Ride & Handling

The regular CTS coupe's ride quality strikes a nice middle ground. There's a firmness to the tuning that's expected in a car like this, but Cadillac hasn't gone overboard and created a bone-jarring setup.

It handles rougher stretches of pavement pretty well; you'll know when you hit a bump or dip, but you won't regret it for the next minute.

The coupe's steering and handling, however, seem like the outgrowth of an identity crisis within Cadillac. It's as if some of its product planners wanted the car to behave like a Lexus, while the others were shooting for a BMW. They ended up with a combination of the two.

The quick-reacting steering conveys a feeling of agility, but the wheel has quite a bit of power assist and not much road feel, which will disappoint some enthusiasts. By comparison, it takes more muscle to turn the steering wheel in a BMW 335is coupe, which delivers more rewarding steering feel.

The CTS coupe can't touch a 335is in terms of dynamics, either. Whereas the BMW loves to be driven fast into corners, exhibiting a high degree of balance in the process, the CTS coupe hunkers down over its outside rear wheel but feels like a bigger car than the BMW (which it is). It also isn't as composed, so you don't want to push it as hard.

For a high-performance car, the CTS-V's ride is also livable. It's firm, no question, but it will soak up enough road irregularities to avoid irritating you and your passengers. However, switching the Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension from regular Tour mode to the Sport setting completely changes things. It lessens the damping, which results in a lot of up-and-down motions over even the smallest bumps.

It's clear that the Sport setting is designed for track work, and the payoff there might be worth the penalty in ride comfort, because the CTS-V coupe corners great in Sport mode — and pretty well in Tour, too. Though I only drove the car on public roads, the coupe stays flat without a hint of body roll during long, sweeping turns.

I like how Cadillac has tuned the CTS-V's steering, as it offers a level of driver involvement that the regular coupe lacks. You're still going to find more power-assistance than in a BMW, but the setup offers decent feedback. That said, it still seems more focused on luxury than on sport.

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