2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe Road Test Review

Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

For years I'd gone to auto shows and gazed wistfully upon exotic shape after exotic shape the designers applied to concept cars. Then, I'd go look at the production cars and wonder why they had to be so frumpy when the concept cars were so fine. When I saw the current Cadillac CTS Sedan for the first time at the Detroit auto show I remarked, "interesting concept." My colleague Frank Washington said, "No man, that's the production car."

And now, Cadillac hits us with another CTS road car featuring concept car good looks, the 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe. You can now walk into your local Cadillac dealership and drive out in what's arguably the most handsome North American car currently being offered. In fact, the 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe is a serious contender for one of the most handsome cars in the world.

Back in 1999, Cadillac introduced the Art and Science school of design with the Evoq concept. Eventually offered as the Cadillac XLR in 2003, that car established the angular design language Cadillac follows to this day. With the CTS coupe, Cadillac now has a serious contender in the market segment dominated by the Audi A5, BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G37 Coupe, and Mercedes E-Class Coupe.

Powered by a 304-horsepower V6 displacing 3.6 litres, the CTS Coupe has sufficient quickness to provide satisfying acceleration in any circumstance. The six-speed automatic transmission routes the engine's power to the rear wheels. All-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission are available as options. Striking a nice balance between a comfortable ride and engaging handling dynamics, the Coupe is a remarkably versatile car.

Over a full day of driving, I found that the automatic transmission equipped rear-drive Coupe cornered nicely, yet it still displayed a relaxed ride over irregular surfaces. The car turned in well, with just a touch of body roll and held a nice set through the corners. Acceleration was adequate. You won't do smoky burnouts from a standing start with it (and yes, of course I tried), but honestly that really isn't what this car is about. No, the CTS Coupe is about graceful refinement with just enough of a performance edge to keep it entertaining. Besides, its CTS-V sibling is now available and that is most assuredly a tire smoker. Another plus––the Coupe's V6 is perfectly happy to run on regular fuel.

Inside, if you're familiar with the CTS sedan, you'll feel right at home in the coupe. Materials, fit and finish are absolutely superb, and the cockpit layout precisely mimics its sedan stable-mate. One complaint surfaced during my time with the car, the standard seats are surprisingly flat for sport coupe duty. Very little bolstering exists in the seat back and lower cushion. Handsome? No doubt. But supportive during cornering maneuvers? Not exactly. Happily the coupe will soon offer a Recaro option similar to the exceptionally supportive seat found in the CTS-V. Order it.

And while the instrument panel is readily identifiable from the sedan, every other aspect of the Coupe is unique except the wheelbase, centre console, front fenders, headlamps and grille. Equipment-wise, the phrase state-of-the-art readily applies. Integrated iPod capability, 40-gig hard drive, surround audio, adaptive lighting, a heated wood steering wheel, rearview camera, and of course, keyless entry and start. In fact, the Coupe also integrates the touch pad door releases first seen on Corvette. At one point while driving down the freeway in the CTS I was gently startled by a sultry female voice; " Excuse me, there's a traffic jam two miles ahead." Of course, I know that's courtesy of OnStar, but it caused me no end of delight nonetheless.

Cadillac is indeed on a roll these days. The company demonstrates, in no uncertain terms, that America can build cars that are every bit as competitive as cars from anyplace else in the world. The 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe, starting at $49,175, is good-looking, drives nicely, performs well, and––if you get the Recaros––supremely comfortable in any situation.

That it's also a concept car for the street is merely icing on a very satisfying cake.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sports Coupe, Cadillac, 2011, CTS Coupe, $40,000 - $49,999,

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page