2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe First Impressions Review

Cadillac Expert Reviews

By contributing editor David Colman


  • Head-turning, stop-in-your-tracks good looks
  • Impeccable handling
  • Comfortable, quality interior
  • Impeccable handling


  • Rear seat legroom not suitable for adults or even children
  • Must be cautious when opening the doors in tight parking spaces
  • Rearward vision is hampered by stylish design

The CTS Coupe is a lot like a Chanel stiletto heel, entrancing to look at but hard to live with. If you want to get noticed, this coupe will serve you well. On a stretch of freeway in Concord, a sport in a Volvo C60 Convertible came screaming by while mouthing the words “Great Looking Car!” And he’s right, of course, because the CTS looks like an artist’s conception of how a sports coupe should look: close-coupled front and mid sections, truncated rear, heavy frontal rake, oversize wheels and tires, lock and latch less flanks, minimal chrome placed for maximal impact. Among the nicest touches are the V-shaped trunk finisher which mimics the centrally located V-shaped exhaust tips, and the artistic burnished aluminum strut tower brace, hidden under the hood, which connects the front shock towers together.

2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe

But like those Chanel heels, there’s a price to pay for the beauty bounty. The slipstreaming good looks of the coupe impose a significant penalty in rear outward vision. Although Cadillac owns up to the drawback by providing a standard backup camera and dash-mounted screen that pops up every time you engage reverse, they’re a poor substitute for actually seeing what’s behind you when you back out of a parking spot or change lanes. The coupe shape also necessitates extra long doors which are difficult to control in tight parking spots. Although Cadillac provides an excellent seatback-mounted latch for gaining access to storage behind the front seats, it’s difficult to reach the latch unless the seat is far forward. Better that the latch were mounted on the outer edge of the seat.

Cadillac CTS Coupe interior

That space behind the front seats is fine for tossing items but not so fine for people. Although the rear buckets are comfortably inclined, there’s no legroom, access is problematic, and headroom is nil. Up front the situation is substantially better, with 10-way adjustable leather seats done up in deviant stitching, with heating and cooling to boot. The seats never fitted me well, however, because the backs were overly hard in the lumber region and unsupportive at shoulder height. But the slick look of the brushed aluminum dash, sweep of Sapele wood trim spears, and distinctive V-shape to the vertical center console make you forget about the shortcomings of the seats.

6-speed automatic transmission

It’s somewhat harder to overlook the performance shortcoming of the 3.6 liter V6 engine. While this direct injection 304hp motor records decent mileage numbers (18 City/27 Highway), it’s hesitant when you demand maximum performance. Despite being coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, the V6 always takes an extra second to jump into action when you floor its throttle. Handling of the coupe is impeccable thanks to the optional $2,090 Summer Tire Performance Package, which includes 19 inch polished aluminum alloys, 245/45 ZR 19 front and 275/40 ZR 19 rear, Continental SportContact tires. There is a price to pay for all that rubber in ride discomfort. The coupe is very stiffly sprung, with hardly any shock compliance on either jounce or rebound. As a result, you’ll feel every road ripple, but you’ll fly on two lane switchbacks.

V-shaped trunk finisher matches V-shaped exhaust tips


  • ENGINE: DOHC, 24-valve, 3.6 liter direct injection V6
  • HORSEPOWER: 304hp
  • TORQUE: 273 lb-ft
  • FUEL CONSUMPTION: 18 MPG city/27 MPG highway
  • PRICE AS TESTED: $50,035


David Colman has been writing vehicle tests for 24 years. His work has been featured in AutoWeek, the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, and Marin Independent Journal. In 1987, he helped start Excellence, The Magazine About Porsche, which he edited for many years. He has been an active participant in racing and Solo events since 1961. More car reviews written by Colman can be found at autoeditor.com

CadillacOfficial Cadillac luxury cars and SUVs website – www.cadillac.com

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  • Peter Anastopulos says:

    Rear leg room ,Blind spot,wide door opening’s WTF it’s a coupe?If that’s all you can find maybe you should rave about it.Handsome and the V is awesome can’t you admit that or are ridicules bias to those unreliable BMW’s?

  • DrRetired says:

    I went and looked at this car yesterday, did not drive it, though the sales rep offered. A yr and a half on my BMW lease so a bit premature. I’ll tell you what though, this car looks magnificent!! And no RUNFLATS When my lease expires, and hopefully GM has some great lease deals running as they do now(349.00/mnth) I’ll be driving a new CTS Coupe. How could anyone say no?? The most beautiful, classy, sporty Caddy I’ve ever seen!! Hopefully, I’ll see you soon !

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