2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe
2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe. Click image to enlarge

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Cadillac CTS

Manufacturer’s web site
General Motors of Canada

Review and photos by Chris Chase

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2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe

Even if it’s based on an existing vehicle, a coupe will generally attract a different kind of buyer than a similar sedan, particularly if the coupe is distinguished from the sedan by more than the elimination of a couple of doors.

Certainly the Cadillac CTS Coupe, a new addition to the brand’s entry-level line-up for 2011, is recognizable as a modern Caddy, with its razor sharp lines, but a carbon-copy of the sedan it ain’t. It shares the four-door’s front clip and dashboard, but the rest of the look is unique to the two-door model.

Less unique is the coupe’s running gear, which consists of a 3.6-litre V6, a standard six-speed manual transmission, and an optional six-speed automatic. That leaves out the 3.0-litre V6 that serves as base power in the sedan. The CTS Coupe can also be ordered in high-performance “V” trim, complete with a massive 6.2-litre V8 and up-rated everything designed to deal with its extra poke.

2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe
2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe
2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe. Click image to enlarge

The 3.6 is a good motor, but not a great one in this context. Its power figures – 304 hp and 273 lb.-ft. of torque – are competitive, but the engine is seriously lacking in refinement compared to the turbine-smooth straight sixes found in a BMW 3 Series. The BMW’s top-line turbo mill is much stronger in its low-end, making for lots of punch off the line, where the CTS’ motor must be revved high to get at its peak power.

Six gears should be enough, but this car feels like it could use a seventh; if you’re not pushing it, the engine falls easily out of its power band as you work up through the ratios. Of course, more gears would mean more shifting. As much as I prefer manual to automatic transmissions, my tester’s stickshift was no joy to use, and the clutch’s short take-up and lack of feel made the car hard to drive smoothly. As counterintuitive as it seems in a car seemingly designed for sport, I’d recommend going straight for the automatic version of the CTS.

Natural Resources Canada rates the CTS’ fuel consumption at 11.4/6.9 L/100 km (city/highway) with the 3.6-litre and manual transmission; I managed an average of 11.6 L/100 km, including a whole lot of highway driving.

The CTS’ tires aren’t particularly wide for the class, but their tendency to follow ruts in the road was pronounced, more so than the 3 Series coupe I drove a few weeks prior to this car. It’s something I don’t recall from my last drive in a CTS, though that was ages ago, in 2008. Regardless, it was off-putting and took away from a chassis that otherwise has it together. The ride is the right mix of firm and cushy, and the only thing that discouraged me from taking advantage of the car’s competent handling was the vague steering.

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