Roadshow Video Reviews
2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe PremiumCadillac's rolling doorstop works all the angles.
-It has about the most angular lines you can get in a car without spending north of a quarter million. In a pinch, you can always use it as a doorstop. Let's drive the 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe Premium and check the tech. You cannot drive this car without provoking people. It has to hold some kind of CNET record for attracting attention from the drunk, the macho, and the mentally ill. They all seem to flock to it, like fastbacks tend to be that way. Now part of why this guy has this magical effect on people is it's sort of all roof and sail panels. I mean, look at this line here. The roof goes back and back and it barely descends all the way to the rump. I've sat at restaurants with dining room tables that are tippier than that, so you end up with no place for this sunroof to go. It can only tilt, it never pulls back, and, of course, this is rakish and this sail panel comes all the way back really to the very end of the car visually. Now, what all that design work leads to is--oh, God, ow, ow, I'm gonna need an internist after this one-- a really weird claustrophobic back compartment. This is my idea of a claustrophobic nightmare, in fact .If you wedge yourself in here, it's not made for guys my size, you're really enclosed by this weird sail panel whirl that really feels like you're in a cave, although, if you lean back, your head's actually mostly under glass and not under the roof. It's a little trippy back here. I want out. Now, the first thing you're gonna wanna buy if you take delivery of your new CTS is a pair of good polarized sunglasses. This guy has got a lot of chrome, all around these edges here and here and here and, you know, in the Cadillac lexicon, chrome still says high tone. Let's start with this popup display. Again, standard on this car 'cause we've got the super high premium trim. You can be in the eyebrow mode like that showing just essentials, in this case our audio, external temperature. You can move that around in terms of what's up there, but then you can also raise it up for the full experience, and once everyone stops oohing and aahing, it's actually worth popping that thing up. Quite a nice map and navigation system. Few things are screwy on it. The resolution's good, but every once in a while, it will take like city names or street names and put them on top of each other. That's not really good typography. The system's hard drive based. If you watch, as I bounce around here, things move pretty crisply. It's not super speedy but it's ampli-processed, let's put it that way. We don't have Bluetooth stereo streaming on this car. We don't have HD radio on this car. That's why I say kind of a mixed bag, not cutting edge but what it does have works well. I know we've got iPod support through the USB jack here but I'm damned if I can get it to work. My iPod Touch, through two different cables to rule that out, just would not recognize here. Now another cool feature on this car is pause and play radio. So let's say I'm bouncing along and I'm listening to some inflammatory talk show and I gotta take a call. I don't wanna miss anything that's about to happen. I just press pause and the thing's always buffering. See, right now, I've paused my radio station, it shows me how much pause I've got in the buffer, and when I wanna pick it up where I left off, I hit pause/play again, and it starts to play where it was. I can also bounce back and forth using the forward and rewind buttons here within my buffer. Very cool feature. I don't think anyone else does this except these high-end GM units. You've got your button right here for voice command, kind of an odd one though. First of all, the voice command system, I find for me anyway, is kind of 50/50 hit and miss, about every other command it gets and every other one it gets really wrong, but that's okay. The real gripe I have is you've gotta hit this button long press to do a command. If you hit it once, you juts mute the speakers. You gotta lean on it and then you get the beep. Destination. -What can I say? -What can you say? -Here's the list of-- -What the hell can I say? Oh. This screen's also where the backup camera shows up standard on this top trim level. Not the best resolution, not awful, just kinda, you know, it's fine. It doesn't handle light and dark next to each other, the dynamic range is kinda poor which can be a problem if something's in a blown out light area like that. It's not just an aesthetic concern. Speaking of moving into reverse, this gearshift, as you see, is an automatic six-speed automatic PRND, come back over here, go to the right for your manual deal. You've got paddles very hidden back here. This car doesn't have those big old pig's ears that stick up behind the wheel. You just gotta kinda reach back there and find them like, you know, some date you were on when you were 14. Did I really say that? Anyway, the thing about this is this is kind of a base transmission. Most of these are gonna have this, but don't be fooled. You can get a six-speed manual and they'll shave $1300 off it but they kinda default you into one of these on the online configurator. The doors of this car are interesting. Inside and out, you're not gonna find a lever. It kinda confounds people who get in this vehicle. This little button right here, that's the electric opener 'cause, you know, it's a lot of work to pull a lever. It's just that style thing, and on the outside, no handles either. You reach behind the door panel and there's this rubbery contact switch that pops the door open. When the battery's dead, God only knows what happens. A standard non-V CTS is powered by the General's well-regarded 3.6-liter direct-injection V6. It's got 304 horsepower and 273 foot-pounds of torque for a 0-60 score in around 6.5 seconds while delivering 18/27 mpg. All looks good, on paper at least. Now, I know I got a great engine under this hood. This DIV6 is a General Motors home run, no two ways about it, but I'm not feeling it and I think I'm gonna blame this transmission or the relationship between the two, but this six-speed automatic, it's just this loopy spooly disconnected thing. You tip into it and then, you know, half an hour later, you get a surge of power out of the power train, it's too late, the hole's already closed, or you try to shift this thing manually, it's just too much damn work. It's always buzzing back and forth and you're seeking redline. I don't wanna do that either. This is a boulevard car, not a sports car. What you wanna do is pop it over into the drive mode which is frankly not even documented, it just says M on the right for manual but just knock it over there without shifting it and you go into a drive-sport mode. That's a little more of a sweet spot but I get this guy with a manual or I get a CTSV. A CTS Coupe in premium trim like this starts at $47,800. Get a six-speed manual and that takes $1300 off the price and would tighten up this drive train by saying so long to that sleepy automatic. All wheel drive would add $1900, and we have the performance package which gives us 19s, more aggressive brakes, and oddly rolls in the steering wheel controls. That's about $2100.