Cadillac CTS Coupe is Artistry through Engineering

When does science transition to art? We find the answer in automotive form and function with Cadillac’s centerpiece, the CTS.

So important is this luxury nameplate to GM’s premier division that the CTS is built with cross appeal among a wide category of midsize car shoppers, including sedan, coupe and wagon buyers in both V-6 and high-performance V-8 variants.

The CTS is a huge success for Cadillac with retail sales rising 52 percent in April — the best April since 2008 for the CTS. Not only does the CTS allow General Motors to compete with the BMW, Mercedes, and Audi audience, but also the addition of Cadillac’s high-performance V-Series attracts attention from shoppers looking at the ultra-high-performing BMW M and Mercedes AMG vehicles. In fact, this year Cadillac re-entered racecar GT events in Sebring, Fla., with its specially designed CTS-V.

Cadillac’s luxury CTS sports coupe starts at $38,365 for the 3.6-liter, 304-horsepower V-6 equipped with the Aisin six-speed manual transmission. Available in both rear- and all-wheel-drive, this V-6 model has EPA fuel economy ratings of 18 miles per gallon city and 27 mpg highway.

 

When the 2011 CTS-V Coupe with the six-speed manual pulled into my driveway the men in my neighborhood knew what this thing was right away. Clues to the macho car’s performance prowess were the twin exhausts sculpted together like the prized pectoral muscles of a world-class weight lifter. The 19-inch satin graphite wheels with yellow brake calipers, the unique grille doing double-duty as an air intake, plus the “V” emblem were all dead giveaways, too.

The high-performance CTS-V is powered by a 6.2-liter, 556-horsepower V-8 engine starting at $62,165. The CTS-V is standard equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission, with the Tremec six-speed manual offered as an option on this rear-wheel drive foundation. Our manual-equipped tester had EPA gas mileage ratings of 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway. Even though premium fuel is recommended, it’s not required.

I did not want to get behind the wheel of the CTS-V and find that I had to deal with a hard-riding racecar with a tricky clutch and six stiff-shifting manual gears. No worries there.

The coupe was smooth in every area from steering and shifting to riding and braking. And on accelerating can we talk about the torque? Of course with 556 horses on hand at 6,100 rpm the CTS-V has herds of power to command, but pushing the CTS-V is 551 lb.-ft. of torque available at 3,800 rpm — all smooth and seamless. Cadillac refers to it as performance without punishment. This is where science becomes an art form.

Cadillac’s hardware is Magnetic Ride Control, a suspension technology that GM describes “reaches elite levels of road-holding performance,” allowing passengers to feel comfortable. The CTS-V Coupe gives the driver the option to control handling by selecting a Tour or Sport mode that tailors the suspension ride to a grand touring style (very unique for a coupe) or spirited handling.

Artistry is truly achieved in the CTS coupe’s classic hardtop exterior style that features no conventional B pillars. And we have to admire stylists for pulling off one design achievement in particular that can be especially awkward — making door handles that don’t exist. After all, getting into the car is the whole reason behind building it. Cadillac successfully integrates a hidden touch-pad entry that is easy to use — but that we’re sure took some science to engineer. — Connie Keane, Motor Matters


SPECIFICATIONS
2011 CADILLAC CTS-V
VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 4-passenger RWD midsize coupe
BASE PRICE___________________ $62,165 (as tested: $70,435)
MOTOR TYPE___________________ 16-valve OHV supercharged V-8
DISPLACEMENT_________________ 6.2-liter
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 556 at 6100 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_____________ 551 at 3800 rpm
TRANSMISSION_________________ 6-speed manual
WHEELBASE____________________ 113.4 in.
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 188.5 in.
TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb) 37.9 ft.
FUEL CAPACITY________________ 18 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 14 mpg city, 19 mpg highway

Copyright, AutoWriters Associates Inc., 2011

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