The 2011 Cadillac CTS lineup has expanded to the point where it now matches up well against the European luxury brands that it was initially intended to compete with in terms of quality, choice and versatility. No other premium automaker in North America offers the same mix of body styles, engine configurations and performance options for the same model, which makes the Cadillac CTS a unique luxury choice. Let’s take a closer look at exactly what the Cadillac CTS has to provide drivers seeking high end transportation.
The 2011 Cadillac CTS Sedan offers a broad, angular front grille and numerous hard lines and curves that together make it one of the more muscular and bold designs currently on the market. The CTS Sedan is large enough on the inside to compete against mid-size luxury models, not just the entry-level rivals that are priced much closer to its starting MSRP, and even in base trim the vehicle comes with features such as dual automatic climate controls, leatherette seating and power everything. Stepping up to the Luxury model adds heated front seats with real leather upholstery as well as upgraded interior materials and lighting, which the Performance trim includes larger 18-inch wheels, bigger brakes and a sportier suspension system, as well as HID headlights and a limited-slip rear differential.
For those who would prefer to slip behind the wheel of something a little more exclusive, the Cadillac CTS is also available in Coupe form. The 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe maintains the same front end look as the Sedan but dramatically sharpens the overall impact of the vehicle’s design thanks to its almost arrow-like profile, one which centers the visual mass of the automobile more towards the rear without upsetting the balance of the two-door’s overall proportions. The CTS Coupe also offers shaved exterior sheet metal whose surface is unbroken by door handles or extraneous trim. The Coupe’s interior is naturally more cramped than that of the Sedan for anyone sitting behind the two front positions, which makes it better suited for drivers who don’t regularly need to transport more than a single passenger at a time.
What really separates the Cadillac CTS from other Detroit-based luxury contenders – and indeed, most Japanese brands as well – is the inclusion of a Sport Wagon model. The 2011 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon maintains almost all of the pleasing chassis settings and driving dynamics of both the coupe and the sedan, but adds 25 cubic feet of covered cargo space to the equation. With the rear seat folded forward, the CTS Sport Wagon challenges several SUVs in terms of utility thanks to its 53.4 cubic feet of total storage room. All this is wrapped inside a shell that is just as attractive as its sedan and coupe cousins.
Under the hood, the 2011 Cadillac CTS Sedan and Wagon are initially gifted with a 3.0-liter V-6 engine. This motor produces 270 horsepower and 223 lb-ft of torque, and returns fuel mileage of 18 miles per gallon in city driving and 27 miles per gallon during highway cruising (for the Sedan – the Coupe and the Wagon offer slightly different EPA ratings, depending on their configuration). Also available across the line-up, and standard in the Coupe, is an even more robust 3.6-liter V-6 that offers up 306 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, which is good enough to hustle both the Coupe and the Sedan from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 6.7 seconds. The Sport Wagon’s additional mass adds an extra 0.3 seconds to that metric. Most impressive is the fact that the larger, more powerful engine returns the same fuel efficiency rating as the entry-level unit.
In terms of transmission choices, Cadillac CTS buyers can select between either six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic. The automatic option also brings with it the availability of all-wheel drive, which gives the CTS an advantage in snowy or slippery conditions.
Of course, if an emphasis on performance is the most important consideration when shopping for a luxury car, then the Cadillac CTS-V model almost over-delivers. One of the fastest premium automobile families on the planet, the V Series includes the Cadillac CTS-V Sedan, the Cadillac CTS-V Coupe and the Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon. In addition to a radically revised suspension system that gives the CTS-V almost supernatural handling capabilities, as well as much more extroverted body work, the vehicle also sports a 6.2-liter V-8 engine.
Thanks to the judicious application of boost through a supercharger, this motor churns out 556 horsepower and 551 lb-ft of torque, which is enough to motivate the CTS-V to 60 miles per hour from a standing start in just a hair over four seconds. Very few sedans or coupes – let alone wagons – can boast the same level of face-melting acceleration, matched with the exceptional comfort provided by the CTS-V’s standard luxury features. The CTS-V comes with the same six-speed transmission options offered in the V-6 CTS models, and it can devour the quarter mile in a mere 12.4 seconds with a trap speed of 114.7 miles per hour.
There is a version of the 2011 Cadillac CTS out there that should appeal to almost anyone. Whether it’s the Smart sedan, the eyeball-grabbing Coupe or the practical and unique Sport Wagon, the CTS has all of its premium bases covered. For drivers who absolutely must possess the wildest ride on the luxury planet, the CTS-V lineup also makes a compelling, almost compulsory choice.