• Nov 9, 2010
A Double Major In Art And Science

2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe - Click above for high-res image gallery

Cadillac introduced the CTS to the world in 2003, and since then the standard sedan and its V variant have been completely reworked, while the Art and Science design language have carried over to a pair new body styles: the CTS Coupe and CTS Sport Wagon. While the wagon adds an excellent dose of utility, the 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe represents the purest expression of Art and Science to date.

The Coupe's design is further proof that math is beautiful, with enough hard edges and creased angles coming together to make Euclid proud. Step back and the entire shape creates an elegant solution to a complex equation. Solve for X and you get one of the strongest styling statements from Cadillac in nearly 50 years.

But is Art and Science enough to compete with the tried and true champs of the luxury sports coupe segment? Class is in session, so open your Trapper Keepers, grab a pencil and pay attention.

Continue reading...



Photos copyright ©2010 Zach Bowman / AOL

In our First Drive of the CTS-V Coupe, we called it "angular, unhinged glory." The high-performance version is demonically handsome for sure, but the non-V Coupe takes a less sinful approach. The overall sense of aggression is still clearly evident in the design, but this two-door is much more muted. It's hardly soft, but the standard CTS Coupe simply isn't as its supercharged sibling.

While the anger has dissipated, the Coupe's crisp exterior elements still form some very hard edges. Tight angles, vast open plains and a handful of parallel and perpendicular lines all contribute to the sexy wedge shape. It all starts with a single point below the front fascia's bottom grille which creates an acute triangle that reaches back towards its shortest segment. The irregularly shaped pentagonal headlamps set the width as you slip past the 19-inch alloy wheels with seven bifurcated spokes, across the vast expanse of doors and terminate just aft of the flared fenders that conceal the wide rear track.

2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe side view2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe front 3/4 view2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe rear 3/4 view

The reason your eyes keep moving towards the tail is that the design demands it. The CTS Coupe ditches traditional door handles in favor of hidden C6 Corvette-style buttons, so your gaze just slides uninterrupted along the doors on its way towards the rear. There you'll find gorgeous dual, center-mounted exhaust outlets that anchor a tall vertical line cutting the rear in two. The result is a raised rear end that seems to have the car leaning forward in anticipation.

At first glance the cabin appears to be a mix of luxurious and sporty touches, but the materials say otherwise. The dash is covered in leather, but feels hard as a rock thanks to little or no padding beneath the surface. The plastic ashtray and cupholder covers feel like they'll snap off in 15,000 miles, while the center stack is surrounded by metallic-colored plastic and fitted with buttons that are hard to read with anything less than a stalker's stare.

2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe headlight2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe wheel2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe rear detail2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe exhaust system

Perhaps these are minor issues, especially for a luxury sport coupe that starts at a base price of $38,165. However, our tester is anything but base. The $51,030 Premium Collection version, which adds high-intensity discharge headlamps, 10-way power adjustable heated-and-cooled leather front seats, an upgraded Bose sound system, Bluetooth, interior ambient lighting, a heated steering wheel and a glide-up touchscreen navigation system with rear-view camera display are all welcome features. The downside is a base price that swells from a palatable $38,165 to a harder-to-stomach $47,010. Throw in the 19-inch Summer Tire Performance package (which includes the larger wheels, sportier tires, steering-wheel mounted shift controls, and upgraded brakes) for $2,090, a useless $110 dealer-installed Underhood Appearance Package and then tackplus destination charges, and the cost of the CTS Coupe crests the $50k mark. This $13,000 price hike should give you enough in return that you're pleased to have splurged for the best CTS Coupe that money can be, but instead you'll feel like your pockets just got turned inside-out by a casino's best blackjack dealer.

The interior falls short of true luxury car excellence, but it's not all bad news inside the CTS Coupe. Supportive without the bouncer's grip of the optional Recaro seats in the CTS-V models, the front seats pick up the luxury slack. On the flip side, the rear seats should be used only for carrying small items or transporting legless friends. This is a two-door sport coupe though, so complaining about a lack of room in the back is like ripping on a minivan for too much body roll; that's not what it's made for.

2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe interior2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe front seats2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe gauges2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe steering wheel

The view out the windshield is clean and unobstructed thanks to the massive slab of glass, and while we expected the view to the sides to be as minimalist as the Chevrolet Camaro, the Cadillac somehow managed to trick our senses. We only had visibility issues when trying to see what's going on over our shoulders as those massive C-pillars are the auto equivalent of horse blinders, so an extra dose of attention is required for changing lanes. Visibility is equally distressing for what's directly behind, but Cadillac offers a rear-view camera, making reverse operations an effortless endeavor.

