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2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 6 reviews
Cadillac's highly anticipated CTS Coupe debuts this August as a 2011 model. The new CTS two-door represents Cadillac’s return to a market it departed in 2002, when the Eldorado coupe was axed. While the ancient Eldorado sold mainly to an aging demographic with a peculiar affinity for white shoes and faux convertible "landau" tops, the 2011 CTS Coupe will certainly appeal to a much younger, more cosmopolitan set. Based on the same Sigma II rear-drive platform as the CTS sedan and wagon, the Coupe variant shares their 113.4-inch wheelbase but receives all-new bodywork.
While the sedan (and to a lesser extent its wagon sibling) are undeniably attractive, the new CTS Coupe is simply stunning. The styling combines the wedge shape so in vogue these days with a traditional, long-hood/short-deck coupe profile. The lack of a B-pillar and exceptionally high beltline make for a very sleek look, while the angular elements of Caddy’s "Art+Science" theme ensure the shape will stay modern for years to come. The shaved door handles (replaced by Corvette-like electronic actuators) and low, aggressive stance make the CTS Coupe look like a show car or one-off custom. Despite its huge expanses of flat sheet metal, the 2011 CTS Coupe doesn’t come off as slab-sided or bulky in the least; it is almost certainly GM’s best design effort in decades.
While its head-turning shape will undoubtedly be the CTS Coupe’s main selling point, it’s important to remember that underneath the skin lies one of the most competent American chassis of late. The stiff, second-generation Sigma RWD platform displays unshakable confidence over rough roads. Its four-wheel independent suspension uses double wishbones up front to deliver a supple yet firm ride with plenty of natural balance, especially when equipped with the FE3 handling package. While the CTS Coupe lacks the supreme finesse of the best European sports coupes, it will certainly please most American buyers with quick, precise steering and tightly controlled body motions.
For 2011 the CTS Coupe comes standard with the larger of the sedan’s two V6 engines. The all-aluminum 3.6-liter features direct injection for exceptional throttle response. Making 304 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, the big six revs smoothly and has plenty of oomph, launching the CTS Coupe from 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds. While the General’s excellent 6L50 automatic transmission is standard (it’s so smooth that BMW borrows it for duty in its 3 Series sedans), enthusiast drivers will want to opt for the recently revised six-speed manual gearbox, whose easily modulated clutch and (mostly) slick shift action make rowing through the gears a joy. The CTS Coupe will launch as a RWD car, but expect an AWD variant to follow shortly, featuring the innovative Borg Warner electronic transfer case from the CTS sedan.
Dimensionally the 2011 CTS Coupe does give up a bit of space to its sedan and wagon brethren. Its sexy roofline cuts noticeably into rear-seat headroom, though access to the back seat is fine courtesy of the large doors and tilt/slide front buckets. Once aboard, the interior features subtle changes from the CTS sedan; the new color-matched headliner contributes to an especially cozy atmosphere. The dash is lifted straight from the sedan and features near-perfect materials and detailing, though some ergonomic quirks detract from the experience. Form-fitting bucket seats are upholstered in fragrant Nuance leather on upper trim levels and feature standard power adjustment. The bright, glossy wood trim (a darker Sapele’ hue is optional) lends a sophisticated air. Trunk space is marginally less than in the sedan, but the high floor and large opening make loading a weekend’s worth of luggage quite easy.
The 2011 CTS Coupe debuts at $38,990 and features a host of standard equipment, including 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless start, parking assist (an essential feature, given the compromised view out the back) and a rocking BOSE stereo. For just under $44,000 buyers can step up to the Performance Collection trim, which includes the aromatic Nuance leather, xenon headlights and a 40-gigabyte hard drive for music storage. The top-dog CTS Coupe is the Premium Collection, which bows at $47,835 and bumps up the tech factor with GPS navigation and adds such sybaritic luxuries as ventilated seats and a heated steering wheel.
While the 2011 CTS Coupe commands a premium price (and for once won’t be sold according to GM’s deep-discount strategy), it earns its keep with a mix of intoxicating style and accomplished road manners. Buyers will have the pleasure (or inconvenience) of being accosted at stoplights and gas stations by strangers who want to know what it is and how much it costs. The sensible-shoes crowd will be better served by a more conventional CTS sedan, but for extroverts seeking envious glances, the 2011 CTS Coupe is a head-turning bargain.
by Jesse Berger
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