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First drive: Cadillac CTS Coupe

New two door is sexiest Cadillac ever.

by on Dec.02, 2010

The Cadillac CTS Coupe has a sexy shape that likes strikingly different compared to the sedan.

A friend from long ago once said that he would always own two-doors. This was long before the days of children, or even taking business associates to lunch, but one has to wonder, did he ever succumb to the convenience of those extra doors?

Cadillac CTS buyers are now confronted by such decisions. If you’re in the market, do you walk past the attractive sedan – not to mention the really useful wagon – and head straight for the sexy new coupe?

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And, oh, what a luscious coupe it is. This is no mere two-door version of the CTS. Unlike some two-doors, which have very similar profiles compared to their four-door brethren, nobody will ever have to count door handles to figure out if the CTS they are looking at is a sedan or coupe. Did someone say something about door handles? Unlike other CTS models, the coupe doesn’t even have them. The doors open with the push of a recessed soft-touch button.

Cadillac gave the CTS Coupe sexy rear haunches.

While the new coupe is pure CTS from the base of the windshield forward, from there back, the sheetmetal is all new. The windshield is more steeply angled back and the roof is lower.

The coupe has a fast profile with a high deck in back with significantly wider rear fenders, hiding wider wheels and tires than the sedan. In fact, the coupe’s rear tires are wider than the fronts.

A prominent center-mounted twin exhaust outlet further defines the view of the coupe from the rear. Another cool detail: The center high-mounted stop light is shaped into a small decklid spoiler.

The center-mounted brake light is integrated neatly into a small spoiler.

It’s a sultry look, with more style than any other luxury coupe that plays in this class. A BMW 3-Series coupe, one of the CTS’ biggest competitors just doesn’t have the visual firepower.

But the changes are more than skin deep. The retuned exhaust has a turbine-like sound that sounds expensive, refined, not at all raucous.

The interior is beautiful, but the unsupportive seats are disappointing.

Like the sedan, the coupe is a great handling car. It grips tenaciously through corners but is willing to step out with a little power oversteer when pushed, before the stability control steps in. The variable-rate power steering is light and easy at parking lot speeds, but also has a lot of heft at speed.

It’s too bad the flat, leather front seats aren’t up to the level of handling the rest of the car is capable of. They’re slippery and have limited lateral support. The seat cushion is also too short. Even worse, the seatback pokes uncomfortably in the back.

Cool blue lighting highlights the instrument panel.

The roof is low, limiting headroom. If you’re tall, strongly consider looking for one without the sunroof, which is standard on the Premium trim level. The view out the rear is restricted because of the high tail. While the rear window is fairly large, it’s severely raked, so it looks like a mail slot in the rear window. Also, the over-the-shoulder blindspots are huge.

Accessing the rear seat is difficult at best. The seatbelts get in the way and the seat doesn’t move forward easily enough. Once back there, there’s enough room for a smaller adult or two. A fixed center console means the coupe is strictly a four seater. Since it is a hatchback, there’s decent cargo space behind the rear seats.

The ambient lighting scheme, with spears of lights following the contours of the narrow band of real wood trim is striking.

The CTS Coupe starts at $38,990 (including destination), which is actually $1,600 less than a comparably equipped sedan. While the sedan is available with a smaller 270-horsepower 3.0-liter V-6, the coupe comes standard with the 3.6-liter. With options, this rear-wheel-drive Premium coupe stickers at $50,035.

As it does in the sedan, the 3.6 puts out 304 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque. The only transmission offered is GM’s excellent 6-speed automatic. Unfortunately, no manual is offered. All-wheel drive is a $1,900 option. Power junkies will also want to look at the 556-horsepower CTS-V, which starts at $64,290.

The CTS Coupe is a luscious treat for someone who is past the days when they need an easily accessible rear seat.

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One Response to “First drive: Cadillac CTS Coupe”

  1. skuehn@2147 says:

    “And, oh, what a luscious coupe it is …” Pretty much snagged it right there, Bryan.
    Luscious indeed.
    Two comments:
    1) What was up with the seat? I can’t imagine it wasn’t adjustable 6 million ways to Sunday.
    2) Thinking you might get fully-realized GT-style coupe in the mid-$40s seems pretty damned reasonable.
    Regardless, this Caddy is truly a piece of art.

    Steve