Build & Styling
It’s always a treat to go on a road trip in an eye-catching, flashy car. And what could fit the bill more than a brand that epitomizes American luxury vehicle other than Cadillac. Our test vehicle was a stately Black Raven color with high gloss finish and it looked bad-a$$. The CTS front hood has a similar design to the CTS sedan with very aggressive lines and a stout grill. There are 2 brake ducts just below the front fender that directs air onto the disc brakes to help with braking efficiency. From there, the windshield is more sloped and with more aggressive lines increasing aerodynamics and adding a sportier feel.
The rear has a very unique shape with large tail lights reminiscent of Cadillac’s good old days with a tail-fin-like styling. It also fused a tail-light and rear spoiler mixed into one and the dual central exhaust tips all adds to the CTS’s angular styling. The doors are very sleek with a clean finish and smooth lines. This was due to the hidden electronic door handles that allow for keyless entry. The only drawback was fingerprint marks left behind on doors and trunk areas.
Interior Comfort and Ergonomics
Pack the car up, get in and let’s get moving. For most coupes, that’s not always the case. But this isn’t your typical sports coupe and Cadillac has added some personal flair to the CTS. Amazingly, there is a lot of space designed into the CTS coupe – from the front seats, rear passenger seating, and ample trunk space and 60/40 rear-folding seats. For any long road trips, these are requirements. The body wasn’t cranky after long hours of driving which made driver and passengers feel pleasantly refreshed.
Both front seats are fully automated with lumbar support, heated seats, and cooling fans. All of which were put to good use over the course of our journey. Heated seats are always a nice treat in the cool mornings or after a good workout. But I must admit the cooling fans were a nice touch to make sure the ‘buns’ don’t get overdone while sitting for extended periods. And there is more than enough leg room for every type of driver & passenger.
A somewhat surprising feature: Cadillac designers actually gave some thought to the rear passengers inside the CTS coupe. Most sports coupes that have rear seating have all the comfort of a foot locker – with less legroom. The pleasurable CTS experience doesn’t have to be for just two-people. Caddy allows CTS drivers to take along a few guests too. Rear seats are wrapped in leather with cup holders strategically placed. And the rear seats also had good leg room, even with the front seats positioned at their rear most setting. Headroom is at a bit of a premium, but as long as taller rear-seaters keep their noggins in the niche carved into the ceiling, they’ll be (mostly) fine.
Gadgets and Gizmos
For our road trip we had all the latest premium toys that Cadillac could offer. For those long dreary stretches of driving, we could find some form of distractions. Our test model included Bose 5.1 Surround Sound System with AM/FM/XM radio with the ability to pause and playback live radio, CD/DVD player, iPod USB port, AUX port and 40GB Hard Drive. These are all pretty standard in crème-de-la crème luxury vehicles and it definitely helped to have them on hand for our extended trips. The hours could be burned away listening to anything available. The Bose stereo quality was very good and the user controls were easy to navigate. And with the low interior noise, our audio experience was very enjoyable.
Also, in our CTS Premium Collection model, Cadillac’s included their signature glide-up navigation system, rear-view camera, Bluetooth, OnStar, and keyless entry. I think my favorite feature was the XM Traffic Navigation feature – satellite traffic and GPS fused together. Most people plan their trips around or though Los Angles at irregular hours because there is always traffic in LA. For the sake of testing the XM Traffic’s capabilities and at risk of our sanity, we drove into LA at the worst possible time – the heart of rush hour on a Friday afternoon.
With live traffic updates, XM Traffic provided a mini-description of the accidents, its direction and location, and approximate distance to the accident site giving the driver a good overall picture. Leading into any hot-spot, there were a series of colored dots showing the flow of traffic – red dots meaning very slow, yellow dots meaning slow-ish, and green dots being clear freeway (insert picture). XM Traffic also has the capacity of providing side-road detours and calculates approximate time differences between the various options. It can warn the driver if the detour would take longer than the freeway. From our experience, the XM Traffic was spot on and is a very useful tool for those who do a lot of driving and worth the extra service fee.
Value and Conclusion
Overall, our CTS came with some great standard features and for a little bit more money, the summer sports tire package enhanced the smooth drive and handling ($47,010 + $2,090). Cadillac is really trying to reclaim the top-step when it comes to performance luxury sport coupes. They were the first to set the bar for luxury many decades ago, and are redefining themselves once again to garner the attention of the next generation. Cadillac is working its way closer to the refinement seen in their European competitors. This is a young, fresh and lively sports coupe and perfect for people looking for a great weekend car that in a pinch can double as a road trip buddy.
The CTS gets a perfect score for build, interior and ergonomics, handling and fresh styling. It looked fabulous and was super comfortable – we had very little to complain about it. But we took off a few points on performance for sluggish acceleration and average fuel economy. Putting the CTS on a small diet to decrease its curb weight would be a quick fix in that respect. Value was good, but by either decreasing overall cost or sweetening the deal with a few more premium standard features would definitely attract bargain-friendly customers.
2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe Premium
2010 Mercedes Benz E350 Coupe
2011 BMW 335i Coupe
2011 Infinity G37 Coupe Journey
2011 Audi A5 Premium Plus Coupe
|Engine||304 hp, 273 lbs-ft3.6L V6||268 hp, 258 lbs-ft3.5L V6||300 hp, 300 lbs-ft3.0L I6||330 hp, 270 lbs-ft3.7L V6||265 hp, 3.2L V6|
|Curb Weight||3909 lbs||3683 lbs||3560 lbs||3636 lbs||3770 lbs|
|Overall Length x Width x Height||188.5 x 74.1 x 55.9 inches||185.0 x N/A x 55.0 inches||181.9 x 70.2 x 54.1 inches||183.1 x 71.8 x 54.8 inches||182.1 x 73.0 x 54.0 inches|
|Airbags||Dual front, front side, f/r curtain||Dual front, front side, f/r curtain||Dual front, front side, f/r curtain||Dual front, front side, f/r curtain||Dual front, front side, fr+side curtain|
|Basic Warranty||4 yrs/50,000 miles||4 yrs/50,000 miles||4 yrs/50,000 miles||4 yrs/60,000 miles||5 yrs/48,000 miles|
|Powertrain Warranty||5 yrs/100,000 miles||4 yrs/50,000 miles||4 yrs/50,000 miles||6 yrs/70,000 miles||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|Official Cadillac luxury cars and SUVs website – www.cadillac.com|
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