That large, center-mounted display is a touchsceen sitting atop the center stack and is usually used for navigation and interfacing with the infotainment system. It displays basic information related to the audio system when lowered into the dash, but will rise up and show the whole screen when more functions are required. Keeping the big screen out of view when it's not needed is a worthwhile feature, but it will automatically deploy when shifting into reverse to display the back-up camera's view.

2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe multimedia system2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe navigation system

Motivation is provided by a 3.6-liter V6 with direct-injection, producing 304 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 273 pound-feet of torque at 5,200 rpm. Although an all-wheel drive version is available, the power on our tester was sent to the rear wheels, and according to Caddy, pushes the coupe from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in 5.8 seconds. Moving forward is only half the fun, as the exhaust note grumbles with authority but doesn't come off as overtly loud, and the six-speed automatic shifts smoothly on its own, while a pair of buttons mounted on the back of the steering wheel allows things to be manually – if oddly – manipulated.

The suspension is surprisingly stiff, allowing us to feel every imperfection in the Southern California asphalt, but take solace in the fact that occasional bumps won't send it scurrying towards the bike lane or center line. Steering was equally tight and the combination of the two results in a rewarding drive on roads that would make MC Escher swoon. Add in the 19-inch alloy wheels wearing Continental high-performance tires, 245-45 front and 275-40 rear, and we have a coupe that could be a contender on Dancing with the Stars. Point the CTS where you want to go and it will take direction while providing a fair amount of feedback along the way – important to remember when flogging something just shy of two tons.

2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe engine

Unfortunately, we wish braking performance was equally responsive. While the upgraded front and rear rotors included in the Performance Brake package haul things down quickly enough, the connection between pedal application and braking action is incommunicado for the first inch or so of pedal travel. Keep stepping and the anchor will soon be thrown out with enough force to emboss the seatbelt's pattern into your shirt. It was disarming at first, but our foot muscles eventually got used to it.

The exterior styling certainly helps the CTS Coupe stand out against a sea of Mercedes-Benz E350 coupes, Audi A5s and BMW 335i coupes. American Art and Science is clearly the aggressor in a war against the Teutonic two-doors, yet the Germans have the edge when it comes to cabin quality. The Cadillac is comfortable, but its materials don't stand up to the Benz, Bimmer or Audi. However, it does offer the most powerful engine of the group, the best powertrain warranty (5 years/100,000 miles) and an exterior design that would have its three classmates giving up their gas money.

2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe rear 3/4 view

A shockingly artful exterior matched with a comfortable interior and an engaging driving experience equals a compelling case for the 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe. Graded on a curve, it's a luxury sports coupe that gets the sporty right but falls short on the lux. Despite this, Cadillac has earned a Masters degree in both Art and Science with this latest application of the CTS equation, but now it's time to go back and take a few interior design classes.



Photos copyright ©2010 Zach Bowman / AOL


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 125 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Waiting on ours to come in...... my wife and I checked it against you name it, BMW, MERC,POR, etc.... no questions in our mind, this one out handles, ABSOLUTELY out performs , and out rides them all. Nothing out right now that we found could touch it, and let me tell you, the interior is beautifull.........pictures don't do it justice. This is one masterpiece of an automobile in ALL respects, I recommend anyone in the market to do yourself a favor, and testdrive one for a day
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sorry, which BMW and Porsche does the CTS Coupe ABSOLUTELY outperform? This is a claim that you might want to backup with details and maybe even facts.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I HAVE ONE WORD TO DESCRIBE CADILLAC!! INSANE!!! The entire cadillac lineup is BEAUTIFUL! We test drove a 2010 CTS (I own a audi). And the cadillac seems to be even MORE solid at faster speeds. The craftsmanship of the new cadillacs are genius. Ive been a fan of Cadillac for decades but after driving the new CTS I think im ready to trade my Audi in. Granted my Audi is an EXCELLENT car. I just feel that its time to support my American based businesses. And out of EVERY new vehicle out there NO other vehicle compares to the cadillac line-up. I think the new Buicks are beautiful! But I need something with a little more POWER. If Buick makes a vehicle with plenty of punch I will look in their direction. But GM has come a LONG way. They get my vote
      • 4 Years Ago
      this, to me, is the most drool-worthy car on the road right now. Cadillac keeps getting it right and then more right. Way to go!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I like the CTS but I wish the suspension was at least 3inches higher at the front. That front-end will bottom out on any drive-way and after 3 to 5 years you may have to do very serious front -end repair. I had a Ford taurus and the front-end would bottom out. I was unable to have it raise so I traded it in for 2007 Toyota Tacoma with an extended cap in 2006. All I done to the Pick-up was put gas, change the oil and filter, lubricate the doors and the rear gate every 3,000 miles. on (Oct.31/2010) I installed the first set of brakes and they were haft worn. But I still love to purchase a 2011 CTS or a CTS-V its a car that stands all by itself......
      • 4 Years Ago
      I drive an 08 loaded CTS and the dash is most certainly padded. The dash isn't so padded that you would substitute it for a pillow in your bedroom, but hard it is not. While I'll agree that I would prefer the piano black center console piece to the silver plastic one, that is by no means a deal breaker and is rather nit picking. I can sit in any car luxury car in this price range and find a long list of things that I find cheap or unappealing. It goes with the territory. This is not an S Class and it also doesn't cost $100 grand. By the way, my car has 18k on it and the ashtray and cupholder doors have not snapped off, are used daily and still function in there controlled, damped movements just like the day I bought it. Some editors just can't admit that Caddy keeps getting it right and is only getting better. The CTS redesign and the addition of the ATS and XTS are going to leave these guys scrambling for something bad to say to keep their foreign patriots paying.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have no idea what the hell most of you are talking about ... the car looks amazing and the interior is great !
      • 4 Years Ago
      It is a great looking car for sure, but I really hope GM can learn from their past mistakes.

