Test Drive: Cadillac CTS Coupe

High Style, High Performance Luxury

A car is made up from a combination of styling, comfort, performance, handling and several other key elements.? Woven together with precision and innovation, the result can be a great car, like the Cadillac CTS Coupe.

Joining the CTS sedan and CTS wagon, the new Coupe is one of those unique combinations that come together beautifully making it one of the most exciting cars ever built in the U.S.

As good as it looks in the photos, the Coupe looks even better in person. ?Shown first as a concept in 2009, the production version is virtually unchanged from the concept, incorporating custom details like electric doors and center-mounted exhausts outlets.

With its bold lines, aircraft style smooth sides and vertical lights ? front and rear the Coupe represents the latest iteration of the Cadillac Art and Science design language.? The interior is equally dramatic with twin cockpit seating, accented by hand stitched leathers and tasteful accents of wood and brushed aluminum.

The Coupe is a 2+2 configuration.? It is possible for an adult to sit in the rear, but it?s not very comfortable, rather it?s a perfect place to put toss a briefcase, purse or jacket and still have it easily accessible.? Cargo space is tight at 10.5 cubic feet, but there is room enough for luggage for a couple, or a couple sets of golf clubs.

The standard engine is a 304-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 driving the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.? A six-speed manual transmission deducts $1,300 from the base price — when was the last time you heard of a manual transmission in a Cadillac?? An efficient all-wheel drive option adds $1,900 with no fuel economy penalty.? The EPA rates both at 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.? We actually averaged 27 mpg after a week of local driving.

Cadillac says the coupe accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in a very quick 5.8 seconds for the rear drive version and it has a top speed of 150-mph.

For someone who wants the best and fastest, we recommend the CTS-V version.? Imagine a 556-hp supercharged V-8 engine, Brembo brakes, Magnetic Ride Control dampers at all four corners and Michelin Pilot Sport tires on 19-inch wheels, and that?s just the beginning.? It comes with a six-speed manual or no cost six-speed automatic.?? The CTS-V accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds and to 100 mph in just 9.3 seconds.? The top speed is limited to a mere 175 mph.? The downside is 12 mpg city and 18 mpg highway and a gas guzzler tax of $1,300 with the manual transmission and $2,600 with the automatic.

As great as the CTS Coupe looks, the way it drives makes it an overachiever.? Using same basic suspension as the sedan that was developed and tuned at the famed German N?rburgring racetrack, the coupe feels even more solid than the sedan.? The ride is firm, but not harsh.? The tightness is evident in the flat cornering and during hard braking where there is little body dive.? The variable assist hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering is light at lower speeds and tightens noticeably as speeds increase, but it maintains a precise feel at all speeds. ?Driving on the mountain roads near our home in southern Washington, we weren?t able to get the same experiences we might on a closed road course like Infinion Sears Point or Mazda Laguna Seca, but we?ve driven the car on those tracks at other times and it?s amazing.? The car?s capabilities far exceed our driving skills.

As a luxury car, the Coupe base model is very well equipped with a multitude of standard features like keyless access and start, OnStar with turn-by-turn navigation, remote start, rear park assist plus a long list of other safety and comfort features.? The base price is $38,990, including the destination charge, for the rear drive coupe and $40,090 for the all-wheel drive version.? The AWD equipped with the performance and premium collections along with 19-inch summer performance tires, navigation and sunroof, climbs to nearly $52,000, but is still a bargain compared with European competitors.

The CTS-V has a base price of $64,290.? With all the available options including moon roof, real wood trim and the heated and cooled Recaro seat package, the price is just over $71,000, but one of the best luxury performance bargains on the market.

The coupe isn?t without problems.? We aren?t crazy about the front seats, they just don?t seem to fit us as well as other cars in this category.? We fiddled with all the lumbar settings but could never get the seat in a totally comfortable position where our backs fit flat against the seat.? It was almost as if there was a ridge running down the middle of the backs. However that might be a perfect fit for someone else.? We did like the optional Recaro sport seats in the CTS-V.

One other complaint was the lack of a passenger assist handle, which we think is mandatory in a car like this.

The Cadillac CTS is world class and should be at the top of the list for anyone shopping for a sexy luxury performance car.

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