The Cadillac CTS Coupe Concept has been making the rounds of the brand’s television ads for a while, signaling the new direction for GM. But does it stand up in person? It’s one thing to make a standalone concept model, and quite another to make a production automobile that will actually sell. Well, the time has come for that question to be answered. Cadillac is showing off the production design of the CTS Coupe that will hit the streets in the first half of 2010, branded as a 201 model.
As with most other vehicles in the brand’s lineup, the Cadillac CTS Coupe has a “love it or leave it” kind of styling. The CTS Coupe is all sharp angles. In fact, the only curves you’ll see are on the wheels. The quarter windows cut back like acute triangles (didn’t think you’d see those words again after finishing high school geometry, did you?) and both the front and rear are bluff faced surfaces that are willfully defiant of the sloping curves of European sports cars. Helping this angular theme is a trimmed roof, which sits a few inches lower that the car’s sedan and wagon counterparts. That cut is offset a little by seats that are mounted lower, but the headroom may still be an issue for taller people.
From the tip of the nose to the end of the doors, the effect goes over well, but the rear seems to swell. It’s just too big, and there isn’t any body geometry or angular lines breaking it up to give it a sense of dynamics. It just looks like one large, boring piece of sheet metal. What isn’t so evident from the photographs is that the rear quarter panel does flare out a bit over the wheels, adding a bit of visual dynamic, but not nearly enough. And here’s a little food for thought: those rear wheels are 19-inchers, but they are absolutely dwarfed by the bodywork. The car does look better in person than in photographs, but that’s still a glaring error on the designers’ part, especially if they want this car to be a symbol of a new direction for Cadillac.
However, in the grand scheme of things, one gripe about a cosmetic feature is more than balanced out by the superb mechanical underpinnings of the CTS Coupe. The car is powered by the same 3.6-liter V6 found in the sedan and wagon, which outputs 304 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Surprisingly, all that power doesn’t dent the gas mileage too much as the CTS Coupe gets 27 mpg highway. That number isn’t amazingly high, but much higher than expected for a 300+ horsepower Cadillac. And, for those horsepower fanatics, Cadillac will be releasing a CTS-V Coupe which borrows the massive V8 from the 556 horsepower CTS-V sedan. No word on exact power figures for the CTS-V Coupe (the Coupe is shorter than the sedan, with a shorter exhaust, meaning less exhaust back pressure, meaning more power, so the V Coupe could be more powerful than the sedan), but the car is model is slated for release a few months after the Coupe hits the streets, so we won’t have to wait for long.
And, this being a Cadillac, there will be a host of creature comforts added to the cabin. From iPod and MP3 player integration, to seats that can adjust in 14 different ways, the CTS Coupe is definitely going to be a pleasure cruiser. As with other GM models, the CTS Coupe will come with OnStar, but it features one significant upgrade over the old system; the Coupe is the first to come equipped with a full OnStar factory-installed turn-by-turn GPS system. While Cadillac made sure to mention that in their press release, it really is old hat by this point. In fact, given the wide variety of GPS systems already offered as factory options at other brands, it may have been wiser to leave that point out, rather than pointing out OnStar’s late to the game addition.
The 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe is supposed to represent a turning point for Cadillac. A reinvigorating of the brand that will carry it forward through the next century. That is basically advertiser’s speak recognizing the fact that if they rely only on retirees in Florida to buy their cars and rappers to buy their SUVs, the brand won’t be around for very long. So, does it succeed? Do you want to buy one? Me personally, I’ll reserve judgment until the CTS Coupe at least gets into its second generation, so that some of the kinks (which are sure to exist) can be ironed out.