      Aside from the Corvette, GM has a tendency to let a great product die on the vine. It is as if they haven't heard of a MMC or even a small refresh. CTS, DTS, STS, Malibu, Traverse/Enclave/Acadia, etc all have suffered from this problem. The Malibu is a great example.

      They release a great product but never update it and it becomes stale. Let's hope that GM can keep the momentum with the CTS.

      /rant
        • 4 Years Ago
        "It is a great looking car for sure, but I really hope GM can learn from their past mistakes."

        Not if Cadillac's recent fourth re-launch in 12 years in western Europe is anything to go by. Same set of mistakes, same frustrating rhetoric flying in the face of a product which deserves to do well. Globally, the CTS's biggest enemy is the company which builds it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Malibu isn't that old! It was new for 2008, so it's only 3 years old and the Camry is actually a year older. Typically the refreshes come around 4 years, which the Malibu should be getting for 2012.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The CURRENT Malibu is an MCE. The car is almost exactly the same car that was introduced in 2003-2004. It is an extensive MCE obviously, but one nonetheless. My wife just purchased a brand new LTZ model, coming from a Saab 9-3Aero.. and she actually thinks that it is more luxuriously appointed than her Saab was. The ride is smoother, it handles as well, it has more power (ironically a non-DI version of this beautiful CTS's 3.6L) and gets better fuel economy on Regular. For those who think that a car that is, even if U don't believe me about the MCE), not as competitive as a new... "unsafe at any speed" Camry (thanx Ralph), Accord, Fusion , or UGLY...er I mean Sonata... then U are sadly mistaken... and even then.. a new one will be out next year completely redone on a different platform altogether
      • 4 Years Ago
      This car doesn't photograph well--photos flatten it out so it looks very, very slab-sided (you don't really get a sense of the flaring around the rear wheel arches).

      It looks pretty amazing on video and in person, though. Kudos to Cadillac for not just making a 2-door version of the CTS sedan.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Too true. In person, this vehicle is absolutely stunning. Yeah, the interior could use some spiffing on the materials side of things, but I would definitely not mind being caught driving one.

        /drool
        • 4 Years Ago
        I saw a pearl white CTS coupe outside Whole Foods--The car is quite the looker! That space above the rear wheel is not a problem at all when seen in actuality.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Saw the CTS-V in person 6 months ago. It looked just as bad as it did in the pictures. The read end is far too tall. The proportions are just way off in my eyes.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This car is ok for stylin' and profilin' if you want people to think you're rich. Just don't let them know that you live in a poor part of town. This is really not a high class car though it comes with a high class price tag. to each his/her own. Idiots all agree that this is the car to buy.
      Ching Pei
      • 4 Years Ago
      GM has a Love for CHEAP Plastic .... as Great of a Car as the Corvette is .... GM ruins it with a pathetically CHEAP Interior .... everything FAKE and PLASTIC .... so it comes as NO SURPRISE that GM would Screw Up the CTS as well ..... IDIOTS !!!!!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Pretty, but it seems as though it's time for a new CTS. Hopefully one will be out in the next 2 years.
      • 4 Years Ago
      No idea why this thing get high praise ... It's ugly, may be not to those mid-westerner, and the performance is nothing to speak of.
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