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Cadillac CTS Basics
The Cadillac CTS is a mid-sized sedan that is generally regarded as a luxury car. The vehicle is formerly called the Cadillac Catera. The vehicle is overall built for comfort and luxury while also providing a range of power depending on what trim level and type of CTS you get.
While the answer does vary from year to year, a typical “lower range” CTS comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine or a 3.6L 6-cylinder engine.
The CTS is also available in a Cadillac CTS V model which includes some serious performance upgrades. These feature an 8-cylinder engine that is also used in other General Motors vehicles like the Corvette - and they are made to go a bit faster.
Cadillac CTS specs quarter mile times & 0-60 mph times
Let’s start with the ‘slowest’ and work our way up. We are also going to use more recent years as the CTS has been around since 2003, but changes are you are looking for an at least slightly newer iteration of the CTS and Cadillac CTS V.
The Cadillac CTS with the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine accelerates from 0-60 mph in about 6.1 seconds. This version of the Cadillac CTS with the smallest engine available also gets the best gas mileage at 20 miles per gallon city and 30 miles per gallon highway. Note that you are definitely not going to hit those gas mileage numbers while doing the 0-60 mph..
The Premium AWD version of the same vehicle is a tough faster at 5.8 seconds, which still isn’t exactly slow or a slouch for a mid-sized sedan. The Cadillac CTS 3.6 model shaves just a little time off at 5.7 seconds to 60. Still, the Cadillac CTS 3.6 isn’t bad!
Now let’s head into the CTS V. There are actually two kinds of CTS V, a sport and a regular CTS V. The biggest differences are the type of induction with the CTS V sport using a regular turbocharger and being a bit smaller, and honestly quieter than the CTS V while taking off. This vehicle doesn’t sound like a muscle car, but still manages to pull the 0-60 in 4.4 seconds, which is quite fast!
The CTS V adds some more luxury with lots of tech options, and also adds a supercharger by way of the same motor that powers the Chevrolet Corvette. Given it uses what amounts to a “muscle car” engine, it is also a bit louder and more brawny. With a combination of that motor with a lightweight frame, the CTS V has been known to achieve a 3.5 second 0-60.
It also achieves the lowest mileage per gallon range of the series with 14 city and 21 highway, not that the owner probably cares.
Quarter mile times
While the quarter mile time is most generally used for drag racing, many freeways on ramps are also about the same size, so this is a good indicator as to how fast you’ll be going if you give the Cadillac CTS all the gas while getting up to speed.
The Cadillac CTS with the larger 8-cylinder engine can run the quarter mile in about 12.2 seconds while the Cadillac CTS 3.6 models and lower achieve about 14.7 seconds.
What makes the CTS V faster?
Besides the larger engine, the CTS V also offers a track mode and a sport mode. Track mode tightens the suspension and makes the vehicle programmed to deliver more power when asked - this is meant to offer serious acceleration through straightaways while also getting additional control for hairpin turns.
Why is the 0-60 measurement relevant?
The numbers used to measure and sometimes market a vehicle depend on what the vehicle is used for. We certainly wouldn’t cite the gas mileage of the CTS V as one of its strengths. However, in the sportier end of vehicles, owners tend to look at how the vehicle looks, what it feels like driving, and how fast it can go.
While the top speed is more relevant for track day and not for driving on the highway, the 0-60 measurement is fairly practical in some senses. The 0-60 speed can help measure how quickly the CTS V can accelerate to reach highway speed. It’s also a good indicator of how fast a driver can get the CTS V to a speed necessary to pass a slower moving vehicle on the highway.
Call it a measure of confidence - and perhaps a number that tells the driver what kind of forces they are going to experience when they push the accelerator all the way down and have nothing but open pavement ahead of them.
We do have to add a few technical things here: The 0-60 time isn’t always measured in the same way, and at best, we could call it an estimate based on the best possible real world conditions. Some tests are done by putting a pressure sensor under the gas pedal so that a computer knows when the vehicle is taking off which can eliminate the human error of literally starting or stopping a stopwatch. Other tests are basically a 5 to 60 miles per hour test because some vehicles have turbo lag that adds a full second to the start of acceleration once you push the pedal.
Is the Cadillac CTS a good vehicle for powerful acceleration from 0-60 mph?
The CTS offers the best combination of power and comfort for the price. The CTS V raises the stakes more than a little bit and focuses on serious luxury in addition to going fast.
If you were to attempt to merge onto a 70+ miles per hour speed limit stretch of highway, the CTS V would offer a slight advantage. If you are trying to track race days, the CTS V winds without a question - though again, you are going to pay for it.
The CTS models with the smaller engines still provide a nice luxurious ride and honestly, most drivers can easily live with a 5.1 second or “slower” 0-60 time while driving in a handful of situations throughout the lifetime of their vehicle that really ‘needed’ a sub 4-second acceleration time.
Ultimately, the Cadillac CTS-V wins this battle because the supercharger allows the vehicle to bring more oxygen into the engine faster, enabling it to accelerate faster. A vehicle like the 2019 Cadillac CTS is a great option for this.
Does driver skill play any role in the Cadillac CTS 0-60 time?
Not really. If you are very serious about getting the lowest 0-60 time, you might actually be a drag racer. The chances of a quarter second mattering outside of competitive sports is pretty low.
With that said, some vehicles, not including the CTS or Cadillac CTS V, do require some level of skill and timing to make sure the vehicle doesn’t simply spin the tires from a dead stop. Performance figures can in fact be changed by driver skill.
The larger factor in whether or not you can achieve the fastest 0-60 time possible is a bit of your tires and weather conditions. Poor tires will not grip or give proper traction to accelerate. Any kind of moisture will also prevent you from achieving optimal timing, no matter what car you have.
Still, if you want a chance at the fastest acceleration possible, you should certainly lead toward getting a Cadillac CTS V just because the vehicle has the equipment and technology to handle the engine size - and it’s a nice vehicle all around.
Is the Cadillac CTS a good quarter mile vehicle?
Given that the quarter mile measurement is more often used for actual rating, our honest answer is no. We would choose a smaller vehicle that is lighter. The Cadillac CTS is a very good vehicle for the purpose of making the driver and passengers comfortable, but in a vehicle like the Cadillac CTS, comfort adds weight which actually slows the vehicle down compared to other smaller cars.
If you intend to race competitively, we wouldn’t really suggest using a Cadillac at all, though the Cadillac CTS V gives you the best chance at running a fast quarter mile. Of course, if you are not actively competitive in the quarter mile and just want to have a place to run the Cadillac CTS as fast as you can for a quarter mile, it isn’t a bad vehicle to start with as a quarter mile car.
About The Author
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding