The 2014 Cadillac CTS will move up to the big leagues when it goes on sale later this year, going head-to-head with vehicles like the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and S6, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. To compete against those European heavy hitters, Cadillac needs to make sure the CTS is playing on the same field. That field is known as the Nurburgring Nordschleife, a 12.9-mile long race track in Germany used by automakers the world over to evaluate new vehicles. It’s described as the world’s best test track, the most grueling suspension test in the world, and similar hyperbole. More importantly, in recent years posting a fast time at the ‘Ring has become a rite of passage for any vehicle with sporty pretensions.
With that in mind, Cadillac brought its newest CTS to the Nurburgring, whipping the 420-horsepower Vsport model around the track’s 154 turns in 8 minutes, 14.6 seconds. To put that in perspective, that’s faster than several Porsches, the Camaro SS, an Audi S5, and so on. It’s also just a second slower than the previous-generation BMW M5, 10 seconds slower than an Audi R8, and 15 seconds off the pace of the current-generation Cadillac CTS-V, which boasts a 120-plus horsepower advantage thanks to its supercharged V-8.
So what does it all mean? Well, it gives Cadillac some bragging rights, since the new CTS looks to be pretty quick in Vsport guise. It also gives us something to think about as we wait for the inevitable next-generation Cadillac CTS-V, since surely Cadillac will be looking to significantly improve on the Vsport’s time. In the real world, it means that Cadillac has done its homework. Publicity stunt or not, the Nurburgring really is a demanding course, and going fast there means not just having a skilled driver–although that certainly helps–but a car that’s capable of handling the multiple surface changes, bumps, twists, turns, and elevation changes the track coughs up. It also gives us a video of the car on the track, so take a few tire-screeching moments and check them out.