2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe | first drive

Posted on Oct 17, 2010 by

The CTS is quite a looker, we reckon

What?

The Middle East launch of ’s two-door, sporty car – the 2011 CTS Coupe, which comes in both regular V6-powered form and the performance CTS-V model with a 556bhp supercharged V8 engine.

Where?

Beirut, Lebanon: A short drive in a convoy of Cadillacs along the winding, traffic filled but not particularly fast mountain roads.

Any good?

The cars are great to look at and very respectable to drive. We like the 2011 CTS Coupe but while Cadillac has improved the quality of its interior materials, they still have work to do on some design areas.

The rear of the car is similarly stylish, but watch out for those hot twin exhausts when getting things from the boot

Background

The 2011 CTS Coupe is based on the latest generation of the Sedan, which was released in the US at the end of 2009. It was first unveiled in concept form at the 2008 Detroit Motor Show and has changed little in its production form.

Cadillac claims the car wasn’t originally planned as a derivative of the sedan and the idea came from a designer, who penned the concept. Positive public reaction led to its production.

Cadillac tuned the CTS Coupe at Germany’s Nurburgring, underlining the sporting and performance intent of both the standard CTS Coupe and its performance sibling, the CTS-V.

However, being a Cadillac, the cars are still built with luxury in mind. Indeed, Cadillac claims it will rival the BMW 3 Series, Audi A5, Lexus ES350 and Infiniti G37.

The standard CTS Coupe is powered by a 3.6-litre V6 engine developing 304bhp, while the CTS-V gets the supercharged 6.2-litre V8 from its sedan cousin.

The interior is a step up in quality for Cadillac

First Impressions

Both cars in the range look great from the outside, with their wider rear tracks. Plenty of heads turned towards the cars during our drive. It’s a futuristic, aggressive and bold design and we think Cadillac has done a fantastic job. Sexy is the word, if we may say so.

Inside, the CTS-V we tried was clad in leather with an Alcantara steering wheel, which really suits the sporty character of the range. The regular CTS we tested had a wooden steering wheel, which felt surprisingly good to hold, but we’d go for the Alcantara every time. The quality of interior materials is of a higher standard than previous Cadillacs we’ve tried.

We really like the Recaro seats in the front, which adjust in 10 ways so we had no trouble getting comfortable in the car. The chairs hold the driver and front seat passenger in place well, but we didn’t see a seat memory option, which is a shame.

The CTS-V Coupe gets a more aggressive face to go with its extra power

The layout of instruments and controls is intuitive, while the pop up navigation system and audio layout are pretty similar to the rest of the Cadillac range, which is no bad thing. Steering mounted control buttons are easy to operate and buttons on the central console easy to reach. A sizeable hard disk of 40GB is built into the communication and entertainment system to hold all your songs.

The boot of the car is a decent size with enough space for everyday trips and perhaps two medium-sized suitcases. But the hinges are massive considering the size of the tailgate. They take away storage space from the boot compartment – surely hydraulic arms would be more practical?

The rear of the car has the exhausts positioned in the centre of the car. When you’re taking luggage to or from the boot you get pretty close to the hot exhausts if the engine has been running, which is worth noting for fear of scorched shins.

The V badge is likely to make a return on future Cadillacs

On the move

We started our drive in the rear-wheel drive CTS-V Coupe and its immensely powerful supercharged V8. The engine is extremely torquey and with 556bhp, even with the ESP on, we managed to poke the back of the car out, although the electronic safety net soon cut in and kept the car on tracks. During spirited cornering the car feels edgy but neutral – the main feeling of edginess comes from the sheer amount of grunt straining at the tyre rubber.

We’re happy with the ride of the car. There are two modes to the magnetic suspension – Touring and Sport. Touring is softer better for city and highway driving, while Sport tightens everything up. In addition, there are three ESP (electronic stability control) options controlled by a scroller on the steering wheel – off, on or competitive, the latter of which lets you slide the back end out a little more, should you be looking for extra thrills.

The CTS-V Coupe gets a sportier interior

Switching into the regular V6-powered CTS, we sampled life as a passenger in the back of the car. Getting in and out of the back seat is a bit tricky because of the front seatbelts mounted on the B-pillars, which get in the way somewhat. However, once in there’s enough room for the average sized adult.

There’s not much visibility through the rear, thanks to a small rear window pane and a wide C-pillar, which is worth keeping in mind. There’s also a button in the back that can move the front seat forward and back for ease of entry and exit, but we’re concerned that putting kids in the back will see them play with the button and cause havoc. Not a good idea.

Generally, the CTS is much tamer and more civilised to drive than the V Series Cadillac, in no small part due to the all-wheel drive (some countries will only get rear-wheel drive versions, however). We had a fantastic drive down from the mountains driving along the coast in Beirut in the evening with a fair amount of chaotic traffic.

V Series brake callipers look very cool

The CTS doesn’t get the magnetic suspension from the V Series, but the regular system was comfortable nonetheless.

Both versions of the CTS Coupe have button shifters behind the steering wheel for manual gear changes of the six-speed automatic transmission. They work fine, but we’d prefer paddles rather than buttons as this would give more range for the hands.

The 3.6 V6 is adequately powered to meet the needs of the urban warrior and is much more civilised in behaviour than the V8 in the CTS-V.

Verdict

Cadillac is screaming for serious attention against its German and Japanese rivals. With the V offerings to become a more regular feature across the Cadillac range, it sure will increase footfall into the showrooms. By taking the German rivals head on at their home turf on the ‘Ring and coming out a winner, Cadillac has certainly made a statement.

2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe/CTS-V Coupe

Engine: 3.6-litre V6 // Supercharged 6.2-litre V8
Max power (bhp/rpm): 304/6,400 // 556/6,100
Max torque (Nm/rpm): 370/5,200 // 747/3,800
Transmission: Six-speed automatic // Six-speed automatic or six speed manual
Driven wheels: All-wheel drive // Rear-wheel drive
Kerb weight: 1,773kg // 1,922kg
Price (AED): 198,000 // 315,000

One Response to 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe | first drive

  1. زكريا النجمي Reply

    November 3, 2010 at 3:19 am

    والله الززززززززززين هذا غالي

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