Review: CTS Coupe is a coup for Cadillac
Review: CTS Coupe is a coup for Cadillac
So you're pining for a Camaro but are over age 30? Or perhaps you like the idea of a powerful coupe but desire one with the kind of sophistication that suits your lifestyle – and happens to be made in America vs. Germany or Japan. Let me direct your attention to the Cadillac CTS Coupe, a wedge of a car that strikes the senses in an uppercrust kind of way, much like that aforementioned muscle car hits the more base ones.
Yes, the CTS is a Cadillac, but one whose traits I liken more with the youthful Camaro than some massively plain sedan a grandfather would drive. And that isn't a bad thing from either a business or mechanical perspective.
The CTS Coupe made its debut as a 2011 model and is available with rear- or all-wheel-drive. Though it wears the CTS name, it hardly looks like its sedan or wagon relatives. This highly sculpted coupe is the best-looking Cadillac in years. It's a Cadillac that doesn't remind me of a Cadillac – in other words, it looks nothing like a DTS land yacht cruising around Leisure World.
The CTS Coupe also mark's Cadillac's venture into the highly competitive entry-level luxury coupe market, which includes cars like the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C Class, Audi A5 and Infiniti G37, all admirable vehicles in their own right.
Under the hood, the manufacturer-lent 2012 Cadillac CTS Coupe that I recently test-drove for a week featured a 3.6-liter V-6 engine, similar to the one that powered the last Chevy Camaro I drove. In this application from GM's luxury division, the engine makes 318 horsepower. And like the Camaro, the CTS can also be had with a V-8 engine, just in case 300-plus horsepower isn't enough for you. In the case of the CTS, that optional engine adds a "V" to the car's moniker, and makes a tire-vaporizing 556 horsepower.
Base prices start at $39,590. As tested, mine came in at a tidy $53,925. (Perhaps the Camaro is starting to look not so bad?)
The CTS also features a relatively smooth shifting six-speed automatic transmission, an aggressive stance. With two fewer doors than its sedan counterpart, the CTS coupe has a more steeply angled windshield and elongated rear roof panels.
The car is meant to evoke a muscular arrow of a machine. Even traditional, pull-out door handles are exempt. Instead, to enter the vehicle you place your fingers on a touch-sensitive pad that pops open the long doors, which felt rather awkward my first few days with the car.
This is indeed a youthful Cadillac, if you can believe such a thing, one dripping with both luxury and style.
Inside, the car features the kind of amenities you'd expect in a Caddy: wood and leather surfaces, a Bose surround-sound audio system, heated and ventilated seats, and a navigation display that magically rises forth from the dash. My optioned-up test car was further laden with a wonderful-feeling suede steering wheel and, get this, Recaro seats like you might find in a serious sports car.
On the road, the car was both powerful and comfortable. Its suspension was tight but didn't break my back. It made a fine cruiser, its engine always willing to help this thing slice through traffic.
Fuel-efficient, though, mine was not, and here's where the CTS also shares some other traits with the Camaro, albeit negative ones. While the car is EPA-rated at an admirable 18 mpg city/27 highway, don't get your hopes up. Over a week of driving, I only averaged a little above 19 mpg. Then there are those blind spots. Oh, those terrible blind spots. You know how the CTS Coupe is an amazing wedge of auto-designer heaven? The compromise comes in the form of two swaths of rear blind spots, just like with the Camaro. Thank God for the blind-spot monitoring system.
Also like the pony car are the rear seats, which I just referred to as "purgatory." There are two rear seats in the CTS Coupe, but – and this is assuming you can finagle yourself back there – they are mighty cramped. And like in the Camaro, anyone beyond about 5-foot-5 will likely be scraping their skull back there. It just isn't pleasant.
Lastly and also like the Camaro, the trunk is rather small and requires an awkward reach just to get larger items in there.
Still want one of these? OK, I can't really blame you. Like the Camaro, the CTS Coupe is a car with compromises. But it's also a car for the impassioned, and a worthy entry by Cadillac to attract younger buyers.
Your turn: Share your own opinion about the Cadillac CTS in the comments area below.
This week’s ride: 2012 CTS Coupe Premium
Type: Four-passenger, rear- or all-wheel-drive luxury coupe
Engine: 3.6-liter V-6
Total power: 318 horsepower, 275 lb.-ft torque
Fuel economy rating: 18 mpg city/27 highway
Base price, with destination: $39,590
Price as equipped: $53,925
The good: Looks, power, comfort, fit and finish
The bad: Blind spots, cramped rear seat, awkward and tight trunk
Guess where: Do you know where in Orange County the photo of the 2012 Cadillac CTS Coupe was taken? Guess in the comments area below!