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Tuesday
Feb222011

Reviewed: 2011 Cadillac CTS Sedan

 

Having previously tested and really enjoyed the Cadillac CTS SportWagon, we wanted to sample the CTS that 90% of people will purchase: the Sedan.  We will say till we are blue in the face that people are missing out if they don’t sample the wagon, as it’s a brilliant package.

So how is the Sedan different than the SportWagon?  Very little, and that’s a very good thing.  The original CTS was the official reboot of the Cadillac brand and with this latest generation of the CTS a car that has pulled even with the best in the world.

Many of the opinions that we had with the Wagon remain with the Sedan.  The Art & Science design was controversial when it appeared almost a decade ago, but today, it’s almost mainstream with many other companies having taken elements of that design language, sharp edges, compound surfaces and tight packaging.  With its deep front end and prominent grill the CTS has a very aggressive look from the front, it looks as if it’s eager to eat up the miles on the road.

The side profile of the car is less radical, though it has a number of lines that sweep upwards towards the rear to give the car a wedge look which continues the theme of forward motion.  The rear view again is a study in angles giving the car texture from the rear.

The interior of the car is made up of quality materials and soft touch surfaces.  There are a few bits of hard plastic material in the car, but for the most part they are in places where you wouldn’t notice, or wouldn’t care.  The Wagon that we tested had the pop-up screen that had navigation, DVD and other touch screen functions. Our sedan was not so equipped.  While we didn’t miss the nav system, the big screen did make working through the bevy of menus somewhat easier. If you would like it, it’s a $2,145 option.

One item we would like to see as an option that comes standard on the Premium Collection model would be a heated steering wheel.  Come the winter months in many parts of the country, grabbing a cold leather wrapped wheel with bare hands can be uncomfortable.  There are cars in GM’s product line that cost less money than the CTS like the Buick LaCrosse, which have the heated wheel as standard equipment, and you never knew how much you’d love this feature until you use it the first time.

The driver’s seat is a nice place to do business.  It doesn’t matter if you are stuck in traffic commuting to work, piling up the miles on the highway, or out on a two lane road for a Sunday drive.  Our CTS was equipped with the optional 3.6-liter direct injection V6 which has 304 horsepower.  The standard engine is a direct injection 3.0 liter with 274 horsepower, but this 3.6-liter unit is the one to have.  While the horsepower numbers aren’t that different, torque numbers tell the story.  The 3.0 V6 only produces 223 lb/ft while the 3.6 has 273.  The CTS is no lightweight at 3,900 so that extra torque is helpful in getting the car moving quickly.  The 3.6 likes to rev and does so willingly.  When you put your foot down, the car gets up to speed quickly, but it’s not a kick you in the pants kind of power.  It’s smooth, almost turbine-like, and before you know it, you are approaching triple digit speeds.

There are a very vocal minority of people who think that Cadillac needs to slot a 6.2 liter LS3 engine from the Camaro and Corvette into the engine bay of the Caddy to have something in-between the V6 and the Supercharged CTS-V, but it’s our opinion that it’s unnecessary and few people would pick that option, the 3.6 has enough power that will keep an enthusiast happy, and the rest of the world more than satisfied.

For those that might be considering an Audi A4 or A6 the CTS does have an AWD option although our test unit did not come equipped with it. As a bonus, there is no fuel mileage penalty for choosing the AWD either.

One of the intriguing things about our time with the CTS SportWagon and now again with the Sedan is how it really grows on you.  First impressions of the car are good, you think it’s a nice car, but it doesn’t knock you out.  After four or five days of driving the CTS a light bulb goes off and you realize just how special the CTS is.  While this is great for long-term ownership, we wonder how this effects impressions with the typical 20-30 minute drive potential buyers have at a dealership.

Pricing is reasonable for the CTS as well. Our Performance Collection RWD edition stickers at $41,565; the only option our test unit was equipped with was the compact spare tire, so our as delivered price was $42,740.  Looking over the options list, the only thing we might consider choosing is the optional $2,400 Recaro seats that are both heated and cooled.

The Cadillac CTS is certainly a car that can go up against the worlds best, and anytime Cadillac wants to send one over for us to drive we will be happy to do so.  If you go buy one, or just drive one, you won’t be let down.



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Reader Comments (1)

Very insightful review of the Cadillac CTS. I own one with the fe2 suspension, the 304hp motor and awd. I am impressed with the vehicle over the past three years of ownership. How would I like the CTS better?

Drop a LS3 V8 powerplant in this vehicle. I realize many people prefer the dohc engine technology and it is impressive in the CTS....Still if I could have ordered the CTS with a 436hp LS3 V8...I would have done so..

Keep up the good work.

JB

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

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