The Cadillac CTS was named the 2014 Motor Trend Car of the Year. It went up against the likes of the Mercedes E Class and the BMW 5 series. And Frank Marcus, technical director of Motor Trend, explains the rationale behind the choice.
Which leads to a discussion of the landscape of luxury vehicles. Or maybe that’s vehicles that come from a traditionally luxury marque, but are, perhaps, not quite up to snuff. Peter DeLorenzo, the Autoextremist, cites the Mercedes CLA as an example. He forcefully argues that the German OEM is too busy chasing the lower end of the market to the detriment of the vaunted status of the brand.
But wait, Todd Lassa, executive editor of Automobile Magazine, counters. The CLA AMG is certainly a reputable car. But then, that’s the highly engineered version, and as DeLorenzo points out, the brand that used to promote its products as being “engineered like no other cars in the world” is promoting a faux-luxury car with the base CLA.
Which then leads to a larger discussion of the luxury space. Cadillac: does it need 10 more years to conquer the world? Should it bother to try to get street cred in Germany, or should it concentrate on China? Lincoln has unveiled the MKC compact crossover, as it works to reestablish itself as a lux brand. Is BMW becoming something other than the Ultimate Driving Machine?
All of this, as well as a tribute to the retiring racer Dario Franchitti, a discussion of the R&D/innovation of the auto industry (according to Booz & Co., VW is the #1 spender in the world), and much more are discussed by Marcus, DeLorenzo, Lassa, and Vasilash in this lively edition of “Autoline After Hours,” which you can watch right here: