2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe Preview

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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If there's a domestic car that speaks to me like no other it's Cadillac's most recent CTS. I recently tested it in Sport Wagon trim, and believe me when I say there's nothing better in the "compact" premium class. I say compact in quotation marks to emphasize the reality that this car, while competing with Audi's A4, BMW's 3, Lexus' IS and Mercedes' C, amongst others, is more of a midsize model than anything compact, fighting a more direct battle with Infiniti's G in overall dimensions, and I suppose for respect and street cred too.

Truly, the G, also one of the best in the segment, is a relative upstart like the Caddy, and Lexus' IS. The Germans have been at this compact premium game a lot longer, and while they therefore get the aforementioned respect and associated sales, the newer competitors aren't undeserving. As mentioned, the CTS is one of the best of its type I've driven, easily outclassing some of its rivals in interior styling, materials quality, fit, finish and features, while posing a unique exterior design that is so attractive it leaves most of its competitors looking positively dull. So what happens when you lop a rear door off of each side and extend the C-pillar to form a rakish rear backlight and all-new sporty profile? You guessed it… you get the production 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe.

It's been a long time coming, but the CTS Coupe concept that stole the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit is finally here in road-ready form, and due to a conceptual design that appeared more like a prototype than a concept it looks much the same now as it did when it received such universal praise, from yours truly included, which is a very good thing. 

The latest body-style in a CTS lineup that appears only short a convertible now that the aforementioned CTS Sport Wagon has joined the CTS sedan and 556hp CTS-V super-sedan, the new CTS Coupe is as aggressively penned as two-door sport models come. What's more, despite looking every bit part of its CTS family, the new two-door model visually shares little with the four-door, only its grille, headlamps, front fenders, IP (instrument panel), and centre stack (console). While its wheelbase is identical, the new CTS Coupe measures two inches longer overall and rides two inches lower to the ground. In classic Cadillac fashion the B-pillar is hidden, while flush door handles add to its overall clean profile. At the rear, the tall angular tail lamps bookend an angled, edgy rear end that could only come from Cadillac, capped off by centre-mounted twin exhaust pipes. 

While the visuals are more or less unique to the new two-door, everything under the skin is regular CTS fare, and that's superb news. Its 304hp direct-injection 3.6-litre V6 with 273 lb-ft of torque remains an industry leader, as is the standard Aisin 6-speed manual or optional manual-mode enhanced Hydra-Matic 6L50 6-speed automatic that sends power to the rear wheels in standard trim. With the former the CTS Coupe achieves 17 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, and with the latter, 17/25 respectively. The CTS Coupe will be available with all-wheel drive too, just like its four-door and wagon stable mates. 

In addition, two handling packages will be available, the first dubbed "Performance Package" with 18-inch alloy wheels, and the second the "Summer Tire Performance Package" with 19-inch rims, summer performance tires and beefier brakes. Enthusiasts willing to spend more for even greater performance will be happy to hear a V-Series variant will be available sometime later in 2010. 

As mentioned earlier, only a convertible model remains out of the CTS lineup, and while the introduction of this new two-door coupe might point to the inevitability of a drop-top it's not necessary in the immediate plan. GM, after all, is undergoing a massive restructuring, and the CTS Coupe only made the cut because its development was nearly complete. Then again, if the new two-door sells as well as many expect, a CTS Convertible may be Cadillac's next offering, after the new compact ATS and full-size flagship XTS debut.

For now, let's just revel in this particularly attractive 2011 CTS Coupe, a car that's bound to turn heads and empty wallets, and gives two-door buyers another reason to spend their money in their home market instead of sending profits and jobs overseas. These days, folks, it's something to be concerned about. We either start supporting our domestic economy as much as possible, or we accept the fact that stronger markets from abroad will soon own whatever is left of our respective homelands. Canada and the US are inseparably connected at the hip (Canada more than the US being that the vast majority of our production heads Stateside, and I'm not just talking automotive), so we'd better hope for a robust US economy if we want to enjoy continued strength here. In other words, we might want to consider buying Canadian first, when it makes sense, and American second. Fortunately for us, Cadillac will soon be producing a sporty two-door coupe equal to anything from Europe or Japan and better than some, so you won't be giving anything up to buy domestic. Clearly, this is something to think about.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

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

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