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2013 Cadillac CTS Coupe Overview
Now in its third year of production, the Cadillac CTS Coupe receives a few new features for 2013, including an updated grille and new Glacier Blue Metallic, Silver Coast Metallic and Summer Gold Metallic exterior colors. In addition, Cadillac makes its adaptive remote vehicle start system standard on all CTS Coupe trims. Other than those minor improvements, the CTS Coupe rolls over from 2012 unchanged.
Although it's based on the CTS Sedan and sits on the same platform, the CTS Coupe shares only a few common elements with its 4-door sibling, including the front fenders, headlights, instrument panel and interior console. In addition, the CTS Coupe and Sedan share a new front shield-shaped grille, which displays new finishes, sharper colors for the Wreath & Crest logo and a new frame and mesh combination.
Other than that, the Coupe incorporates its own distinctive design elements and components. Outside, these elements include a more steeply raked windshield, a muscular lower front fascia with brake-cooling vents, a unique rear fascia with mesh lower grilles and a center-mounted exhaust pipe with a chrome-plated stainless-steel tip. Sharp lines along the hood, sides and rear end give the Coupe a decidedly edgy, sporty look. The Coupe also sits 2 inches lower than the CTS sedan and features a windswept roofline and a clean side profile with no B-pillars.
In addition, the CTS Coupe does away with conventional door handles, further improving the exterior look and aerodynamics. Instead, the Coupe uses invisible scooped-out door handles with touchpad operation. Vertical LED taillights and heated exterior mirrors are also included. All trims except the Base Coupe get HID headlights, while the Base comes equipped with halogen headlights.
The CTS Coupe trim lineup for 2013 includes Performance and Premium levels, in addition to the Base Coupe. Power for all CTS Coupe trims comes from a 3.6-liter V6 engine, which produces 318 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. The V6 mates to a 6-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission and provides plenty of low-end power with smooth shifting for spirited acceleration and passing. All trims come standard with rear-wheel drive (RWD), although Cadillac offers optional all-wheel drive (AWD) for the Performance and Premium trims. Fuel economy numbers check in at 18/27 mpg for both RWD and AWD trims, making AWD a good option for owners seeking a sport-oriented coupe with optimal traction and handling and no penalty in fuel economy.
The CTS Coupe receives a sportier suspension than the sedan, with unique stabilizer bar diameters and spring rates, as well as structural enhancements like tower-to-tower bracing. Cadillac also offers an available Performance suspension tuning package for Performance and Premium trims, which tightens up the ride and handling even more and adds rear load leveling. Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering comes standard on all trims, while the Performance package adds speed-sensitive variable-assist steering. All CTS Coupe trims receive standard 18-inch high-polish wheels with all-season tires, while the Performance package adds 19-inch aluminum wheels.
Unlike the Sedan, the Coupe has a tighter cabin, due in part to its lower profile and swooping roofline. Taller passengers may have to stay low in the rear seat, due to its tight headroom. However, front-row passengers should have no trouble finding plenty of headroom and legroom, although some testers find the front seats a little too hard and uncomfortable for long-distance traveling.
Like the CTS Sedan, the Coupe's interior exhibits a dual-cockpit design, with easy-to-reach controls located in a swooping center stack displaying a satin metallic finish. Quality materials, soft-touch surfaces and French stitching on the seats, instrument panel, shifter and doors give the cabin an upscale feel. The Base CTS receives leatherette upholstery, while all other trims get leather seating. Heated front seats are standard on the Performance trim, while the Premium trim gets heated and ventilated seats. Optional on the Performance trim, the heated and ventilated seats incorporate "thin-seat" technology, which helps improve rear-seat legroom slightly.
The Base trim also comes standard with 10-way power-adjustable front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an 8-speaker Bose audio system with a CD player and SiriusXM satellite radio. The Performance trim adds memory settings for the driver and a 10-speaker Bose system, while the Premium level also gets navigation, Sapele wood trim, a power telescoping steering column and a leather-and-wood steering wheel. All trims now include the remote start system, as well as ultrasonic rear park assist, a split/folding rear seat, keyless start and OnStar with one year of the Directions and Connections plan. A Touring Package, available for the Premium trim, adds Recaro performance seats, a suede-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, Midnight Sapele wood trim, sport alloy pedals and unique 19-inch wheels, as well as a sport grille.
The CTS Sedan, upon which the Coupe is based, was named a Top Safety Pick for 2012 by the IIHS, and the NHTSA gave the Coupe a top safety rating of 5 out of 5 stars for 2013. Standard safety features for the Coupe include GM's StabiliTrak electronic stability control system and traction control, as well as a full range of airbags. A Side Blind Zone Alert system, standard on the Performance and Premium trims but unavailable on the Base trim, helps deal with the visibility problem out the back. In addition, the standard OnStar system includes such safety features as automatic crash response, roadside assistance, emergency services and crisis assist, as well as remote door unlock and turn-by-turn navigation.
Owners give high marks to the CTS Coupe's cutting-edge styling and sporty interior, as well as its long list of standard features. The car handles and performs well, owners say. However, some find the dash and console controls tricky to learn, and owners have commented on the tight rear seat and lack of good visibility out the back. Others would like to see better fuel economy from the Coupe and note that it uses more gas than they expected. Despite these issues, however, owners are overall pleased with their purchases.
Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in Florida.