From Concept To Showroom Floor: 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe Review – Second Drive

The all-new 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe is the first Cadillac to go directly from concept form to the showroom floor.  The look is brilliant, expressing Cadillac’s ‘Art & Science’ direction.  It is a perfect balance of dramatic styling with uncompromising performance, comfort and luxury. The CTS-Coupe is the new focal point of Cadillac, expressing both its design and technical capabilities.  It is intended to appeal to a new generation of car enthusiasts.

The coupe joins the CTS Sport Sedan, the 556hp CTS-V high-performance sedan and the new CTS Sport Wagon as the foundation of Cadillac’s lineup.  A 556hp high-performance CTS-V Coupe will be released later this year.

The coupe is a classic 2+2 layout bolstered with advanced technology, such as a rear-view camera system, and a performance-oriented suspension system coupled to rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

The coupe has the same wheelbase as the CTS-Sport Sedan, but an overall height that is approximately two inches lower and an overall length that is two inches shorter.  Although it draws from its sport sedan sister, the CTS Coupe shares only the instrument panel, console, headlamps, front fenders and grille.  Key design feature include a classic hardtop styling with no conventional B-pillar; a touch pad operation for the doors removing the need for conventional door handles, creating a technical, clean profile; a windshield laid at a faster 62.3-degrees, and a long, nearly horizontal backglass area combining to create a dramatic profile; sculpted lower front fascia with unique brake-cooling vents; a rear fascia with mesh lower grilles; deep lower side extensions, a full-perimeter chrome strip that wraps around the sharp, pulled-up greenhouse glass; a center outlet exhaust with twin-dihedral-shaped tips that pass through the rear fascia; signature vertical lighting, highlighted with LED light pipes; a rear spoiler integrated into the signature center high-mounted stop lamp and a sculpted roof-mounted antenna for ONSTAR and XM satellite radio reception.

From any angle, the shape of the CTS Coupe is refreshingly simple, yet amplified with intricately carved details.  There is nothing on the high-end two-door 2+2 coupe market that even comes close to the looks and details of the all-new 2011 CTS-Coupe.

Driving the new CTS-Coupe is pure heaven, fun and easy to accelerate and maneuver whether it is around slow moving city traffic, merging then cruising on the freeways, or when tackling curving mountain roads.  The standard engine is a 3.6 liter, DOHC, VVT, Direct Injected, all-aluminum V6 that generates a healthy 304hp at 6,400rpm and 273lb.ft. of torque at 5,200rpm.  It is mated to a standard six-speed manual, featuring a revised clutch and dual-mass flywheel that offers better clutch pedal feel and improved engine isolation.  A six-speed automatic transmission with Driver Shift Control and steering wheel mounted shift buttons comes standard on the Summer Tire Sport Package that I tested.  The Coupe’s final drive ratio is 3.73:1, up from 3.42:1 of the CTS Sedan, providing more responsive acceleration.  The CTS-Coupe Sport Package can blast out to 60mph from a standstill in just 5.5sec.  Power is put down on the pavement with a standard limited slip differential on the Sport Package model.

The powertrain’s performance is channeled through a chassis that delivers sports car performance without punishment.  The hardware includes an independent front suspension featuring a short/long arm (SLA) setup with hydraulic control arm bushings, monotube shocks, and a hollow 29mm stabilizer bar.  The multi-link rear suspension is mounted on a fully isolated subframe and features monotube shocks, and a 24.5mm hollow stabilizer bar.  Befitting its luxury sports coupe status, the Coupe has a number of adjustments in the chassis tuning enabling crisper driving performance.  The Coupe’s two-inch wider rear track gives it a more planted feel and slightly better cornering.  The Coupe has a smaller 29mm front stabilizer bar compared to the CTS-Sedan, while the rear bar is increased from 20mm to 24.5mm compared to the sedan.  Damping force is firmer at all four corners, helping the Coupe to reach 0.88g peak lateral acceleration in standard form.

You can really feel the cornering power utilizing the new ZF Servotronic 2, power-assisted, rack & pinion steering system.  Turn-in is immediate without delay and the front suspension is so tight as both systems are tweaked with the large, aluminum, re-enforced strut tower brace under the hood.  Standard Cadillac StabiliTrak and all-speed traction control keep you on your chosen path when you take the car to its limit on steep curving roads.

The all-new CTS-Coupe Sport Package stops as fast as it accelerates thanks to big, power-assisted, 4-wheel steel disc brakes.  Up front are 13.6in. vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 13.3in. vented discs clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear.  You stopping power and control are enhanced with standard ABS and Brake Assist.

The standard CTS-Coupe rides on 18X8in. aluminum alloy wheels and tires but the Sport Package adds 19X8.5in. aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with 245/45ZR19in. front, and 275/40ZR19in. rear, Continental Contact high-performance tires that enhance grip, traction and give a more compliant ride over poorly paved surfaces.

The interior is comfortable, luxurious, with high-tech wonders and plenty of safety systems to keep you and your passengers happy on short or long drives.  The interior emphasizes technical precision with elegant, hand-crafted details.  The hand-assembled center console leads seamlessly into the center stack, providing a sportier ‘cockpit’ feel for you and your passenger without compromising space.  The interior also includes hand-sewn accents on the door, dashboard top, center storage console and instrument panel trim.  The fully power-adjustable bucket seats are comfortable and well bolstered for sporty driving times.  The optional heated and ventilated seats incorporate ‘thin-seat’ technology for maximum occupant comfort and enhanced rear-seat leg, knee and foot room.  The Coupe also offers a host of customer driven technologies including an integrated iPod/MP3 capability, 40-gig hard drive, including the ability to store music and pause-and-replay live radio, a pop-up navigation system, adaptive HID forward lighting system, Bluetooth connectivity, standard Keyless Entry with Smart Remote Start, rear vision camera system and a Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround Sound Audio System with 10-speakers.

Standard equipment includes automatic headlamps, heated, power-remote side mirrors, self-dimming reaview mirror, power tilt-telescoping, wood/leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise-control buttons, dual zone climate control, heated front seats, rear heating ducts behind the center console to enhance rear seat area temperature, LED interior ambient lighting, cargo net, universal home remote, memory seat adjuster, sapele wood trim, remote start, rear park assist, power tilt sunroof, dual map lamp, lighted glove box and trunk, power windows/door locks with one-touch up/down, rain-sensing wipers/washers, center console with dual cupholders, padded storage bin, flip-open front storage with 12-volt plug and one in the center console, rear dual cupholders, rear reading lamp, aluminum door sill plates, thick cut-pile carpeting and front/rear floor mats.  My CTS-Coupe came with those standard features plus a performance cooling system and was covered in Tuscan Bronze Chromaflair custom paint.

Standard safety systems include dual-stage driver front airbag, segment-first dual depth front passenger airbag, driver/front passenger side seat-mounted pelvic/thorax side airbags, roof-rail side curtain airbags that cover front and rear seating rows, 3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, a tire pressure monitoring system, front/rear crumple zones, steel beams in each door, and a body structure with strategically placed high-strength steel.

The price for the Summer Tires Sport Package equipped CTS Coupe  is stickered at just $50,205.00.  That’s not too much to ask for a stunningly styled, luxury, sport coupe.  This coupe competes against the BMW 335i coupe, Audi A5 coupe and Infiniti G37 coupe but after test driving the all-new CTS-Coupe, I don’t think that there is any comparison.

Overall the CTS-Coupe wins hands down!




Price: Base CTS Coupe $38,165 As-Tested CTS Coupe Performance $50,205
Type: Midsize Coupe
Where Built: United States
EPA Class: Midsize Cars


Length: 189.3 in.
Width: 74.1 in.
Height: 56 in.
Wheel Base: 113.4 in.
Curb Weight: 3909 lbs.
Gross Weight: 4792 lbs.

Front Head Room: 36.9 in.
Front Hip Room: 54.5 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 56.1 in.
Rear Head Room: 34.6 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 50.9 in.
Rear Hip Room: 47.7 in.
Front Leg Room: 42.4 in.
Rear Leg Room: 35 in.
Luggage Capacity: 10.5 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 4

Performance Data

Number of Cylinders: 6
Engine Size: 3.6 liters
Engine Type: V6
Horsepower: 304 hp
Max Horsepower: 6400 rpm
Torque: 273 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 5200 rpm
Drive Type: RWD
Turning Circle: 35.9 ft.
0-60mph: 5.5 seconds

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 18 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 17 mpg / 26 mpg / mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 306 mi. / 468 mi. / mi.