The Cadillac CTS has been responsible, over the course of three generations, for not only re-establishing Cadillac’s reputation as a legitimate global luxury brand, but building that image, and, in its third go-round, moving the company into truly world-class territory. That's why it's a nominee for this year's Motor Authority Best Car To Buy award.

In fact, we’d go so far as to say the 2014 CTS is good reason to ask why anyone would buy a BMW 5-Series—and the 5-Series is a very good car.

Yes, the 2014 Cadillac CTS really is that good. It’s stunning from the street, to be sure. Everyone who has seen it realizes that. But inside, it’s at least as good-looking, and the controls, the features, the whole interior design just works. It’s an incredibly well put-together luxury sedan.

And that’s before we even get to the Vsport version of the car. The base 3.6-liter V-6 CTS is an impressive bit of machinery, meeting driver demands with responsive results, from the potent (if a bit noisy) engine to the slick-shifting automatic transmission to the engaging-but-not-busy steering.

Having grown by 4.1 inches in overall length and 1.1 inches in wheelbase, the once in-between CTS is freed by the arrival of the ATS compact luxury sedan to compete with its German and Japanese rivals on size and price for the 2014 model year. And it comes over the top in power, style, and features, while still managing to undercut (if only slightly) on price when compared to similarly-equipped German alternatives like the BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E Class, and Audi A6.

Just being mentioned in the same breath with those cars was once an impossible dream for any American luxury car. Now, it’s the CTS with the upper hand.

Weighing in at a scant 3,616 pounds, the CTS is among the lightest in its class—and about 200 pounds lighter than the equivalent BMW 5-Series. It’s also balanced nearly perfectly, with 50.1 percent of its weight on the front axle, and 49.9 percent on the rear.

If you pick the Vsport model, power is a stout 420 horsepower backed by 430 pound-feet of torque. Figures like that were once reserved for Corvette V-8s. Now, they’re the result of a twin-turbocharging application of a 3.6-liter V-6 engine. And that’s not the only turbo in the range.

2014 Cadillac CTS

2014 Cadillac CTS

For those looking to maximize gas mileage and commuting efficiency in a good-sized luxury sedan, the base CTS offers a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that nearly matches BMW’s turbo in-line six-cylinder for power and torque. The CTS with the 2.0 turbo cranks out 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque—and returns an estimated 19 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.

Our time behind the wheel of the 2014 Cadillac CTS has revealed to us a performance luxury sedan worthy of all of this praise. Powerful, balanced, and smaller in its feel than it is for the passengers inside, the newest CTS continues Cadillac’s assault on the global luxury market—and in fact, marks the next escalation of the arms race.

For the full details on High Gear Media’s time with the 2014 Cadillac CTS, read The Car Connection’s full review—and be sure to watch Motor Authority’s Best Car To Buy 2014 page for updates on the other nominees, and, on November 12, the car that will be chosen as our ultimate 2014 model-year purchase.