2004 CTS New Car Test Drive
Years from now, the year 2003 will be remembered as the beginning of the comeback for Cadillac, carried on the broad edgy shoulders of the rear-wheel-drive CTS.
The 2003 CTS almost had it all, but the engine wasn't strong enough to fill the promise of the superb new chassis, and the competition from BMW and Audi demanded more than 220 horsepower. The 2004 CTS responds with two punches, a left jab (255-horsepower V6) and right cross (400-horsepower V8).
2004 also brings some needed softness into the interior, and tweaks the suspension to balance that additional horsepower on the road. The handling of the '03 CTS was widely praised, and now it's even better.
The CTS comes standard with the 3.2-liter V6 engine introduced last year ($30,365). It offers a choice of five-speed Getrag manual or five-speed automatic transmission at no extra cost. Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, leather upholstery, side-impact airbags and side air curtains front and rear, dual-zone climate control, driver power seat, driver information center, seven-speaker sound system, and one year of OnStar road assistance service. Also standard are traction control and ABS with brake proportioning, which balances the braking front and rear.
The new 3.6-liter V6 engine is optional ($1700); it also offers both transmissions. The Sport Package ($1875) takes the suspension tuning a big step further with monotube shocks, brake pads with more anti-fade heat resistance, 17-inch alloy wheels with 255/50R17 tires, load-leveling rear suspension, and StabiliTrak, an electronic stability control system. The Luxury Package ($2800) includes things like a sunroof, heater power seats, Bose sound system and XM Satellite Radio.
The new CTS-V ($49,995) is in another league altogether. Its 5.7-liter V8 engine comes from the Corvette, and it delivers 400 horsepower and 395 pounds-feet of torque, mated to the potent and smooth Getrag six-speed gearbox; it's fitted with 18-inch wheels, very grippy tires, Brembo brakes, and other high-performance tweaks.