2006 CTS New Car Test Drive
The Cadillac CTS kicked off a renaissance at Cadillac and once and for all dispelled the idea that American luxury and sports sedan are mutually exclusive concepts. With sporty handling, exhilarating acceleration and powerful braking, the CTS is a sports sedan in the truest sense.
Introduced as a 2003 model, the CTS launched an edgy new styling theme at Cadillac and immediately grabbed the spotlight. The automotive press praised the dynamic qualities built into its superb rear-wheel-drive chassis. A torrent of new models has followed from Cadillac, all very good in their own right, but the CTS set the mold.
Since its launch, the CTS has been improved and refined. For 2006, a new sport performance option enhances its sporting character, while a sport appearance package can give every CTS the look of the mighty, Corvette-powered CTS-V. These options complement the new generation of V6 engines and transmissions introduced for 2005.
All of the CTS drivelines are smooth, quiet and powerful, with the latest technology and advanced electronic controls throughout. Most buyers opt for the automatic, which features a manual shift feature in all models for the first time. Yet the manual is remarkable for its smooth shifting and easygoing clutch. Those who want a true four-door sports car that will run with Porsche 911 can try the CTS-V, a hot rod that looks like a CTS but sounds and accelerates like a Corvette. The CTS-V is a great hot rod, but the other CTS models are far more pleasant for daily driving.
We love the CTS's balance of good ride quality and fine handling. We haven't been happy with its austere interior, but Cadillac has tried to soften it a bit and make it more inviting. The CTS is the first GM vehicle with XM NavTraffic, which can deliver continuous, real-time traffic information straight to the navigation screen.
The Cadillac CTS is a sophisticated car that belies its sporting potential until you mash down the gas and attack the corners. It has helped reacquaint the world with Cadillac's century-long tradition of technology and design innovation. In short, the CTS presents a real, uniquely American alternative to traditional class leaders like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.
The 2006 Cadillac CTS is available with two engines: a 210-horsepower, variable valve timing 2.8-liter V6 ($30,515) and a 255-horsepower 3.8-liter VVT V6 ($33,160). Both are available with a five-speed automatic transmission ($1,200) or a six-speed manual.
Standard equipment includes leather-trimmed upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, power driver's seat, driver information center, a seven-speaker sound system, 16-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires and a one-year subscription to the OnStar road assistance service.
Options include the popular Luxury Package ($2,100), which includes heated front seats with power operation for the passenger, memory presets for two drivers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, HomeLink universal garage door transmitter, alarm system, and a wood-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob.
The Sport Performance Package ($2,285), which has been realigned for 2006, adds a sport-tuned suspension tuning, high-performance brake pads, 18-inch alloy wheels with V-rated tires, load-leveling rear suspension, speed-sensitive power steering and StabiliTrak electronic stability control. The package also includes xenon high-intensity discharge headlights. A new Sport Appearance Package includes all the performance gear in Performance Package and lots of appearance tweaks: unique 18-inch wheels, restyled rocker moldings, dual exhaust tips, wire mesh grille work and a rear spoiler. In short, it's the look of the crazy-fast CTS-V for less money.
The DVD Navigation System ($2,995) includes XM Satellite Radio with a three-month subscription and a Bose stereo upgrade with six-CD changer and eight speakers, plus the new XM Nav Traffic system, which delivers real-time traffic flow information straight to the nav screen. Popular stand-alone options include a power glass sunroof with one-touch operation ($1,200), the Bose stereo and CD changer ($1,000), and a split-folding rear seat ($400).
The limited-production CTS-V ($50,675) comes stuffed with the 5.7-liter LS6 V8 engine developed for the Chevrolet Corvette, generating 400 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque. This monster engine comes mated to a Tremec six-speed manual gearbox (sorry, no automatic option here). The package includes big Brembo brakes and other high-performance tweaks.
Safety features on all CTS models include active features such as traction control and anti-lock brakes (ABS) with brake proportioning, which balances the braking front and rear. There are eight airbags: front, side-impact airbags for front and rear passengers, and curtain-style head protections airbags on each side. In short, the CTS comes with the full complement of safety features expected in a modern luxury car.