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Cadillac CTS

Published: 09 January 2007

New CTS: no mistaking this for anything other than a Cadillac

The all-new CTS compact exec saloon is Caddy’s big news from the Detroit show, and they were never going to muck about with a distinctive design direction that has won them praise and younger customers since it began in 2001. The new CTS exaggerates it further with yet-more vertical lamps and grille, plus plenty of bling, using chrome for the air vents, window surrounds, the three-inch exhaust tips and 18-inch rims.

And under the hood?

No high-performance V version of the new car has been announced yet, but until it arrives the range will be led by a new direct-injection, 3.6-litre V6 with variable valve timing putting out 300bhp and 270lb ft. The standard 3.6 with 258bhp and 2.8 with 210bhp continue. The two 3.6s will be offered with all-wheel drive as an option, and there are two six-speed boxes; one auto, one manual. The front brakes measure a massive 346mm to rein in all that speed.

But it’s still a sea of cheap plastic inside, right?

Cadillac insists that those days are long gone, and that it looked at Prada shoes and Coach handbags before deciding to revert to hand-stitching its leather. There’s a choice of satin-finished metal trim or Sapele wood. Even the base model gets a Bose stereo system with a USB connection and auxiliary jacks to connect MP3 players. Interior lighting is by white LEDs, as used by Lexus.

So when do we get it?

The new CTS will be made in right-hand drive but won’t reach the UK until late in 2008. It ought to perform well in Europe, having been tested at Germany’s twistfest, the Nurburgring. But it needs to; Cadillac registered fewer than 400 cars in the UK last year and only 2000 in Europe, having announced a plan to sell 10,000 by 2008 when it first relaunched in Europe.

By Ben Oliver

Contributing editor, watch connoisseur, purveyor of fine features