Between approximately 10 a.m. EST on Sunday, Feb. 1 (Super Bowl Sunday) and 7 a.m. EST on Monday, Feb. 2 (Groundhog Day), about a foot of snow dropped on Ann Arbor, Michigan, rendering its poorly plowed roads impassable by the majority of Michigan’s vehicles, which are typically equipped with useless all-season tires and driven by similarly useless people. This is the diary of a man who, early Monday morning, journeyed onto snow-covered roads in a 420-hp, rear-wheel-drive 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport in hopes of assisting these beleaguered drivers.
Her text says, “Want to give me a ride to work?” My reply is, “No.”
She calls. I answer. She’s frantic. “I’m stuck in a snowbank. I was going down my street and a semi came the other way and I swerved, because otherwise I would’ve crashed.” This isn’t my fault. Or is it? It’s early, and I can’t recall what’s in my driveway. Perhaps something that I can throw a tow strap on and … nope, it’s the 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport. “I’ll be there soon.” Where are my snow pants?
Coffee is magic. So is remote start. Snow and ice drip off the CTS’s windows and down onto its plum-color paint. I grab a shovel from the garage, rest it across the Cadillac’s rear bench seat, and get into the driver’s seat, pounding my boots on the WeatherTech floormats. I begin backing out of my driveway, lightly tapping the brakes, when I notice the rearview camera is covered in snow. The pause is enough to get the rear tires stuck in a couple of small piles of snow. Out comes the shovel, and then out comes the 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport.
I’m nearly to the main road when a 2013 Ford Fusion in front of me slowly slides to a stop, its front wheels spinning frantically. I put the CTS in park, get out, and start pushing on the Fusion’s trunklid. “I think it’s moving,” says the driver. It’s really not, but OK. After a few minutes of pushing, veins popping from my head and neck, there’s movement. I yell to the driver to let the Fusion rock back and forth a few times, and then I give it one more vein-popping push, which sets the Fusion free, its front tires still spinning as it creeps away. I climb back into the CTS and wrap my cold hands around the heated steering wheel. I tap the accelerator, but the sedan doesn’t move. I’m stuck without someone to give me a push.
Might as well enjoy the moment. I turn off traction control and flatfoot it. Chunks of snow shoot out behind the car as the tach’s needle bounces against redline, the twin-turbo V-6 yowling. I lightly rest my left foot on the brake pedal to keep the car in place. Several seconds pass before the tires start burning on pavement, not snow. I begin turning the steering wheel back and forth. Small movements at first, making the CTS’s tail wiggle a little, but I keep adding steering, making the rear move more, until the back end is sweeping from one side of the street to the other. I straighten the wheel, lift off the brake, and, wouldn’t you know it, the CTS starts pushing forward, shimmying through the snow, and I’m on the much cleaner main road in a matter of moments. I won’t be turning traction control back on today; these Pirelli Sottozero tires from Tire Rack, our official wheel and tire supplier, seem to work better without it.
No wonder she crashed; it looks like someone tried to shovel her street with a rake. Thick, tall, white lines of snow run the length of the road, piled so neatly that even Tony Montana would be impressed. I dare not drive down the street and get stuck again, so I park at the 7-Eleven on the corner, grab my shovel, and hoof it.
Her car, yet another old Ford Fusion (officially the worst winter beater-car you can buy), isn’t stuck in a snowbank. Instead it has completely mounted a snowbank. The car is canted 45 degrees upward, its left-front wheel buried and its right-front wheel floating about 2 inches above the ground. It’s futile, but I try digging out the front end, seeing how I still feel somewhat guilty. While I dig, she calls work. Her boss says to take the day off. I keep stubbornly keep digging for a few more minutes, but finally throw in the towel when the tips of my fingers go numb. Remote start is magic. So are heated steering wheels.
I’m stopped on a hill, waiting for a stoplight to turn green, sitting next to a 2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition. When the light changes, he goes. I don’t, but not for lack of trying. I turn traction control back on, and it helps. I’ll make a quick stop at home before heading to the gym.
En route to my workout, there’s a traffic circle completely covered in snow. Not a pinch of salt in sight. Not another car in sight, either, and so goodbye traction control. I downshift, and 430 lb-ft of torque runs through the driveline and breaks the rear tires loose. A quick right-left flick, and the Cadillac CTS Vsport slides gracefully and easily around the circle, falling into such a predictable orbit that I make a full rotation before straightening back out and exiting.
The sun is shining when I leave the gym. The snow on the CTS’s long hood is melting, but I haven’t used remote start. The roundabout is starting to thaw, and traffic is getting thicker. Timid-but-smart Michiganders now feel safe enough to drive, but I wish the roads were still snow-covered and populated by those who know no better. There are better cars for these conditions, sure, but few would’ve allowed me to do what I just did in pre-heated comfort. When it snows, the 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport is magic. So are winter tires.
- Body style 4-door sedan
- Accommodation 5-passenger
- Construction Steel unibody
- Base price (with dest.) $59,995
- As tested $60,490
- Engine 24-valve DOHC V-6
- Displacement 3.6 liters (217 cu in)
- Power 420 hp @ 5750 rpm
- Torque 430 lb-ft @ 3500-4500 rpm
- Transmission 8-speed automatic
- Drive Rear-wheel
- EPA Fuel Economy 16/24/18 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
- Steering Electrically assisted
- Lock-to-lock 2.5 turns
- Turning circle 36.7 ft
- Suspension, Front Strut-type, coil springs
- Suspension, Rear Multilink, coil springs
- Brakes Vented discs
- Wheels F/R 18 x 8.5/18 x 9.5 in
- Tires Pirelli P Zero
- Tire size 245/40R-18, 275/35R-18
- Headroom F/R 39.2/37.5 in
- Legroom F/R 42.6/35.4 in
- Shoulder room F/R 56.9/54.8 in
- Wheelbase 114.6 in
- Track F/R 61.4/61.7 in
- L x W x H 195.5 x 72.2 x 57.2 in
- Passenger capacity 97 cu ft
- Cargo capacity 13.7 cu ft
- Weight 3952 lb
- Weight dist. F/R 50%/50%
- Fuel capacity 19 gal
- Est. fuel range 361 miles
- Fuel grade 91 octane (premium unleaded)
- Adaptive suspension dampers
- Performance suspension
- Electronically controlled limited slip differential
- 18-inch aluminum wheels w/performance tires
- Brembo front brakes
- Leather-trimmed seats
- 8-way power front seats
- Heated and ventilated front seats
- 60/40-split folding rear seats
- 5.7-inch CUE system
- Bose audio system
- SiriusXM satellite radio w/3-month trial subscription
- Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity
- Heated sport steering wheel
- Magnesium paddle shifters
- Automatic dual-zone climate control
- Auto-dimming rearview mirror and driverâs exterior mirror
- Automatic HID headlights
- Keyless entry and ignition
- Remote start
- Front and rear parking assist
- Automatic parking assist
- Blind spot monitoring system
options for this vehicle:
- Majestic plum metallic paint- $495