2010 CTS New Car Test Drive
Boasting style, performance and technology, the Cadillac CTS is a sports sedan that can go toe-to-toe with the best the world has to offer, including the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus GS, Infiniti G37, and Audi A4. Available all-wheel drive makes the CTS a good foul weather car.
And for its part, the high-performance Cadillac CTS-V can compete with the best high-performance sports sedans in the world (BMW M3, Mercedes C63 AMG, Audi S4) at a much lower cost.
This doesn't surprise us, quite frankly, because we've been watching the CTS for some time now. The original car was good and they've been improving it ever since, particularly in the area of refinement. What may surprise you about the CTS is its level of refinement.
The CTS boasts responsive handling and excellent high-speed stability, yet it's smooth and quiet around town or when cruising at highway speeds. The ride quality strikes a perfect balance between smoothness and handling. The steering is accurate, with good feel and a nice, weighty demeanor. The car feels solidly put together, and it's quiet underway. Inside is an attractive cabin trimmed with nice materials that exudes an airy, open feel. Everything is easy to operate.
Simply stated, the Cadillac CTS is a very enjoyable car.
The CTS and CTS-V feature sophisticated suspension systems developed, among other places, at the world-famous Nurburgring race track in Germany. Called the Nordschleife, the 14-mile northern loop of what was the old Nurburgring circuit is considered the toughest, most dangerous, most demanding purpose-built race track in the world. A 2009 CTS-V posted what may have been, at that time, the fastest lap at the Nordschleife for a standard production four-door sedan, an impressive feat given the hot rods BMW, Mercedes, Audi and others routinely roll out. To prepare for this lap John Heinricy from GM's performance division simply shifted the automatic transmission into Drive and let it do its thing.
New for 2010, is a 3.0-liter V6 engine rated at 270 horsepower and 223 pound-feet of torque. Though smaller in displacement, the new engine offers more power than the previous 3.6-liter that came standard. Meanwhile, an optional 3.6-liter V6 is available with 304 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. We found both engines smooth and responsive. They are thoroughly modern in every way, boasting all-aluminum construction and double overhead-cams with variable valve timing and Direct Injection for the optimum in power, fuel economy, and emissions. Either is available with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
The 2010 CTS models come with new features such as 19-inch polished alloy wheels with 245/45ZR19 tires, an air filtration system that takes care of cabin odors, a suede-trimmed steering wheel, a wood trim package for the CTS-V, along with new colors and repackaging of the options.
The Cadillac CTS uses rear-wheel drive, which is the best layout for performance sedans. But it's also available with all-wheel drive. The AWD uses an active transfer case that normally applies 40 percent of the power to the front wheels, 60 percent to the rear, but in slippery conditions can apply all of the torque to either axle. A limited-slip differential is available.
The Cadillac CTS-V has a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that makes 556 horsepower at 6100 rpm and 551 pound-feet of torque at 3800 rpm; it is available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. CTS-V is rear-wheel drive. The CTS-V is a genuinely fast car. Cadillac says it's capable of 191 mph and 0-60 mph performance in 3.9 seconds. We found the CTS-V to be one fast ride at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California, capable of lap times on the sinewy circuit nearly as quick as a NASCAR Sprint Cup racecar. The CTS-V rides on the firmer side, much like the European luxury sports sedans do.
The 2010 Cadillac CTS comes with a 3.0-liter 270-hp V6 engine ($36,730) or a 3.6-liter 304-hp V6 ($43,825). The automatic transmission is optional ($1,300). All-wheel drive is available only with the automatic.
CTS standard features include leather seating surfaces, dual-zone automatic climate control, OnStar with turn-by-turn navigation, a Bose eight-speaker sound system with CD, MP3 and auxiliary capability, remote keyless entry and programmable central locking, power windows with express-up-down on the front and express-down on the rear, power driver's seat and XM Satellite Radio.
The optional Luxury Package ($3,400) for the CTS with 3.0-liter V6 adds a six-disc CD changer, Bluetooth, a cargo convenience net, accent lighting, memory, heated and 10-way power driver and front passenger seats with power lumbar, theft deterrent alarm, universal garage door opener, wood trim, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Performance Package ($5,000) adds foglamps, HID headlamps, limited-slip differential, V-rated tires, performance brakes, sport suspension and some additional features. The optional AM/FM/CD/MP3/DVD audio system ($3,145 with 3.0-liter V6, $2,145 with 3.6) has Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround Sound, 10 speakers, a hard-drive, HDD-based navigation, XM NavTraffic/Real Time Weather and USB connectivity.
The Premium Package for the CTS with 3.6-liter V6 ($6,095) includes cabin filtration, the high-end sound system with navigation, keyless entry, remote start, rear park assist, heated and ventilated seats, power tilt and telescope steering column with memory, moonroof, and numerous luxury and convenience features that are parts of other packages. The Performance Package ($1,840 with manual transmission, $2,090 with automatic) includes 19-inch polished wheels, performance tires, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters (with automatic transmission), fog lamps, performance suspension, limited-slip differential, and performance brakes. In addition, there are several stand-alone options, including the moonroof, polished alloy wheels and various paint choices.
The CTS-V ($60,720) features a supercharged V8, a limited-slip differential, Brembo disc brakes with six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers, P255/40ZR19 tires in front and P285/35ZR19 tires in the rear, and 10-spoke alloy wheels measuring 9.0 inches wide in front and 9.5 inches wide in the rear. The CTS-V also has distinctive exterior details, including a mesh grille and appropriate badging, to make it stand apart from the normal CTS. The CTS looks clean, elegant and modern, but the CTS-V, with its few changes, takes on a more assertive appearance. Optional for the CTS-V are Recaro front seats ($3,400) and a suede steering wheel ($300).
Safety features that come standard on all models include front, side and side-curtain airbags, ABS and Stabilitrak electronic stability control and traction control. Optional all-wheel drive improves safety further.