2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe

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Date Posted: March 22, 2011
By Zack Spencer

Like nothing else on the road, this new CTS Coupe is a study in fun

 The seats are lower to the floor than the regular CTS to make up for the lower roof. The interior is very functional but the seat bottoms are too short
 The centre exhaust tips look futuristic and trendy
 The door handles are hidden to create a sleeker design

The Scoop

The Cadillac CTS Coupe is an interesting car and one that nobody was expecting. I can remember seeing this car for the very first time, over a year ago, at the Detroit auto show and wondering why? But when you see this car in person, practicality gets thrown out the window and passion steps in. This is a cool and funky car. No, the world doesn't need a CTS Coupe but now that it is here, I kind of like it. Cadillac has used this stylish new model to showcase their on-road and racetrack muscle by taking the high-output ''V'' version to the famous Nurburgring track in Germany to dial in the Magnetic Ride control and to also take a shot across the bow of their German performance competition. The CTS-V coupe is equipped with a supercharged 6.2L V8 pumping out 556hp. The more realistic 304hp V6 version is the car featured here.

The Skin

There are some similarities to the CTS sedan front-end design but the rest of the car has been chopped and mashed into one of the most dramatic cars on the road. The coupe is shorter, wider, the front windshield has a steeper rake and the roof is lower than the sedan, giving the Coupe a wide and aggressive stance. There are no door handles, just slots to insert your hand to access the door-opening button With keyless entry this system works well but I could never figure out how to lock the car without using the key fob. The most dramatic part of this coupe is the back. Part concept car, part space ship, the CTS might actually look better going than coming. The sculpted rear quarter panels, sharp rear lights and centre exhaust ports do look futuristic. The problem with such a fashion forward car is sometimes they age rather quickly, we'll have to wait and see.

The Cockpit

The CTS has always been a standout in terms of style and function. The dash has a pop-up centre screen for times when the navigation unit is needed or a sliver of the screen can be shown for radio use only. The front seats have been lowered closer to the floor on the coupe. This lower seat position works well and negates the impact of the lower roofline. The seat bottoms, just like the sedan version, are short in length and don't provide much thigh support, if any. The rear seats are surprisingly roomy in the legroom department but short on headroom, really only good for short trips with kids. Just like the outside door opening there is no handle, just a button that the driver and passenger touch in order to electronically release the door. In the event of an electric failure there are redundant door release handles placed on the floor, close to the foot-well.

The Ride

The same direct injection 304 hp 3.6L V6 engine featured in the sedan is also used as the base engine in the coupe. It does a very good job of getting this car off the line and cruising with ease, that is if the roads are dry. On wet days the rear wheels spin and hop off the line. This is a good argument for buying the AWD version but unfortunately the cost is prohibitive. The base RWD model starts at $42,240 but the AWD is priced at $51,805. Why Cadillac charges over $9000 more for the AWD is a puzzle to me. The lower, wider stance does provide great handling, each corner of the car coveys information back to the driver, it feels very responsive and connected, its only acceleration that is limited on wet roads.

The 556hp ''V'' is offered at $72,975 but that is story for another day.

Verdict

Cadillac recently jumped from twelfth position to number nine in JD Power and Associates Dependability Study of three-year-old vehicles. Out of thirty-four brands, this iconic American nameplate placed right behind Mercedes and well ahead of BMW and Audi. These sorts of improvements along with cutting edge styling have earned Cadillac bragging rights in the premium market and will help alleviate the concerns some people still have about GM's ability to produce good quality cars. The CTS Coupe might not find a large market but the styling and performance showcases what the new GM can do. Criticism could be leveled against management for making this self-indulgent coupe in light of GM's recent bailout but the reality is that this car would have been in the engineering and design stages long before GM came cap in hand. If nothing else, the CTS Coupe gets Cadillac and GM attention in a very competitive market.

The Good, The Bad

Good:

This Cadillac looks like nothing else on the road. The CTS-V might be an alternative to a BMW 6 Series

Bad:

AWD option is too expensive.

The Lowdown

Power: 3.6L V6 with 304hp or supercharged 6.2L V8 with 556hp

Fill-up: 11.4L/6.9L/100km (city/highway) V6 RWD

Backup: 4-year/80,000km

Sticker price: $42,240-72,975

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