2014 BMW 7 Series
Following a fairly substantial freshening for model-year 2013, the 2014 edition of BMW’s largest and most expensive sedan gets only minor trim and detail changes. The 7 Series is BMW’s answer to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but its closest rival may be the Audi A8. Both cars offer regular and extended wheelbases, all-wheel drive (standard on the Audi, available in place of rear-drive on most 7 Series models), and six-, eight, and 12-cylinder engines. There’s even a performance model BMW calls the Alpina B7. While the A8’s fuel-economy champ is a diesel, the 7 Series relies on a hybrid called the ActiveHybrid 7. See the CarPreview.com 2014 Electric and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle Buying Guide for more information on this specific model. 7 Series EPA fuel-economy ranges from 15-25 mpg combined. The 2013 improved it, but the 7 Series still misses that ideal balance of ride and handling that’s been a BMW hallmark. Further, interior materials don’t quite reach A8 levels of opulence. Base-price range is $74,000-$141,200.
2014 Cadillac CTS
General Motors’ luxury division propels itself into the top luxury-car ranks for 2014 with its redesigned CTS midsize sedan. The new CTS is usefully larger than the preceding generations, now on par with the likes of the 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Styling and powertrains are new and Cadillac’s ambitious but flawed CUE infotainment system is aboard. CTS sedans come with a 272-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine or a 321-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6, both available with rear- or all-wheel drive. At the top of the range is the AWD CTS Vsport. Not to be confused with the CTS-V, the Vsport has a 420-horsepower 3.6-liter turbocharged V-6 and Cadillac’s first eight-speed automatic transmission. Though dynamically sound and boasting a well-crafted interior, CTS’ rear-seat room and ride control trail its German rivals’. EPA fuel economy ratings were not available for the full CTS line in time for this review, but expect about 14 mpg combined for the V-8 powered CTS-V to around 25 for the rear-drive four-cylinder sedan. Carrying over for model-year 2014 on the previous CTS design is the shapely two-door CTS Coupe, versatile four-door CTS Sport Wagon, and all editions of the high-performance CTS-V. Base-price range is $40,420-$64,900.
2014 Cadillac XTS
Just a year after its debut as the replacement for the aged STS and DTS, the 2014 Cadillac XTS gets something it needs: more available power. It comes in the form of a turbocharged 410-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 engine that pairs with all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission. Non-turbo XTS models carry over with minor equipment shuffling. This is a credible large luxury sedan that’s priced very competitively, and the new turbo motor will certainly enhance its appeal. However, XTS will still likely have to shake its image as a car more for a silver-haired pensioner than an upwardly mobile professional. Fuel-economy ratings span 19-21 mpg combined. Base prices start at $45,525.