Since its 2008 redesign, the Cadillac CTS has been a car you could point to as evidence that GM can build world-class cars. It’s classy, through and through, and proves that when the automaker puts its considerable resources behind a product, it can compete with the best of most of its competitors. You may notice I said “most”…
The CTS can go toe-to-toe with its Mercedes, Audi and Lexus rivals. While it does hit on some of the driving characteristics that make BMWs so revered, its driving experience doesn’t fire on all cylinders, if you will.
The CTS lineup has expanded considerably over the years, and for 2011 the car is available as a sedan, coupe or wagon, with V-Series variants for all the body styles.
Meet the wedge
The CTS sedan’s exterior is angular, but the new CTS coupe takes the design theme to a new level. There are creases everywhere, and while most meet and intersect to create a unique-looking coupe that’s instantly recognizable as a Cadillac, they don’t do the trick at the rear of the car.
One of the issues is that the coupe’s trunk lid is quite tall. That probably makes for enhanced trunk space, but it also creates an aesthetic problem – and a visibility one. In many cars, you can get by just fine without a backup camera, but the CTS coupe’s tail is so tall that the optional camera is not just useful, it borders on necessary.
Ride and handling
The regular CTS coupe’s ride quality strikes a nice middle ground. There’s a firmness to the tuning that’s expected in a car like this, but Cadillac hasn’t gone overboard and created a bone-jarring setup.
It handles rougher stretches of pavement pretty well; you’ll know when you hit a bump or dip, but you won’t regret it for the next minute.
The CTS coupe’s standard 3.6-liter V-6 moves this two-door smartly enough, but it doesn’t necessarily feel like there’s a 304-horsepower engine under the hood. With a curb weight of around 4,000 pounds and the engine’s 273 pounds-feet of peak torque arriving at a high 5,200 rpm, you have to wait longer for the CTS coupe’s power to build than in the turbocharged 335is or Infiniti G37, both of which provide more immediate thrust.
The coupe is available with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, which is what our test car had. It’s a good automatic transmission; it shifts unobtrusively when cruising, but if you need to make a quick pass, just floor the gas pedal and it kicks down a few gears. It’s simple to initiate a one-gear kickdown by pressing the gas pedal partway, which isn’t easy to do in every automatic-equipped car.
That thing’s got a supercharger?
Yes, the CTS-V does indeed have a supercharged V-8. Cadillac says the car can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds. Our test car accelerated from stoplights with all the refinement you’d expect from a luxury car.
Standard features include antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags, an electronic stability system, and a tire pressure monitoring system. For a full list of safety features, check out the Standard Equipment & Specs page..