed to satisfy two completely different kinds of car buyers.