Cadillac CTS (2007)

Published: 19 October 2006

Cadillac CTS: the lowdown

Cadillac’s CTS Mk2 is pounding the Nurburgring race track, as the clock ticks down to its 2007 unveiling. GM vows that its executive saloon will present a genuine alternative to the 5-series, C-class and A6, due to carefully honed dynamics, powerful engines, an even funkier exterior design and a revolution in cabin quality. Expect the CTS to be shown as a concept at January’s Detroit show, with the production car hitting US dealerships in autumn 2007.

Cadillac CTS: pushing design ‘to the max’

‘The new CTS takes Cadillac’s Art and Science design theme to the max,’ said a GM design source. Inspired by military fighters such as Lockheed’s F-22 Raptor, today’s angular, high-tech design is said to be even more striking on the Mk2. Those signature vertical headlamps look even more technical, the grille is bigger and more bling and the 3D rear lamps have spread further onto the top of the trunk. The proportions are sportier, with a track as wide as the bigger STS saloon and a 50mm-longer wheelbase. The glasshouse is shallower, the body more sculpted and the side sills point forwards to add dynamism.

Chassis and engines

The new CTS is underpinned by the latest version of GM’s rear-wheel drive Sigma platform. It has independent suspension all-round, and V6 and V8 engines mounted in the nose. This white prototype with the aggressive vents is the flagship CTS-V, Cadillac’s challenger for Mercedes’ forthcoming C63 AMG. Like the Benz, the CTS-V runs a big, naturally aspirated V8. Expect 450bhp minimum, to keep the 481bhp AMG honest. Transmission is via a six-speed manual ‘box. Expect the other engines to include an uprated version of today’s 2.8- and 3.6-litre V6s. GM is also working on a six-cylinder diesel, for use across the European brands – and in the CTS.

The inside story

‘The new CTS’ interior will go from the least appealing in its class, to the most!’ GM product guru Bob Lutz has told CAR online. ‘You will be overwhelmed.’ Lutz vows that GM North America is now blazing a trail for cabin design, and its know-how will be shared with the company’s European designers. The benchmarks are Audi’s build quality, and Lexus’ flair – a far cry from today’s interiors. ‘They’ve been horrible: shonky plastics and knobs and switches that would shame a Mickey Mouse clock,’ said Lutz. Lutz previewed a styling buck of the CTS’ dash on US TV show 60 Minutes, revealing a sporty, driver-oriented cockpit. The sculpted dash sweeps down into the centre console, while the small steering wheel and raised stick shift look perfectly placed. So the new CTS cabin is looking promising. But then Lutz has been known to let his enthusiasm get the better of him on occasion. He once described the latest Corvette ZO6 as a match for a Ferrari. That said, if the CTS makes a similar leap forward as the ZO6, the Germans might be forced to take America’s luxury brand a little more seriously.

By Phil McNamara

Editor-in-chief of CAR magazine