2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe: Art & Science


An art object oftentimes is infused with spirit and symbolism, and expresses union and harmony. It’s something that changes the way we perceive the world. It’s an idea and feeling made tangible by the manifestor. Welcome to the all-new 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe!

It’s no secret that the venerable Cadillac brand needs a deeper and more creative product portfolio to compete with its archrivals from Germany: Mercedes, BMW and Audi. Each of those three stalwarts sell luxury products for every genre and every mode of transportation needed ranging from convertibles to performance coupes to clean diesel SUVs laden with the latest technology. Cadillac is certainly missing out on the diverse and sometimes complex auto needs of unpredictable American car buyers; yet the domestic manufacturer is beginning with a fresh slate that is promising. And now that the long-awaited CTS Coupe is less than two months from making its August debut, the company once again has a story to tell.

2011_Cadillac_CTS_Coupe_02_lowCadillac has momentum as sales are up across the board during a period where a new vision is being manifested. It’s the evolution of art and science, which will certainly reach global adoration when the coupe unveils itself. The vehicle’s scientifically sculpted two-door frame is inherited from Cadillac’s new design language, which you see in the SRX crossover and the CTS sedan. There is a zero percent chance that any new Caddy vehicle will be misinterpreted for another brand, which is becoming commonplace in today’s convoluted vehicle market. Sharp, edgy lines border sleek body panels to form one of the most ambitious coupes to date. Clever design cues makes an even greater statement: integrated and touch door latch, rear brake lamp that doubles as a spoiler, and flush dual exhausts that resemble the Transformers logo. GM’s VP of Global Design, Ed Welburn, said it exactly, “It’s emotion on four wheels and the very essence of what defines Cadillac today. “

Based off the CTS sedan platform, the coupe is lower, wider and a bit shorter to take advantage of performance driving dynamics. Currently only one engine is available until the show-stopping CTS-V Coupe arrives with its 556-horspower supercharged V8. The CTS-V sedan took top honors as the world’s fastest four-door luxury car so expect similar results when little brother arrives. We drove the coupe around the pristine Nappa Valley landscape and found the 3.6-liter V6 with its 304 horsepower much more capable than anticipated. Either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission is available with the direct injection engine. Yet, I do believe the coupe needs a halfway performance point for customers looking for that in-between power. The vehicle is mechanically coherent with optional all-wheel-drive, summer tire package consisting of 19” aluminum rims, limited slip differential and a performance tuned suspension.

Not only does the exterior of the CTS-Coupe feel like motion, but the interior does as well. Everything is new except the familiar instrumentation cluster that acts as a control tower with all its 21st century technology. It features a hidden 8” touchscreen LCD that rises upon command and houses the advanced navigation audio, real-time traffic and weather data as well as 3D graphics for certain destinations. Not only, but in park, the system doubles as a DVD player to view movies from the CTS Coupe specific Bose 5.1 Digital Surround sound, 10-speaker system.  More infotainment is added with the optional 40-gig hard drive, USB connectivity, Bluetooth and an iPad app. A large sunroof, rearview camera and OnStar’s personal safety and convenience assistant add to the coupe’s wealth of amenities. Minor nuisances include flat seats with shallow bolsters and cramped rear seating. It’s also very tough getting in and out from the rear position. Yet, the two rear individual seats are split-folding for pass through to the trunk.

Cadillac has a good thing on its hands. That message just needs to be communicated to the car-buying public. New strategies to carry this communication will consist of food and wine activities, golf activations and enthusiast track days. Cadillac has also partnered with the Ritz Carlton to infuse the luxury hotel’s high customer standards into their daily practices. Lastly, standard scheduled maintenance, aka Premium Care Maintenance, for four years/50K miles will be offered gratis to owners of 2011 Cadillac models. Not bad for a $38,990 beginner’s price.

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